Popularity of K-Pop Boy Band BTS is Topic of New Book by Yerin Kim ’18

To help understand the worldwide popularity of BTS, author Yerin Kim ’18 first had to understand their legions of fans.  

Yerin Kim (Photo courtesy of Yerin Kim)

After months of research that included late-night hours of combing through social media, Kim hopes her new book hits a high note with the supporters of the K-pop superstars. 

Though on hiatus right now, BTS has had six chart-topping Billboard albums and six number one hits since their formation in 2010. The boy band is massively popular, with the Guinness Book of World Records reporting they are the most streamed male group on Spotify, played 31.9 billion times.

Kim’s aptly named “I Love BTS” is a guided journal for fans to muse about their love and obsession for the South Korean pop group, covering everything from trivia questions to a scrapbook of collages. It goes on sale May 16.  

“The most important research came from really diving into the minds of fans,” she said. “I spent a lot of time on BTS fan Reddit threads and getting into the mind of what a BTS fan might be interested in, what they might want to write about, and what they would think about when it comes to BTS.” 

Becoming an author and a fan

This is quite a big stage for the first-time author.  

Kim said she never planned on writing a book about K-pop, until a representative from Adams Media, an imprint of publishing company Simon & Schuster, contacted her in May 2022 with the opportunity.

The cover of “I Love BTS.” (Image courtesy of Yerin Kim)

“I had never written a book before, but a novel was definitely something I wanted to pursue further down the line in my career,” said Kim, a native of Seoul, South Korea. “This isn’t a traditional book in the sense that it’s a memoir or a fiction novel. It’s a fan journal. So just everything was new to me, and it was a learning process.”

An editor at online media company PopSugar, Kim said she was interested in Korean entertainment but wasn’t necessarily a fan of BTS, who are also known as the Bangtan Boys. That changed after writing the book.  

“After doing all this research and getting into the minds of BTS fans all the time, I do think I can call myself a fan now because I became so immersed in the fandom,” said Kim, who did the bulk of the writing and research during a five-month process filled with lots of time working late hours and weekends. Research also included watching interviews on YouTube, music videos and performances. 

Newhouse’s impact 

Kim graduated from Newhouse in 2018 after majoring in magazine, news and digital journalism. She said she wouldn’t have had “the current career and opportunities I have without my Newhouse education and the connections that I developed while I was there.” 

Her journalism portfolio at Newhouse included serving as editor-in-chief at Zipped magazine, working at The Daily Orange and producing a podcast for her capstone project. The variety set her up for success in her career.  

“Attending Newhouse and just having access to those publications and classes really just taught me to write for different audiences and different mediums and it really just helped me develop a voice, which I’ve parlayed into this book,” she said. 

Understanding her audience   

The opportunities to write for various audiences helped her start the process of writing “I Love BTS.” The book’s target audience is students ages 11 to 18, “which is an audience that I didn’t have prior experience writing for, so I think that I was just really able to learn,” Kim said. 

“Knowing how to write for different audiences and types of people stems from my Newhouse education.” 

She’s excited as the book’s May 16 launch draws closer. “I hope to be able to reach the fans of BTS. When I was younger, [guided, interactive journals] were some of my favorite types of books to buy at the Scholastic book fair.” 

Kim doesn’t know if she’ll write another book, but realizes this journal has opened doors for her to write in the future. 

“It was an opportunity that I didn’t want to pass up,” she said.

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

Eli Saslow ’04 Wins Pulitzer Prize for Work with The Washington Post

Eli Saslow, a 2004 graduate of the Newhouse School, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for a series of stories in The Washington Post that chronicled struggles across the country with the pandemic, homelessness, addiction and inequality.

Eli Saslow (Screenshot from Washington Post video)

Winners were announced Monday. The Pulitzer Prize Board described Saslow as having woven “evocative individual narratives … that collectively form a sharply-observed portrait of contemporary America.”

It was the second career Pulitzer for Saslow, who also won in 2014 for explanatory reporting. Saslow graduated from Newhouse with a bachelor’s degree in newspaper journalism.

In talking about his latest work, Saslow, in a video posted on The Washington Post website, said “We ask a ton of people to go spend time with them in the kind of stories that I do to immerse into their lives at really fragile moments, and it takes a lot of courage to say ‘yes’ to that.”

