Staff Advisors

Elizabeth Birge

A journalist for over 20 years, Elizabeth Birge is an assistant professor of communication at William Paterson University and one of the faculty advisors for The Pioneer Times. She has overseen the publication of The Pioneer Times since 2000.

She holds a Bachelor’s in English from College of Our Lady of the Elms Chicopee (1983) and a Master’s in Communications from Syracuse University (1987).

Birge has written for several notable publications including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Chicago Tribune Magazine, Parents Magazine, Sports Illustrated for Kids, New Jersey Monthly, Associated Press and Journal of Commerce. She continues to freelance in her free time.

She has won several awards for her writing including first place in the personal essay category of the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition (1997), first place for the Peter Lisagor Award for Commentary from the Chicago Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (1996) and the Educational Press Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award (1996).

Birge was a contributing writer on Making Connections: Readings in Relational Communication (1999) and is currently writing a memoir, Staying Connected: Searching for Roots in a Rootless Society. Before joining the faculty at William Paterson, she taught journalism at Montclair State University (1997).

Nick Hirshonheadshot-1

A former New York City journalist, Nicholas Hirshon is an assistant professor of communication at William Paterson University and one of the faculty advisors for the Pioneer Times.

He holds a Bachelor’s in journalism from St. John’s University (2006), a Master’s in journalism from Columbia University (2008) and a Ph.D. in mass communication from Ohio University (2016).

Hirshon was previously a reporter from 2005 to 2011 at the New York Daily News, where he amassed more than 1,000 bylines covering a mixture of breaking and community news. He also wrote three series that sparked efforts to save historic sites such as the former home of baseball player Jackie Robinson and the longest continuously operated movie theater in the United States. In 2010, Hirshon received an award from a prominent historic preservation group, the Historic Districts Council, for his coverage of forgotten sites in the borough of Queens. He has also freelanced for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Hockey News.

Hirshon has written two books, Images of America: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (2010), on the Long Island arena known for hosting the NHL’s New York Islanders, and Images of America: Forest Hills (2013), about the New York City neighborhood that hosted the U.S. Open tennis tournament for six decades. He has been interviewed about his books by the CBS television affiliate in New York City and the radio station that airs Islanders games.

Hirshon has published in peer-reviewed journals such as American Journalism,Case Studies in Sport ManagementInternational Journal of Sport Communication, and Journalism History. His research has also been recognized with awards and honors at several academic conferences. In 2015, his paper on New York City Mayor John Lindsay’s groundbreaking association with the 1969 New York Mets received the Outstanding Student Paper Award from the American Journalism Historians Association.

Before joining the faculty at William Paterson, Hirshon taught journalism at Ohio University (2013-2016), St. John’s University (2010-2013), and LaGuardia Community College in the City University of New York (2009-2013). Hirshon has received several major awards for his teaching, including an AEJMC Promising Professors Award in 2014. In 2015, his Ohio University students nominated him for a Graduate Associate Outstanding Teaching Award, and he became the first journalism instructor to win the award in eight years.