Bio Melissa Cornick Quick Facts: Melissa Cornick-Horyn, in her career as a network news television producer, has received numerous awards for her groundbreaking original investigative reports, including the prestigious 2006 Edward R. Murrow Award and Mongerson Prize for Ethics in Investigative Reporting.
Cornick has chosen the specialty of focusing on untold stories that highlight human and civil rights issues. Although her career spans CBS, NBC and ABC, 60 Minutes, Dateline, 20/20, Primetime and Walter Cronkite’s CBS Reports, Cornick has worked much like an independent producer; from generating fresh concepts, to gumshoe investigating, to shooting, to crafting and editing. She specializes in challenging topics which come not from the media, but from sources on the ground who experience important events for millions of people to consider. Cornick’s objective is to give a voice to the voiceless while highlighting the tenets of ethics of journalism.
Cornick was the first national news journalist to investigate the wrongful conviction of one third of the adult black population of Tulia, Texas, a story which will be made into a feature film starring Halle Berry next year. The report called, “Town on Trial”, was credited with showcasing the issue so that ultimately, prisoners were exonerated from continuing to serve up to 60 year prison sentences. However, network leaders were influenced by a letter writing campaign by white townspeople who convinced the network to not air further updates about the prisoners’ release.
Currently, Cornick is involved in multi-media strategies for balanced journalism across multiple new media platforms worldwide, including online and locative mediums. She is a native-New Yorker who sheds light on the little known and changing interracial and multicultural neighborhoods who lived together dating back to the origins of the Boroughs of New York.
As a member of the Advisory Board of Fordham University, her alma mater, and a member of the NY Task Force for Diversity in the Media, Cornick helps to foster new programs to support diversity for adoption by corporations. She lectures and mentors young people of every background on the importance of cultural pride and education. She believes in responsible citizen journalism from a variety of points of view. In her spare time, Cornick promotes the artistic talents of non-mainstream bands and dancers who receive little recognition due to restrictive mass commercialization of music and art in the U.S.
Her original story on Healthcare in Cuba was the first to involve citizens of Cuba risking their lives to take undercover hidden camera video and interviews inside hospitals and health care facilities of the devastating realities of Cuba's inadequate health care system, images that were whisked out of Cuba with foreign support. Provided only with a shoe-string budget with a one day shoot and a borrowed camera, the story banished the internationally held myth that Cuba has exemplary health care, and was a journalistic feat that received recognition across online platforms as well as headlines on other news outlets.
Cornick achieved similar feats with original stories like “Cruelty to Owners?” which shockingly demonstrated how animal owners are accused of animal cruelty by SPCA’s, who use police, the local media and judges in a scheme across the country to seize animals and immediately sell them, while the owners receive no due process in court. Determined to complete the project, she acquiesced to orders by her managers to venture into the prairies of Texas armed, not with a crew, but alone with a small DV camera, to confront angry animal-owning citizens with guns who were loathe to trust the media. Her final product was ultimately recognized by the journalism community with five national awards.