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.

Bowman co-authors paper on gaming motivations

Nick Bowman, associate professor of communications, co-authored the paper “Covariation among gaming motivations is correlated with anxiety and sociality: A latent class analysis,” with Chingching Chang of Academia Sinica. The paper was published in Entertainment Computing.


Understanding what motivates adolescents to play video games is a central pursuit of game scholars, and key to better understanding gaming uses and effects. A latent class analysis on the self-reported gaming motivations of a nationally representative sample of adolescent gamers revealed broader combinations of discrete gaming motivations understood as role-players, fun-seekers, social gamers, and gaming maximizers (further validated through an investigation of gaming genre preferences within each class). Moreover, classification into these categories was influenced by levels of self-reported anxiety (a psychological factor) and sociality (social factors): anxiety levels distinguished gaming maximizers and role-players (higher levels) from social gamers and fun-seekers, and social connectedness unsurprisingly distinguished social gamers (higher levels) from fun-seekers and gaming maximizers from role-players (lower levels). A potential hierarchal model of anxiety and socializing on gaming motivations is suggested, and broader implications for studying gaming motivations are discussed.

Santia co-authors paper on pandemic news coverage

Martina Santia, a postdoctoral scholar in research and creative activity, co-authored the paper, “The Other Side of the Pandemic: Effects of Racialized News Coverage on Attitudes Toward Asians and Immigrants” with Ayla Oden, Seon-Woo Kim, Raymond J. Pingree, Jessica Wyers and Kirill Bryanov, all of Louisiana State University. The paper was published in the International Journal of Communication.


Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. news coverage related to race in 2 distinct ways: coverage of how foreign countries, particularly Asian countries, responded to the pandemic, and coverage of episodes of racism against Asian Americans and Asian-looking individuals. Past research has firmly established that different types of racialized news coverage can lead to very different effects among audiences. This study employs an online survey-experiment to investigate the effects of exposure to these 2 types of racialized news coverage amid the pandemic. Our findings reveal that exposure to an anti-Asian racism news story negatively affected attitudes toward the group depicted in the news. Anti-Asian racism news also increased opposition to immigration. News about an Asian country, however, did not influence attitudes toward Asians and instead decreased opposition to immigration. Trump support played a moderating role for some of these effects. As hate crimes targeting Asians continue in the United States and abroad, the implications of these findings are discussed.

Life in Los Angeles for a Newhouse LA Student

Spencer Haines

My experience in LA has been extremely transformative. I initially came to Los Angeles with many negative, preconceived notions of the people and environment I would eventually grow to love. My advice to anyone coming to LA for the Newhouse LA semester is to come with an entirely open mind and say yes to as many things as you possibly can. Some of the best experiences I’ve had in Los Angeles I originally had to force myself to go to. You never know at what event or concert you’re going to meet your next great connection or future employer. As far as eventually wanting to work in the music industry, there is no better place than Los Angeles to build your network. Meeting people in LA with similar passions to me has been incredibly effortless. Whether going out to concerts, meeting for coffee or just going out for a drink, you run into some of the people that will eventually become your best business associates and people you will eventually rely on. Creating a network of people that can lean on each other for help and advice is crucial for your success in the business and has been for me. Newhouse LA has given me the opportunity to live and work in the entertainment capital of the world, while taking some of my favorite classes in all of my years at Syracuse. The Newhouse LA program gives me the opportunity and a schedule that allows me to work an amazing internship and gain real world experience before I actually enter the workforce and move out west after graduation.

Spencer Haines in a senior in the Bandier program for recording and entertainment industries at the Newhouse School.

Newhouse student wins OZY Genius Award, will create short film exploring mental health

Newhouse School senior David Anthony Barbier Jr. has been named an OZY Genius Award winner for 2023. The annual program provides college students with up to $10,000 to work on a proposed original project.

Barbier, a television, radio and film major, is writing a script for a short film titled “Numb.” He aims to create a piece that will encourage people, especially men, to seek help and access mental health treatment. The story follows the main character Lynel, who goes to therapy following a traumatic event and tries to wall off his emotions.

“‘Numb’ will dive into how, even when it can feel unbearable sometimes, these emotions serve as a balance to ensure that we truly appreciate the good in our lives,” Barbier says. “This story will explain the importance of understanding our feelings and emotions. I want people to come away from this and feel as if they can be their most authentic and vulnerable self, emotions and all.”

In addition to funding, OZY Genius Award winners receive mentorship support. Final projects will debut at a showcase in September.

