Temple Northup G’08

Temple Northup graduated from Newhouse in 2008 with a master’s in media studies. He currently works as the director of the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.

“From theory to research, the courses at Newhouse set me on the right path to become an effective researcher, which is what led me to getting tenure at my first university.”

Temple Northup, G’08

How did you obtain your current position?

I just started this position in July 2020 after being at the University of Houston the previous nine years. At the University of Houston, I was director of the Valenti School of Communication, a position I held for the last five years I was there. Before that, I was at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, which is where I got my Ph.D. after graduating from Syracuse with my M.A.

What’s an average day like for you on the job?

These days, average days are a bit different as I spend so much time on Zoom. But, ignoring that component of it, I would say it’s hard to describe an “average” day as they are almost never identical. As the administrative head of the school, my first and most important task is to make sure everything is running as planned—all our classes are happening, faculty are supported in their needs and our students are getting the help they need to graduate on time. Beyond those tasks, which take up a lot of time, I also work hard reaching out to alumni of the school in order to build stronger relationships with them, and to find new sources of revenue for our program. I also like to spend time thinking strategically about what we as a media school need to be doing to position ourselves as a leader in the field and what changes we need to make in order to keep our students prepared for the workforce.

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

Newhouse absolutely prepared me for my role—and frankly continues to help me in this position. It did this in a few ways.

First, being a graduate of the Newhouse M.A. in media studies, I got really well trained in some of the most important and core aspects of the communication discipline—from theory to research, the courses at Newhouse set me on the right path to become an effective researcher, which is what led me to getting tenure at my first university.

Second, getting to be a student at Newhouse meant I got to see some of the best faculty in action. As a future faculty member, and then administrator, I know what great teaching looks like, and I know what it looks like to be a great mentor to students. Those lessons I have carried with me in all aspects of my career.

Finally, being part of Newhouse meant I got to see some of the most innovative programs in the country—and that is something I continue to do. As the leader of a different school, I keep an eye on what Newhouse is doing because I know it will always be leading the field. I have such respect for all aspects of the Newhouse School, if I can lead our program to be anywhere near as strong, then I am doing great things!

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

When I applied to Newhouse, I honestly did not anticipate what it would truly be like or where my career would go. In that sense, it absolutely opened my eyes to becoming not just a teacher, which is what I had thought about doing after I graduated, but also an engaged researcher. The enthusiasm of the faculty and their research agendas was contagious, and although I entered the program thinking about teaching one day, I left wanting to do much more—I wanted to conduct research.

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

The main thing that drew to Newhouse was its reputation. There are only a handful of programs in the US that everyone knows from its name, and Newhouse was one of those. That is unique—and the benefits pay off after you leave as I am constantly meeting people who went to Newhouse, and the network it provided me has been very beneficial during my career.

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

Some of my research has gotten a lot of attention within the media—with one of them getting so much coverage, I actually ended up flying to New York City to appear on Fox & Friends (a place, for many reasons, I never thought I would be). That was quite an experience and certainly one of the more exciting things that have happened! I’ve also gotten to interview many high-profile media personalities including Anderson Cooper, which was really fun.

Northup Temple with Anderson Cooper
Temple Northup with Anderson Cooper. Photo courtesy of Temple Northup.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

I think it’s super important to connect with faculty early and get to know them. They are your best resources whatever your career goals, and so the better they know you, the more they will help you after graduation.

Facilitated by their program director, new media management alumni find success

Two alumni of the Newhouse School’s new media management (NMM) program received national honors at the Mutual Fund Industry Awards ceremony in July.

Sebastian Benkert G’13 was named Marketer of the Year and Tom Staudt G’13 was named a “Rising Star.” The awards program recognizes business leaders, creative minds and top performers in the U.S. asset management industry.

Benkert is chief marketing officer and Staudt is chief operating officer of ARK Invest, which they joined just after its inception.

