Alumna entrepreneur hosts ‘Creators and Coffee’ for Syracuse University students

Alumna Kelsey Davis ’19, G’20, founder and CEO of CLLCTVE, will host a “Creators and Coffee” event Monday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. under the tents outside Newhouse 1. The networking event gives creative-minded students a chance to come together and chat with Davis about their creative journeys, and how to seek out the tools and resources they need to be successful. Students will also have the opportunity to have a free headshot taken during the event.

Kelsey Davis
Kelsey Davis ’19, G’20, founder and CEO of CLLCTVE

Davis, recently recognized on the Forbes “30 under 30” list, earned a bachelor’s degree from the Newhouse School and a master’s degree from the Whitman School. She co-founded CLLCTVE with School of Information Studies alumnus Brendan O’Keeffe ’20 while they were undergraduates. The online platform fosters a community for creators around the country to showcase who they are and what they do, and provides an opportunity for collaboration that would not exist otherwise. Davis says they are now hoping to bring these creator community experiences to campuses across the country, providing students with a network they may find challenging to form on their own.

“Since launching CLLCTVE as students on campus, we’ve witnessed incredible collaborations and opportunities grow between creators and brands who wouldn’t have met each other if it weren’t for our platform,” she says. “I’m excited to partner with the same campus environment I first grew in as a creator and entrepreneur to provide students with these same opportunities.”

CLLCTVE is now is supported by Google for Startups, Techstars and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The company is now based in Los Angeles, but is still connected with Syracuse University.

“CLLCTVE to me has always been about bringing together a community that empowers and opens doors for young creators,” says Lynn Seah ’22, a content manager at CLLCTVE. “I’m excited to bring together creators in a space where they can have fun meeting similar people and making meaningful connections that could translate into future collaborators, friends or even mentors.”

“Most universities don’t have built-in opportunities or focus on building networks for creators on campus,” says Kaila Mathis, growth manager at CLLCTVE. “This leads to a lack of connections, resources and tools allowing creators to pursue careers in what they’re truly passionate about. Our mission with these events, as a company, is to bridge that gap and enable everyone to create the life they want.”

For more information, contact Mathis at

Former students connect Syracuse community with media

Former multimedia, photography and design graduate students Eric Derachio Jackson Jr. and Mylz Blake created Black Cub Productions to give underrepresented communities in Syracuse a platform to be creative.

Eric Derachio Jackson, Jr.
Eric Derachio Jackson Jr.

Eric Derachio Jackson Jr. and Mylz Blake have been friends since middle school. They attended the Newhouse School as master’s students in the multimedia, photography and design program together. Now, they are co-founders of Black Cub Productions (BCP), a multimedia creative agency based in Syracuse.

Although mixing business with friendship can be tense, Jackson says working with Blake is one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

“[We] can talk to each other about anything and be able to really communicate and express how we feel, listen to one another,” Jackson says. “We both know what we want, and I think that’s always something we keep at the forefront of what we do. [We understand] what we want out of this business and, more importantly, our life.”

Jackson and Blake had the idea to start BCP while they were students. After leaving Newhouse, they felt prepared to turn their idea into a reality.

“In the Newhouse grad program, they really push you to learn how to be your own multimedia storyteller, and it’s kind of similar to being an entrepreneur,” Jackson says. “[We thought,] ‘We want to tell stories. Let’s just go and tell stories.’”

They began by making documentaries for nonprofits in the Syracuse area, but found that they often saw opportunities to use their work for marketing that their clients missed, which inspired them to expand BCP into a full service agency.

“The main thing that gave us the courage to say, ‘This is something we want to do,’ was we were very, very passionate about having people who look like us, Black people, entering this space of multimedia… and most importantly, of storytelling,” Jackson says. The goal went from creating the work themselves, to enabling people from Black and other diverse communities to tell their own stories.

We felt that if we started something as two Black men hoping to bring in more people who look like us, and just diverse people in general, we could build a space that’s for diverse creatives and that’s putting [our stories at] the forefront.”

One way BCP is doing that is by teaching future generations of creatives how to be storytellers.

The Central New York Community Foundation, a philanthropic foundation in Syracuse, created a program called the Black Equity & Excellence Fund, which supports Black-led community-based projects. Jackson and Blake became interested in the program and created Life Through My Own Lens, a 12-week storytelling program for students in grades seven to 12.

