Cameron Hill G’18

Cameron graduated from Newhouse in 2018 with a master’s in television, radio and film. He currently works as an editor and new content media supervisor with Transit Pictures.

“Newhouse gave me insight into how many different jobs exist in the filmmaking industry, but also how new media is changing those traditional roles.

Cameron Hill G’18

How did you obtain your current position?

It all happened kind of fast. I knew I needed an internship to complete my graduate degree, and a former high school teacher reached out to me saying a former student of his, Tony Valentino, had a production company and was looking for an intern. I had met Tony as a high school senior at an alumni event but hadn’t talked to him since. I didn’t let that discourage me, though, and I contacted him. Next thing I know, I’m flying to L.A. for the first time. I hit the ground running and was able to PA [production assist] on a couple shoots Transit had been contracted for. More often, I found myself in our studio space filming content for stand-up comedian Tony Baker’s YouTube channel. As my internship was coming to an end, both of the owners, Tony Valentino and Brennon Edwards, asked what my plans were and offered me a position at Transit. I accepted, and I’m still working there today.

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

Since I started working for Transit, there hasn’t been a “typical” day on the job. A Monday can start as early as a six a.m. call time for a full day of production, and then Tuesday I may be recording a podcast. Most often, my job entails prepping cameras and other gear for productions happening during the week. That involves doing camera builds based on the type of production. If it’s a multi-camera shoot then you have to configure the camera per its use on the production, meaning attaching shoulder mounts, balancing gimbals, using specialty lenses, etc. Along with prepping gear comes the production days, in which I’ll usually help with lighting or camera assisting. We also do a lot of our editing in-house, so I’ll sometimes assist in editing as well.

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

Newhouse prepared me through the production classes I took. Neal Coffey’s cinematography class gave me a very good technical understanding of working with cameras and lighting equipment, from getting proper exposure, lighting a green screen, to safety on set. All of that training directly transferred to the work I’m doing now. The TV production capstone also was a good experience in how it shows what goes into running a production as a whole and your part in a bigger process.

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

Newhouse gave me insight into how many different jobs exist in the filmmaking industry but also how new media is changing those traditional roles. Podcasts are no longer solely audio and now many have video elements too. The YouTube, Netflix, and Disney+ streaming ecosystem works differently than the broadcast mediums, and Newhouse helped to explain that and how it’s important to remain adaptable in this growing world of media.

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

Newhouse’s reputation and alumni drew me to the graduate program and the unique features of it being a one-year program for the television, radio and film degree. And I’m from Syracuse, so there was already a connection to the school.

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

Everyone’s path into the production field is completely different. My opportunity came from a connection with a former high school teacher, yours may be another PA you meet on set. A misconception I think students should be aware of is the idea that you have to work for one of the large companies to make it. I went the opposite route and wouldn’t change that approach. I chose to intern and then work for a smaller production company, which allowed me to have a hand in all of the different fields because I had to fulfill multiple positions. I find it to be an intense environment at a smaller company, but it’s rewarding because I have a closer relationship with the content we’re making.

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

In the almost three years I’ve been in L.A. there have been a few exciting moments, the first being bringing Tony Baker’s YouTube channel to its 100,000 subscriber milestone through an almost daily release of content. The most recent defining moment is still ongoing: I’ve been working on “Keep Your Distance”, which is a stand-up comedy show created by comedian KevOnStage that came about because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Audiences can’t attend live events so we thought of a way to safely bring it to them through a live-streamed stand-up show. “Keep Your Distance” is now on its 14th show (at the time of this writing), and from these shows we have been able to expand into creating even more content that will be released throughout 2021.

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

My advice to current and incoming students is stay aware of the state of the industry as much as possible; and not just in the field you want to work in, but also other aspects that you may not know you’re interested in. Watch and listen to all types of media; you have access to more than anyone before you so use it to your advantage. Also, your time in school is the best place to make mistakes because no one’s job, including yours, is at stake — experiment as much as possible in school so that you can avoid small mistakes when it really counts after graduation.

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.