Staudt came to Newhouse with a plan to someday run a television station. After completing the NMM program, he earned an M.B.A. from Cornell University and was offered a job at SONY Television. But at the request of Stephen Masiclat, director of NMM, Staudt interviewed with ARK Invest and subsequently joined the company.

“[He] ended up joining a firm that [had a high] chance of failing,” Masiclat says. “Instead, he became an integral member of the team that built one of the best investment firms in the business, and I am certain that Tom’s efforts are a significant component of that success.”

Staudt says Masiclat has played a key role in his life.

“I will never be able to adequately thank Steve for all that he has given and contributed to my life. His ability to challenge while teaching, guide while mentoring and provide a sounding board of sage advice has had a profound impact on me academically and professionally,” he says. “But perhaps most important is that I am honored to personally call him a friend.”

Benkert, a native of Germany, was the first Fulbright Scholar to join the NMM program. Masiclat calls him “the most talented communication designer to ever come to NMM.” His name was at the top of the list when CEO Catherine Wood approached Masiclat as she was starting ARK Invest, seeking recommendations for alumni who could help build awareness of the firm. Though his Fulbright Scholarship meant Benkert had to leave the country within a year of joining ARK, Wood hired him anyway, and he continued consulting for ARK in Germany until he could return to the U.S. in 2018.

NMM alumna Lisa Dodd G’15, also works at ARK Invest as head of PR and communications. She met Benkert, Staudt and Wood during the NMM Spring Seminar in New York City. She also interviewed with the company at Masiclat’s urging, joining the team in July 2015.

“Given her talent, her grit and the quality of the team at ARK, I expect her to be an award recipient in the future,” Masiclat says.

Top: The ARK Invest team. Staudt is at right, Benkert is fourth from right and Dodd is front row, third from left.

Alumni Insights

Virtual events allow alumni and students to connect online.

When the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to in-person events, the Newhouse School found a new way to connect students and alumni: virtual events.

A series of events featuring alumni guests from all areas of the communications industry kicked off just after the end of the spring semester and ran through the summer, drawing hundreds of attendees from across the country. Similar events will continue to be offered this fall.

May 8: Weijia Jiang G’06, who was named CBS News White House correspondent in 2018, discussed her job covering the Trump administration during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moderated by associate dean Joel Kaplan, the talk covered everything from social media to press conferences to the relationship between the president and the media.

May 14: Chris Licht ’93, executive producer and showrunner for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and executive vice president of special programming at CBS, discussed the challenges and unexpected rewards of producing the show from home in a conversation moderated by associate dean Hub Brown. Attendees were also treated to a surprise brief appearance by Stephen Colbert.

May 21: Meredith Goldstein ’99, “Love Letters” columnist and entertainment reporter for The Boston Globe, discussed her role as an advice columnist—how she got there, and how it has changed during the pandemic. Associate professor Aileen Gallagher moderated the discussion.

May 28: Sportscasters Mike Tirico ’88, host and play-by-play with NBC Sports Group, and Ian Eagle ’90, play-by-play announcer with CBS Sports, YES Network, TNT and Westwood One Radio, joined Olivia Stomski, director of the Newhouse Sports Media Center, to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact the future of sports.

June 2: Time magazine film critic Stephanie Zacharek ’83 discussed how the act of moviegoing has changed in the time of coronavirus, and offered predictions on the future of the film industry, in a conversation with Eric Grode, director of the Goldring arts journalism and communications program.

June 10: Shelvia Dancy, professor of practice in broadcast and digital journalism, moderated a conversation with four alumni who were on the ground covering the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the country. Guests were A.J. Lagoe ’00, investigative reporter at KARE 11, Minneapolis; Liz Sawyer ’14, reporter at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis; Norman Seawright G’14, reporter at WCCO in Minneapolis; and Cheryl Wills ’89, anchor at NY1 in New York.