“They learn everything from storytelling to public speaking to how to interview to how to be interviewed,” Jackson says.

The inaugural program took place in April. Canon supplied cameras and the students learned how to use different lenses, how to light a shot and how to compose a story. At the end of the program, the students put together a final presentation in which they told their own stories.

“This [program] was super important to us because…I didn’t really want this to just be the Eric and Mylz show,” Jackson says. “We wanted to find a way to allow diverse creatives to not feel like they have to go to Hollywood or Atlanta or New York City to produce films. It can happen right here in Syracuse. We wanted to open the door for diverse creatives to be able to have great employment in this field, as well as just access to [storytelling].”

Jackson and Blake will host another session of the program this fall and are hoping to keep it going after that, extending it to include older storytellers as well. It’s their intention that through teaching these skills, they can help bring new business opportunities to the community.

“The Black community in Syracuse is one of the poorest in the nation,” Jackson says. “Being able to bring media to them seems to help that community to start building itself back up through this work.”

But whether it’s for money or not, Jackson says storytelling is its own reward.

“Your perspective and creativity is a gift,” he says, “and it doesn’t exist in the world until you give it.”

Adrianne Morales ’21 is an alumna of the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Newhouse alumnus tells story of crucial victory for LGBTQ equality

Patrick Sammon ’97 co-directed “Cured,” a documentary chronicling the fight to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s official list of mental disorders.

Patrick Sammon and Bennet Singer
Patrick Sammon (left) and Bennett Singer produced and directed “Cured.” (Photo by Erika Christie)

When Patrick Sammon ’97 first arrived at Newhouse, he thought he was going to be a sports broadcaster. Now almost 30 years later, Sammon is an award-winning independent filmmaker.

His most recent project, “Cured,” is set to open this season of PBS’s Independent Lens Oct. 11. The documentary, which Sammon co-created with fellow documentary filmmaker Bennett Singer, follows the fight to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s official list of mental disorders. “Cured” has won the audience award from Frameline, the biggest LGBTQ film festival in the world, and Best Documentary of 2021 from the American Historical Society Association. We talked to Sammon about the importance of LBGTQ history, his career path and how sometimes the best way to begin a career in documentary filmmaking is to just try to make a documentary on your own.

How did this documentary come about?

A friend [asked me to] read his film script and [had a scene that took place at] the 1972 APA annual meeting when Doctor Anonymous, a psychiatrist, had to dress in disguise in order to talk to his fellow psychiatrists about what it was like to be a gay psychiatrist. I had been familiar with this story, but reading my friend’s script, it jumped off the pages at me as something that would make an incredible documentary. I was pleasantly surprised that another documentary about the same subject hadn’t been done before, because this moment is so central in the history of LGBT equality. As long as we were classified as mentally ill, then business and government [will] use that as an excuse to discriminate. So this had to be the first domino to fall on the path to equality. I recruited my friend Bennett Singer to join me, and we did our first interview in the spring of 2015. We finished the production right before the pandemic. We were still doing online editing during the early days of the pandemic, and we released it virtually in film festivals in August 2020. Now, we’re excited to bring it to a national television audience.

Cured poster with the text, "Meet the LGBTQ activists who refused to accept psychiatry's mental-illness label and changed history."

What did you hope to achieve?

We really wanted to have this film as a testament to the courageous individuals who stepped up and achieved this victory, and that was one of our challenges in telling this story. The outcome of this fight wasn’t inevitable. It’s often easy when looking back through history to say, “Well, it was always going to turn out that way,” but actually events turn out that way because of the actions of individuals who join a fight and try to create change. When these activists started fighting in the late 60s and early 70s, it was a David vs. Goliath situation. So that was also one of the things we wanted to convey in the film—this outcome wasn’t inevitable. From a filmmaking perspective, that was a challenge because everyone knew the outcome of this story when they started watching it, but you need to try and create drama along the way, and I hope that we did that.

What was your path from studying broadcast journalism at Newhouse to co-creating this award-winning documentary?

I’ve basically had three careers. I started as an intern at the CBS affiliate in Watertown [New York]. Then in ’99, I worked as a general assignment reporter in Tennessee at WJHL. I enjoyed being a reporter but knew I didn’t want to do it forever.

