Newhouse School alumna makes waves at premier indie podcasting company

Carly Migliori
Carly Migliori

Carly Migliori ’07 knew she wanted to go to Newhouse since she was 15. She got in, majored in magazine and graduated into the Great Recession.

Despite that, Migliori got her dream job at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, but the magazine folded soon after.

Later, she fell in love with podcasting and pivoted to her first audio job at Panoply. Then, the company radically shifted away from podcasting creation to podcast ads.

As with every other challenge or unlucky break that has come her way, Migliori turned it into an opportunity.

“At that point, Jacob Weisberg and Malcolm Gladwell, who I had worked with at Panoply, had already co-founded Pushkin Industries, and I basically emailed Jacob every month for six months asking him if he had a job for me yet because I knew that’s where I wanted to go,” Migliori says. “Shortly after, I came over to Pushkin and I’ve been here for three years. I’ve overseen the production of all the shows and just worn every hat under the sun.”

Migliori has worked all across the media world, doing graphic design, managing traditional print magazines, developing apps and now working at one of the premier indie podcasting companies. While her responsibilities have evolved as the company has expanded, Migliori served as director and then vice president of operations, managing and running every podcast the company made. In March 2022, she became vice president of partnerships. She’s weathered the turbulent world of media and come out so successful by constantly trying to learn more.

“I’m always trying to think about where the industry is heading, learning those skills and throwing my hat in the ring to be a part of the project,” Migliori says. “Even if that meant doing something on top of my normal day-to-day just so when something came up, I could raise my hand and feel confident with my skills.”

While working with advertisers to make branded content is a new challenge, she had already honed the skills needed to manage the creation of podcasts.

“It was eerily similar to what I had been doing in magazine for years,” Migliori says. “You’ve got X amount of of time that you need to fit this content into and X number of ads. You’re making it all work and it’s very similar to putting together a magazine, so in my operational brain, I was like, OK this is very easy to understand.”

Migliori has always been exceptional at the operational aspects of journalism. While she was at Newhouse she was managing editor of Jerk, a student magazine. Professor Melissa Chessher was the faculty adviser for the publication and says Migliori was an “all-star staffer.”

“The entire Jerk staff had a great deal of trust and respect for her, and she could turn and convince people to do things that other peers could not,” Chessher says. “It is a testament to her that they delivered all three issues each semester. She just knew how to get the best out of what was already a talented collection of her peers.”

Chessher says Migliori developed her managerial skills through many semesters of navigating the inner publication politics, on top of making sure that columns, articles, graphics and photos made it to each issue of Jerk. 

“Usually, in the curriculum, we lean into writing or editing—basically creating content—but she was just masterful at managing, which I think is remarkable,” Chessher says. “When she was at Newhouse there were very well-worn paths that are reinforced by the curriculum and by the industry, in who wins prizes. Usually there’s not a prize for managing all that content, so to me she was always driven by a curiosity about where things were headed and what was new.”

Migliori treasures the writing skills that Newhouse gave her and says they have been invaluable in her career. She says her classes also prepared her for what work in the media industry was actually like.

“The classes that we had in the magazine program were a really good model for how work is: We were writing, reporting and editing every single day,” Migliori says. “The way our classes were structured and how we were thrown into learning the skills firsthand really helped me.” 

Beyond preparing her for the work, her professors made sure she understood the way the media industry evolves, Migliori says. She notes that her professors were tough graders and realistic about what it takes to make it in the media world, but she loved it.

“They just made us understand what was possible,” Migliori says. “I think that is the huge differentiator between Newhouse and other communications schools. My professors worked in magazines and they knew what it was like so they could talk to us  about their personal experience and tell us how to best navigate things like getting an internship.”

Migliori was close with her professors and admitted that one of her motivators to do well was that she didn’t want to disappoint them. Chessher says the feeling was mutual and that watching Migliori leverage her talents in new and interesting ways has been a delight.

“She’s kind of classic poster child of the Newhouse curiosity and professional acumen and ascension,” Chessher says. “What I really respect and remember is she was always calm no matter what. She was never dejected or frustrated—she made the most of every opportunity and always had an amazing attitude.”

Outside of her close relationships with her professors, Migliori says her network of peers and friends were essential in finding success, especially in those tenuous five years after graduation. Chessher describes the Newhouse network as a “super premium Linkedin.”

