A unique new partnership will allow Newhouse students to support local journalism in New York State while gaining professional experience this summer.
The Newhouse Journalism Network provides participating students with paid summer internships at media outlets across the state. The 24 hours-per-week positions will start mid-May and run for eight weeks.
“Hands-on experience continues to be the most important factor in hiring,” says Kelly Barnett, director of the Newhouse Career Development Center (CDC). “This partnership helps students to fill the ‘holes’ on their resume that would have otherwise not have been filled because many internships and experiences have been lost to COVID.”
Students can fill roles either as generalists—covering breaking news and feature stories, for example—or specialists, bringing skills in data visualization, extended reality or investigative journalism.
Participating newspapers are the Albany Times Union, the Press & Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, The Journal News in Westchester County and the Observer-Dispatch in Utica. Broadcast outlets may be added.
The idea of going to any sporting events in my undergrad was a foreign concept. It was an institution that prided itself on its academics and not its athletics. One of the many things I was looking forward to in my year here was being able to go to my first college football and basketball games, and, if we’re being honest, a tailgate or two. Those things haven’t happened this year, but I do still feel like I got a taste of the athletic culture that is a key part of Syracuse University.
The first time I noticed it was walking down Marshall street and checking out all the t-shirt shops. Each shop had clothing for every sport imaginable lining the walls. This continued with the media presence of teams and their coverage in the school and Syracuse at large.
The energy in the air as Syracuse made it into March Madness was a new experience for me. When out getting groceries I would hear people asking if others had watched “the game”, and the game they were referring to was SU basketball. When they won their first and second games we could hear cheering all the way down the hill. I can only imagine the level of excitement and school spirit that would occur in a regular year
After months of waiting, we were finally allowed to see a game in the Dome! I went to a women’s lacrosse game, partially just to say I went into the Dome and partially because one of my friends plays on the team. This was a phenomenal game to watch because not only did she play most of the game, but she also scored! Sitting in the bleachers, you could imagine what it would feel like at full capacity.
There might not be any snacks, and the crowds may be one-tenth their usual size, but being able to step foot in the newly renovated Dome for something other than COVID testing, was amazing. On this front, the past year has been unconventional and unexpected by every definition but it was very encouraging to see students willing to adhere to any covid protocols necessary to do something like this in person.
While I’m sure the energy around athletics is even more pronounced in a regular year, the emotion is still there. It has been a fascinating experience to get to go to a school where athletics permeates not just campus but the entire surrounding area. I hope after my time here I’m able to come back for a game or two in a full capacity Dome — just to be able to say I did it!
On March 16, a shooter walked into a spa in Atlanta, Georgia with a 9mm gun he purchased earlier that day. He shot and killed eight people, including six Asian women. The crime occurred as incidents of anti-Asian racism have been on the rise in the U.S., inspiring protest rallies across the country.
Shuran Huang G’18, a Washington, D.C.-based freelance photojournalist and graduate of Newhouse’s multimedia, photography and design program, covered a rally and a vigil in Washington’s Chinatown for The New York Times, and has also covered the rallies for The Washington Post and Bloomberg. But before she went to her assignment, Huang—who was born in mainland China and grew up in Hong Kong and eight other countries—took a drive.
“It was really hard,” she says. “I felt like my sisters or mother were killed. It was a really emotional time.”
Huang’s passion for her work carried her through the assignment, allowing her to capture an important moment in history while giving her community a medium through which their anguish could be seen and documented.
“I feel like it’s very important for any photojournalist to be a human before being a photographer,” she says, but concedes that protecting that humanity is a conscious process. “I definitely feel very, very vulnerable and I need to take a lot of time off, outside of my assignment time, to heal and recover and reflect.”
Huang says it was very important to her to capture the rally and vigil in the most genuine way possible. To do so, she took time to speak to those around her before she took out her camera.
“Before taking a picture, I need to talk to my subject first. [It’s] the way for you to actually understand what is going on and why they are feeling the way that they do,” she says.
Huang says she was nervous on the way to the rally, but once she got there, she was greeted by a group of organizers who remembered her from her past assignments. She spoke to them for a while and heard their stories. Then she was ready to get to work.
“I can’t be emotional at all times, especially at assignments. I need to be a really good listener. I need to talk to people, connect with people and understand and share their vulnerabilities through visual storytelling,” she says.