Four people smile and pose for a selfie
From left to right, Washington Post staffers Natalia Jiménez-Stuard and Adam Kilgore pose for a photo with Saslow and his wife, Rachel Saslow ’04. All four attended the Newhouse School. (Photo by Natalia Jiménez-Stuard)

He added that the “great gift of this work is we get to go see it. We get to be there, we get to report, we get to watch. We get to pay attention with the great hope that it will force other people to do the same.” 

Saslow recently moved from the Post to The New York Times.  

Awarded annually, the century-old Pulitzer Prizes honor outstanding work in journalism and the arts. They were endowed by the late Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the old New York World newspaper. The Pulitzers are awarded by the trustees of Columbia University on recommendation of an advisory board.

Dominiqué Patrick G’18

Emmy Award-winning alumna Dominiqué Patrick graduated from the Newhouse School with a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism with a sports emphasis. The lessons she learned at Newhouse—mental toughness, communication, balancing multiple tasks—come in handy every day in her role as a segment producer at MLB Network and a freelance color commentator for college basketball.

What is your current position title and how did you obtain it?

I’m a segment producer at MLB Network and a freelance color commentator for college basketball. I became a segment producer after working at MLBN for four years. MLBN traveled to Newhouse for a recruiting trip, and I was able to interview and get offered a job as a broadcast associate before graduation. In those four years at the company, I’ve been promoted three times (broadcast associate, associate producer, segment producer).

Whats an average day like for you on the job?

At MLB Network, my daily duties can change from day to day. As a segment producer, I can do anything from supervising our daily shows such as “MLB Tonight,” “High Heat” and “MLB Central,” to helping supervise a team of broadcast associates, making sure social media requests are handle for all 30 MLB clubs and our NHL and MLBN social team. I also have had the opportunity to create a countdown show from start to finish. I was in charge of writing scripts for talent and using a team of associate producers to help put together an hour-long show. This season, I am supervising social media distribution and editing “Snapchat Discover —Must See Moments of the Week.”

During basketball season, I’m a color commentator. I’m usually at the arena two hours before game time so I can set up my area. I review with my partner, and we go over what the storylines are for the night. After calling the game we usually have a post-game interview or attend the post-game conference.

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

Newhouse just down right taught me how to be mentally tough. How to balance multiple things at once and how to make deadlines. The program made me realize that this industry is what you make it. It forced me out of my comfort zone and to not be shy when it comes to interviewing others or pitching my ideas for the broadcast. I got really good at communicating with my producer and talent during my time at Syracuse and it is definitely helpful now. Script writing has come in handy as well. I have to write scripts and shot sheets for talent, and it helps me when I need them for myself as well.

An underrated skill I also learned during my time at Newhouse was voice inflection. I think my voice carries well, but I had to learn to be “loud” without screaming and change the tone of my voice throughout the broadcast. That helped me sound better on air.

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

Absolutely. Before attending Newhouse, I thought being on-air was the only path I could take. I took a few production classes and realized that I loved working behind the scenes as well. I was able to produce a live volleyball game at Syracuse and get experience creating commercials and editing long-form features for class. I fell in love with it and was set on taking an opportunity where I could be both a producer and on-air. It kept me from limiting myself, and being able to do both makes me versatile in this field.

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

My most exciting moment in my career was winning an Emmy. I won it as an associate producer on MLB Tonight for Outstanding Studio Show.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

  1. As cliché as it sounds, “be yourself.” Being uniquely you makes you stand out in this field. People love the genuine feeling of working with someone who is confident in being yourself.
  2. Don’t limit yourself!! I always said in undergrad and at Newhouse that I wanted to learn everything so I would always have a job. Knowing how to do multiple things will always get you far and make you stand out.
  3. WHO you know will get you in rooms, WHAT you know will make you stand out! Knowing multiple people who can get you in rooms and open up doors for you are great. It is necessary. But preparedness and knowledge of the field you are trying to work in just makes you stand out more. It makes people remember you. I have done my fair share of recruiting with MLBN and it is a very rewarding experience. I’ve learned a lot in my five years of being in this field. I’ve learned that being in rooms and not knowing how to network wastes your time. You want to make those people remember you and think about you when opportunities arise. Make sure you hone in on networking skills. I personally think it’s a lost art, and those who do it well, I remember forever.