“There’s this ecosystem of alumni that exists because of they all share Newhouse, but there’s also the supercharged turbo alumni group based on all the people who spent a million late night hours working together creating something: a newspaper, a magazine, a website, a movie, a documentary, etc.,” Chessher says. “That is an important piece of her story.”

Chessher says that as an alumna Migliori exemplified the generosity of the Newhouse Network, from arranging speakers during the Glavin Benchmark Trip to New York to speaking with students who reached out to her. Chessher is both incredibly proud of Migliori’s success and excited about what that success says about the future of the media industry.

“It delights me that we are building this amazing network of people devoted to telling stories with audio. I was overjoyed [that she was at Pushkin],” Chessher says. “Her career is a nice road map for people to keep in mind that it’s not always straight upward, sometimes you have to take a side step, and sometimes you may even have to take a back step. But it’s Carly’s attitude, work ethic, curiosity and abilities that carried her and continue to carry her.”

Migliori is excited to tackle the challenges  her new role brings. She wants to turn this into an opportunity to learn more about the business side of journalism and build on the skills she has. She knows it is a new challenge, but like all the other challenges she faced during her career, she is facing it head on.

“I think it is a core part of my DNA. It is like a fighting spirit in a lot of ways and it is always like remembering that I have all the skills. I’ve done all of this groundwork and have the skills that I learned when I was at Newhouse,”Migliori says. “It is all about trusting yourself.”

Elizabeth Kauma is a senior in the magazine program at the Newhouse School.

Three new partnerships benefit Newhouse students from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups

Thanks to the commitment of Newhouse School alumni and partners, three new industry partnerships have been established to benefit students from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups.

“We are committed to increasing the diversity of our student body and, ultimately, of the workforce. These new opportunities don’t just benefit students, they also benefit our partner companies with an influx of young talent and new perspectives on the communications industry of today,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato.

Diversity Fellow at DKC

Melissa Chessher, Newhouse’s interim associate dean of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, and public relations professor of practice Brad Horn worked with alumnus Dave Donovan ’92 to set up a Diversity Fellowship at New York City-based public relations agency DKC. Donovan is executive director of DKC / DKC Sports.

“Giving back, mentoring and positively impacting future leaders is central to our mission at DKC and quite significant to me personally as a proud Newhouse alum,” Donovan says. “We look forward to collaborating with Syracuse University and its talented faculty and students to maximize this unique fellowship program.”

The annual paid summer fellowship is open to graduate or undergraduate students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Students spend the summer working at the company’s New York City headquarters, where they experience the agency’s dynamic, cross-sector practice areas and are exposed to external client work that jives with their own areas of interest and career aspirations. Students also create content such as press releases and media resource materials.

“We’re thrilled to further strengthen our relationship with DKC and create this incredible, sustained opportunity,” Chessher says. “We are committed to building out new career pathways and creating these real-world, world-class experiences for our students.”

Michael Ras Tafari Spencer, a graduate student in public relations, is the inaugural fellow.

“I can’t wait to start my diversity fellowship at DKC because I believe the program is setting me up to embark on a career,” Spencer says. “I want to gain experience and develop my professional insight, but most of all, I want to get connected with the people who have fought to open the doors for people like me.”

Diversity in Media Internship at Fairchild Media Group

Facilitated by Tara Donaldson G’12, executive editor of WWD, a new Diversity in Media Internship program at Fairchild Media Group offers three eight-week, paid internships for Newhouse students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.

“The opportunity to make space for more people of color in media is really an honor for me—and, even more importantly, voices in media should reflect global diversity, so this just brings us one step closer to where we need to be,” says Donaldson, who is head of diversity, equity and inclusion for Fairchild Media Group. “And to do this all with Newhouse, which provided me with so many of the tools to get me where I am today, just adds to the significance of this moment.”

Students are placed at three Fairchild publications: WWD, Footwear News and Sourcing Journal. The program also offers mentorship opportunities, career development workshops, networking opportunities and a chance to learn the ins-and-outs of covering the full end-to-end fashion industry. At the culmination of the internship, the three students collectively present a program project to leaders across Fairchild Media Group and the greater Penske Media Corp. In doing so, the students are able to demonstrate their understanding of the nuances across fashion and the supply chain and convey their acquired skills to mentors and potential hiring managers.

Elijah Brown, a junior in broadcast and digital journalism, Ayana Herndon, a senior in magazine, and Paola Gonzalez Torres, a graduate student in magazine, news and online journalism, are the inaugural interns.

