Class of 1965
David Diaz, who has been a Distinguished Lecturer in Media and Politics in the Political Science and the Media and Communication Arts departments of City College since 2005, has become a familiar figure on the St. Nicholas Heights campus. As an award-winning broadcast journalist on WNBC-TV and WCBS-TV for almost 30 years, he was a familiar presence to millions of New Yorkers. Along the way, he won five Emmy Awards, two Sigma Delta Chi Awards and an Associated Press Broadcasters Award. In 2005, Diaz’s accomplishments as a journalist combined with his interest in mentoring a younger generation was recognized by one of the nation’s oldest press clubs, the Society of the Silurians, which presented him with its Peter Kihss Award. He was honored by Brooklyn College with its President’s Medal in 1987 and by City College, which presented him with a Townsend Harris Medal in 1993.
Diaz was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Manhattan. After graduating from the college with a B.A. in philosophy and a Phi Beta Kappa key, he did post-graduate work at The New School and has completed all but his dissertation toward a Ph.D. in political science from CUNY. He was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in 1965 and a Columbia University International Fellow in 1966. In 1967, after earning an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he began his professional life in print media, as an urban affairs reporter for The Louisville Courier-Journal & Times. From 1970 to 1975, prior to his becoming a television reporter, Diaz was on the faculty of Brooklyn College, teaching an introductory class in social sciences and serving as director of field studies for the School of Contemporary Studies. He was also city editor for Community News Services, where he helped train minority journalists; administrator of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center; has taught TV reporting at New York University; and has lectured on media and press issues for the New York Police Department management and the sex crimes unit.
Dias became a fixture on local television newscasts in 1978, when he was hired by WNBC-TV as a reporter and anchor. In 1993, he moved to WCBS-TV, where he was a senior correspondent and anchor. He frequently covered City Hall, reporting on the activities of four New York mayors: Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, as well as scores of election campaigns and battles over public policy. Among the major national stories he covered were the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995; the O.J. Simpson murder trial the same year; the presidential election recount in 2000; and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He also did radio newscasts for CBS and NBC and has hosted public affairs shows on television, including “Visiones,” “NewsForum” and “Sunday Edition.”
Diaz was a founding board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a past member of the Board of Governors of the New York Press Club and a former president and chairman of the executive committee of the Inner Circle of Political Reporters. One relatively little-known fact about him: In 2003, in recognition of his prowess at the game and a television special about the game that he hosted on “Visiones” for WNBC-TV, Diaz was elected to the Stickball Hall of Fame.