Hannah Langtry G’19

Hannah Langtry graduated from the Newhouse School in 2019 with a master’s in audio arts. While at Newhouse, she participated in the program’s winter networking trip to Los Angeles and held an instructional associate position in the Setnor School of Music. Langtry currently works as an executive administrative assistant at A2IM.

“Newhouse prepared me the most by providing me with hands-on experience with technology that I would not be able to afford otherwise and by allowing me to manage an artist for my capstone project.”

Hannah Langtry, G’19

How did you obtain your current position?

This would be the first “career job” I have had, actually. I had applied to over a hundred positions without luck in my first few months living in New York City. Todd Herreman (a wonderful professor and director of Audio Arts) reached out to inform me of a position open at A2IM to be a membership coordinator. He knew the president and CEO of A2IM. I excitedly applied and made it to the final stages of interviews and walked out of the final one convinced I got the job, just to find out they chose someone else. I was heartbroken, truly. The HR director asked me if they could keep my information on file for any future open positions, and of course I said yes, but I figured they were just saying that to make me feel better and didn’t actually refer back to older applications. Three months later, the HR director emailed me asking if I was interested in interviewing for another position at A2IM—the one I have now—because they felt I was a great candidate. They wanted someone who could manage accounts and I had experience due to a previous job I held in customer service and sales at a family-owned music store in my hometown.

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

There are only 10 of us. I currently work virtually in my hometown and I spend most of my time replying to emails, writing invoices, applying payments to the appropriate accounts, attending planning meetings for our events, searching through music business news, assisting my boss with his calendar, and listening to music. We are a non-profit supported by membership and I am responsible for writing and receiving all annual invoices for our members along with invoices for any sponsorships we have. It’s a lot of customer service, support, working in our CMR and in Quickbooks, and staying organized on who needs an invoice in each month. In the spring, we spend all of our time preparing for our annual Indie Week/Libera Awards that happen in June. Sometimes, we have staff happy hours where we just talk about whatever and play Jackbox games!

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

Newhouse taught me resilience and how to stand out in a crowd of people who want the same position and have the same area of study as me. Newhouse encouraged me to narrow down my area of specialty and become an expert in that area in order to stand out. I have to give so much credit to Professor Bill Werde—he was not easy on us starting on day 1 in bootcamp where he told us he would never sugarcoat things and he would be honest to us about our attitudes. Newhouse taught me the importance of staying informed about upcoming technology, and as far as hard skills, I got experience using some of this technology. I made a 360 degree music video, I 3D printed a guitar hook, I experimented with binaural audio and did endless research and studying about virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, and upcoming A&R scouting technology. (Thank you Sean Branagan and Ulf Oesterle.) Overall, Newhouse prepared me the most by providing me with hands—on experience with technology that I would not be able to afford otherwise and by allowing me to manage an artist for my capstone project. Lastly, elevator pitches; I got so much practice with those.

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

The winter trip to LA (one of the best weeks of my life, by the way), the small class sizes, both the Newhouse recording studio and the Belfer studio, the experience that the directors of the program had, and the ability to split my studies between music business and audio production. Lastly, the 14-month program span since I was very nervous about paying for grad school.

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

Unfortunately, it will be harder than usual to find a job because of the pandemic, especially if you want to work in the independent community like I did. Definitely not impossible, but I think fewer companies are looking to hire right now. The positive side of the coin with the pandemic, however, is that companies will be more willing to hire you to work virtually which means you don’t necessarily have to live in an expensive city. Another obstacle is that the music industry is run by white men for the most part, and I notice that women are generally much quieter in meetings. This is changing though—we are actively working on changing it.

