My Bio

For 18 years I’ve reported on social issues such as health, education, culture, politics, race, gender, and the environment.

Just out of graduate school, I began contributing articles about film, television, and books to The Village Voice and The LA Weekly.  Later, I wrote for publications such as The Washington Post as well as The New York Times Sunday MagazineVibe, Essence, and many others.  I also wrote and produced for NPR briefly, and later contributed on-air commentaries.

I’ve been a frequent guest speaker on college campuses, and have appeared on television outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, MTV, Fox, BET, PBS, and TV-One, as well as radio stations such as Pacifica Radio, Air America, and NPR, where I have worked as both a commentator and a segment producer.

Kristal Brent Zook

In 2007, I was offered a full-time teaching position at Hofstra University on Long Island, about 35 miles east of New York City.  Since then I’ve enjoyed working with our enthusiastic students as a tenured professor of journalism and as the former director of our M.A. Journalism program, where I’m happy to report that we increased enrollment by more than 300 percent! I’m also proud to say that Hofstra has also been ranked the #2 school in the entire country for media professionals.

My first love though, is writing, which I now do from both New York and Miami. So far I’ve written three books:

I hope you find something in my work that’s useful to you – something that moves you. Please feel free to sign up for email updates. Or just drop me a line to share your thoughts I’d love to hear them.

What distinguished Professor Zook from my other professors was the investment in her personal time she made with me. Even after I was no longer her student she reached out to offer me help and guidance…Now I’m working part-time at NBC and as a staff writer for an online magazine. I am truly grateful she was there for me during such critical years of my life when someone my age is trying to find themselves.

Vania AndreHofstra University

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. It introduced me to the process of writing for a larger audience. The concepts, though not necessary new, were framed in such a way by Kristal to really push me to seize on and tell important stories. The targeted and clear hand-outs provided excellent guidance and the activities really scaffolded the editorial writing process. I already recommended to my chair that Kristal come and talk to the SOE! We need her to help us get our voices heard!

Catherine DiMartino, Ph.DAssistant Professor, Doctoral Program Co-Director Educational & Policy Leadership, Hofstra University

I actually met you a couple of weeks ago in K-Mart. I had stopped you to tell you how much I loved your book Black Women’s Lives. I appreciate writers like yourself because you are informing us about us….I grew up in a small area in Virginia and not many people have heard of it. We all deal with important issues but the majority of us only hear about the mainstream organizations or people; so it was very interesting to read about different black women and their beliefs or struggles. I picked up your book and I couldn’t put it down so I had to buy it. I just want to say thank you for writing…it meant a lot to me.

Ronica WynderNew York

I recently finished Black Women’s Lives…All of the women had truly dynamic stories, and I like the way you were able to let the subjects and their circumstances really shine through. Even when you were walking with them, I’ll be honest I forgot you were even there. I envisioned these stories as if they happened right next door to me.

C. LevyPittsburgh

We value her commitment to taking on even the most difficult stories in the interest of serious journalism.

Diane WeathersFormer editor-in-chief, Essence magazine

An informative and engaging workshop [that] sparked a nuanced dialogue with students around race, gender, class and journalism.

Nuala CabralCo-founder of FAAN Mail

Dr. Zook’s From Ivory Tower to Breaking News workshop offered me practical tips in getting my voice heard and my future Op-Ed works considered in nationally recognized publications. I am confident that the tools of the trade discussed in this workshop will enable me to translate my research into mainstream markets.

Anthony J. Santella Assistant Professor of Health Professions and Public Health, Hofstra University

Kristal is one of the best journalists in the business. I have hired her a number of times to write articles for ESSENCE. Each time she delivered. The stories are always well-reported, beautifully crafted and well-received. Kristal has an eye for good stories and spends time making sure her articles are factual. Like most talented journalists, Kristal is a pro who takes good direction from her editors.

Tatsha RobertsonNews editor, People magazine

I love to see great teaching, and Dr. Zook has the expertise and enthusiasm of a great teacher….not only did I benefit, but my students did as well.

Cindy ButosSenior Lecturer, Trinity College, Hartford, CT

I wanted to thank you first and foremost for this entire semester. I never felt so accomplished in any other class. You pushed me to do my best, and I am forever grateful for that.

Samantha AbramHofstra University

Many thanks for your excellent seminar yesterday. It was informative, stimulating, insightful and even fun. Without being overwhelming, it revealed a wealth of information and some critical perspective on writing for a wide audience.

Stanislao G. Pugliese, Ph.D.Professor of History and Queensboro Unico Distinguished Professor of Italian and Italian American Studies, Hofstra University

I have not come across a professor who puts so much of herself into the class and the university. Not just for class-related matters, but as an advisor, as a link to the world of Journalism, and as an inspiration for future journalists.

Rocío UngríaHofstra University

Thank you for writing the book Black Women’s Lives and sharing the stories of these phenomenal women with us. This book opened my eyes…Although I am African-Canadian, I identified with so many of the women.

Anonymous ReaderChicago

Thanks for giving me the confidence not to quit on this. It’s actually led to other writing opportunities and talks

Anthony Christian Ocampo, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Sociology, Cal Poly Pomona and Ford Foundation Fellow, UC Riverside School of Public Policy (An Op-Ed Project mentee)

I stumbled upon your book [I See Black People: The Rise and Fall of African American-Owned Television and Radio] a few weeks ago, and it serves as a prime tool in my research efforts. My goal is to help bring forth a more positive and balanced image of African Americans in the media. I thank you for already being a change agent in the field!

Empress VarnadoNew York

Dr. Zook is a woman who has helped me grow from student, to graduate, and now, to a prominent position at a national magazine. She is more than a professor to me but a mentor, someone I have continually reached out to for guidance during my evolving career…Currently, as the assistant to the creative director at O, The Oprah Magazine, I still find myself recognizing techniques and applications taught and reaffirmed by Dr. Zook.

Nadeen NakibHofstra University

Kristal Brent Zook is a brilliant, creative thinker … She was able to answer more questions than I knew I had about transitioning from academic to trade publishing. Thank you for the invaluable faculty workshop!

Linda R. Young, Ph.D.Senior Staff Psychologist, National University, Seattle University

Upon reading her article I heard the echo of my own voice calling beyond the wilderness…Zook acknowledges the necessity for introspection about our individual [and] collective needs, as women within a patriarchal society in general and as women of color in particular.

Cassandra V. MiahNew York

Your workshop was one of the most engaging and interactive…an informative analysis!

Debbie HinesTrial attorney and founder of

Kristal is blessed with genuine intellectual curiosity, along with the instincts and drive of an old-fashioned reporter. Both her and her work are truly special.

Eugene RobinsonColumnist and associate editor, The Washington Post

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