Ernest Sotomayor

Ernest Sotomayor (’77) was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

In the middle of his career as a Daily Wildcat sportswriter (and later sports editor), Ernie Sotomayor had to face up to the fact that he would need to take RPA, then (like now) known as the toughest class, and with the toughest teacher, Don Carson.

“Until that class, my only trips to the county courthouse were at Christmas time each year with my mother to view the nativity and pat baby Jesus on the head,” Ernie recalls.

“Donald Carson changed that. Instilled with the fear that we would fail in the practice of journalism unless we learned what he was about to teach us, I passed Reporting Public Affairs–and I did so with an A.”

That A in RPA more than paid off for Ernest Sotomayor, who now serves as director of career services at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism following a news career marked by award-winning coverage and extensive involvement in diversity programs.

Ernie joined the Dallas Times Herald as a reporter in 1979 and later served as state editor and associate editor in charge of newsroom training, recruitment, diversity programs and community relations. In 1987, he directed a year-long project covering the immigration amnesty program that won the SDX-SPJ’s National Gold Medal for Public Service. Ernie then began a prolific association with Newsday in 1989, serving as the Brooklyn/Queens editor of New York Newsday until 1995 when the New York edition closed. He then served as Long Island regional editor, deputy business editor, and editor of He was among the editing team that covered the New York City subway crash in 1991 and the TWA flight 800 crash in 1996, both of which won Pulitzer Prizes for spot news.

Long involved in diversity issues, Ernie has served as vice president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, co-director of the Summer Program for Minority Journalists at UC Berkeley, and president of UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc.

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