Addressing ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and Social Media with Producer Stacey Mindich ‘86

One of the biggest Broadway shows over the last decade, the Tony Award-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” is powered by a contemporary and profound plot that touches on topics including social media, teen suicide and mental health.

Lead producer Stacey Mindich ’86, nurtured the show through eight years of development to worldwide acclaim, including the Tony Award for Best New Musical in 2017. Mindich recently appeared on the podcast “StoryTech,” with host Jeff Kofman, to discuss the origin of “Dear Evan Hansen” and how technology helped capture the emotions of the heartfelt production.

“StoryTech” examines how technology shapes the way stories are told, and how technological innovation has inspired and enabled new paradigms in storytelling. The Newhouse School launched the podcast this year in partnership with Antica Productions and Trint, and in association with WAER.

While “Dear Evan Hansen” closed on Broadway last year, the musical is currently on a North American tour, including a six-day run at the Landmark Theater in Syracuse in May.

On the podcast, Mindich talked about how social media became a character in the musical. Listen to her full conversation with Kofman at WAER.org or on your favorite podcast app.

Social media plays a huge part in this production. It’s not just a kind of backdrop. It’s almost a character. 

‍Well, the authors have called social media the ninth character in the show. And yes, the technology and the age of social media and how it affects young people is central to the show.

But the theme, it’s very important to note that the theme of a boy struggling to connect to parents love for a child, and yet an inability to help that child, is central to the show as well. And that theme could have happened in ancient Greece and 100 years into the dystopian future. You have a mix of a classic story with the enhancement of social media. 

Stacey Mindich ’86 (right) is interviewed by StoryTech host Jeff Kofman (left) at the Noel Coward Theatre in London, England. (Photo provided by Stacey Mindich’s office via Antica Productions.)

So, what was the challenge of making social media that ninth character on the stage? 

The challenge was not to do it the way anybody else has done it before, and the challenge was not to do it in a way that said “high school.” There are all these charming, cute movies out there where you see people texting each other and they bring it down to a very young level. And we were dealing with some very important and sophisticated themes about life in the way we live it, and we didn’t want it to feel that way.

And so there had to be a sophistication about this. I mean, one of the great things our director, Michael Greif, added to the show was we took away the ensemble. So, you don’t see 10 dancing teenagers holding cell phones. The ensemble is virtual. And I was very determined that the ensemble that you see in the projections on the stage were people of all races and ages. 

When you experimented with this idea of making social media a character on stage – was there anything that just didn’t work? 

Lots of things didn’t work. God knows how many times we rejected the projection design plan because the goal was always to make it feel as authentic as possible. So, anything too scripted or anything too theatrical didn’t work, which is sort of the opposite of what you try to do on stage. It had to feel like you saw it on your screen two minutes ago. 

Can you paint a picture of what that stage looks like from the audience? 

The thing I didn’t like in the early days about the show was that it was it’s very dark, literally physically dark, because in order for the screens to really do their job, and they’re projections on screens behind the set and on the floor. So, the best seat in the house is really the front row mezzanine, because then you can see everything.

And so, the show is very, very dark at some points, not just in theme but in physicality, so that all of that pops. And in the end, it works brilliantly because at the moment of catharsis in the last five minutes of the show, when Evan walks into the apple orchard that he somehow helped to build without even really trying. You see blue skies and you see that Evan has literally taken a lyric from our show and stepped into the sun. And that was so important to making sure that people left our show feeling they had had a catharsis, and the show ended with hope after a dark journey. 

Four Newhouse Alumni Live TV Dreams in NBCUniversal Page Program

The NBCUniversal Page Program is a one-year rotational learning and development program that provides participants with incredible experience in—and exposure to—the media and entertainment industry. Over the past two years, four Newhouse School alumni have become pages, working at the iconic 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Below, the pages share their stories.