Carol Cone ON PURPOSE Diversity Fellowship

Kelly Barnett, director of Newhouse’s Career Development Center, worked with Carol Cone, CEO of consultancy Carol Cone ON PURPOSE, to create a virtual paid internship for diverse and underrepresented groups.

“As more students and young professionals seek roles in the field of purpose, we wanted to bring more diverse individuals into this critical career path,” says Carol Cone, the company’s founder and CEO. “For purpose, ESG [Environmental, Social and Governance] and sustainability initiatives to be truly authentic and reflective of the world we live in, the professionals developing such strategies must come from diverse backgrounds. We are delighted to partner with Newhouse.”

The summer fellow will work as a junior team member on key accounts for the agency, which serves organizations and brands whose mission is social impact beyond profit. Social impact initiatives for clients may be in the fields of plastics recycling, mentoring for youth, affordable housing, regenerative agriculture or overall purpose positioning. The fellow will also perform issue landscape research, contribute to portions of presentations and research for the company’s podcast, “Purpose 360.”

Ezozhon Ismailova, a graduate student in public diplomacy and global communications, is the inaugural fellow.

Class Notes: April 2022

80s

J. Daniel Pluff ’82 joined WCNY as the host of “On the Money.”


90s

Anthony Calhoun ’96 was inducted to the Clayton Family Circle Wall of Fame.


00s

Amanda Raus ’04 joined WTNH-TV in New Haven as weekend news anchor.

Taj Rani ’09 is a co-host on “Amanda Seales’ Smart Funny & Black Radio” on Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Sirius XM radio channel.


10s

Tommy Farrell G’18 was hired as the head football coach at Manchester Township High School in New Jersey.

Meghan Mistry ’17 joined “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” as producer.


20s

Scarlett Lisjack G’21 joined KOB 4 in Albuquerque as the Farmington bureau reporter.

Amanda Finney G’16

Amanda Finney’s winding path to chief of staff to the White House Press Office and special assistant to Press Secretary Jen Psaki included Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and a stop at the Newhouse School, where she earned her master’s degree in television, radio and film.

White House Press Office team. Photo by Cameron Smith.

“Newhouse allowed me to think even bigger than I was before, and get a tangible understanding of different roles and disciplines in communications to think about what was possible, and what I’d need to get there.”

Amanda Finney, G’16

What is your current position title and employer?

Chief of staff to the White House Press Office and special assistant to Press Secretary Jen Psaki

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

I caught the political bug after working as a White House intern one summer in college. When Barack Obama announced his re-election campaign in 2012, I knew I had to be a part of it, and convinced my teachers and administrators at Wake Forest (and my mom!) to allow me to take a sabbatical for the first half of my senior year to work as a field organizer for the campaign in Virginia and, after a hard fought win, a fellow for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

I followed a winding path from there to Teach for America to Syracuse to Hillary Clinton’s presidential run, Microsoft and all the way to Mike Bloomberg’s campaign. After President Biden and Vice President Harris’ historic win I—again—knew I needed to be a part of what they were building, and started making calls to old campaign and work friends to understand what opportunities were out there. After a few conversations with Jen and other members of the press and communications team, I accepted my current role, and the rest is history!

What’s an average day like for you on the job? Take us through it.

Anyone at the White House will tell you, there is no such thing as an “average day”—in fact, it’s always the ones you think will be “average” that we get the most surprises! What I can tell you is that every day starts early—we have a standing call for the press team at 7:30 a.m., then it’s all hands on deck to get Jen ready for her briefing, usually in the afternoon, prepping her on the news of the day and any questions media might ask when she’s at the podium.

After the briefing, we start all over again prepping for the next day and talking to reporters who are on deadlines for their stories, making sure they have the relevant information necessary to communicate the important work the White House is doing to the American people.

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current position? What hard/soft skills did you learn at Newhouse?

Newhouse allowed me to think even bigger than I was before, and get a tangible understanding of different roles and disciplines in communications to think about what was possible, and what I’d need to get there. I remember taking Barbara Jones’ TV Business class where we got to meet TV executives firsthand, gaining an inside look at how they were thinking about the TV lineups on their networks and how ratings and trends translated to their decision-making process – Is it better to have the sitcom on before the drama or vice versa? What audiences will that bring in? What ads make sense to have on commercial breaks? Can we break the fourth wall with our ads?

