April 2, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will welcome local journalist Jenn Smith as this spring semester’s Hardman Journalist-in-Residence. She will present “Preserving Local Journalism: Why Your News, Your Views, Your Voice Matters” at noon on Wednesday, April 11, in Murdock Hall’s Sammer Dennis Room (218), on the MCLA campus.

Smith is a journalist and the community engagement editor for Pittsfield’s Berkshire Eagle and the locally owned New England Newspaper, Inc. Her talk, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a question and answer session.

The Hardman Journalist-in-Residence series, which welcomes journalists from the region to campus each spring, is made possible through the generosity of the Hardman Family Endowment.

According to Dr. Zachary Finch, associate professor of English/communications, MCLA students will benefit greatly from Smith’s visit, as she is an outstanding choice for this year’s Hardman Journalist-in-Residence

“Ms. Smith has reported on an astonishing array of social issues, problems, and topics in her years as a journalist. Ranging broadly from the global to the local, her work is characterized by a deep-seated desire to understand the world around us and to communicate this hard-won knowledge to her readers,” Finch said.

Together, Finch and Dr. Joseph Ebiware, professor of English/communications, serve as Hardman scholars, and are coordinating Smith’s residency at MCLA. During her visit to campus this month, Smith will visit a number of classes and meet with students and faculty.

Since 2004, Smith has covered numerous topics from education to entertainment, politics to science, and municipal to social justice issues. She has earned awards for reporting from the Berkshires to California, and Haiti to Pakistan. Her reporting includes coverage of national crises such as the Boston Marathon bombing, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and subsequent community responses.

Most recently, Smith convened a “Panel Forum on Gun Violence, School Shootings, Gun Safety and Solutions” series, as she moderated a panel at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield and assisting at sister forums in Southern Vermont.

Smith actively advocates for community and solutions journalism, and has delivered public programs on safe and trauma-informed media guidelines for covering suicide and other public crises and mental health issues. As a member of a family of teachers and a former substitute teacher, she enjoys producing The Eagle’s weekly “Learning” and “Classroom of the Week” pages.

Smith is a member of the national Education Writers Association and Society for Professional Journalists. She has served as a fellow with the International Center for Journalists’ U.S.-Pakistan Professional Partnership Program. This includes traveling to Pakistan and hosting Pakistani journalists in exchange.

Last year, she trained as a fellow with Columbia University’s “Age Boom Academy” to address the issue of aging and the development of age-friendly communities. Additionally, Smith has earned scholarships to train with the Poynter Institute in Florida, and Hechinger Institute on Education and The Media in New York.

Smith is a regular panelist on Wednesday mornings on “The Roundtable,” and occasionally on “The Media Project,” both produced and broadcast by WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

Previous to her position at the Berkshire Eagle, Smith reported for Digital First Media, Cape Cod Times and Syracuse New Times, and worked as a freelance writer and editor for various publications. She has moderated numerous events, regularly volunteers for various community projects, and visits K-12 schools and colleges to promote and develop in people media literacy, leadership and journalism skills.

Smith has earned recognition and awards from Berkshire Magazine’s “The Berkshire 25,” Berkshire Community College's “40 Under Forty,” the Berkshire County Guidance Association, Multicultural BRIDGE, Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center and Girls Inc., and Berkshire Business and Professional Women’s “Young Careerist” program.

Outside of journalism, Smith, who is a graduate of Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., serves on the Berkshire Leadership Program Steering Committee, is an early rising assistant baker for Tunnel City Coffee in Williamstown. In addition, she officiates wedding ceremonies.

For more information, (413) 662-5224, or

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Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.