Katie Hopsicker

By Griffin Uribe Brown

Katie Hopsicker

“Every day is a dream,” says Katie Hopsicker G‘22, an alumna of Newhouse’s Goldring arts journalism and communications graduate program. She works as a NBCUniversal page on late-night TV shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

Having danced and choreographed all her life, Hopsicker always wanted a career in the arts. During summers in between attending Southern Methodist University, she interned for the local newspaper at home in Albany, New York. This combination of arts and journalism led her to “one of the best years of my life” at Newhouse.

Fresh from her undergraduate experience, she says she walked into her graduate year with a “nothing to lose, and everything to gain” approach. One course, in particular, left an impression: an entrepreneurship class with Sean Branagan, the director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, that says she “completely changed my life.”

From there, she started Salt City Arts Review,  an online publication that provided robust arts coverage of the Syracuse area. “That’s when I really knew that I had a place in the arts,” she says. 

L-R: Newhouse alumni Katie Hopsicker ’22, Katelin Benson ’21, Alyssa Horwitz ’22 and Ryan Baker ’22.

Hopsicker, who started as a page in the fall 2022, now lives in a studio apartment in the city and rotates through fast-paced stints that last three-four months in different roles on various productions. 

Her first rotation was on the employer branding team where she helped with graphic design and social media for the talent acquisition team. Now she’s on the audience team for “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and the talent team for “SNL,” assisting with VIPs and guests. Hopsicker takes her responsibilities with an open mind, seeing each rotation as a new opportunity to learn. 

“Be outgoing and willing to try new things, willing to say yes to anything that comes up,” she says. “You never know what will take you to your dream.”

Griffin Uribe Brown is a first-year student in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Katelin Benson

By Samantha Rodino

Katelin Benson

Katelin Benson ‘21 is not only a Newhouse School alumna, but a Page Program alumna, having graduated in February 2023. 

During the fall of her senior year, Benson, who majored in graphic design at Newhouse and marketing at the Whitman School of Management, interned at NBCUniversal through Newhouse NYC. While she had heard of the Page Program, it was Newhouse’s Career Development Center (CDC) that gave her more insight into the opportunity.

Benson spent her junior and senior years working as a graphic designer and helping with social media for the CDC. “I attribute a lot of my past couple of years to the Career Development Center,” Benson says. Working for the center—which aids students in finding jobs and internships—came in handy as Benson learned how to search for specific positions and find connections with Syracuse University and Page Program alumni. 

Benson started the program virtually in June 2021 due to COVID-19. By October, she was in the studio supporting live, audience-filled shows like “Saturday Night Live” and the “Today” show. 

Katelin Benson (bottom row, second from left) and fellow pages on the roof of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

“I think my favorite part was the fact you could get into different areas that you weren’t initially interested in or had experience in,” she explains.

“Starting in the Page Program was super helpful to get that experience, not only in the entertainment industry but at a company such as NBCUniversal because they have so many different segments and it’s so well-known.”

Benson emphasizes how important her Newhouse education was when taking on different roles. “I think [the program] was surprised by a lot of the design background I had and a lot of that was because of the studying and all the classes that I took at Newhouse for my design major,” Benson says. 

Benson continues to live her dream; she was recently hired as a program scheduling coordinator at NBCUniversal for their USA/SYFY networks.

Samantha Rodino is a first-year student in the television, radio and film program at the Newhouse School.

Ryan Baker

By Max Gifford

Ryan Baker

From reporting for NBCUniversal New York’s Rockefeller Center tree lighting pre-show, to working “Saturday Night Live” with Pedro Pascal and Coldplay, Ryan Baker ’22 has had many adventures as a member of the NBCUniversal Page Program.

Baker, who majored in broadcast and digital journalism and marketing management in the Whitman School of Management, began the one-year long rotational program shortly after his graduating from the Newhouse School in May 2022. His rotations have included doing content operations and integration work for NBCUniversal, and reporting for WNBC Digital News.

Ryan Baker

“Getting to work at a media company to try the business side of things and getting to try the broadcast side of things has been really, really cool,” he says. “The corporate side of television was something I had previously taken for granted.”

Currently, Baker is on his third rotation, where he helps with production at CNBC and works on set for the shows “Fast Money” and “Halftime Report.”

In his time at Syracuse University, Baker was a busy member of campus organizations including CitrusTV, WJPZ Radio and the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. For students interested in the Page Program he encourages them to get involved outside of the classroom.

