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Department of Journalism and Media Studies Part-Time Lecturer Karyn Collins, director of the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Workshop, died Wednesday, Oct. 28.
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Collins, a veteran journalist, had been a part-time lecturer for JMS since 2015. She taught Writing for the Media, a course that introduces both JMS majors and students from across the university to the basics of media writing, and the department’s popular Fashion Journalism course, which she developed. Collins, who received the department’s Roger M. Hernandez PTL Award for her excellent teaching in 2019, had also worked, at the department’s request, to develop two new half-semester courses on interviewing and freelancing, which were delayed because of the onset of COVID-19.

Collins also revived the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Workshop for high school students and had directed it at Rutgers each summer since 2016. The workshop -- founded in 1979 by Hugh N. Boyd, former publisher of New Brunswick’s Home News newspaper, with the help of Philadelphia Daily News columnist Chuck Stone -- had been located at two other New Jersey universities but had not been offered since 2009. Collins developed the idea of reviving it as her Capstone project in the School of Communication and Information’s Master of Communication and Information Studies program (now known as the Master of Communication and Media), from which she graduated in 2015. In 2016, Collins brought the first cohort of students from around New Jersey to the Rutgers campus to live in dorms, learn about and practice multimedia journalism and meet journalists on field trips to media organizations such as NBC News and The New York Times.

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Collins pivoted, converting the program to an online offering, with students participating virtually from around the state. Over five years, about 60 student journalists took part in the program, for which Collins raised as much as $36,000 a year in foundation grants and donations.

Collins also taught as an adjunct instructor for other universities, including William Paterson University, Bloomfield College, and Seton Hall University.

Collins worked as a journalist at the Asbury Park Press in Neptune, New Jersey, from 1989 to 2009, covering entertainment, dance and style, writing features, and serving as the staff diversity program facilitator. From 1985 to 1989, she worked at the Flint (Michigan) Journal, where she covered municipal news and education and wrote features, coordinated the youth page and served as dance critic. In 1985 and 1985, she worked for Community News in Washington, D.C.

Collins freelanced widely, publishing articles with the Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Newark Star-Ledger, Camden Courier-Post, Charlotte Observer,  Raleigh News & Observer, The Root, FashionReverie.com, Inside Jersey magazine, New Jersey Monthly magazine, In Jersey magazine, Accent magazine, Life and Beauty Weekly online, Rutgers Magazine, Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher magazine, Dance Studio Life magazine, Pointe Magazine, and The Diversity Factor.

In addition to working as a journalist and journalism instructor, Collins was a master dance teacher, on the faculty at the King Centre for the Performing Arts and choreographing for the center’s American Youth Dance Company. She taught for numerous organizations as well as college and high school dance programs, helping to train regional and national title winners.

She combined her interests in dance and journalism in BDBB: The Black Dance and Broadway Blog, which she founded.

Collins was a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, founding and chairing its Arts and Entertainment Journalism Task Force. She served as a board member, board chair, conference coordinator, and administrator, and social media coordinator for the Dance Critics Association. She was also a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the New York Association of Black Journalists.

Collins, who grew up in Chicago, was the granddaughter of Enoch Waters, the executive editor of the Chicago Defender. She earned her undergraduate degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she was a journalism major.

Obit information here. 

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