Melanie Deziel G'13

September 8, 2017

“Newhouse helped me achieve a mastery of the digital tools available, a broader understanding of the storytelling formats at my disposal, and a more critical eye for quality innovative content.”

Melanie Deziel G’13, graduated from Newhouse with a master’s in arts journalism. She currently works as a branded content consultant, and is the founder of her own company, MDeziel Media. She also teaches in Newhouse’s online communications master’s program.

Melanie Deziel G'13

How did you obtain your current position, and what positions did you hold before it?

Before setting out on my own, creating Mdeziel Media in February of 2016, I worked as the Director of Creative Strategy at Time Inc., helping to create native advertising strategies at a corporate level for the company’s 35 plus U.S. media properties. Prior to that, I was the first editor of branded content at The New York Times, where I helped build T Brand Studio (the brand storytelling team), and wrote the pieces that won the “Best Native Ad Execution” OMMA Award in 2014 and 2015.

What are your job responsibilities?

My business is primarily focused on native advertising education: teaching marketers, sales teams and publishing teams the skills and tactics of journalism to empower them to create better brand storytelling. I do this through consulting with leadership teams, conducting competitive research, running workshops and trainings and speaking. I also run a native ad industry newsletter called The Overlap League, write a column for Inc.com, serve on the board of the Native Advertising Institute and teach for Syracuse University’s online communications program.

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current job?

While I was coming into graduate school with solid undergraduate experience in reporting, Newhouse helped me achieve a mastery of the digital tools available, a broader understanding of the storytelling formats at my disposal, and a more critical eye for quality innovative content.

Why did you select Newhouse for graduate studies?

I was looking for a school with renowned faculty, modern facilities and equipment, a focus on innovative and digital storytelling, and a reputation for creating top-notch communicators.

What was unique about your graduate program?

The arts journalism program is fantastic because it brings together folks from various artistic and creative fields—music, theater, film, fashion and more—to learn the skills of critical analysis. You get to see the lessons and tactics applied to various types of work, performances and pieces as you give feedback to colleagues. Because of this, you’re not only becoming a better critic in your own creative realm, but gaining valuable insights about the other fields, too.

Describe your most valuable/significant experience at Newhouse.

The concept of the summer bootcamp was intimidating at first, because it’s truly an incredible amount of education and work in a short period of time. But as a result, it’s transformative. You’ll bond with fellow students, and learn how to adapt to quickly changing environments, expectations and situations. Many of the friendships I formed in those first weeks of bootcamp carry through to this day.

Is there a professor or class that you would recommend?

I would highly recommend taking a basic coding or web design class. Even if you never plan on building a website or working in web/mobile development—I certainly didn’t—you will undoubtedly be working alongside or with people who do. You’ll need to communicate with web developers and coders in some way, or to understand the possibilities and the limits of what can be done. Whatever your job, if it involves the internet, this class will make you better!

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

Graduate school is what you make of it. It’s easy to get frustrated, overwhelmed or to decide to keep to yourself in an effort to minimize the unexpected. If you truly want to get the most out of it, embrace the chaos, the hard work and the high expectations. Push yourself to do things you think you can’t. Ask questions. Meet people in other programs. Try new things and don’t be afraid to fail. 

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