“Those [media organizations] are very unique to Syracuse,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to talk about all the things that you’ve accomplished at [Syracuse] when you’re applying for a program like this.”

Ryan Baker helps with a broadcast from the roof of 30 Rockefeller Plaza

When Baker finishes at CNBC, he will enter into his “graduation period” where he will apply for jobs and continue working on late-night shows including “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and “SNL.”

These experiences, combined with his his Newhouse education have primed him for a successful career in media.

“Newhouse and Syracuse in general does such a great job preparing you for a career in the media field so you have the skills graduating from the university to get pretty much any job that you want.”

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

Alyssa Horwitz

By Nico Horning

Alyssa Horwitz

Newhouse alumna Alyssa Horwitz ‘22 has also been able to work as a page on “SNL” as part of the highly coveted NBCUniversal Page Program.

“I get to work at “SNL” every weekend. And it’s so exciting to be there, you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself,” Horwitz says. “New York is always moving. It’s loud. It’s just fun. I think it’s a great place to go after college.” 

A native of Randolph, New Jersey, Horwitz graduated from Newhouse with a degree in advertising, double majoring in policy studies at the Maxwell School. Horwitz credits Newhouse with helping her succeed in the Page Program and as she searches for future employment. 

“My Newhouse education is helping me now because in advertising we did a lot of presentations,” she says. “So much of our coursework was doing research projects, and then being able to present them and being able to pitch them to our professors and our peers.”

“You don’t realize how often you have to do that in a less formal setting, but still in the workforce,” she adds, whether it’s pitching an idea or promoting your strengths and qualifications in a job interview.

Alyssa Horwitz (bottom row far left) and a group of Pages outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.

Horwitz is now used to doing five or six interviews in the span of one week and realizes “you only have a short amount of time to really sell it.”

One of Horwitz’ favorite parts of her Page experience is working with Chris Hayes, host of the Emmy Award-winning MSNBC news and opinion program “All In With Chris Hayes.” She takes part in production meetings with Hayes and the staff go over the show rundown and review discussion topics.

“So, it’s definitely a very lucky experience that I get to do that every day,” she says.

Alyssa Horwitz (third from left) and fellow Pages stand in front of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza.

There is no one way to become a page, Horwitz says.

“Whatever it is that makes you uniquely yourself, really emphasize that in your cover letters and your interview,” she says. “Lean into that personality whether it’s for the Page Program or for any type of creative entertainment field job or something that you’d be interested in after Newhouse.

“I think what makes you, yourself, is what will help you find the job that you’re meant to be in.”

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

Erin Westerman ’04 of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group to Keynote Newhouse Convocation Ceremony

Erin Westerman ’04

Erin Westerman ’04, president of production for the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, will give the keynote address at the Newhouse School’s 2023 Convocation Ceremony, to be held Saturday, May 13 at 12:30 p.m. in the JMA Wireless Dome. 

Overseeing the development and production of Lionsgate’s theatrical film slate, Westerman has grown the studio’s portfolio of well-known movie franchises during her tenure. They include her recently released fourth installment of “John Wick” and “Ballerina,” an upcoming spinoff film starring Ana de Armas. Later this year, Lionsgate also plans to release “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the prequel to the studio’s nearly $3 billion blockbuster franchise.  

Other projects overseen by Westerman read like a go-to list for movie-lovers. They include the original “Knives Out;” a film adaptation of “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret;” and the critically loved “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” starring Nicolas Cage.

Westerman has frequently been named to The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 list, where she is recognized for “her knack for courting A-list talent and winning bidding wars.” 

Before Lionsgate, Westerman was head of development at Good Universe, where she produced such hit films as “Always Be My Maybe,” “The Disaster Artist,” “Neighbors 2” and “Don’t Breathe.”

She began her career as a production executive at Walt Disney Studios where she oversaw production on films including “Cinderella,” directed by Kenneth Branagh, and “Into the Woods.”

Westerman earned a bachelor’s degree in television, radio and film from the Newhouse School in 2004 and graduated with a minor in psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences. 