Barbier, a Syracuse University Posse Scholar, was a 2021 Jeff Ubben Posse Fellow. Through that program, he spent a summer shadowing AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan and published an interview with him. He also completed the Nyah Project’s Global Youth Leadership Fellowship program, studied in South Korea last spring and participated in the Newhouse LA program in the fall. A native of Miami, he plans to move to Los Angeles after graduation and pursue a career as a screenwriter, actor and director.

Gutterman publishes paper in Albany Law Review

Roy Gutterman, associate professor and director of the Tully Center for Free Speech, authored the paper, “New Voices, New Rights, New York: A Case Study and a Call for Student Journalist Protections in New York,” which was published in the Albany Law Review.


This paper discusses and advocates for New York’s adoption of the Student Journalist Free Speech Act, which would be New York’s version of a New Voices law, which aims to protect student journalists from censorship and their advisors from restrictions or punishment.  
This article is an extension of Gutterman’s work as a co-leader of a statewide coalition that has been working to get a student journalist protection law passed in New York. This ongoing effort has spanned more than five years.  In February, advocates will travel to Albany to meet with legislators, urging them to pass this law.  In 2019, Gutterman was part of a coalition of advocates and student journalists who met with legislators in Albany. This research is part of an ongoing campaign. 

Luttrell and Smith co-author review on biography of public relations icon

Regina Luttrell, associate professor of public relations and associate dean of research and creative activities, and Phoebe Smith, a graduate student in the Newhouse School’s media studies program, co-authored a review of the book “Betsy Ann Plank: The Making of a Public Relations Icon.” The review was published in Journalism & Mass Communication Educator.


Betsy Plank was one of the most impactful and well-known public relations practitioners of her time. In their review of the book, “Betsy Ann Plank: The Making of a Public Relations Icon” by Karla K. Gowermedia studies graduate student Phoebe Smith and associate dean Regina Luttrell chronicle her formidable life as a PR pioneer who shaped the field of public relations as we know it today. Smith and Luttrell systematically outline the four principles found within the book: 

1. Public relations is rooted in democracy 
2. Religious faith and public relations are connected  
3. Public relations is a profession 
4. Public relations is gender neutral

New podcast explores how technology has dramatically changed storytelling

From news to fiction to film to photography to podcasts to social media and even the human voice, technological innovation has inspired and enabled new paradigms in storytelling.

This month, in partnership with Antica Productions and Trint and in association with WAER, the Newhouse School will launch “StoryTech with Jeff Kofman,” a podcast that explores this new era of storytelling. Upcoming guests include Ted Koppel ’60, H’82, acclaimed journalist and former longtime anchor of “Nightline” on ABC, and Stacey Mindich ’86, a Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning theatrical producer. 

“This collaboration is an example of what’s best about the Newhouse School: The ability to bring professionals together with students to produce strong content destined for a wider audience,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato. “We all know podcasting is growing fast and it is a space where the Newhouse School intends to lead.”

Jeff Kofman

During host Jeff Kofman’s 33-year career as an Emmy Award-winning international journalist, he reported from more than 40 countries for ABC, CBS and CBC News. He left news media to found Trint, a London-based tech startup that leverages the power of AI to turn audio and video into powerful content for reporters and producers.

“For a long time, I’ve been fascinated with how technology and innovation shape what we read, hear and watch,” Kofman says. 

In each episode of StoryTech, Kofman weaves in his experience as a journalist, war correspondent and tech inventor to explore how storytelling has been shaped by innovation. WAER general manager Chris Bolt ’89, G95 says, “The episodes provide a kind of media literacy that helps people understand what they’re hearing, watching and reading.”

The first two episodes of “StoryTech” will air Jan. 31. Listen at or wherever you get your podcasts.

Newhouse students get front-row seat at FISU Winter World University Games

Seventeen Newhouse School students are in Lake Placid covering the FISU Winter World University Games. This is only the second time the international sports competition has been hosted in the United States. The opening ceremony takes place today at 7 p.m.  

The students, who are photography,  public relations and television, radio and film majors, will cover and promote the games, which feature more than 1,400 athletes competing in sports ranging from ice hockey to figure skating to alpine skiing. Teams hail from 46 countries around the world, including Sweden, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, as well as the U.S.

Faculty members Seth Gitner, Jon Glass and Brad Horn are accompanying the students.

“Students will get the benefit of learning from seasoned photo and events professionals while producing work that will be seen literally around the world,” says Gitner, who partnered with SONY to outfit students with new A9II camera kits.