Covering cultural stories requires deep empathy, Huang says. Her work has often focused on different communities from cultures other than her own, such as her Strands of Love project documenting a four-generation Black family-owned barbershop in Syracuse, and their impact on the community over 50 years. Huang says she puts herself in the shoes of those she’s documenting to try to convey exactly how they’re feeling in the moment she snaps the picture.
“If I photograph a family, I photograph them like they’re my brothers and sisters,” she says.“Be a human that [feels] the emotions at the event and also understand why you are there.”
Huang’s work is already getting her attention; last year, she was selected as one of 24 early-career photographers to be paired with industry leaders for Women Photographer’s mentorship program.
Huang’s advice for student journalists is to practice their craft every day.
“Photojournalism is a craft that we work on refining everyday,” Huang says. “It doesn’t stop when you receive your degree, get your first job or assignment. You will work on it for the rest of your career. Also, if you are not curious about people, the community or world we live in, you will limit your success.”
Adrianne Morales is a senior in the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.
Newhouse alumna Maureen Crowe ’79 will be honored this weekend with the Guild of Music Supervisors’ Legacy Award. The award honors individuals who have excelled at the craft of music supervision.
Crowe is a music supervisor who has worked on films including “The Bodyguard,” “True Romance, “Wayne’s World” and “Julie and the Phantoms.” She is the founding president of the Guild of Music Supervisors, and created the Guild of Music Supervisors Awards in 2010. Her advocacy helped lead to the creation of an Emmy Award for music supervision.
The 11th annual Guild of Music Supervisors Awards will be presented April 11 during a virtual ceremony.
If most days you wake up in search of a new Pod Save America episode (or any other podcast for that matter), imagine doing it for a grade. Finding this course to take as an elective seemed too good to be true. One credit, only runs through part of the semester, and I get to listen to podcasts for homework? It sounds like any communications student’s dream, so I was skeptical. Halfway through the semester, I’m happy to report it’s been a fantastic experience and I recommend you try it out yourself. If you’re curious what really goes on in TRF 510 Art of the Podcast, keep reading for an inside look.
The schedule for the class is odd. We meet every other week, and while at first, I struggled with that adjustment, it’s actually fantastic. It gives you time to listen to homework, do the light assigned readings, and work on the final class project (more on this ahead). Professor Genevieve Sponsler is also your insider in the biz. She works with PRX, a major podcast distribution company based in the Greater Boston Area, which means she’ll give it to you straight: the good, the bad, and the ugly about the industry. She’s also worked on some of the biggest podcasts out there and can take you behind the scenes in the creative process. PRX is behind The West Wing Weekly and Ear Hustle, so you are learning from someone who knows what it takes to create magic.
My favorite part of the podcast course is that it covers all aspects of creating a show. As a rookie podcaster myself, I wanted to learn the ins and outs of the process and this course has proven to do just that. You learn about creating a podcast idea, scripting, audio editing, marketing, and distribution. You’ll even be taught the tiny details, like when to upload and what platforms to advertise on. The final project is creating a podcast trailer for a show (real or fake) of your own making. Even if you’ve never edited audio or hosted a show, you can really learn it all in this course. I actually wish it was more credits with an audio editing lab, because I felt like we brushed over that subject pretty quickly. You will definitely learn basic editing skills, but don’t expect to become a sound engineer in this course.
I think the most unique aspect of the class is how multifaceted it is. There’s a mix of people from programs including, advertising, TRF, MND, and Bandier. This means the professor goes out of her way to teach broadly about podcasting and she tries to cater to everyone’s interests. It’s also been a great way for me to meet and work with new people, even during a pandemic.
Alright, so not sold? Here’s who should definitely take this course:
If any of the above sounds like you, I think Art of the Podcast is worth a shot. It’ll be something to add to your resumé in a world where everyone and their mother has a podcast.
Melissa Chessher, chair of the Department of Magazine, News and Digital Journalism at the Newhouse School, has been named a 2021-24 Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, and Carolyn Hedges, assistant professor of communications at Newhouse, is the recipient of a 2021-22 Teaching Recognition Award for Early Performance.
In two decades at the Newhouse School, Chessher has taught more than 100 courses to nearly 2,000 students, and has mentored as many or more. She was selected by Newhouse students for the Teaching Excellence Award early in her career, and remains popular among students today.