A misconception, which was unfortunately taught to me mostly by the people I met in LA during our trip there, is that you have to take crappy jobs and work for crappy bosses the beginning of your career for little to no pay and your opinion will most likely not be valued. I can confirm that it will most likely take you a while to find a job doing what you want to do—that is just the reality of the entertainment business—but that does not mean that you have to take insulting jobs in the meantime. Instead, try to find a stable job in a parallel industry and take side gigs in the music industry that may not pay you, but give you valuable experience to build your resume. When I was working as pet store associate for less than minimum wage in New York City with a master’s degree, I was also still managing my artist friend’s socials and finding him gigs in New York City.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

Do not take gigs that don’t give you the appropriate credit that you’ve earned. Yes, you’re a student, but your work is valuable and you will regret not receiving the credit—especially if you’re not being paid. Your name should be in the credits roll or in the album notes. Second, your age and your upcoming status as a recent graduate is actually quite valuable in the workplace. When you’re interviewing, talk about the fascinating technology and projects Newhouse offers you—most likely, no other candidate has that experience. As far as your time in school, try new things! If this means you have to take on a really heavy semester because you’re in a 14-month program, do it. I regret not taking more audio classes in Newhouse, such as Sound for Picture. Most importantly, get involved in every project you possibly can handle—that is the experience that is the most valuable.

Jerald Raymond Pierce G’18

Jerald Raymond Pierce graduated from Newhouse’s Goldring Arts Journalism program in 2018. While at Newhouse, he worked as a marketing department intern at Syracuse Stage and an editorial intern at American Theatre magazine. Pierce currently works as associate editor for American Theatreand as a freelance theatre critic for the Chicago Tribune.

“Newhouse gave me the groundwork in what it means to be a journalist.”

Jerald Raymond Pierce, G’18

How did you obtain your current position?

I was an intern for American Theatre while at Newhouse and when Diep Tran (another Goldring alum) left her position with the magazine, I jumped at the chance to join the team full-time. Before that, I was freelancing, mostly writing about television, plus an occasional feature for American Theatre.

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

An average day typically involves bouncing between tracking press releases as they come in for any newsworthy items for the magazine’s website, writing or interviewing for any feature stories I have in the works, and copy editing, fact checking, and proofing articles for the print magazine.

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

Well, I came into Newhouse with absolutely no journalism in my background, I was just a theatre person who enjoyed writing reviews for fun who took a leap at going to school for it. Newhouse gave me the groundwork in what it means to be a journalist. Newhouse gave structure to my interest in writing. Then, working with TheNewsHouse allowed me to take a stab at being an editor both in terms of overseeing copy, but also working with a variety of journalists to cover news and events. Most importantly though, the program introduced me to so many fantastic editors and journalists working in the field, both alums and friends of the program, who have helped me get where I am today.

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

When I started at Newhouse, I had my mind pretty set on wanting to be a theatre critic. It wasn’t until I was going through Newhouse that I realized I enjoyed the other parts of journalism—the interviews, the research, the actual reporting—in addition to spouting my opinions for hundreds of words on end.

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

The Goldring program was appealing both because it was only one year, and it was the only journalism program around that allowed me to focus on writing about theatre and the arts specifically. Since I was 27 and had been working a steady job for three years before starting Newhouse, I was looking for a program that could give me the skills and education (especially the basics) I needed while not keeping me out of the workforce too long. Not to mention, it’s really hard to say no to a program that takes you to places like the Toronto International Film Festival and Spoleto Festival USA down in Charleston, S.C.

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

The obstacles of writing about the arts have been covered ad nauseum of late. Publications, in efforts to cut down on costs, have been eliminating or severely reducing their arts coverage and arts staffs. I would say that the misconception is that this all means there are absolutely no jobs to be had. The reality is, they’re difficult to find, but they’re out there. It goes back to the old saying that luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Newhouse and the Goldring program provided the preparation and, considering all of the chances to meet and talk to people in my field of interest, they also provided the opportunity. The Goldring program gave me a chance to be a little lucky.

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

This is tough, since it still feels like I’m so early on. The two that spring to mind are seeing the announcement go out on Twitter that I was joining American Theatre – I knew I was, but seeing it on Twitter made it somehow feel even more official – and having two of my reviews on the front page of the Chicago Tribune’s Thanksgiving Day Arts & Entertainment section. Both were just really cool moments of feeling like I’m actually doing this for real.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

I would just say to not be afraid – or too ingrained in your vision for your time at Newhouse – to try new things, skills or classes. For every class I loved, there was another I wish I had also been able to take.