From that experience, I knew I was interested in documentary filmmaking, so after doing some networking, I moved to Washington, D.C. in January of ’03 with no job, everything I owned in my car and $3,000 in the bank. I ended up taking a detour and worked in LGBT activism at Log Cabin Republicans for five years, but I always wanted to get back to documentary filmmaking. When I left in 2009, my résumé was odd, so at that point, I knew the best way for me to get into documentary filmmaking was to just make a documentary.

I then embarked on making a documentary called “Codebreaker” about the life and legacy of Alan Turing, the gay British code breaker, and during that production, I met Bennett Singer, my co-director on “Cured.” It’s been quite a long journey, but ultimately I’ve always been interested in storytelling, and that’s really what’s propelled my career forward.

What advice would you give to Newhouse students just starting out in their careers?

You just have to put one foot in front of the other. If I knew, on the day I decided to try and make “Codebreaker,” that it would take so many years to create and distribute, I would have gotten discouraged. Similarly, with “Cured” it’s been such a journey. So just take one foot in front of the other and don’t get discouraged.

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

Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival to be held virtually Sept. 23 – 25

The 19th annual Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival, slated for Set. 23 – 25, will be held virtually this year. The event is sponsored by the Syracuse University Humanities Center and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and is part of the 2021-22 Syracuse Symposium: Conventions.

Members of the campus community with an email address will be able to stream each film for 48 hours, and will also have access to live Q&A sessions with the filmmakers. A complete schedule is available at

Newhouse School professor Tula Goenka and College of Arts and Sciences professor Roger Hallas are co-directors.

“We were forced to quickly learn how to host a first-rate virtual festival in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, and we were relieved that our campus community responded well,” says Goenka, founding director. “Earlier this summer, we began planning for an in-person event but due to continuing uncertainties of the Delta variant, we decided to be cautious and host it online once again. We are really looking forward to our 20th film festival being an in-person celebration next year!”

“Conventions” is a significant theme in this year’s festival program. The opening film, “No Ordinary Man,” is a highly inventive and illuminating portrait of jazz musician Billy Tipton, which radically challenges the genre conventions of the documentary biopic and interrogates the representation of transgender histories. A virtual Q&A with filmmakers Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt will be held Sept. 23, at 8 p.m. ET on Zoom.

“We’re delighted to bring this innovative and thought-provoking film to open our festival,” says Hallas. “While transgender lives and histories are gaining greater public recognition, Chin-Yee and Joynt have used performance as enthralling and playful means to interrogate the very stakes of cultural representation.”

The festival continues with “Belly of the Beast,” an empowering portrait of the women who are fighting the U.S. industrial prison complex’s systematic and secretive practices of violence and reproductive injustice against Black and Brown female prisoners. A Q&A with filmmaker Erika Cohn will be held Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. ET on Zoom.

Ajitpal Singh’s award-winning dramatic feature, “Fire in the Mountains,” closes the festival. A devoted mother toils to save money to build a road in a Himalayan village in order to take her disabled son for physiotherapy, but her husband believes that the traditional conventions of shamanic ritual will save them all. A Q&A with Singh will be Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. ET on Zoom.

Festival co-sponsors include the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications; David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics; School of Education; Department of English; Department of History; Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics; Department of Political Science; Department of Religion; Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric and Composition; Latino-Latin American Studies Program; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Studies Program; Renée Crown University Honors Program; Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC); Hendricks Chapel; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Resource Center; Lender Center for Social Justice; South Asia Center; Department of African American Studies; Department of Art & Music Histories; South Asian Student Association (SASA); and Students Advocating Safe Sex and Empowerment (SASSE)

All films are either closed-captioned or subtitled in English. Audio description in English is also available for each film. Virtual question-and-answer sessions will include Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART). If you require additional accommodations, contact Robyn Kobasa at or 315-443-1909 by Sept. 20.

For more information and a full schedule, visit Follow on Twitter at #SUHRFF.

Newhouse’s student-run digital media outlet features hands-on experience and award-winning work

The NewsHouse won 75 awards for student journalism in the last academic year. But students say it’s the opportunities, not the accolades, that make them want to work there.

When senior magazine major Amanda Paule went to a meeting for The NewsHouse’s Borderlines project she didn’t know what to expect. As a first-year student with no high school newspaper or journalism classes, she didn’t think that her pitch on Quebec nationalism would get accepted, let alone that she would be working with a graduate student on the story.