June 18: Lewis Williams, executive vice president and chief creative officer at Burrell Communications, discussed how brands are taking a stand against racism. Beth Egan, associate professor of advertising, moderated the discussion.

June 25: Rebekah Jones ’12, former geographic information systems manager for the State of Florida Department of Health, discussed her role in tracking Florida’s COVID-19 data, and the political fallout from her attempt to maintain transparency. Newhouse Dean Emeritus David Rubin moderated the discussion.

July 1: Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Michael M. Santiago G’19 shared his experiences covering the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and discussed his recent departure from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bruce Strong, chair of the visual communications, and Mike Davis, Alexia Tsairis Chair for Documentary Photography, moderated the discussion.

Aug. 13: Assistant professor Jennifer Grygiel hosted a conversation with Ahiza García-Hodges G’13, reporter at NBC News, Alfred Ng ’15, senior reporter at CNET, and Steve Kovach ’08, tech editor at CNBC, to discuss the current status of TikTok, and implications for the social media industry, investors and freedom of expression in the U.S.

Future events will be posted on the Newhouse events calendar and publicized via the school’s social media channels.

Newhouse alumna changes the way Black stories are covered in one of the most segregated cities in America

Madison Carter ’16 focuses her news coverage on communities that often go overlooked by the media

“In every job I’ve had in this industry, I came in as the only Black woman in the building,” says Madison Carter ’16, graduate of Newhouse’s broadcast and digital journalism program, and anchor and investigative reporter for Buffalo’s WKBW-TV. “It’s lonely, and it’s isolating, and honestly it makes you feel crazy at times.”

Buffalo is one of the most segregated cities in America, according to a U.S. Census Bureau study. Carter says she wants to “show the community, all of the community,” to her viewers.

When the Black Lives Matter protests happened in Buffalo this summer, Carter was vocal about how her station covered the story. She knew that if she didn’t speak up about how Black stories were covered in predominantly white markets, there would be no change.

“I would say more than 70% of the coverage out there, I was disappointed with. Because it wasn’t about explaining to viewers why we’re seeing what we’re seeing,” she says. “A lot of people were out there talking about what they could see, while I as a Black woman was speaking about what I know.”

Madison Carter
Madison Carter ’16

From the start of her career, Carter’s focus has been on telling stories about Black communities and other communities of color.

“What drew me to journalism, after I truly understood what the job was, was the ability to tell stories that sometimes go untold or overlooked,” says Carter. “You just don’t see people of color on TV.”

Carter says that making the shift to include Black stories and perspectives in Buffalo’s news coverage was hard at first.

“I think the challenge was getting news managers to understand that they’re trying their hardest, but they’re not doing enough. They just don’t know enough. They were not informed enough, educated enough,” she says. “It takes an open-minded boss, and you don’t find many of those in this industry. Luckily, my boss was.”

Carter has been outspoken in her newsroom about diversifying the media to properly represent the community it is serving.

“It’s not that you have to put the Black reporter on the Black story,” says Carter. “You should have enough reporters who are educated enough about communities with people that don’t look like them or cultures they didn’t come from.”

Carter had identified the problem but still needed to find a solution; most newsrooms simply don’t have enough staff to properly cover all parts of the community, she says. She decided that if she was going to raise the concern to her boss, she would also have to come with resources and solutions, so she spoke to her managers and co-workers about switching the narrative behind the coverage, and she saw a shift.

“We’ve got to do better than this. You’ve got to leave your newsroom. You’ve got to go into communities with Latino people, with Black people, with Asian people,” she says. Asking questions and seeking experts about topics reporters don’t know anything about is the correct way to educate viewers.

She also knew that if her viewers didn’t care about racism because they felt unaffected by it, she would have to find ways to show them how racism hurts the whole community.

“I have to find a way to convince someone who’s not Black that this matters to them, or that this has an effect on their life.”

One way to do that is by going for their pockets, she says.