Newhouse allowed me to see how the sausage gets made, from a lone starting script to set production all the way to a global premiere—and the many people who often don’t even get credit for their hard work bringing a story to life from start to finish. The lighting director is just as important as the lead anchor—and that’s a lesson I’ve taken with me to the White House twofold. I know to look out for the minor details that go into a TV or magazine spot for the press office, but I also know it’s important to treat every member of that team with respect and a smile, because it’s the result of everyone’s contribution that can make a story a true success.

Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspect of your field you may have not considered when applying?

Two words: Bob Thompson. He truly changed the way I thought about television and pop culture and how my love of each of these shape the world we live in today. Professor Thompson’s three courses, which explore each decade, opened my eyes to how much TV and film impacts society.

Oftentimes people write off television, tossing it aside as irrelevant or less than thought-provoking, but Thompson’s classes and viewing specials taught and proved it was very much the opposite. I distinctly remember him showing us a clip from the 1968 The Petula Clark Show in which she touched Harry Belafonte’s arm during a song—a moment that was not just TV history, that was American history—and is often cited as the first onscreen contact between a man and a woman of different races, exposing a huge audience to this interaction, who might otherwise not even have entertained the thought. Professor Thompson allowed me to think critically about the way TV, marketing, advertising, all visual media representations can directly shape the way we think, feel and speak as a society, and helped me understand the great role I could have as a storyteller, particularly breaking down stereotypes and paving the way towards equality for all.

What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it in the first place?

I went to a liberal arts college which I felt prepared me as a writer and as a thought leader on a range of subjects, but I felt the Newhouse Master’s program would be a great way to further immerse myself in the art and skills of communications.

Growing up in a rather culturally-aware, TV-friendly household, we would sit and watch every awards show every year, dissecting the winners based on our own favorites, and what we thought that meant about society at that moment. Considering the Syracuse program, with the opportunity to sit in classes and learn directly from executives behind major moments from the MTV VMAs awards to the Superbowl was a no-brainer. I knew I’d be able to learn from these experts, the people in the room making moments in cultural history, while putting my own creative juices to the test.

Did the Newhouse Career Development Center aid you? What internships or volunteer opportunities did you do while at Newhouse

If you’re in communications, you know Syracuse, and you know the name, “Newhouse.” I still subscribe to the alumni Job Ops newsletter and am always impressed by what alumni are doing, and the great network available to me. I’ve met alumni all over the country in roles from press to marketing and even at the White House, and when I have been pursuing new opportunities, I know a contact is likely only a quick call or LinkedIn message away.

What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field that students ought to be aware of?

When you tell people you work at the White House, they immediately picture scenes from West Wing, and assume we’re all in the office 24/7. While the advent of cell phones and laptops have, luckily, allowed us to spend some time out of the office, there’s definitely a truth to the hours and dedication needed that you might have seen on TV. I’m always on, and have my cell phone at the ready on nights and weekends but with all the stress and hard work, come some pretty incredible moments too—I was able to be there when Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson accepted her position on the Supreme Court—and those are the times you remember, that carry you through sleepless nights and less-than-leisurely weekends. I think this is something that binds all Newhouse graduates, pursuing your dreams, whether they be producing a feature film or chasing a huge news story, pays off but it won’t without hard work.

What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining thus far?

There is nothing quite like a political campaign: from the very first adrenaline rush of moving to a new city or state to support a candidate, to meeting other incredible people working towards the same goal, to meeting supporters, and being motivated to do everything you can to win. I’ve been fortunate to live through—and work for—quite a few history-defining campaigns, and be a part of moments that have shaped our generation: from Barack Obama in 2012 to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and now, working in the White House through pandemic. Each taught me, surprised me and inspired me in new ways, and I know will continue to shape my unique path forward.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students? Any classes or professors that you recommend?

My biggest advice to students or anyone starting out their career is to stay open. You may have an idea of what you want to do when you graduate—and that’s great!—but keep your eyes and ears open for possibilities, because what will shape your career might not even be invented yet. It used to be so clear cut – working your way up the ranks at a TV or newspaper, but so few have such linear career paths these days. It’s risky and scary, but there’s a great and exciting opportunity to create your own path, whether it be from TV to movies or even Instagram to the latest streaming platform. Enjoy the journey, make friends and contacts and learn from every opportunity, because you never know who or what will help you to your next big break.