Follow Pierce:

Blake Stilwell G’13

In 2013, Blake Stilwell graduated from the public diplomacy program (now public diplomacy and global communications). This unique dual-degree program is hosted by the Newhouse and Maxwell schools, where students gain a master’s in both international relations (IR) and public relations (PR). 

“The Newhouse School gives its students a broad view of their intended field of study.”

Blake Stilwell G’13

After graduating from Syracuse University, Stilwell began his post-public diplomacy career at the Near East Foundation. There, he worked as a communications fellow, communications officer for the Middle East & Africa, and finally was promoted to media officer for the entire organization. Stilwell now works as associate veteran jobs editor for Military.com.

How did you obtain your current position?

I was asked to apply for my current position after taking a number of freelance writing assignments at Military.com. Before that, I was freelancing for a number of publications after my work was syndicated in a number of different places. I spent more than a year as a freelancer before taking a staff position. I was hired because my main beat—veteran jobs—is a very specific area, doesn’t often find wide appeal, and finding an interesting angle on old stories is really my strong suit.

I started my writing career as the managing editor of the military entertainment site We Are The Mighty, whose editorial and creative voice I helped develop.

Before my public diplomacy program, I worked in media and entertainment, including ABC News, NBC Olympics, HBO Sports, and even spent two years at the White House.

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

I start my day with a roundup of the current news in general, and then check on the markets and employment news. Then, I follow up with what’s happening in the Military-Veteran community as a whole, especially taking note of the stories our site has published that day. 

I spend the rest of my day writing pieces relevant to my beat, going back and re-editing older pieces in the channel to keep them fresh and in line with our current style. I also conduct interviews and meet with people on many days.

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

I have always said the Newhouse School gives its students a broad view of their intended field of study, so I was prepared with the hard skills needed for what I do all the time, on both sides of the PR relationship. As a media officer, I knew what our stakeholders needed to see to feel good about what we were doing. As a writer and journalist on the other side of that, I know how to get the information I need and how to gather the essential elements necessary to keep my pieces concise, interesting, and readable.

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

The interesting part of the public diplomacy program is that public diplomacy itself is such a wide open, vaguely defined field of work that almost anything can be a bridge between two cultures. I didn’t realize this when applying, but the idea of political changes being made through cultural exchanges is a very interesting prospect. I also never considered that the skill I learned in the military—audio-visual production—could be used to great effect in an international development non-profit.

How did the Newhouse Career Development Center aid you?

What I love about the Newhouse CDC is that they are the glue that keep Newhouse alumni together in the most basic professional sense. As someone who covers a jobs beat, I can attest to how important it is to get an edge in getting that big job. When the CDC sends out its alumni openings, Newhouse looking for Newhouse, it reminds me that I’m part of a group that really values its own core training and principles and really acts on that value.

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

I think the biggest obstacle or misconception that people may have about international development work, or working in public service, is that their skills may not be needed. There could be many useful volunteers out there who think that only doctors, farmers, scientists, engineers and the like are the only professions needed to help develop other countries.

But everyone who’s interested in development or building relationships between two societies should know that almost any skill can be used to help develop a country. If you’re a hairdresser, you can train women to use this skill the world over, and it helps them enter the marketplace with a relatively low barrier to entry. If you know marketing, there are a lot of new businesspeople who will soak up principles of marketing they can use in their communities. The possibilities are endless.

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

Although I love being a writer in the military-veteran space, I think some of my favorite moments have been working with local municipalities to see the innovative ways some people have overcome the unique challenges faced where they are. 

In the Middle East, for example, the Near East Foundation has worked to bring Israeli and Palestinian Farmers together on both sides of the border to help develop the olive and olive oil sectors, called Olive Oil Without Borders. While this is primarily an economic development program, the peacebuilding applications of it are difficult to ignore. I have seen Israeli and Palestinian youth come together for the first time. Watching 70-plus years of animosity slip away as they meet and get to know each other is perhaps one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

I always say start networking as soon as possible. Get to know everyone you can. Be an active member of the student community and make friends with everyone. Many of your classmates will go on to do great things. You may go on to do great things. Everyone reaches their potential with a little help and it may be one of your old classmates who give you that helping hand one day – and then you’ll be able to help someone in turn.

