Do folks say you're easily distracted, disorganized? If so, you are consistently tardy. There are many reasons why people are late. Some are like the absent-minded professor: They are misplacing glasses and car keys getting lost or completely forgetting there is an appointment.
One after one, students walk into the classroom. It’s 9:27A on a Monday. The door closes at 9:30A sharp. One minute later a student walks up to the door and knocks, “Should I let her in?” he asks. “You guys can let her in if you want.” Everyone thinks he’s kidding, but nobody really knows.
“Don’t miss my class, and don’t be late.” He made it very clear during the first session.
Professor Roberto FE Soto, a media maestro at Marist College has a joking nature that can be very misleading, but his friendly advice and positive personality should not be mistaken for weakness. He commands respect while offering a comforting presence, a combination you may find in many people as successful as he.
Soto is not your average professor. His red Associated Press vest hints to that fact. Unlike most college professors, if you Google his name, you’ll find a Wikipedia page. This falls very low on his personal and professional accomplishments, which are not scarce, but it speaks to his impact outside of the academic world.
He has had many stops that led to this classroom today, most notably as a producer at NBC, an executive producer at Univision, the director of news at Telemundo, founder, and the station manager of News 12 in New York City, and New York Bureau Chief at The Associated Press. He has even started his own news site, doseofnews.com. “It’s a good platform for news and information consumers,” said Soto when asked about the motivation behind starting this site.
Soto is a dynamic visionary and an advocate committed to social justice and multicultural diversity. His advocacy for inclusion most likely stems from his birth in Cuba and growing up as a Hispanic American in Florida, and New Jersey. When asked about what motivated him to follow the path he took, and what was important in the jobs he accepted, “telling stories and covering news in different countries and languages,” he said.
In 2005, Soto became a “distinguished visiting professor” and has served at various institutions. In doing so he brought a unique and well-rounded perspective as an established media executive.
His decision to become an educator was exactly that, a job decision. “I took early retirement from The AP and went from the ‘dark’ news side to the ‘bright’ academic side,” he said. “I was intrigued by the opportunity to teach because my mom was a teacher.”
While Soto admits moving from the newsroom to the classroom required an adjustment, he quickly became accustomed to the new environment.
Today, more than 10 years after his switch to the ‘bright’ side, he has conquered his new career, much as he did each of his previous stops along the way. His personal goal as an educator is to inspire and teach others how to tell the truth in an entertaining way. To be inspiring and compelling may be goals of his, but they are words that could also be used to describe the man himself.
“Professor Soto is very passionate while teaching us about media, this is most likely the reason that he is so successful,” Ryan Bridges, a student of Soto’s at Marist College, said.
The wisdom that Professor Soto shred about the industry he once worked in is not lost on his students. “His knowledge about the field of communications never ceases to impress me,” Bridges said.
Nicholas Romagnuolo, a Marist student who is currently enrolled in one of Professor Soto’s classes, agrees with this sentiment. “He has a great sense of humor, and so many stories and personal experiences he draws on to relate to the class,” Nick said.
The final characteristic that seems to define him as a teacher, beyond his knowledge and experience, is his compassion toward the students. During any given class session you may hear phrases such as “I want you to do well, guys,” or “I do this for you guys,” and even the occasional “I love you all.” His students acknowledge his compassion. “He truly cares about his students and strives to ensure we have a good experience in his class,” Ramagnuolo said.
To people who don’t know him Roberto Soto may appear to be a man who accomplished all he could in the media world, so he moved on to teaching. In his eyes, that is not the case, “You can never be satisfied with your accomplishments, but my blog and websites keep me content,” Soto said. https://cimages.me/
For someone who could be defined as a media guru, he has the ability to engage and educate young minds. Being a teacher may not have been his intention from the start, but he is definitely the right man for the job.
By: Cody Pahlck, MARIST Student