Amanda Paule
Amanda Paule

Paule is one of several Newhouse students who have won awards for work with The NewsHouse. She says she wishes she knew in high school that opportunities like this existed.

“It is a program that has changed my whole career trajectory. It’s exactly what I was looking for in terms of what I wanted to [do] in college,” Paule says. 

The NewsHouse is student-run digital media outlet housed at the Newhouse School. Students produce, edit and publish content for the outlet with guidance from Newhouse professors. Stories and projects hosted at have won numerous awards for everything from home page website design to TV sports coverage. While The NewsHouse primarily covers Syracuse University, annual projects also go deeper into selected topics. 

Borderlines, which explored the tensions around the U.S.-Canada border, was one of those projects. Thirty-six of the over 50 students who worked on the project traveled to the Canadian border in 2018 and returned with a breadth of stories told from both American and Canadian perspectives.

Amanda Paule interviewing a man at a grow house with camera people walking along.
Amanda Paule (middle) interviews Jacob Toth of Cornell University for a High Stakes story. Photo by Zachary Krahmer.

The 2019 project, High Stakes, covered the possible effects of marijuana legalization in New York state. Last year’s project, Deconstructing the Divide, explored inequality in the city of Syracuse and the activism addressing it. 

Magazine, news, and digital (MND) journalism professor of practice Jon Glass is the executive producer of The NewsHouse. He says that while he chooses the project topic, it’s the students who take the initiative to pursue stories. 

“That’s how I’ve always tried to structure The NewsHouse: provide the opportunities and see who can rise to the occasion,” Glass says. 

For Paule, it is those opportunities that makes The NewsHouse so unique. 

“They said, ‘Pitch anything that you want to pitch.’ That’s an opportunity you don’t always get, especially as starting journalists, because usually it’s, ‘You have to report on this project because that’s what we have for the day,'” Paule says. “With The Newshouse, all the opportunities are yours. Just pick.”

Paule has worked on every major NewsHouse project since she joined the organization during her first year at Newhouse. She says the ability to do long-form investigative work, like her AEJMC Award-winning article on Syracuse’s 15th ward, work in multiple mediums and work in teams has been incredibly valuable. However, it is the support from professors like Glass that keeps Paule coming back.

“I improved my journalism [by] leaps and bounds just [from] having all of that support,” Paule says. “It helped to crystallize that I’d be interested in pursuing a career working on these longer investigative projects.”

Cole Strong
Cole Strong. Photo by Bruce Strong.

For those not interested in the larger projects, The NewsHouse offers other opportunities, including expanding on class work; photography senior Cole Strong  was able to turn a class assignment into an award-winning story for The NewsHouse.

After Strong completed a documentary for his Video and Photography class, associate professor Seth Gitner urged Strong to pitch it to The NewsHouse. Glass ended up publishing Strong’s documentary and submitting it to the Broadcast Educators Association Festival of Media Arts and the White House News Photographers Association Eyes of History student contest, and the work won won awards in both cases. 

Strong is thankful to The NewsHouse and Glass for submitting his documentary because it gave him the confidence and credibility to pursue video work.

“It just made me go, ‘Okay, I can do this,'” Strong says. “I’ve actually talked with a couple of people in some companies that I really like and some of the people have been like, ‘This video you made won these awards? Wow, that’s really cool.'”

Glass says whether the work comes from classes or projects, the quality reflects the way the Newhouse school teaches students. 

“There are hundreds or thousands of stories written every year in classes and not all of them will necessarily get published, but it’s great that we were able to identify them, and students show interest and are motivated to work on them even more,” Glass says. “There seems like an endless number of opportunities, and the students who not only take advantage of them but work hard, get rewarded with recognition.”

A zoom meeting screenshot of five students and professor Dan Pacheco.
Professor Dan Pacheco (middle bottom) meets with Paule and four other Newhouse students to work on the Visualizing 81 project.

However, Paule and Strong didn’t work with the NewsHouse for the chance for recognition and awards. They did it because they valued the learning and storytelling opportunities.

“The NewsHouse was a place that took us in as journalists with little or no journalism experience, allowed us to pitch stories, met us where we were and then taught us how to get to where we wanted to go,” Paule says.