Andrea Henderson G’18

In 2018, Andrea Henderson graduated from the Newhouse School with a master’s in arts journalism. Before attending Syracuse, she worked for local newspapers, websites and magazines in Houston, Texas. While at Newhouse, Henderson was a digital communications intern at Light Work Gallery and a graduate assistant for the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship. Post-graduation, she worked as a podcast intern and then production/news assistant at the National Public Radio (NPR) office in Washington, D.C. Currently, Henderson is a full time reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

“Newhouse opened my eyes to other areas of journalism.”

Andrea Henderson G’18

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

A couple of months after I graduated from Syracuse, I accepted a podcast internship with National Public Radio (NPR). The internship taught me podcast production, how to report for a national audience and how to edit and produce for radio under tight deadlines. Once the internship was over, I accepted temporary positions within the company to learn more about audio editing and reporting. Since I knew I wanted to continue on as an audio reporter, I began looking for audio reporting positions across the states and, shortly after, I found out about a grant-funded reporting position. I applied for the job, and here I am today.

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

Andrea Henderson G'18
Andrea Henderson

Each day is different, especially if I am working on a feature audio story. However, I try to start the day at 7 a.m. I check in on news that happened overnight, nationally and locally. While reading the news, I look for a potential story to run a radio spot on that day. I try to make it into the office between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. and work until about 5 p.m., but that is not an everyday occurrence. If there is a spot that my editor wants me to work on for the day, then I will report it out in the morning, have two radio scripts ready for edit by 1 p.m., and a short web post for edit by 4 p.m. If I do not have a story to cover, then I use the day to work on scripts, edit audio, research and take meetings with potential sources. I am pretty new to the city, so I use every free moment as a networking opportunity. At my job, I am required to produce two features a month, so when I am light on work, I am in the field collecting sound, interviewing subjects and taking pictures for my next feature. Some days I work until the wee hours (at home of course) and some days I am able to leave the office around 4 p.m. The early days are rare, but they do happen.

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

I really believe it was, first and foremost, the connections I made within Newhouse. All of my professors left a lasting impression on me in some form. Most of them are still in the industry today, which gave me an insider’s look at the area of journalism I wanted to pursue.

A couple of skills that took my career to the next level was learning video and audio editing. Although, I do not use video at my current job, it is still a skill I keep up with for future opportunities. I came into the arts journalism program with long form writing skills, and the AJ courses helped me learn how to say more with less words. 

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

Please note that, in media, there is no one path to your career. There will be some disappointments when it comes to the job market, so don’t get discouraged if you do not land a job right out of graduate school. You have to continue to apply for jobs, take freelance gigs and temporary work until you receive the job of your dreams. Also, invest in yourself, because the media landscape is everchanging. Do not depend on any one media outlet to be around forever because most likely they will not. Start brainstorming ideas now so that you can be a media entrepreneur in the future.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

Over the course of your time at Newhouse, be prepared to work and never sleep. However, just know those sleepless nights will pay off in the end. Come in with a plan or at least an outline of what you want to accomplish while in graduate school and make it your goal to complete every line on your list.  Be sure to audit as many classes as you can because you can learn valuable skills without having to pay for the courses. Lastly, get comfortable with networking because you will have to do this for the rest of your career.

When looking for courses, you won’t go wrong with classes offered by Corey TakahashiSean BranaganAileen GallagherJon GlassJim Shahin and any professor in the arts journalism program.

Andrea’s work:

Michael Santiago G’19

Michael M. Santiago graduated from the multimedia, photography and design (MPD) programin 2019. As a student from an arts background, he took full advantage of Newhouse’s workshops and professional networks in the field of photography. Finishing his last credits online, Santiago began working in 2018 as an associate photographer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he is now employed as staff photographer.

“Treat school as if you are working in your chosen field and look at your professors as your editors. Take their advice and put their office hours to use.”

Michael Santiago G’19

How did you obtain your current position? 