“Racism is not free,” says Carter. “It’s showing taxpayers like, ‘You pay this person’s salary who discriminated against all these Black men and women. So if you support racism, keep on paying him.’”

Another method is “quietly normalizing” Black stories, she says. “I want to tell stories about Black people, without them being Black stories exclusive to the Black community. I want to normalize [getting] an expert on childhood trauma [who is] a Black woman with natural hair. So, you just find that normal.”

Subtly but effectively changing the way Buffalo consumes news is how Black stories will make their way into the mainstream media. It’s what Carter calls “infiltrating the system.”

Carter is thankful for her professors at Newhouse for pushing her and her classmates to go outside the Syracuse University bubble and discover the community’s stories. She says it’s important for rising reporters to remember that the community where they live and work is not necessarily the community that they serve.

“[My professors] were educated, and they knew, and they said, ‘Hey, we’re sitting on this private school, this big hill, and this is not Syracuse for real. Like, if you leave here, this community is divided by an interstate,’” she says. “Newhouse prepared me to leave my newsroom, leave the hill, and go out into the community and understand it.”

Adrianne Morales is a senior in the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

CBS News journalist Brandi Kellam G’11: ‘Always do more than what’s expected’

For CBS News digital journalist Brandi Kellam G’11, reaching the end of her master’s degree studies at Newhouse was only the beginning of her career journey.  She wasn’t sure exactly where that journey would lead, and her message to students is, that’s okay.

Brandi Kellam

“It’s okay for students to technically not know which path they care to take when they graduate,” says Kellam, who adds it’s important for students to have confidence and not get caught up in the end game when just starting out.

According to Kellam, “Confidence is a big part of being successful. Sometimes you graduate and you don’t know what you want to do in the industry.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be on air or producing.  That’s okay.”

Kellam delivered this message on Friday, July 24, to Newhouse broadcast and digital journalism (BDJ) students in the Washington, D.C., graduate capstone program. Kellam graduated from the program in 2011. Her talents first landed her positions at MSNBC, where she started as an intern and was hired full time. Kellam impressed early on, expressing a desire to come in unpaid on weekends to learn the role of the booking producer who helps to secure guests for newscasts. Her offer, in turn, led to a job offer—her first full-time professional position at MSNBC, all the while continuing to impress.

“I came up with an idea to provide a cheat sheet to one of the anchors I was working with,” Kellam says. “I wasn’t asked to do it but I did, and these notes became so popular that all the other anchors wanted them, too. Everyone was using my notes and that gave me a leg up and I made an impression.”  Kellam’s advice is gold. “If you do more than people ask you to do, that will always open doors.”

Kellam conducts an interview during coverage of the George Floyd murder.

And it did.  Kellam now works as a digital journalist for CBS News, covering some of the most meaningful stories in history, including the pandemic and the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.

For a young person from Chesapeake, Virginia, who studied sociology and ran track as an undergrad it’s not the path she intended to take. But that’s just the point.

“What (journalism) has always needed is for people willing to stand out in a way that you’re not trying to fit in,” says Kellam. “I never felt I fit the mold of a traditional journalist. Most people I went to school with knew from an early age they wanted this, but I didn’t. I wasn’t shaped by that, and that allowed me to not fit a certain mold. I think that gives me a different perspective,  and that’s what makes journalism great. Different voices in the conversation.”

Kellam says that when first starting out, a young journalist may hesitate to add their voice, but she believes it’s important that they do. “As a young journalist you have the power to do that and I want students to know that.”

As Kellam continues down her career path, the next step may be a move away from short-form news, and a move toward long-form, as in documentary production. “The future really is digital, and I’d like to combine my interest in documentary filmmaking and journalism and create my own content in a deeper way than what I’m doing now.”

It’s easy to see that by doing more than what’s expected, Kellam will easily achieve this goal too.

Some additional examples of Brandi Kellam’s reporting include: