Class of 2020 Commencement events to be held Sept. 17-19

Syracuse University will host a Commencement ceremony—delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—and other celebratory events for the Class of 2020 during the weekend of Sept. 17–19.  

Commencement will be held Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. at the Stadium. This University-wide ceremony, where Syracuse University Chancellor and President Kent Syverud will formally confer degrees, is for all undergraduate, graduate and doctoral candidates. Doors open at 8 a.m.

Following Commencement, all 2020 Newhouse graduates and their families are invited to join Dean Mark J. Lodato and the faculty and staff for a celebratory reception. The event will include a dean’s welcome, recognition of participating graduates and an opportunity to reconnect with faculty. A precise time and location will be announced soon; stay tuned for details.

For more information about Commencement activities for the Class of 2020, see the event listing.

The LA Experience

Zach Vinci

My name is Zach Vinci and I’m a junior currently attending the Newhouse LA Spring 2023 semester. Being here in LA is such a great opportunity for anyone who wants to go into the movie or television industry. I’ve learned so much already through my internship at Escape Artists Productions, which is a production company that’s on the Sony lot. For my internship I do coverage writing, which means I read unproduced scripts that agents and writers send to the company hoping to get those scripts produced. I give my feedback on whether or not that script is good enough to go into the next stage of development. Getting to go to a real studio for work every day and interact with and meet with professionals who do what I want to do in the future is an incredible experience and has taught me a great deal about myself and the industry as whole. Not to mention that classes are taught by working professionals and it also provides a chance to get out of the Syracuse snow and enjoy the beautiful LA weather. For anyone interested in going into movies or television for their career, I highly recommend taking advantage of this amazing opportunity and coming out here for a semester.

Zach Vinci is a junior in the television, radio and film program at the Newhouse School.

Class Conundrum

Lucy Stover

The curriculum at the Newhouse LA program is absolutely unprecedented. From learning the ins and outs of line producing using specialized industry-grade programming to practicing the art of television pitching in front of real studio executives, the coursework here wastes no time in getting our hands dirty. While I very much appreciate every professor I had the privilege of working with back in New York, the opportunity to be in-person in the country’s heart of entertainment is simply incomparable. We are working with actively employed professors still knee-deep in their craft. The kind of people who make us feel excited to go home and do our homework. Every moment in the classroom feels earned, as we know there are plenty of scripts to be reviewed and contracts to sign in our professors’ day jobs. Yet, the faculty and staff’s true dedication to the Newhouse LA program is astounding. I feel so appreciated as a student, a creative and as a human. I wish I could’ve spent every semester investing myself in the LA curriculum. The only problem with our courseload is… I wish I could take them all!

Lucy Stover is a senior in the television, radio and film program at the Newhouse School.

Michael Mulford is in the business of media

“There is opportunity out there for the business side of production and programming in general. I didn’t have any of that business knowledge,” says Michael Mulford, a graduate student in the Newhouse School’s new media management program. Mulford is no stranger to Newhouse, graduating with a degree in broadcast and digital journalism in 2019.

Michael Mulford

When looking for schools, the Morris County, New Jersey native did his homework regarding the best journalism programs in the country. “I didn’t go the sports-focused route but I knew becoming a great writer would put me in a good position,” he says.

After graduating, Mulford secured a job with CBS, spending eight months in the entertainment division. He then worked with Emmy Award-winning broadcast “CBS Mornings” for two years, helping produce the documentary special “Watergate at 50: The political scandal that changed Washington” for Paramount Plus from February to June 2022.

But Mulford realized there was something missing, and knew there was more he could take advantage of for his future career. He returned to Newhouse at age 26, enrolling in the new media management program. “Everything you go into is a business in itself, journalism included,” he says. “I figured taking some business and analytics courses would help me springboard my career.”

New media management is a one-year program for students interested in the business side of media. The program teaches students how to manage media organizations and platforms by giving them business, technology and media skills in a hands-on environment.

Associate professor Adam Peruta is in his second year as the program’s director. “Our goal is to put students at the intersection of business and media technologies,” he says. “Media companies have greater problems in management than other companies.”

The program “doesn’t get the recognition that [Newhouse] programs like BDJ and TRF get, but I think there’s a lot of room for growth,” Mulford says. “I’m hoping to see the number of participants grow in the coming years, because I’d like to look back and say I was part of that.”

Before applying, he took the initiative to reach out to Peruta and express his interest in the program. “[Michael] had more to learn if he wanted to level up,” Peruta says. “He came back here to learn more about the media industry in general.” The program’s faculty work with students to set career goals and then pick the best electives to fit those goals.

Michael Mulford plays a video game at the CES tech event in Las Vegas.

The program’s hands-on environment emerges through its experiential learning. The first week of every January, Peruta takes his students to Las Vegas for CES, the “most influential tech event in the world.” This year, Mulford was one of four CES fellows in attendance, working with with Newhouse Advanced Media Professor in Residence Shelly Palmer to research the tech and media, identify trends to craft custom tours and provide insights for media managers in attendance.

Mulford was humbled and honored to be chosen as a fellow. “It was great to learn how so many companies are actually working together now instead of solo to bring the next best thing to market,” he says. “Personally, it definitely changed how I see the future of media, tech and sports.”

L-R: Advanced Media Professor in Residence Shelly Palmer talks to CES fellows Christina Lake, Michael Mulford, Xiyu Zhang and Daniel Snyder at CES in Las Vegas.

His ambitions are executive-level; he’s interested in business, analytics, green-lighting shows and movies and approving their funding. His immediate goal after finishing the program is to be an analyst for a sports league or a content strategist on a streaming platform. “Personally, I think there’s too many options for streaming platforms,” he says. “Hoping to figure that out.”

Mulford’s prior experience, as well as his dedicated and disciplined personality, will work to his advantage, as “the grad students that are more successful are the ones that have gone out for a couple years and worked and come back with a better baseline for setting up specific goals,” Peruta says. “Michael has taken advantage of every opportunity that has been given to him here at Newhouse.”

With one semester left in his year, Mulford is eager to launch his career armed with the education provided to him by new media management. “The skills that I leave here with are going to be pretty unique because a lot of these platforms and programs are so new,” he says. “I’m excited that I’m going to be 26, leaving here with two degrees both from this place. I’ll have a skill set that is pretty rare between my writing and production background and also my newfound business and management skills. That’ll be a nice pairing.”

Nico Horning is a first-year student in the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Liebler co-authors paper on coverage of sexual misconduct allegations and media self-criticism by news organizations

Carol Liebler, professor of communications, co-authored the paper, “#MeToo in the Newsroom: Image Repair and Allegations of Sexual Misconduct” with Wasim Ahmad of Quinnipiac University and Qi Ni of Syracuse University. The paper was published in Journalism Practice.


This study examines how—and the extent to which—news organizations covered allegations of sexual misconduct in instances of their own employees being caught in the #MeToo spotlight. The study applies Benoit’s image repair theory to investigate what repair strategies—if any—were reflected in the news coverage. It also examines media self-criticism, exploring whether organizations engaged in self-reflection. Content analysis of 138 news items published April 2017–October 2018 included coverage of 55 accused journalists at 33 organizations. In all, 35% of news organizations did not produce any stories about their accused journalist. For those that did, news stories emphasized corrective actions and attempts to reduce offensiveness. Accused journalists were sourced more frequently than their accusers, with the former denying allegations in 42% of stories. Accused journalists also employed the strategy of attacking their accusers. Organizational self-criticism or reflection was evidenced in just over one-third of the stories.

Veteran journalist Judy Woodruff to receive Fred Dressler Leadership Award at Newhouse School’s Mirror Awards ceremony June 12

Veteran journalist Judy Woodruff, longtime anchor and managing editor of the “PBS NewsHour” and now a senior correspondent, will be honored with the Fred Dressler Leadership Award at the 17th annual Mirror Awards ceremony on June 12. The awards, sponsored by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, honor excellence in media industry reporting.