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

Professor wins Facebook Reality Labs research grant to study impacts of augmented and virtual reality

Makana Chock, David J. Levidow Professor of Communications at the Newhouse School, has been awarded a $75,000 research grant from Facebook Reality Labs to explore the impacts of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) on bystander privacy.

Makana Chock
Makana Chock

Chock will work with Se Jung Kim, a doctoral student in Newhouse’s mass communications program. They will focus on two countries with disparate cultural norms—the U.S. and South Korea—to examine the impact of cultural differences on privacy concerns and ultimately inform the design of AR/VR technology.

“This is another example of how many of the leading communications companies in the world are turning to the Newhouse School to better understand some of the challenges we are facing as a society,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato.

Chock developed her proposal, “AR/VR recording: Cultural differences in perceptions of bystander privacy,” in response to Facebook’s request for proposals on responsible innovation in AR/VR: “Consider Everyone.”  

Chock says the “ubiquitous and covert nature” of AR/VR recording poses the threat of serious privacy violations as bystanders are captured without permission. At the same time, different societies often have different concepts of bystander privacy, and those differences are reflected in the way image recording is regulated.

In the individualist culture of the U.S., recording bystanders in a public space is largely accepted and often protected under the First Amendment. In the collectivist culture of South Korea, where a higher premium is placed on privacy, express permission is required to record individuals. Yet even there, younger adults regularly post images and recordings on social media that may contain bystanders.

Additionally, Chock says bystander privacy issues are especially important when it comes to vulnerable populations like immigrants.

“Over the last few years, immigrants in both the U.S. and South Korea have faced restrictions and increased scrutiny from the government agencies, as well as discrimination and bullying from some members of their communities,” she says. “These factors may heighten concerns about privacy and the potential misuse of immigrants’ personal information or images. It is therefore important to increase awareness among AR/VR users of bystanders’ concerns and the potential for inadvertent harm.”

The three-part study will begin with an online survey conducted in both countries to assess potential differences in bystanders’ privacy perceptions and concerns and identify additional concerns of targeted immigrant groups. The team will then conduct a series of in-depth interviews with a subset of survey participants to provide additional qualitative data about cultural differences in bystander privacy concerns. Finally, they will facilitate a series of focus groups comprised of U.S. and South Korean users in a multi-user social VR environment in order to determine if the cultural differences seen in “real world” public spaces also apply in social VR spaces.

Chock is set to be the founding research director of the Newhouse School’s new XR lab and is co-leader of the Virtual and Immersive Interactions research cluster at Syracuse University.

New collaborative entrepreneurial program at Newhouse School will attract and support media startups

Oregon-based Rookie Road will be the first company to take advantage of Newhouse Startup Garage.

Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications today announced the creation of a collaborative entrepreneurial program that will integrate a unique set of services, facilities and capabilities for digital media and media tech startups.

The Newhouse-based collaborative workspace, which marries tech and communications, will be known as Newhouse Startup Garage. The program will  partner with media startups from all over the world by offering tailored services that will help the companies grow and succeed. At the same time, the program will provide unique, future-focused experiences for students through internships, job and research opportunities and other projects, all inside the Newhouse School.  

“Newhouse is committed to leading the way at the important intersection of technology and communication,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato. “Media is becoming a high-tech industry—that’s why this is such a good fit. Even better, our students get experience working in the future of media.”

The program will run under the auspices of the school’s Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship and its director, Sean Branagan.

“With this partnership, we extend media expertise and high-tech creativity and strategy via Newhouse faculty, students and more. It extends our offering of new services to allow our faculty and students to work more with new media startups worldwide,” Branagan says.

Newhouse Startup Garage will provide startups with on-campus office space, collaborative opportunities with Newhouse faculty and access to the Newhouse facilities, including Dick Clark Studios, the Alan Gerry Center for Media Innovation, the W2O Emerging Insights Lab and other spaces. Participating companies will establish co-op internships or job opportunities for students from Newhouse and across campus.

“Interning with a startup is different than a traditional internship,” Branagan says. “It’s an opportunity for students to do real work and be an integral part of the team—rather than just learning one part of a business or developing one particular skillset. Startup internships are the ultimate version of ‘getting your hands dirty.’”