“Melissa Chessher represents the very best of the Newhouse School. Her dedication to our students and their success is remarkable,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato. “I am grateful that her outstanding teaching— something we’ve known for quite some time—is being recognized at the highest level at Syracuse University.”
Chessher, who serves as the faculty adviser for five campus publications, frequently teaches courses devoted to magazine article writing and the creation of multimedia projects. Student work for these classes has earned significant, national awards from Hearst, Broadcast Educators Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
In the past four years she has created industry partnerships with Time, LinkedIn, Bustle Media Group and Insider Inc. to diversify the industry through the creation of fellowships for students of color. Recently, she worked with and supported students in the creation of Margins, a mentorship group for Newhouse students from underrepresented groups. She serves as chair of the Newhouse School’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) Committee.
As department chair, Chessher helped shepherd the merger of the magazine program with the newspaper and online journalism program, and helped reshape the curriculum to meet the demands of 21st century journalism through the use of technology, hands-on experiences and professional projects that earn industry recognition.
Chessher brings to the classroom the knowledge and experience of a 20-year career in magazine journalism. In 2016, she was chosen as one of Folio magazine’s Top Women in Media. She worked on the launch of Real Simple, the largest magazine launch in Time Inc. history, and Gusto, a healthy living magazine for Latin American women. She has written for more than a dozen national consumer publications, including Self, Health, Glamour, Allure, Marie Claire, Fitness, Men’s Health and Parents magazines.
Chessher says part of her teaching philosophy is to inspire. “I want the classes I create to nurture and affirm students’ interests and abilities, to provide them with professional-level examples of their work and to bolster their ability to pitch their ideas and embrace criticism and feedback. I want the work we do in the classroom to build students’ confidence and cultivate their editorial instinct and ability while developing a range of skills.”
The Meredith Professorships, one of the highest honors at Syracuse University, recognize and reward excellence in teaching at all levels in a way that is seen as significant by faculty members, students and the public at large. Chessher is the fourth Meredith Professor in Newhouse School history; previous recipients are Barbara Croll Fought (2013), Sharon Hollenback (2008) and William Glavin (1995), one of the first two Meredith Professors and Chessher’s mentor.
After earning master’s and doctoral degrees from the Newhouse School, Hedges worked in the industry and academe for six years before returning to Newhouse in 2017 as the inaugural director of the school’s online master’s degree program.
Her experience with online instruction became a major asset to the school last spring, as faculty worked to shift to this model in the wake of the pandemic. During the summer, Hedges worked with other faculty members on a subcommittee to present best practices and advice for teaching in a hybrid format. She helped overhaul the Newhouse School’s flagship COM 107 course through the creation of course modules accessible through Blackboard and by revising the grading rubric. “She kept morale up as COVID locked us down, and I am so grateful that she brought her best to every class,” said one student.
“She was a real leader in helping her colleagues throughout the Newhouse School prepare for the most unusual semester of our lives,” says communications department chair Brad Gorham. “And in the hybrid classroom, she seamlessly bounced back and forth between the in-person students and the ones on Zoom, and masterfully kept them all engaged and enthralled.”
“Carolyn’s efforts in the classroom are deserving of this University-wide recognition,” says Lodato. “She is part of a cohort of emerging faculty scholars and practitioners who are positioning the Newhouse School for decades of success as the nation’s premiere communications school.”
Liked and respected by students, Hedges consistently garners above-mean scores on student evaluations. “The purpose of education is to provide students the opportunity to become more informed and engaged with the world around them,” she says. “My classroom—whether in person or virtual—is a place of vibrant discussion and inclusivity… it is essential that the classroom is a space where students can feel heard, challenged and open to new ideas.”
The Teaching Recognition Awards Program is sponsored by the Meredith Professors to benefit non-tenured faculty members. Its specific goals are to recognize excellence in teaching and to encourage a culture of collegial mentoring among faculty members.
Howard Woolley ’80 was announced as a board member of Apple Hospitality.
Monica Levinson ’90 produced “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” which won a Golden Globe.
Keri Potts ’98 G’99 was named vice president of communications and public relations at the America 250 Foundation.
Jessica Weinstein Stone ’00 is the author of “Crossing the Divide: 20 Lessons To Help You Thrive in Cross-Cultural Environments.”
Eli Saslow ’04 won a George Polk Award for Journalism for his oral history series “Voices of the Pandemic,” published in The Washington Post.
Erin Bushinger ’05 has been promoted to director of corporate communications at Assured Information Security.
Jerry Mikorenda G’06 is the author of “America’s First Freedom Rider: Elizabeth Jennings, Chester A. Arthur & the Early Fight for Civil Rights,” published by Rowman & Littlefield, Globe Pequot imprint.
Katie Krause G’08 was named director of public relations for the Baltimore Orioles.
Boris Sanchez ’09 is the new co-anchor of Weekend New Day on CNN.
Jonathan Miller ’14 is the author of the children’s book, “The ABCs of News.”
Lauren Cavalli G’15 was named gallery manager at the new Southampton branch of Phillips Auction House.
Isabel Sanchez G’17, dayside reporter for Telemundo62 in Philadelphia, became a naturalized United States citizen.
Laiqa Hitt ’20 and Jared Bunn ’20 won the Best of Competition award at the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of the Media Arts with their film on Caroline Sheldon, “Panacea.” They also won first place for best short form documentary.
Madeleine Davison ’20 won the collegiate Dan Rather Medal in News and Guts for her Daily Orange story about nursing center violations.
“So, what do you want to do with your life?”
Ugh. It’s the dreaded question that us college students get asked at the dinner table at the holidays. For me personally, the answer to this question is usually longer than the question itself. My response is usually something like, “well, I’m in grad school for journalism, so I guess maybe an investigative reporter, or a reporter that covers a government or science beat. I also like public relations and did that in undergrad, so maybe doing PR for a government or justice agency, or maybe in a school setting. I also have a bachelor’s in criminal justice, so I guess I could also see myself as a legal assistant, a crime analyst or a profiler.” I’m out of breath by this point, not going to lie.
The time in my life that this question really bothered me and got me flustered was during my senior year of undergrad. In September of that year, I found myself applying to three different graduate schools; Newhouse (of course), Emerson College and Boston University. I had visited all of these schools prior to applying just so I could get a sense of what the facilities are like, what the environment is like and most importantly, how the programs were. I was set on Emerson for a long time actually, but when I saw Newhouse during my junior year, that changed.
No matter where I went, the plan was to get a master’s in either journalism or public relations. I also always had a plan to go on to get my master’s. If I was not able to get in anywhere, the plan would’ve been to try to get into a master’s program for criminal justice, or just try and enter the job market with the two degrees that I obtained from undergrad. For Newhouse and Boston University, I applied for both the public relations and journalism program. For Emerson, I found myself just applying for the public relations program. After getting acceptances from all three schools, I ended up making more appointments with the career services office at my undergrad. Secretly, I really wanted someone else to tell me what I should do with my life and where I should go. I had liked both programs so much, and was just so unsure about what one would suit me better. Also, Boston University was offering a full ride to an applicant that was a first-generation college student. I ended up applying for that after talking with the career services office, even though my first choice at that point was Newhouse. It wasn’t until March that I decided on the magazine, news and online journalism program at Newhouse, after finding out that day that someone else had gotten the full ride to Boston University. Newhouse was my first choice anyway, and in a way, I’m glad things didn’t work out with Boston University.
Even though I am in the journalism program, I am still heavily interested in public relations. One of the other things I realized was that I could still pursue a career in public relations even after getting a master’s degree in journalism. I’ve even found myself applying to public relations positions with graduation only being weeks away. I’m also still getting my daily dose of public relations through electives that I’ve chosen to take, as well as through a research assistant opportunity that involves helping a public relations professor write a textbook.
I’m grateful that Newhouse gave me this opportunity to learn more about two fields that I really like. Even though one is not being done in the “traditional way,” I’m happy to have knowledge of both areas. I think it will make me more well-rounded when I send in applications to jobs.
The advice I would offer for anyone that is stuck between two programs, is to pursue the program that you think you know less about. I chose journalism because I mainly took public relations classes in undergrad and only really had knowledge of journalism from writing and editing for the student newspaper. With the other program, use your electives to brush up your knowledge on that area as well. It’s also a way to meet new professors and students that are not from your program, which is not a bad idea. All of the electives I’ve taken with the exception of one, have been public relations or social media based. Plus you get new experiences as well. If I had never taken public relations electives, my knowledge in that field probably wouldn’t have grown and wouldn’t be where it is today.