Judy Woodruff

Judy Woodruff

Woodruff served as anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour” for 11 years before becoming a senior correspondent. During 2023 and 2024, she is undertaking a reporting project, “America at a Crossroads,” to better understand the country’s political divide. She has covered politics and other news for more than four decades at CNN, NBC and PBS.

Woodruff is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peabody Journalistic Integrity Award, the Poynter Medal, an Emmy for Lifetime Achievement and the Radcliffe Medal. She and late journalist Gwen Ifill were together awarded Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism after Woodruff and Ifill were named co-anchors of the “PBS NewsHour” in 2013, marking the first time an American national news broadcast was co-anchored by two women.

For 12 years, Woodruff served as anchor and senior correspondent for CNN, where her duties included anchoring the weekday program “Inside Politics.” At PBS, she was the chief Washington correspondent for “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” anchored PBS’ award-winning weekly documentary series “Frontline with Judy Woodruff,” was the principal reporter for the PBS documentary “Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime” and completed “Generation Next: Speak Up. Be Heard,” an extensive project on the views of young Americans.

At NBC News, Woodruff served as White House correspondent and as “Today” show chief Washington correspondent.

Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation and serves on the boards of trustees of the Freedom Forum and The Duke Endowment. She is a former trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Urban Institute, and a member of the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. She is the author of “This is Judy Woodruff at the White House.”

The Dressler Award is given to individuals or organizations that have made distinct, consistent and unique contributions to the public’s understanding of the media.

About the Mirror Awards

The Mirror Awards are the most important awards for recognizing excellence in media industry reporting. Established by the Newhouse School in 2006, the awards honor the reporters, editors and teams of writers who hold a mirror to their own industry for the public’s benefit. This year’s finalists will be announced next month.

The 2023 Mirror Awards ceremony will be held Monday, June 12, in New York City. Additional details will be announced soon.

For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Carol Satchwell at For information about the event, email

Willnat co-authors paper on pandemic-related xenophobia

Lars Willnat, professor of communications and John Ben Snow Endowed Research Chair, co-authored the paper, “Covid-19 and xenophobia in America: media exposure, anti-Asian stigmatization, and deservingness of Asian immigrants” with Jian Shi of the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies and David De Coninck of the Centre for Sociological Research & Institute for Media Studies. The paper was published in Asian Journal of Communication.


Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, there has been a significant uptick in anti-Asian sentiment in the United States. Many believe these racist attitudes are cultivated by polarizing political messages and news coverage of the pandemic. Based on a 2021 online survey conducted among 913 White Americans, this study examines possible associations between exposure to pandemic-related news, anti-Asian stigmatization, and the perceived deservingness of Asian immigrants. The findings indicate that the consumption of pandemic-related news on Fox News and social media is associated with higher levels of anti-Asian stigmatization, while exposure to such news on traditional media outlets is not. As expected, respondents with higher levels of anti-Asian stigmatization perceive Asian immigrants as less deserving to come to the United States. Among the five criteria of a newly developed immigrant deservingness scale, especially identityattitude, and need are associated with anti-Asian stigmatization.

Syracuse University to Launch a New Degree in Esports Communications and Management

The joint degree program will be offered by the Newhouse School and Falk College.

Syracuse University will soon begin offering a new, first-of-its-kind degree program focused on esports.

The program, Esports Communications and Management, will be offered jointly by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. It will include three tracks: Esports Business and Management; Esports Communications; and Esports Media and Design. The University will begin enrolling students to the program in fall 2024.

“The esports program is a natural extension of Syracuse University’s leadership in sport-related programs and commitment to 21st century academic excellence,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “This new major is the latest example of Syracuse University innovating, expanding career options in emerging fields and delivering programs students want.”

“This new academic offering is particularly exciting because it leverages the University’s key areas of strength, distinction and excellence to embrace an emerging, fast-growing field and provide our students with the tools to enter that field,” says Vice Chancellor, Provost and Chief Academic Officer Gretchen Ritter. “Investment in our sport-related academic disciplines will be one of the keys to our success moving forward.”