Rookie Road will be the first company to take advantage of Newhouse Startup Garage. Co-founder and CEO Michael Gursha ’10 is an alumnus of Syracuse University, with degrees from the Newhouse School and the Whitman School of Management, and served as entrepreneur in residence at Newhouse in 2015-16.

“Creating this entrepreneurial workspace within the walls of Newhouse will provide amazing opportunities for students, faculty and staff to collaborate with media/technology startups and companies, right in their own backyard,” Gursha says. “We believe this workspace will lead to more innovation, cutting-edge collaborative research and new breakthrough technologies coming out of the Syracuse University community.”

Rookie Road is an innovative digital media technology company focused on creating unique, informative and engaging educational sports content. The company was founded by Gursha and his brother, Doug, who is the company’s president and chief technology officer. The brothers are joined by content analysts Andrew Prisco ’21 and Jayson Staiger ’21 and operations manager Jillian Barry ’20, all of whom interned for Rookie Road while they were students at Syracuse University.

“We’ve had incredible success hiring students, interns and full-time graduates from Newhouse and across Syracuse University,” Gursha says. “We believe having an on-campus presence will increase our ability to give students real-world experiences, and to continue finding great student talent in all disciplines. There is truly no better place for a digital media and tech company to establish a satellite office than inside the Newhouse School.”

Lodato says Rookie Road is a natural fit for Newhouse Startup Garage, given the company’s longstanding connection to the Newhouse School. “Rookie Road is a great example of what we hope to achieve with this program. It’s a company that has both been bolstered by Newhouse and has also given back to the school through internships and jobs for our students. We look forward to hosting them and continuing this successful model.”

Newhouse Startup Garage will be located at 220 Newhouse 1.

Alumna creates community for women of color in media

Oladotun Idowu ’14 founded Sisters in Media to connect women of color in media industries and help them find support and mentorship.

Oladotun Idowu
Oladotun Idowu ’14

When Oladotun Idowu ’14 started her first job after graduating from the public relations program at the Newhouse School, she felt a bit out of place. She realized she was prepared for her job, but not for the culture shock.

“It’s crazy how small microaggressions are and how they may have an effect on you,” Idowu says. “It’s also crazy how you [could be] disconnected from people because of your taste in things.” She gives an example: “When I graduated, I did not know what SoulCycle was.”

Idowu, who is Nigerian, knew she was not the first to experience this cultural divide between her white coworkers and herself. She knew how powerful mentorship and friendships within a corporate environment were, and she wanted to make those connections with women who would understand her experience. When she looked around, however, she didn’t see any women of color to connect with.

“If I knew someone in this industry, or if my mom were the VP, I would have a better experience trying to [understand social] rules. But because [that’s not the case], I have to work twice as hard,” Idowu says. “That’s where Sisters in Media comes in. It’s there to help you get networking relationships, mentor-mentee relationships.”

Idowu launched Sisters in Media in 2016 to help women of color get connected with recruiters and hiring managers via events like panel discussions and virtual conferences.

“It’s there for women to feel this inclusion and [to] feel a part of a community that really cares about them,” she says.

Running Sisters in Media while working full-time can be tiring, but Idowu says it’s worth it. While in Houston working on an event for Twitter, Idowu stepped outside to get some air and found a message from a woman who got a job at Disney because of connections made at a Sisters in Media event.

“[This] young woman reached out to me to say, ‘Thank you for putting events like these on because it really inspires me and it changed my life,’” Idowu says. “I just started crying.”

Sometimes, she says, doubt creeps in.

“I do this work, but [I wonder], is this even helping anybody? Why am I adding more stress to myself?” Idowu says. “But that moment is 100% worth it, because I remember being a recent college graduate and being like, ‘How the heck am I going to get a job?’”

To people of color feeling left behind in the classroom or in the industry, Idowu says imposter syndrome, a general feeling of inadequacy, is real, but you have to push past it.

“Go there and perform at your best,” she says. “The truth of the matter is we are already a little bit behind, for the fact that we are minorities, and we don’t have the same privileges as our white counterparts. If you allow imposter syndrome to hinder your growth in your career development, it would kill you. Do your best to ignore those things.”

For those interested in attending a Sisters in Media event, Idowu recommends following the organization on Instagram or signing up for email updates via the website.

Adrianne Morales ’21 is an alumna of the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.

Creative advertising students win big at One Show Young Ones competition

Newhouse creative advertising students took home seven awards from the 2021 One Show Young Ones competition, a school record. The wins included the school’s first One Show Pencil and ADC Cube Awards.

One Show Young Ones comprises two international competitions: One Show Young Ones Brief, which asks students to create work based on briefs from clients with specific advertising problems to solve, and One Show Young Ones ADC, which includes multiple competition categories and celebrates outstanding concept and craft. ​​ Newhouse students won the second-most awards in the ADC competition and the third-most in the Brief competition out of all U.S. schools. Entrants came from art and portfolio schools, colleges and universities from 23 countries.

“We’re so proud of the talented students who have reached another milestone on their journey to be creative professionals,” says James Tsao, advertising department chair. “Their work looks so effortless, but there are the countless hours of hard work, creativity and determination to make it happen.”

“The One Show Young Ones Brief and ADC competitions are some of the hardest competitions to win in because all of the top creative advertising schools enter them in droves worldwide,” says professor of practice Mel White.

“Creative awards are one of the ways the advertising industry keeps score,” says professor of practice Kevin O’Neill. “Proving you can win them before you’ve even left college helps propel our kids to good jobs in the country’s best creative departments.”

​​Rachel Hayashi ’21, art director, and Jessica Mastorides ’21, copywriter, won one of two Silver Pencils given worldwide in the Burger King Brief competition. The team won for their integrated campaign “Have It The Real Way,” shown in this case study video. The brief asked creatives to “develop an idea that communicates that 100% of Burger King’s menu is now 100% real (free of preservatives, colors and flavors from artificial sources) in a way that lands [its] most important belief: real food tastes better.”

“We came to this insight that the fast food you see in ads and on TV looks so perfect and amazing, but the food you get when you go does not look that appetizing,” Mastorides says. “We thought if Burger King wants to promote the fact that the ingredients for their entire menu are 100% real, they should show off their 100% real food in their ads without any of the styling or the fake things that they use to make the burgers look so unrealistically perfect.”

Hayashi says the hard work and determination the team put into “Have It The Real Way” helped them win a Silver Pencil.

“Our mindset from the get-go was that we really wanted to win,” Hayashi says. “I think that subconsciously pushed our ideas a lot. We struggled throughout the campaign, it was a lot of blood, sweat and tears. But it was worth it because we did take home a Pencil, and the first one for Newhouse.”

Sarah Sek ’21, art director, and Jessica Miranda ’21, copywriter, were the only winners worldwide in the ADC competition’s Interactive AR/VR category. The creative team won a Silver Cube for their LEGO campaign “Infinicoaster,” shown in this case study video. Their idea merges digital and physical play via virtual reality and a LEGO rollercoaster set.

“The problem we had to solve was making LEGO prevalent in a world where kids don’t play with toys as often as they used to and there are so many other distractions,” Sek says. “We thought about what LEGO could do to stay relevant. We were thinking about a fun way to combine the physical play of LEGO with the current digital realm. We wanted to make physical play relevant by making it exciting and fun for kids.”

Brian Chau ’22, art director, and Alye Chaisson ’21, copywriter, won a merit award in the Brief competition’s Out of Home category for their Spotify campaign “Drive into Your Daily Drive,” shown in this case study video. The brief asked creatives to promote Spotify’s new “Your Daily Drive” playlist, which had been developed to replace listening to the radio during users’ daily commutes. However, it launched right before the pandemic, when commuting steeply declined, so Spotify needed to promote the product in a different way.

“We researched where people were driving now that they’re not driving to work,” Chaisson says. “We were thinking about listening in the car while not commuting. That’s where we got the idea of road trips because a lot of people were going on road trips last year.”

During the creative process, Chaisson and Chau went back to the drawing board several times and came back with better ideas, helping them to create their final strong concept. Chau says his time at Newhouse prepared him for entering the advertising world.

“Being good at crunch time is a really good skill because sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to do everything you need to,” Chau says. “Being able to sit down and immediately start contemplating the moment you get a brief helps. That’s a good skill Newhouse teaches the creative students, alongside being good at concepting and making cohesive campaigns.”