Student work will be posted on the event newsroom and photo site, bringing the content to a wide audience. Students will also share social content throughout the event. 

“There’s a certain trial by fire for people who’ve never photographed sports before,” says photo minor Surya Vaidy. “I’m lucky to be here with the Newhouse team because they provide the space for me to learn without judgement while also having fun.”

In addition to Vaidy, participating students are public relations majors Christian Abdo, Zoe Jurmann, Quinn Schmidt, Aidan Shephard and Elizabeth VanBeuren; photography majors Scarlett Benson, Kayla Breen, Caroline Butler, Maddie Crooke, Zoë McCreary, Carmen Miller, Bond Photos, Sammy Swiss, Hailey Trejo and Isaiah Vazquez; and television, radio and film major Vivian Porter.

“I’m really grateful for this opportunity as it’s not every day that you have access to photograph 13 different sports and learn from professionals who have decades of Olympics experience,” Crooke says.

Tune into the Newhouse School’s Instagram account this Friday, when two of the students will provide an up-close look at the Lake Placid scene during an Instagram “Takeover.”

You can also follow the event on Twitter via the hashtag #FISUGames.

The students will continue their work until Jan. 22.

About FISU World University Games

The FISU World University Games is the world’s largest multi-sporting event for collegiate athletes, ages 17-25. The 11-day Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games feature 1,443 collegiate athletes from 540 universities across 46 countries. The competition consists of 12 winter sports and 85 medal events contested throughout New York state’s Adirondack region, including Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Wilmington, North Creek, Canton and Potsdam. Fans can follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with @LakePlacid2023, @SaveWinterHQ, #lakeplacid2023 and #savewinter.

Two Newhouse alumni release first feature film

Nate Hapke

Filmmakers Nate Hapke ’14 and Rosie Grace ’14 recently released their first feature film, a romantic drama titled “TWO DASH ONE ONE.” Both Hapke and Grace are alumni of the Newhouse School’s television, radio and film (TRF) program.

While Hapke directed the film, he and Grace share writing and producing credits. The film’s cinematographer, Nicholas Ferreiro ’15, is also an alumnus of the TRF program.

“TWO DASH ONE ONE” tells the story of two young lovers who are forced to reexamine their relationship when they are reunited in the afterlife after being torn apart by a tragic accident. The two main characters, Marnie and April, struggle to find life amidst monotony, and face difficult truths to find their happily ever after.

Written in the quarantine of the COVID-19 pandemic, the film’s narrative emerged from a short writing prompt Hapke and Grace heard on actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s podcast. With a finished script and a simple production—two characters and one location—the crew shot the film over 10 days in the middle of a California heat wave.

Rosie Grace

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share this very special story with an ever-widening audience,” Hapke said in a press release when Freestyle Digital Media acquired the film’s rights. Through the independent film distributor, “TWO DASH ONE ONE” is now available to rent and own on North American digital, high definition, internet and satellite platforms.

Grace reflects on the film’s journey and how grateful she and Hapke are of the filmmaking experience.

“It’s so humbling and exciting to finally be sharing this project with the world,” Grace says. “What started as a cathartic lockdown collaboration evolved into an incredible production adventure, and a final product that we’re so proud to claim as our first feature film.”

The filmmakers, who all participated in the Newhouse LA off-campus program, acknowledge how their Newhouse education and experiences aided in the creation and release of the film.

Nicholas Ferreiro

“We’re so grateful to our Newhouse family, because without them this movie wouldn’t even exist,” Grace says.  “We owe it to Barbara Jones’ TRF 235 class for bringing us together in the first place, and the practical experience we received during our LA semester which really helped set us up for success. We also couldn’t have done it without the incredible support we received from our school, professors and fellow alumni during the crowdfunding process.”  

My Newhouse LA experience

David Barbier Jr.

I hopped off the plane at LAX and thus the adventures began. My goal for my time in Newhouse LA was to get a glimpse into what life could look like post-graduation. Working at AMC Networks’ ALLBLK streaming service let me see the great effort it takes to make Black storytelling feel authentic to our audience. I’ve gotten to attend film festivals, spend time on set and even pitch my own original series. Outside of work, I’ve tried to explore the outdoors, whether that’s catching a sunset in Malibu or hiking up to the Griffith Observatory. My time here emphasized the importance of being in the place where your industry happens because you never know who you could meet. More importantly you never know what could happen until you say “yes.”

David Barbier Jr. is a senior television, radio and film major in the Newhouse School.