A proposal for the Esports Communications and Management degree was passed by Falk College and Newhouse School faculty last fall. It was subsequently passed by the University Senate in December and approved by the New York State Department of Education in February. A search is currently underway for an executive director of esports.

The program, which will be among the first of its kind at a major university, taps into the rapidly growing, multibillion dollar esports industry and builds upon work already happening on campus. The Barnes Center at The Arch, the University’s recreation center, includes a designated esports gaming room outfitted with Omen Obelisk gaming stations; Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo consoles; SIM racing stations; and a virtual reality unit. An active Esports Club has also flourished in recent years.

Jeff Rubin, special advisor to the chancellor on esports and digital transformation, has been leading the effort to bring an esports major to Syracuse. For more than a year, Rubin has been working with faculty and deans from both Falk College and the Newhouse School to develop the program that will span both colleges.

“It has been an extraordinary experience working with some of the smartest minds in communications and sport management to develop a program that will be at the forefront of this burgeoning industry,” says Rubin. “I am especially proud of the collaborative work that is producing the educational opportunities and experiences are students are looking for.”

In 2018, the Newhouse School collaborated with social video service Twitch to launch an innovative new course, Esports and Media, which is still offered through the school’s Sports Media Center (SMC). Rotating industry partners serve as case studies for the students, who develop skills to enhance the company’s social media strategy, distributed content and brand management. Some recent partners include ESL, Microsoft and Super League. The course is co-taught by SMC director Olivia Stomski and Chris Hanson, associate professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, who has taught multiple courses with an esports component over the last several years.

“The Newhouse School has long been known for excellence in sports communications, with roots stretching back to 1939 alumnus Marty Glickman, one of the first great sports broadcasters,” says Newhouse School Dean Mark J. Lodato. “We are excited to build on that foundation with this new degree, which—as we have already seen with our academic programming in esports—will set students up for success in this burgeoning field. Our partnership with Falk College ensures a truly top-notch program that will provide students with the best possible education and training to keep pace with the industry.”

The Falk College has been at the forefront of sport industry education for 20 years. In 2005, Falk launched one of the nation’s earliest undergraduate degrees in sport management, followed by one of the very first undergraduate degrees in sport analytics in 2017.

“The Falk College is an established leader in sport management and sport analytics academic training, preparing future leaders who have found great career success in the sport industry,” says Falk College Dean Diane Lyden Murphy. “With this partnership between the Falk College and the Newhouse School, Syracuse University is well positioned to enter the next era of growth in sport academic programming with a major in esports.”

“This pioneering esports degree will focus on an emerging sector of the global and domestic sport industry,” says Michael Veley, chair of the Department of Sport Management in the Falk College. “It combines the strengths of Falk and Newhouse programs in sport communications, media production, technology, business and event management to offer a cutting-edge degree.”

“This esports major embodies the culture and reputation of both the Newhouse School and the Falk College,” says Stomski. “We have spent countless hours researching the industry and the interests of our students to create a rigorous and dynamic curriculum that will prepare graduates to succeed in this thriving, ever-changing field.”

Stomski, Veley and Hanson—together with Newhouse School Assistant Director of Academic Operations Rachel Francisco, sport management Undergraduate Director Gina Pauline, David B. Falk Endowed Professor Rick Burton and Falk College Senior Associate Dean Eileen Lantier and Falk Academic Operations Manager Kelly Pettingill—worked to build the new degree as part of a University-wide task force convened last spring. The well-rounded curriculum is designed to provide students with industry-specific competencies in event management and marketing, broadcasting/production, communications, content creation, entrepreneurship, strategic communications and esports experience and design. The three tracks will provide students with the ability to tailor the degree according to their career goals.

Newhouse students build photography and social media portfolios covering Empire State Winter Games

If you thought you had winter bragging rights as Syracuse University students because of the snow that piles up every year, our weekend experiential learning course in Lake Placid may have you beat.

With Arctic-like temperatures and wind chills pushing 50 below zero, we had the chance to apply not only the photo, video and social media training we had learned at Newhouse to help cover the 2023 Empire State Winter Games, but some serious winter survival skills, too.

Over the span of four days in early February, the 18 of us were tasked with telling the stories of the largest Olympic-style winter sports event in the Northeast. Each of us had different roles, from photography majors who snapped thousands of images from the more than 30 events to broadcast and digital journalism (BDJ) majors producing features on a few of the Games’ 2,000 athletes.

As members of the digital team, we managed the Games’ social media accounts and kept our peers back in Syracuse up to date on the Newhouse Sports Media Center accounts. The weekend seemed like a constant juxtaposition between frigid high-adrenaline winter sports and huddling back in the warmth of the Lake Placid Beach House overlooking the solidly frozen Mirror Lake to take a look at the content we had just collected.

Bundled up in layers upon layers of clothing, we’d risk a couple of seconds to take off our gloves and snap a picture of the athletes wearing paper-thin ski suits, clearly undeterred by the dangerously cold temperatures. 

Throughout the weekend, our team of five divided and conquered, waking up each morning and choosing which events we’d cover that day. From adaptive sled hockey to the biathlon, we were exposed to sports that we had no prior knowledge of, forcing us to be quick studies  and often think on our feet.

Not only did the conditions and events test our journalistic abilities, but professors Jon Glass and Seth Gitner encouraged us to join the photo team in trying out Sony A-series cameras to photograph some content of our own. By the end of the games, we had captured game-winning goals, speed skating wipeouts and biathlon rifle shots.

Our daily goals generally included several live Twitter updates as results rolled in, and Instagram stories documenting the multiple events taking place throughout Lake Placid. We worked with ESWG operations manager Kimberly Beach to build excitement around the athlete village through Facebook and Instagram posts highlighting the attractions. 

Over the course of the four days we covered figure skating, ice hockey, adaptive sled hockey, speed skating and the biathlon, expanding both our photography and social media skill sets. 

It was an eye-opening experience for the two of us, along with the rest of our digital team. Luke Elliott wrote press releases for each event as results came in and Skylar Swart assisted with tweets, an Instagram takeover and Facebook posts. While playing to our strong suits, we both were also able to branch out and expand our journalism repertoire.

At night, our hostel’s common room turned into a makeshift newsroom as the BDJ majors transformed footage and interviews into polished stories and photographers narrowed down hundreds of photos, captioning them and uploading them to share with media outlets, athletes and their families on

At the end of each exhausting day, we exchanged our phones and cameras for board games and laughs with our “DigiTeam.” Our nightly routine included hours-long Trivial Pursuit battles, made even more difficult by its outdated and nearly impossible questions from 1984 (luckily we had a few professors in the room—thanks Glass and Gitner—to help us out along the way). 

By the time we piled back into our Chevy Suburban for the four-hour drive back to Syracuse, we had new friendships and unbelievable experiences under our belts. We feel grateful for the opportunity and inspired to keep embarking on new adventures as we head off into our professional careers come graduation in May.

Group photo of Newhouse School students and professors at the 2023 Empire State Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York, on Feb. 4, 2023. Photo by Nancie Battaglia.

Alex Battaglia and Cameron McKeon are both senior newspaper and online journalism majors in the Newhouse School.

CNN’s Abby Phillip to emcee Newhouse School’s Toner Prizes Celebration March 27 in Washington

Abby Phillip, CNN’s senior political correspondent and anchor of “Inside Politics Sunday,” will serve as master of ceremonies at the award ceremony for the Toner Prizes for Excellence in Political Reporting on Monday, March 27, in Washington, D.C.

Abby Phillip
Abby Phillip

The Toner Prizes, sponsored by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, honor the life and work of late alumna Robin Toner ’76, the first woman to be national political correspondent for The New York Times.

Phillip joined CNN in 2017, covering the Trump Administration as White House correspondent through 2019. In 2020, she moderated CNN’s Democratic Presidential Debate in Iowa. She also anchored special coverage of Election Night in America. In January 2021, she anchored the CNN Special Report “Kamala Harris: Making History.”