Sometimes you just have to get out of your comfort zone, and even though it might be scary, it will be so rewarding in the end. I promise.
Madeleine Davison ’20, an alumna of the magazine, news and digital journalism program, received the collegiate Dan Rather Medal in News and Guts from the University of Texas’s Moody College of Communications for her Daily Orange story, “Nursing center violations increase during for-profit company ownership.”
Judges lauded Davison’s use of data and detailed interviews to create impact in her story. Dan Rather, who developed the award with the University of Texas, said he hoped journalists would celebrate the work done by Davison and professional medal winner Tony Plohetski, and “be inspired to dig deep for their own courage.”
The prize comes with a $5,000 award.
What was the focus of the project?
My research focuses on media law in New York state. This annual article is a substantial part of my broader research agenda on media law and First Amendment issues. I have been writing an annual article for the Syracuse Law Review’s annual Survey of New York Law every year since 2008. This is a special edition of the law review in which law professors and experts write a “survey” article tracking major developments in a variety of topics, including civil practice, torts, contracts, environmental, insurance and other areas of law. The law review has been publishing the Survey since 1962 and it serves as a comprehensive record of legal developments in the state.
Because New York is the so-called “media capital of the world,” every year there are dozens of cases involving newspapers, magazines, broadcasters, filmmakers and other media entities. Over the years, social media has become an important companion as courts apply the law to developing and modern media. There are also frequent statutory developments that envelope the media and the First Amendment.
My annual article runs in the 30-page range with footnotes and covers cases across the New York State court system—trial courts, appellate division and the Court of Appeals – and the federal district courts and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
What questions did your project seek to address? What were the research questions, hypotheses, etc.?
There is not a single research question as much as an overall goal of finding out what happened in media and First Amendment law in New York in the previous year. The survey year runs from July 1 to June 30 the following year. The substantive cases cover developments in defamation law, invasion of privacy and other torts such as intentional infliction of emotional distress. Other areas cover some intellectual property cases involving media and high-profile Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) as well as reporter’s privilege or confidentiality cases.
These cases touch on the important role the press plays in public affairs and the free flow of information, and how the law protects these rights.
What were your findings?
If there is one consistent theme in this annual research, it is that New York law is protective of media rights. For example, suing the media for defamation in New York requires a heavy burden for plaintiffs, especially when assessing matters of public interest and New York has a narrow definition of invasion of privacy (defined only as unauthorized use of someone’s image or likeness for commercial purposes). Every year, it is reassuring to read cases where judges laud the media and hand down decisions that uphold the press’s First Amendment role.
What do you think the implications are for the discipline?
With the number of reported opinions on both broad and extremely narrow issues, having an annual summary and analysis of all these cases in one article provides a useful resource for lawyers, judges and scholars. Over the years, some of the country’s most interesting media law cases have emerged from state and federal courts in New York. My Survey article is often the first to cover these cases before other scholars. At least one media lawyer mentioned that she looks forward to reading the survey article every year so she can track cases that may have slipped by her scrutiny.
Even with the wealth of legal resources available to lawyers and scholars through databases, websites and legal publications, having a comprehensive annual summary and analysis in one readable article provides a useful tool. The article is annually cited in the annotated notes to relevant statutes in McKinney’s Consolidated Laws of New York, the state’s official statutes.
From a personal standpoint, reading all these cases every year enhances my teaching. One of the most common questions media law professors get asked is: what if…? Students expect and deserve competent answers from their professors. After reading and writing about dozens of cases every year, it helps me answer students’ questions with a reference to a recent case. These cases also provide real, current examples I bring into the classroom. It is especially useful when cases have not been decided by appellate courts and questions remain open for interpretation and analysis.
If there are implications for the future or new directions for the work, what are they?
Luckily, there is never a shortage of hot topics in the field of New York media law. Spotting trends and emerging legal issues is an exciting element of this research. Sometimes the bigger cases get media attention, but tracking cases from the lower courts through the appellate system is interesting. Sometimes, a trial court decision one year will reemerge a year or two later with an appellate division or Court of Appeals or Second Circuit Court of Appeals opinion. These appellate decisions serve as both case studies and binding precedent for other courts to follow.