In the Brief competition, Sam Luo ’21, art director, and Grace Curran ’21, copywriter, received a shortlist award in the Integrated category for their WhatsApp campaign “On Hold,” shown in this case study video. The brief asked creatives to create an awareness campaign empowering young adults to solve mental health challenges through WhatsApp. Luo and Curran found that Gen Z is the generation most likely to feel anxious, and the incessant buzzing of a phone can contribute to that anxiety. Their idea was “On Hold,” a “do not disturb” feature for WhatsApp that can detect anxiety in the user using facial and voice recognition and pause all notifications when they take a social media break.

“Our goal was to recognize and solve a problem among those who suffer from mental health issues and create a plausible solution,” Luo says. “We recognized how social media can be triggering to people when experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety.” 

Luo says working with Curran was amazing, noting her ability to write scripts that matched his big ideas.

“We work really well together and she understands my ways of approaching things,” he says. “We complement each other in a great way. I’m a visual person and jump around all the time. Grace is a very logical person, hence why she is such a brilliant copywriter, and she complemented my craziness.”

In addition to the Silver Cube, Newhouse students won three merit awards in the ADC competition. Luo won for his “McDelivery” print ad campaign in the Advertising/Press category. Cerinn Park ’20, art director, and Marta Lala ’20, copywriter, won one of six awards in the Design for Good/Product Design category for their P&G campaign “uTINTsil,” shown in this case study video. Kelsi Ryan ’20, art director, and Chloe Greenwald ’20, copywriter, won one of four awards in the Advertising/Innovation category for their Apple and GLAAD campaign “Deadnaming,” shown in this case study video.

​​“I’m very proud of our creative advertising student winners,” White says. “Winning these awards means that the ad industry has communicated that this student work is stellar.”

White makes the Young Ones briefs an integral part of the Portfolio III course, where the students work on these briefs in art director/copywriter creative teams. The Briefs competition winning campaigns were created in this course. The ADC competition winning entries were also created in White’s Portfolio III course, as well as in the Portfolio II course taught by O’Neill.

“These Young Ones briefs are difficult to solve and reflect the types of briefs in the industry,” White says. “When the students create original innovative solutions for such hard briefs, they are ready for the industry.”

Samantha Savery G’21 is a graduate of the Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications program at the Newhouse School.

Newhouse alumna wins Legacy Award for her career in music supervision

Maureen Crowe ’79 founded a guild to promote the recognition of music supervisors in film and television.

Maureen Crowe
Maureen Crowe

When Maureen Crowe ’79 went to California after graduating from the Newhouse School, she wasn’t planning on a career in music.

“I was going to learn film techniques to make important documentaries to save the world, [but] I ended up on the television show ‘Fame,'” she says. She nabbed a job as a production assistant in the music department for the show, and her career in music supervision was launched.

That career honored earlier this year when Crowe was recognized with the Guild of Music Supervisors‘s Legacy Award.

Crowe, founder of the guild, describes music supervision as “doing anything and everything” that has to do with music on a film or show.

“The music supervisor, just like anyone else on the film or set, serves the story,” Crowe says.

Crowe notes that the contributions of music supervisors have been widely overlooked, which is why she has worked to get the field the recognition it deserves. That includes the work she did to get music supervisors voting rights for the Grammy and the Emmy Awards. She is also very active in student outreach.

“Maureen has come in many times to talk with our students who are studying for careers in film and television,” says Syracuse University Los Angeles Semester director Robin Howard. “Visiting with Maureen, our students begin to really understand how the music they listen to can help them to be more impactful storytellers.”

Bill Werde, director of the Bandier Program, says Crowe is a visionary and leader when it comes to helping the industry better understand music supervision.

“I don’t think I’m overstating things to say that music might be the single most important aspect of delivering the emotional quotient of a scene. One could argue that she helped to create two of the most iconic film music collaborations in history,” Werde says, referring to Whitney Houston’s hit take on “I Will Always Love You” from “The Bodyguard,” and the classic moment in “Wayne’s World” during which stars Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey sing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in their car.

For students interested in getting involved with music supervision, Crowe’s advice is not to wait.

“Start where you are,” she says. “You don’t have to move to LA or New York.”

Crowe advises that students reach out to music supervisors and get their names out there. “Let them know you’ve followed their career and mention something specific about it. If you’re consistent with your efforts and respectful of their time, they’ll remember your name.”

Adrianne Morales ’21 is an alumna of the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.