His card states that he is Dean of Students and Associate Professor at the Columbia Journalism School -- but Sreenath Sreenivasan is much more than that. He is, quite simply, the man who knows everyone. On LinkedIn, the professional networking site, his connections number 500 plus -- 500 being where LinkedIn stopped counting.
Indefatigable is a word that comes immediately to mind when you think of 'Sree': besides his two official jobs, and his ex-officio one as the co-founder and prime mover of the
South Asian Journalists Association which currently numbers over 1000 members;
he was founding administrator of the Online Journalism Awards, the world's largest new media awards; he is a web tips columnist on Poynter -- an online resource for journalists; and a tech reporter for New York's WNBC-TV station. 'It is difficult to decide where to leave my enthusiastic endorsement for Sree, but only because he wears so many hats!' says Scott Gurvey, Bureau Chief, PBS' Nightly Business Report.
||in his words
'South Asia and South Asians have always been misunderstood in America, because people haven't heard about them. For a long time, we have been on a campaign to get people to understand who South Asians are.'
|Photo: Paresh Gandhi|
'Sree is one of those rare people where technology and 'real life' meet, able to help everyone from the average person to the technorati find and relate to the best this 'brave new world' has to offer. He's also a TV natural,' says Ron Stitt, VP, Digital Media.
The community knows him best as the ultimate facilitator. 'Got a problem? Go to Sree' is almost a working rule, not just for journalism students but for anyone, within the community and outside of it. He will likely know someone, who knows someone, who has the solution.
It is this trait that made Newsweek magazine name him, April 2004, on its list of 20 most influential South Asians in the country. Recently, he received the Lawrence Young Breakthrough Award, from the National Association of Minority Media Executives. The award is named after the late editor Lawrence Young, whose mission was to help shape the next generation of media industry leaders.
His networking abilities and unflagging willingness to help have made him a favorite for headhunters acting on behalf of private firms; yet 'Sree' prefers the academic world, with all its pressures. Why do you do this, we asked once, after Sree had bailed us out of a fix, for the umpteenth time. What better use is there for my time, was the immediate response.
Journalists dating back 13 years, members of the community and the larger mainstream, have over the years had cause to bless him for that.