Phillip joined CNN from The Washington Post, where she served as a national political reporter covering the White House. She previously was a digital reporter for politics at ABC News, and has also covered the Obama White House for Politico as well as campaign finance and lobbying.

Phillip was named to the Time 100 Next list in 2021 and she was the recipient of the National Urban League’s Women of Power award.

The Toner Prizes for Excellence in Political Reporting recognize the best U.S. national or local political reporting in any medium or on any platform—print, broadcast or online. Two prizes—one for local and one for national reporting—carry a $5,000 honorarium. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. Tickets and tables may be purchased online.

For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Carol Satchwell at For information about the event, contact Amanda Griffin at

Newhouse partners with Reebok for Spring 2023 entertainment business capstone

The Newhouse School is offering a new entertainment business capstone for aspiring executives, partnering with global sport culture brand Reebok to enhance the course experience for seniors. The capstone is within the school’s new entertainment business track, which allows students  to focus on a career in the executive ranks.

J. Christopher Hamilton (back row far left) stands with his students and Reebok employees Jasmine Bellamy ‘92 (front row far left) and Connor Altier (back row far right) at Reebok’s headquarters in Boston, MA. 
Photo by Aquinnah Crosby.

The capstone is designed for television, radio and film (TRF) students exploring careers as business executives in media, entertainment or the arts through a hands-on approach to learning. Under the supervision of assistant professor J. Christopher Hamilton, students source high-potential opportunities for brands and businesses that can be aligned with trending innovators or storytellers to create dynamic partnership opportunities. Hamilton redeveloped the capstone course after realizing the need for students to have more professional experiences before transitioning into entry-level business roles in the entertainment industry.

Television, radio and film senior Sophia Jane Soderlund looks at footwear in the Classics Shop at the Reebok store located in its headquarters in Boston, MA. Photo by Aquinnah Crosby.

Students will focus on surfacing creative innovators or storytellers in various sectors of the entertainment business and identifying potential collaborations between those creative voices and global brands. “The use of emotional intelligence techniques, networking and cultivating a professional profile on LinkedIn all play a significant role in the successful completion of the course,” Hamilton says. 

Reebok’s CEO Todd Krinsky (center) talks to the students at Reebok headquarters in Boston, MA. Photo by Aquinnah Crosby.

To augment the practical experiences offered in the classroom, the course will be taught in collaboration with Reebok. This is Reebok’s third course collaboration with Syracuse University, spearheaded by Jasmine Bellamy ‘92, Reebok’s vice president of merchandising/planning/allocation and head of culture.

“This partnership is the result of networking with Dr. Willie Reddic from SU’s Whitman School of Management at Coming Back Together in 2021,” Bellamy says. “Students have overwhelmingly described it as a highlight in their academic experience. I am thrilled to extend this unique opportunity for real-life business application to Newhouse students.”

Over the spring semester, Reebok executives will provide their professional insight and guidance on brand partnerships that students design for Reebok’s “Unleashed 2.0” campaign. Students will also participate in mock interview sessions with recruiters at Reebok, as well as compete for internships and full-time job opportunities available this coming summer. 

Newhouse students listen to the orientation in the Reebok headquarters in Boston, MA. Photo by Aquinnah Crosby.

The partnership with Reebok kicked off earlier this semester with an immersive day for students at Reebok’s headquarters in Boston, MA. During the field trip, the class met with Reebok’s CEO Todd Krinsky, along with department heads who oversee design for basketball, running, kids, family and other product lines. These deep-dive sessions at Reebok culminated in the class visiting Reebok’s in-house cross-training center and brand archive.

“The executive-styled capstone is designed to help graduating seniors look beyond the ‘artistic aspects’ of any particular creative work or career ambition and grasp the enterprising opportunities on the horizon. We appreciate Reebok’s support, specifically Jasmine Bellamy, Connor Altier, Kevin Burgo and Nicole Kelley, in helping us achieve that goal,” Hamilton says. 

For more information, contact Hamilton at