All graduating students and their families are invited to attend the Newhouse Convocation Ceremony. Syracuse University Commencement will be held Sunday, May 14. For the most current information about Commencement Weekend, visit commencement.syr.edu.

Turning a Newhouse NYC Internship Into a Job

The Newhouse School’s Newhouse NYC program is a one-semester experience that allows students to intern for a prestigious media company while taking specialized coursework in New York City. For three alumni, their internships became more than just experience on a resume, but full-time, dream positions.

Brian Chau

By Samantha Rodino

Brian Chau

Brian Chau ‘22, an alumnus of the Newhouse advertising program, is now a junior art director at advertising agency Merkley+Partners. Chau works on visuals, concepting, online videos, TV commercials and social media posts for many companies, including the hamburger restaurant chain, White Castle. 

“Anytime you see an Instagram post or story there, a radio commercial, TV spot or commercial, I usually helped out in some capacity,” Chau says.

In the fall of his senior year, Chau interned with Merkley through the Newhouse NYC program. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the agency’s safety protocols, Chau’s internship was remote. “Working remotely was a good way to ease myself into making sure I’m working the set time I needed to, while still keeping myself in check.” 

The agency helped him transition into his internship and emphasized that no idea was bad. “Merkley was really good at making sure everyone was working well together and had a good work-life balance,” Chau says. “They also made sure that while we’re still interns, we’re still responsible for projects that we’re doing.” 

While working remotely, Chau couldn’t interact with co-workers as he would in an office, only seeing them for an hour or two per day. It made it difficult for Chau to get to know his co-workers on a personal level. “Especially as an art director, I have to work really well with my copywriter, my account team, my commercial team,” he says. “So, it helps if we know each other better as people and to help bounce ideas off each other.”

But those challenges didn’t slow him down, and after his internship ended, Merkley asked if Chau would like to work part time during his final semester at Syracuse University. He took the opportunity and established a schedule of less demanding projects to balance his academics and work. 

By transforming his internship into a job, Chau did what many students hope to do. Being a team player and having a positive mindset are his keys to any interns looking to make that transition. “You need to communicate well, work well, and you need to be nice. If you have that good vibe around you, it will translate to the company wanting you around.”

Samantha Rodino is a first-year student in the television, radio and film program at the Newhouse School.

Diana Kofman

By Griffin Uribe Brown

Diana Kofman

Diana Kofman ’20, G’21 graduated from Syracuse University twice: once with her undergraduate public relations degree in 2020, and again in 2021 with her master’s in public administration. As an undergraduate, she interned at APCO Worldwide, a company that in turn offered her a job after she finished her graduate degree.

Kofman first came to Newhouse undeclared in the fall of 2016, eventually majoring in public relations. She interned at APCO, an advisory and advocacy communications consultancy firm, while completing the Newhouse NYC program in 2019. 

Newhouse NYC director “Cheryl Brody Franklin sent over a list of organizations and companies that Newhouse had a connection with and there was someone from APCO on that list, and so it felt like fate,” Kofman says. “I reached out to her and she helped me secure my internship.”

At the firm, she found a welcoming environment filled with opportunity. As a client services intern, she worked directly on a client-facing account, managing a range of tasks and daily deliverables from media monitoring to drafting press releases.

As she was completing her master’s degree, Kofman stayed in touch with internship co-workers, keeping them updated on her studies and desire to work at APCO again.  “I never applied to APCO specifically,” Kofman says. “I got an email one day from one of the HR reps and they asked if I’d be interested in coming back.”

Kofman credits her Newhouse education for laying the groundwork for her public relations knowledge and helping her feel fully prepared for her position. She also emphasizes the value placed on networking and making connections, especially within the Newhouse Network. 

“The only advice that I have is to keep applying, keep putting your name out there, keep following up with connections and reaching out to people on LinkedIn,” Kofman says. “The Newhouse Network is strong and everyone’s always looking to help one another out.”

Griffin Uribe Brown is a first-year student in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Adrianne Morales

By Brooke Borzymowski 

Adrianne Morales

During her Newhouse NYC semester, broadcast and digital journalism alumna Adrianne Morales ‘21 was a social media intern at NBC News. When it came time to graduate and leave the television network, Morales cried; the experience and team had been so special to her. That’s why getting a call from her manager to apply for a position was “truly like God’s grace.”

