It has often been remarked here that Aman Ali does little more than serve as a stenographer for city and school officials. It has become something of a joke. All of this becomes more clear by a quick visit to his personal web site: amanali.net.
Ali is a regular standup comic in comedy clubs all over the New York City area and performs in comedy clubs and college campuses all across the country. He’s opened for Dave Chappelle and a handful of other acclaimed comics working in the industry today.
At least that explains the Dave Chappelle reference in his Demeterius Hazelton story last July. Busy flying around the country and working late nights at area comedy clubs, he obviously only has time to slap together stories spoon-fed to him by government officials who have found Mr. Ali's "coverage" of New Rochelle to their great advantage.
Over the past few days, Aman Ali has been getting a god deal of national attention for a blog he has been writing entitled 30 MOSQUES IN 30 DAYS.
And yes this is the same Aman Ali. In the radio interview he talks about moving to New York 2 years ago from Ohio.
ALI, AMAN is a mobile-journalist for The Journal News, Gannett's 150,000-circulation newspaper that covers the suburbs of New York City. He reports breaking news for the paper and online site, equipped on assignments to write stories, shoot photos and produce video at any minute. Ali is a native of Ohio and graduated with a degree in Newspaper Journalism from Kent State University. Prior to working at The Journal News, he was a multimedia producer in Washington, D.C. for The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper. He enjoys playing soccer and schooling his friends in Guitar Hero.
Aman Ali is a standup comedian that is not afraid to speak his mind...Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, he draws much of his material from living in a household with four other brothers...and only two controllers on the family Nintendo. His comedic edge comes from his strong background in journalism. Ali started off his career as a Capitol Hill reporter in Washington D.C. and has traveled across the country covering presidential races, New Orleans to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hawaii of all places to cover hula festivals. He continues to write for a handful of newspapers and magazines in the greater New York City area and is an on-air personality for WRNN-TV in New York.
As New Rochelle is the 7th largest city in New York State and the second largest City within the Journal News readership area it would be nice to think that our city might warrant something better than a guy who slaps together stories in between comedy gigs while striving to advance his fledgling career. Here is hoping Mr. Ali has great success with his comedy career; the sooner he goes on to bigger and better things the better. New Rochelle residents deserve a real reporter who is committed to holding government officials accountable, performing actual journalism and not distracted by thoughts of performing stand-up schtick.
Some wonder if Mr. Ali is even showing up when he is assigned to cover New Rochelle. I was at the school board meeting in July when Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak reported on the number of non-resident students attending school in New Rochelle.
Aman Ali filed this report: New Rochelle: Small fraction of students found to be nonresidents.
I made a complaint to Mr. Ali that his reporting was entirely one-sided. It made no mention of the fact that the school board has been denying for many months that any nonresidents were enrolled in New Rochelle school; now they were admitting to about 50 a year (and a cost of $20,000 per student that comes out to $1,000,000 a year to pay for these nonresidents). It did not even mention the concerns raised by school board member David Lacher about loopholes. In fact, it was like he was not even there.
In an email, Ali claimed he was there.
Anyone who has been there can tell you that the Carew Room where the meeting was held is very small. This particular meeting was a lightly attended committee of the whole meeting held during the summer break. I am alone among members of the public who regularly attend school board meetings. I am very aware when people who do not work for the district are present at board meetings. I make it a point to sit where I can keep an eye on who comes in and out and I make notes about who is present. Mr. Ali was not present. Directly after the meeting the board went into executive session and those present were shooed out of the room, Mr. Ali was not among them.
After the Committee of the Whole Meeting, the board went straight to the dais in the "fish bowl" meeting room. They were very serious and tight-lipped because, as was about to be disclosed, a coup had taken place which resulted in Sara Richmond and Chrisanne Petrone taking over the leadership of the school board. The meeting that followed was all about officially swearing in Jeff Hastie and Deidre Polow and the votes on the new officers of the school board. The room was crowded but here was no discussion about the nonresident enrollment issue.
After the meeting appetizers and refreshments were served to celebrate the "installment" of the two board members. Aman Ali was not present for that either.
I later had the opportunity to question Ali about that evening in which he claimed he was at the meeting. I suppose he might have come to City Hall that night and stuck his head in while the Installment ceremony was going on but he was most certainly not present in the Carew Room where Organisciak made his report to the board about nonresident enrollment. Or maybe he just "appeared" and then "vanished". Perhaps in addition to being a comedian, Mr. Ali is also a magician.
In either case the joke is on New Rochelle resident who continue to be poorly served by a news organizations that is little more than the house organ for entrenched power in New Rochelle. All we ask is if your reporters are going to shill for the District at least have the courtesy to have them actually attend the events on which they report.