Celebrating Ticker Alumni: Hasani Gittens

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Courtesy of Hasani Gittens

Maya Demchak-Gottlieb, Copy Editor

The Ticker, founded in 1932, is the student-run newspaper of City College’s Downtown Campus and 2022 is the newspaper’s 90th anniversary. To honor and celebrate the legacy of The Ticker and the members who have kept it running, the News section will be publishing profiles of former Ticker members throughout the years.

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Hasani Gittens is a Baruch College and Ticker alumnus who currently serves as a deputy editor for THE CITY, a New York nonprofit, nonpartisan and digital news platform. In the past, he worked at The New York Post, as a senior news editor for NBCNews.com and managing editor for NBCNewYork.com.

Gittens said he joined THE CITY because of the originality and excitement it offered.

“I just liked the fact that it was going to be challenging and going to be different,” Gittens said. “I was gonna not be able to do it with my eyes closed, you know? And I felt like New York needed it, honestly, because of everything that was going on in the media ecosystem.”

There are three top editors at THE CITY that cover news of the day, in-depth investigations and civic engagement reporting.

“My day is wake up and figure out what the hell’s going on in the news and in the city,” he said.

Gittens credits the discovery of his journalistic passion to his experience at Baruch and The Ticker. Before these experiences, he studied in Massachusetts.

Gittens originally attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a technical engineering school in Worcester, Massachusetts. He studied mechanical engineering and started out on the Dean’s List earning high grades, but he eventually was placed on academic probation.

“I just went further and further down, basically, because it was the first time I was away from home, you know, parties…I just kind of went crazy when I got to school,” Gittens said. “Plus, it was literally rocket science – it was hard and boring.”

After transferring to Baruch, Gittens met a student and bonded over their shared love of hip hop.

“One of the guys in the group was a Black kid from Brooklyn and we both used to talk about hip hop and stuff,” he said. “We used to write our own rhymes because I’m from Queens, I’m a rapper by default.”

Gittens lost touch with his new friend only to have him reappear in his life a year later.

“He’s like, ‘Hey, Hasani. Yo, you still write rhymes?’” Gittens said. “And I’m like, I don’t know. And he’s like ‘You like to write though, right?’ I’m like, I guess. He’s like, ‘Yo, I’m going to The Ticker open house, you should come with me.’”

The open house was the start of Gittens’s development as a writer and a network of lifelong friends.

“I stayed all night and they were like, oh, you should come tomorrow we’re gonna have an editor meeting or a story meeting,” Gittens said. “I came the next day and I wound up pitching a story.”

While Gittens didn’t have formal journalism training, he said that he developed his skill through writing for The Ticker.

“By the time I get to my journalism class I’m just good at writing,” Gittens said. “My other skills needed to be developed, like question asking and investigative stuff like that, but my writing you could tell there was really something there. I had a good voice. And so, once again I attribute this to The Ticker.”

The Ticker was more than an opportunity to develop writing skills for Gittens, he said it was an opportunity to develop a circle of friends with shared interests.

“The best moments I feel like are just hanging out,” he said. “We had so many good times together, as a group of people.”

What Gittens didn’t realize at the time was that he was connecting with more people than just those within The Ticker.

“I remember mentioning a thing I wrote, and [a girl] quoted it or something and I was like ‘Wait, you actually read that?’” Gittens said. “She was like ‘Yeah, I read your stuff all the time. It’s great.’ It was such a crazy feeling, to think that someone actually read my work and thought about it. I think that was really getting the bug of journalism; that feeling of ‘yeah, I’m gonna write stuff that people are gonna read.’”