Newhouse alumni help shape the space between social media and journalism

Diana Riojas ’21 wants to make an impact. 

She wants New Yorkers to know why their electricity bill has skyrocketed, and what they can do about it.

She wants to answer people’s questions about local elections and warn them when natural disasters are coming. 

Diana Riojas ’21

When she talks about the work she does at the New York City newspaper The City, she doesn’t talk about scheduling tweets or creating graphics for Instagram. She talks about all the concrete ways her job helps people.

Riojas is one of several Newhouse alumni who are contributing to the expansion of journalism on social media. According to a 2021 Pew Research Center Survey, almost half of Americans get their news from social media. Many journalism outlets are adapting and creating social media strategies to best serve their audience, even as the platforms and technology are constantly shifting.

Before becoming a social media associate for The City, Riojas was an in the second cohort of Instagram’s Local News Fellowship Program during the summer following her junior year. As part of the program, she built an Instagram presence and strategy for  100 Days in Appalachia

In her time there, she says, she saw the power of social media to break down and explain complicated topics to a wide audience. One example is the Instagram Live she put together in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Chris Jones, a reporter for 100 Days in Appalachia who specializes in domestic extremism, was in the building during the raid; Riojas quickly set up Instagram Live so Jones could explain and breakdown the events of the day and answer viewer questions.

“I love that kind of work. [We got to] answer audience questions and really debunk a lot of misinformation about what happened that day,” Riojas says. “That’s when I really got to see the kind of impact social media can have on our readers.”

After she finished working with 100 Days in Appalachia, Riojas knew she wanted to continue working in social media for journalism outlets. After she graduated with a degree in magazine, news and digital journalism (MND), she began interning at The City, where she was eventually hired as a social media associate. She loves how hyperlocal the paper is, and also loves her role in using social media to reach beyond the typical audience. 

“Social media has a real role in broadening a newsroom’s reach. For one thing, not everybody who needs information—especially vital information when it comes to an election or emergency—will go on The City’s website to read the article.” But, she says, they can find the information via Instagram or Twitter.

Building relationships

Carmella Boykin '21
Carmella Boykin ’21

Carmella Boykin ’21 is an associate TikTok producer at The Washington Post. She says that beyond thinking about the best way to convey the news in a clear and entertaining way, she is also thinking about the larger goals of her work at the newspaper.

“I think the benefit of social media is having something that hooks your attention and then you see who’s posting it and go to that platform,” Boykin says. “Being able to convert a lot of TikTok viewers to subscribers is a really big goal we have.” 

Both Boykin and Riojas express a sense of responsibility when representing journalism outlets on social media.

“You can really build a relationship with your readers when they know there’s someone on the other side of that social media account who is reading their comments and taking their questions and relaying that to the reporters or editors,” Riojas says. “[The audience knows] there’s someone in their corner. Essentially, you’re building up a bigger trust with your readers.”

MND professor of practice Jon Glass agrees that having a social media presence helps humanize media outlets and build a deeper relationship with the audience. However, he says social media plays a deeper role in journalism.

“When social media came onto the scene in the past decade, people tried to figure out how to leverage the platform for getting out their message, doing their work, connecting with others, and so it still remains a very useful tool for journalists and journalism overall,” Glass says.

Glass wants to make sure that Newhouse continues to equip students with the tools they need to become successful journalists, and part of that includes teaching students how to extend their content into social media.

“We want all our Newhouse students to graduate as great storytellers in their respective realms, and the fact that [social media is] so accessible and so readily used is a key component to how our students learn and get better at being professional communicators,” he says. 

Both Riojas and Boykin say their time at student media organizations and in the classroom helped them develop the skills to work in social media.

“In my journalism writing classes and my capstone class, social media wasn’t ever an afterthought. When I was writing an article, social media was one of the first things we also talked about,” Riojas says. “I think that’s also the reason why I got the Instagram fellowship, because I was already being trained that to think that way.”

Elizabeth Kauma is a senior in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Alumnus Dwight Caines ’87 of Universal Pictures to keynote Newhouse Convocation Ceremony

Dwight Caines
Dwight Caines

Dwight Caines ’87, president of domestic marketing for Universal Pictures, will deliver the keynote address at the Newhouse School’s 2022 Convocation Ceremony, to be held May 14 at 12:30 p.m. at the Stadium.