After leaving NBC, Morales began a temporary fellowship with another company. As she was looking around for her next career move, her former NBC manager happened to present the opportunity to come back. After thinking it through, Morales made what was the right decision in the end.

“This was kind of my dream team, like exactly where I wanted to go,” Morales says. “So when [my manager] called me back, I said, ‘There’s an opportunity to be on this super small team where there’s never any openings. Absolutely I’m interested.’” 

In January 2022, Morales became a social media coordinator, a role that was supposed to be temporary. Nine months into her year-long contract, it was up to Morales’ team to figure out how they could keep her there.  

Ultimately, a social platforms editor position opened up at NBC News and her team encouraged her to apply for a more permanent role. Though Morales was competing with other applicants, she got the job. “It went from internship to fellowship to contract position to real job,” she says. “Now I’m permanent.” 

Morales’ best advice for turning an internship into a job is keeping in contact with everyone you meet and requesting colleagues and peers on social media to stay in each other’s lives even when you have moved on from a position.

As for the future, Morales doesn’t see herself anywhere else. “Hopefully, this is a 30-year thing for me.”

Brooke Borzymowski is a sophomore broadcast and digital journalism major at the Newhouse School.

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.”  

Multimedia, photography and design alumnus honored for photo essay

Gavin Liddell
Gavin Liddell

Gavin Liddell ’20, G’22 always knew he was destined for a life behind the camera. He arrived at the Newhouse School in 2016 as a photography student in the visual communications department. After graduation he continued his education, earning a master’s degree in multimedia, photography and design with a specialization in photojournalism. In his almost six years at Newhouse, Liddell displayed his impressive work in The Daily Orange and The NewsHouse, while wrestling with what type of photojournalist he would become. Eventually, Liddell combined his love for athletics with his passion for photography, deciding to pursue a career in sports photojournalism. 

“I came to Syracuse knowing that I wanted to do photography but really not knowing where I wanted to go with it,” he says. “It wasn’t until my junior year that I started to actually take an interest in photographing sports. It slowly progressed to me photographing all of the sports that Syracuse had to offer.”

First-year forward Anthony (Tony) Larkin in the locker room after the Syracuse University’s men’s club ice hockey team‘s first win of the season against Oswego State. Larkin took a shot to the facemask during the first overtime. Photo by Gavin Liddell

Liddell went on to capture photographs for many stories including “Grit & Glory,” his most influential and meaningful project. It’s an intimate photo essay documenting Syracuse University’s men’s club ice hockey team, accompanied by broadcast and digital journalism junior Braden Reed’s story. Liddell’s warm yet unflinching photographs portray bloody injuries, exhaustion, camaraderie, disappointments and victories.

“I always called it 20 miles, 20 smiles—that season that I got to spend with the club hockey team is something that I will never forget,” Liddell says. “They let me in and gave me trust and gave me respect, and hopefully I gave them that same feeling. I’ve definitely looked back on that project and cried a few times and have had some emotions.”

Liddell was not the only one moved by his experience with the ice hockey team. Seth Gitner, associate professor in visual communications, commended Liddell on his unwavering commitment and journalism skills. 

Syracuse University’s men’s club ice hockey team watches tape in their hotel room before an away game against the University of Delaware. Photo by Gavin Liddell

“Gavin was so dedicated to getting this project right that he spent every waking hour that he could with the team on the road and on campus,” Gitner says. “The guys actually made him an honorary member of the team by giving him a jersey at their end of season banquet. Part of being a good journalist is the ability to build relationships with the people that you cover so that they trust you. Gavin did that and then some.”

Throughout the last few months, Liddell has accumulated numerous awards and honors for “Grit & Glory” including runner-up for Best Photojournalism on a College Website at the EPPY Awards; first place for Photo Slideshow at the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) Pacemakers and Individual Awards; an honorable mention for Sports Photo in the ACP Clips & Clicks Contest; two first place honors at the Pinnacle College Media Awards; and an Award of Excellence at the Broadcast Education Association On-Location Creative Awards competition.

All of these accomplishments are remarkable, but Liddell is most proud to be honored as a finalist in the prestigious College Photographer Of the Year (CPoY) competition, in the Still Photography category. 

