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Sperber Prize Judges

Meryl Gordon

Meryl Gordon, the director of magazine writing at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, is the author of three biographies: Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2017); The Phantom of Fifth Avenue (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2014) about copper heiress Huguette Clark; and Mrs. Astor Regrets (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008) about philanthropist Brooke Astor.


Joan D. Hedrick

Joan D. Hedrick graduated from Vassar College in 1966 and received her PhD in American Civilization from Brown University in 1974. She is now Charles A. Dana Professor of History at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she has taught since 1980 and where she founded the Women, Gender and Sexuality Program. Her first book was a critical study of Jack London entitled Solitary Comrade: Jack London and His Work (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982). Her Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life was published by Oxford University Press in 1994. The first full-­length biography of Stowe in over fifty years, it won a Christopher Award and the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Her most recent book is The Oxford Harriet Beecher Stowe Reader (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). She is currently working on a study of nineteenth ­century American women and the amplification of their voices through the holiness movement.


Neil Hickey is an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and former editor at large of the Columbia Journalism Review. He was New York bureau chief of (the original) TV Guide for 25 years. He is a graduate of Loyola University, Maryland, and the U.S. Naval Officers Candidate School, Newport, RI. He spent three years at sea on a destroyer during and after the Korean War. He began his journalism career on Baltimore newspapers and continued it in New York, first with the Hearst Corporation, then as associate editor of True, the men's outdoor and adventure magazine.

He has reported from Vietnam and the Persian Gulf; from Northern Ireland, the Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe before the collapse of communism; from Cuba, Singapore, Northern Ireland, and many other locales, including Wounded Knee during the American Indian Movement's occupation of the hamlet. Hickey has written hundreds of articles on issues relating to the press, television, cable, and telecommunications. For three years, he was the daily television commentator and critic on the John Gambling WOR radio program.

He has interviewed Presidents of the United States (Clinton, Ford, Carter, Nixon, Johnson), as well as major figures in the entertainment industry. He is a recipient of the Country Music Association's Journalist of the Year Award for his coverage of that industry, a special interest of his. In 1995, he won the Everett C. Parker Award for Lifetime Achievement for his writings on telecommunications, and in 2006, the Loyola University Alumni Laureate Award. Hickey is the author of a number of books, among them: Adam Clayton Powell and the Politics of Race and The Gentleman was a Thief, a biography of Arthur Barry, the legendary 1920's jewel thief. He is a member of the James Joyce Society, the Silurians (journalism) Society, Irish American Writers and Artists, and is an original member of the Sperber Prize jury.


Beth Knobel

Beth Knobel is a professor teaching journalism in Fordham's Department of Communication and Media Studies. Before joining the Fordham faculty in 2007, she worked as a journalist in the United States and abroad, including seven years as Moscow Bureau Chief for CBS News. Her work for CBS News was honored with several major awards, including an Emmy. Dr. Knobel is the co-author with her CBS News colleague Mike Wallace of Heat and Light: Advice for the Next Generation of Journalists (Three Rivers Press/Random House 2010) and sole author of The Watchdog Still Barks: How Accountability Journalism Evolved for the Digital Age (Fordham University Press, 2018). She earned her undergraduate degree at Barnard College and her graduate degrees at Harvard.


John Matteson

John Matteson holds doctoral degrees from Harvard and Columbia Universities. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for Eden's Outcasts (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007) and is the author of The Lives of Margaret Fuller, and the editor of The Annotated Little Women, also published by W.W. Norton. He is a distinguished professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.


Jacqueline Reich

Jacqueline Reich is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University. She earned her PhD in Italian from the University of California, Berkeley, and taught film for eighteen years at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Prof. Reich is the author of Beyond the Latin Lover: Marcello Mastroianni, Masculinity, and Italian Cinema (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2004), The Maciste Films of Italian Silent Cinema (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2015), and co-author, with Catherine O'Rawe, of Divismo maschile all’italiana (Male Stardom, Italian Style) (Forthcoming, Il Castoro). She is also the co-editor, with Piero Garofalo, of Re-viewing Fascism: Italian Cinema, 1922-1942 (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2002), and curator of the book series New Directions in National Cinemas for Indiana University Press. In Fall 2011 she was awarded a mid-career fellowship from the Howard Foundation at Brown University.


Brian Rose

Brian Rose is a professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies of Fordham University at Lincoln Center, where he has been teaching since 1982. He is the author of three books, including Directing for Television (Scarecrow) and Television and the Performing Arts (Greenwood), and the editor of TV Genres (Greenwood). He regularly interviews actors, writers, and directors for the screening programs of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Producers Guild of America. Prof. Rose is the chair of the Sperber Award committee.


Raymond Schroth

Raymond A. Schroth
Raymond A. Schroth, SJ (Fordham '55), currently the literary editor of America magazine, has taught journalism and/or served as dean at five Jesuit Universities: 13 years at Fordham, two at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, four at Holy Cross, 10 at Loyola University New Orleans and 10 at St. Peter's University in Jersey City. He also taught journalism at Brooklyn College and New York University. While teaching at Fordham in the 1970s, he also served as book editor of Commonweal Magazine. From 1990 to the present, he has been media columnist and/or regular contributor the National Catholic Reporter.

Meanwhile, he has published nine books, including two biographies (The American Journey of Eric Sevareid and Bob Drinan, The Controversial Life of the First Catholic Priest Elected to Congress) and three histories (The Eagle and Brooklyn: A Community Newspaper: 1841-1955, Fordham, A History and Memoir and The American Jesuits, a History). One of his most popular books has been Dante to Dead Man Walking: One Reader's Journey Through the Christian Classics. At America, he has recently published articles on the humanities, torture, Vietnam, Watergate, and his father's heroism in World War I. For the last two years, the book section he has edited has won First Prize from the Catholic Press Association.


Alan Sperber with Wife and Mother

Alan Sperber with his mother Betty and his wife Betty on the occasion of his mother’s 102nd birthday, January 19th, 2014.)

Alan Sperber
Alan Sperber, MD, is the representative of the Sperber family on the Sperber Prize Jury, being the son of the donor of the prize, Liselotte Sperber, and the brother of the late Ann M. Sperber. He is a board certified urologist who has written numerous articles that have appeared in medical journals. He has been an avid reader of biographies ever since Ann, who was seven years older, encouraged him at the age of 11 to read the biography of Benjamin Disraeli by Andre Maurois. He was frequently consulted by Ann in the course of her writing when medical issues needed to be clarified. He is proud to serve on the jury with the distinguished panel that has given the Sperber award over the past 15 years to only the best biographies and authors.