Caines is responsible for all areas of the domestic marketing department at Universal, and directly oversees media, digital marketing, multicultural marketing, data analytics and publicity.

Prior to joining Universal, Caines served as president of domestic theatrical marketing for Sony Pictures Entertainment, where he crafted campaigns for a vast slate of releases, including “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Spectre,” “Captain Phillips,” “22 Jump Street,” “Angry Birds,” “The Equalizer” and “American Hustle.” In this role, he was the first digital executive to be appointed head of marketing at a major studio. Caines launched the Digital Marketing Strategy department for the studio in 2000, rising to the rank of president of worldwide digital marketing in 2008.

Caines is an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and previously served on the board of The Entertainment Industry Foundation. In 2009, he joined a short list of executives to receive the iMedia Visionary Marketer Award.

A dedicated and active alumnus of Syracuse University, Caines recently worked with the University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs as an alumni mentor. He is a past member of the Newhouse Advisory Board and an adjunct for the Syracuse University Los Angeles Semester program. He recently sat down with program director Robin Howard for a Q&A about mentorship, management and what he’s learned while teaching.

All graduating students and their families are invited to attend the Newhouse Convocation Ceremony. Syracuse University Commencement will be held May 15. For the most current information about Commencement weekend, visit commencement.syr.edu.

Class Notes: March 2022

80s

Roxanne Donovan 86 was honored by the James Lenox House Association for demonstrating significant commitment to the needs of older adults. 


90s

Chris Licht ’93 was named the new chairman and CEO of CNN global.


10s

Kevin Barry ’13 joined FOX4 in Kansas City as evening anchor.

Jared Kraham 13 was became the youngest person to be elected as mayor of Binghamton, NY. 

Maggie Bizzell G’17 was announced as the new senior communications manager for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC).

Evan Stockton ’18 joined the broadcast team at the Syracuse Mets. 


20s

Vi Nguyen G’20 was selected as a New York Times fellow.

Newhouse alumna produces TikTok videos for The Washington Post

Carmella Boykin '21
Carmella Boykin ’21

Since Carmella Boykin ’21 was hired by The Washington Post as an associate TikTok producer, she has spent some part of every workday making faces in the mirror. 

“I’m just making faces of like: Oh! Ah! Eck! Ow! Like, can my mouth go, like, down?” Boykin says, demonstrating her Rolodex of reactions. “Then I go to shoot [a TikTok] and then I change outfits a bunch of times like, ‘Oh what should North Korea dress like?’ That’s something you would never think you would have to figure out.”

When asked if she had ever thought she would be doing that when she came to Newhouse to study broadcast and digital journalism, she beamed. 

“That was the dream, but I never thought it would actually happen,” Boykin says. “The fact that I am here: I’m so geeked about it. [I can’t] convey how excited I am to be able to do this as a job.”

The Washington Post hired Boykin in December, and now she spends a decent portion of her day finding the best TikTok sounds, dancing and acting in front of a camera, and editing her Tiktoks so the beat hits just right over the joke. 

But it’s more than just fun. The TikToks Boykin produces are strategically designed to get the news across in the most thoughtful way possible. She pitches, writes and edits them all with a careful eye toward getting the news across clearly while still being entertaining. 

“It comes with a lot of responsibility, because the faces that you see aren’t the only people who are working on the TikToks,” Boykin says. “The people who are on camera have to be able to make sure that everything is accurate and correct and not coming from a certain slant.”

Boykin only started making TikToks last June, six months before she began working at The Post. She credits her time at Syracuse for her ability to quickly master the platform.

“I don’t think I would be in this position without Syracuse,” says Boykin, who was one of the co-founders of the digital department for CitrusTV. “It really primed my brain for being able to think going forward: What are the kinds of things that I’m going to consume and what are the kinds of things that I watch and how can I be part of the group that’s making those things?”

Aileen Gallagher, associate professor of magazine, news and digital journalism, both taught and mentored Boykin and remembers having deep conversations with her about how to carve her own path in the journalism industry.  Gallagher says Boykin was always thinking about how to find opportunities and use them to help her get to where she wanted to be professionally.

“Carmella took advantage of almost everything that one could take advantage of at Newhouse or at SU,” Gallagher says. “She was a great student, but she also found faculty members [whose work she was interested in] and then built relationships with them.”

Boykin wanted to do work she could be herself with, and for her, that meant working in a social media journalism. She even jokingly admitted to aspiring to be Oprah for the digital world. 