“When I first got to Newhouse I had never heard of the CPoY, and it wasn’t until my junior year that I felt like I had some stuff to toss my hat into the ring for,” he says. “But I didn’t win junior year, I didn’t win senior year, I didn’t win anything the first year of my masters program—and I was never hung up on winning and I loved seeing my peers win—but it was always a goal of mine.”

After graduating in May 2022, Liddell took a job as a seasonal photographer for the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s making the most of it, while acknowledging what it took to get there.

“Take every opportunity that is handed to you and do your best with it,” he says. “I’ve been scared going into every single project that I’ve ever done. But I’ve gone in with a full heart, an open mind, the willingness to just be there to learn and make mistakes and come out on the other side with connections and new experiences. I think that you just need to say yes to every opportunity in Newhouse.”

Alix Berman is a first-year student in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Alumnus transforms failures into career success

Brian Gewirtz

Alumnus Brian Gewirtz ’95 dreamed of attending  the Newhouse School, but little did he know this one goal would open up doors for the rest of his life. 

“For me, Newhouse was the dream, it was the pinnacle,” he says. “It was really the only place I wanted to go.”

After graduating from Newhouse’s television, radio and film program, Gewirtz moved to Los Angeles and jumped into a staff writer position for “Jenny,” a sitcom that was canceled in January 1998 after only 10 of the intended 17 episodes aired. In the midst of looking for a new job, Gewirtz met an MTV employee, submitted samples of his writing and ultimately got a job writing for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). In an industry of outrageous costumes, characters and performances, Gewirtz met some of the most influential people in his career, including actor and former superstar wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

“I got hired by MTV and in the course of that I met Nick Foley, Triple H and most essentially, The Rock, who liked the stuff that I had written for him and recommended me for a writing position at WWE,” he says. 

Gewirtz always enjoyed wrestling, watching WWE since he was 11 years old. Working for shows that entertained him as a child was exciting, but much different than he ever imagined. Though his “surreal” job as head writer was filled with WWE celebrities, Gewirtz says he was never starstruck, refusing to let his admiration overcome the work that needed to be done. 

The Newhouse alumnus decided to document his industry experiences, and formulated his writings into an idea for a television show. He pitched it to Fox, but the pilot wasn’t picked up.

“Some pilots go, and some pilots don’t, and this one didn’t. And in a way I’m glad it didn’t, ” Gewirtz says. 

Dwayne Johnson and Brian Gewirtz

Gewirtz took that rejection and transformed his writings into a book. “There’s Just One Problem…: True Tales from the Former, One-Time, 7th Most Powerful Person in WWE,” describes the chaotic and dreamlike atmosphere behind the scenes of WWE. In the book, Gewirtz details screaming matches with former chairman and WWE CEO Vince McMahon, appearing in “wrestler’s court,” his professional relationship with Johnson and more.

“I wanted to take ownership of my stories and my experience,” Gewirtz says.

After all the jobs he’s held in the entertainment industry, he notes that becoming an author feels like his most distinguished role. 

“I do have to say once you put something on paper it’s the clearest expression of your voice,” Gewirtz says. “The book was extremely rewarding and fun to do because at the end of the day it lives or dies based on what’s coming out of your head while you are writing.”

After 16 years in the WWE, Gewirtz decided it was time to move on. He’s now an executive producer for television shows “Tales from the Territories” and “Young Rock,” again working with Johnson. About a year ago, Gewirtz and Johnson wrote an episode for the series—which chronicles the former wrestler’s younger years—about Johnson’s first ever match in WWE. The episode allowed Gewirtz to re-experience the joy of screenwriting, something he had not done since early in his career.

Gewirtz’s time at the Newhouse School set him on a path for success, though it wasn’t immediate. At Seven Bucks Productions—a production company he’s been with since 2012—he even works with many alumni, and says that discussing Newhouse’s programs and Syracuse University is always a great icebreaker. 

Now, in the midst of a booming career fraught with early failures and disappointment, Gewirtz offers a piece of advice.

“Don’t be afraid of failure, because there is a lot of rejection, and don’t be afraid to put in the work– because you need to.”

Alix Berman is a first-year student in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.