“I find, especially in school or when you’re doing serious pieces, you’re not supposed to insert your personality, which makes sense,” Boykin says. “So the fact that I’m able to insert my personality into pieces and also have it be journalism and inform people—that’s been the most rewarding part.”

Gallagher says Boykin’s natural charisma and humor, paired with her high standard of ethics, makes her a great representative for the Washington Post on TikTok, and for Newhouse.

“I just love talking about Carmella as an example of like: this is the future, and this is what you can do with a Newhouse education and a Newhouse experience,” Gallagher says. “She makes me reflect like: are we creating opportunities so that we can set the next student like Carmella on that right path?”

Elizabeth Kauma is a senior in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Launching a career in uncertain times

Alec Petraske
Alec Petraske ’20

Alec Petraske ’20, a dual major in television, radio and film (TRF) and political science, graduated from the Newhouse School at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While a student here, Alec gained production experience working as a technical director and head comedy writer at Orange Television Network (OTN). Despite the challenges of lockdown, Petraske managed to use his college production experience to get an internship that became a job, and he now works at Fox News Media as an associate producer.

We sat down with Petraske to talk about what it was like trying to launch a career during a global crisis.

Tell us about your background. 

I graduated from Newhouse and Maxwell with a degree in TRF and political science, but a large majority of my background comes from [the] political satire that I did at OTN. I was involved with the start of “Live from Studio B.” I was one of the original staff writers at that show, which is not political satire; it’s just a typical late night comedy talk show. I got started with that my freshman year, then I became head writer for the remaining three years of college. I knew that wasn’t the direct path right after college, just because getting into comedy is extremely difficult, but that led me to an internship… [and] I was able to swing my way over to a job currently at Fox News Media.

What was it like to get that first job out of college? And how did SU help get that job during the pandemic?

SU definitely gave me the tools necessary to market myself. I feel like SU gave me a lot of networking tools, [but the] tangible skills that you can use within whatever field you go into [are] mainly taught by your employer. You learn while you’re on the job. I’m now an associate producer. I’m currently working tech; I’m gathering videos, gathering data and information to put on screen as well as pitching editorial content. I feel like a lot of the work that I was doing as a technical director [at OTN] helped prepare me for that. A lot of my credentials as a comedy writer and working in writers’ rooms gave me the confidence to be able to pitch ideas and be able to work with a team of people and creating a single live product at the end of the day.

What was it like starting your career in a pandemic?

I was in Los Angeles [when I graduated]. I had a job lined up at a comedy talent management company. They had a reception position opening up [but] then the pandemic hit, and nobody needed a receptionist anymore. So, I started my career at a Target, where I did 4 a.m. shifts and then continued networking after getting home. I ended up applying to an online internship that was absolutely free, where I was using the skills that I had learned at OTN to put on a live show every week for a guy’s comedy network. This all culminated with [the position I have now.]

Where would you like to go next in your career?

Right now I’m at a position that most people would have fought to be at. While I would love for my career to move in a direction towards comedy, my current career goals are to gain experience in television, especially live production, and work my way up to a standard producer role, which is what I’m doing right now.

Benjamin Schiller is a sophomore in broadcast and digital journalism.

Newhouse alumnus will be next chairman and CEO of CNN Global

Newhouse School alumnus Chris Licht has been tapped as the next chairman and CEO of CNN Global.

The 1993 graduate of Newhouse’s broadcast and digital journalism program was a co-creator of “Morning Joe” and in 2011 became vice president of programming at CBS News, where he served as executive producer of “CBS This Morning.” He assumed his current position as showrunner for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in 2016, and is widely credited with leading the show to No. 1 late night ratings.

After news of Licht’s move to CNN became public, Colbert paid tribute to Licht on the air, telling him, “There are bosses and there are leaders. Bosses tell you what to do. Leaders work as hard as you do to do what needs to be done. And that’s what you did.”

Licht, who sits on the Newhouse Advisory Board, has maintained close ties with the school. In May 2020, he participated in a Newhouse-hosted live virtual event, during which he discussed producing from home during the COVID lockdown, his journey from hard news to entertainment and his time as a Syracuse University student.

“The biggest thing I learned at Syracuse is people—interacting with people and holding yourself up against the best in the business… it definitely fueled my competitive spirit.”

The event also included a surprise appearance by Colbert.