After completing all necessary coursework at Newhouse in 2017, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona as News21 Fellow at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Once that was over, I moved to New York City and began freelancing for various media outlets. Then in early 2018, the managing editor at the Post-Gazette was looking to hire a new associate and she reached out to Mike Davis, the Alexia Tsairis Chair for Documentary Photography, professor of practice, for a recommendation and he suggested me. After various interviews, I was hired in the spring of 2018.

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

We typically get our assignments the night before, so we are already aware of what our day for the most part will look like. About two hours before I leave for my first assignment, I like to write up a sample caption for images so that it makes filing images at an appropriate time an easy thing to do. We usually get between two and three assignments in a day, but there are days when breaking news happens and you have to rush to cover that. Or we cover an assignment for another photographer who is sent to cover the breaking news if they are closer. If there is some down time, I spend it driving around the city looking to photograph feature images or possibly anything that would make a good story for the paper to publish.

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

My undergrad was in art photography at an art school, so I did not have the necessary skills to jump into journalism. Knowing that I wanted to pursue that field, I knew that I needed to continue my education. I was fortunate enough that in 2015 I won the Alexia Foundation’s student grant that allowed me to pursue that passion. At Newhouse, I learned to better come up with story ideas and how to execute them. I learned how to better write captions and what it takes to ask necessary questions of the people whose stories I was telling. At that time, multimedia and using videos as a form of storytelling was becoming an essential part of being a journalist. At Newhouse, I learned how to perfect that craft and use all the tools needed to make compelling multimedia pieces.

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

One of the great things I enjoyed at Newhouse is that all the professors gave us access to professionals in the fields we were pursuing. That in turn allowed us to learn from people who were doing the work that we wanted to do firsthand. The faculty also encouraged us to participate in various workshops that would improve our abilities, especially the Fall Workshop that is held at Newhouse every year. I participated in it my two years at the school, and it allowed me to work with some of the best journalists in the country. It also provided a space where we could show them the work that we were creating and get professional feedback. For most of us, that experience led to freelance work once we graduated from the school.

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

The opportunity to work with Mike Davis, who is one of the best picture editors in the field, and Gregory Heisler, who is a master portrait photographer, were huge in my decision making.

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

The biggest thing is how freelancing works. It is not an easy thing to do straight out of college. Unless you have spent that time not only building work that shows what you are capable of doing but also building important relationships with the editors who would be hiring you. That is why the encouragement of the faculty at Newhouse to attend workshops and events, and having them bring professionals into the school setting, is important. It lets us start that process of learning how to network.

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

The most exciting moment for myself was completing and successfully passing my defense and earning my master’s degree. It was something that I honestly did not think I would be able to do. I never expected to graduate from college let alone earn a master’s degree. What added a cherry on top to that feeling was being part of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette team that was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. That happened three days after I completed my defense.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

Treat school as if you are working in your chosen field and look at your professors as your editors. Take their advice and put to use their office hours. And work as hard as you can on as many projects as you can. It’s important to begin to build up your portfolio while you have that guidance because while it will never go away, it will never be as available to you as it is when you are in school.

Check out Santiago’s work on the Post-Gazette and with the Alexia Foundation.

Josephine Lukito G’15

In 2015, Josephine Lukito received her master’s in media studies, with the aspiration of later attaining her Ph.D. While at Newhouse, she was a member of the Syracuse University Circle K International Club. As a student, she took advantage of the Association in Education of Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference and the International Communication Association (ICA) conference. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate in Mass Communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with minors in English Linguistics and Political Science. Lukito has been accepted as an assistant professor at the University of Texas, Austin’s Journalism School where she will begin teaching in the fall, 2020.

“Newhouse’s Media Studies program prepared me for my current occupation as a Ph.D student, and contributed to my success in the academic job market.”

Josephine Lukito G’15

How did you obtain your current position?

I am finishing up my final (fifth) year in my Ph.D program, which is one of the most internationally recognized programs in the field in Mass Communication. I began my Ph.D immediately after earning my master’s. My research in my Ph.D program draws directly from my research at Newhouse, which focused on public diplomacy and international/foreign/global news reporting. As a teaching assistant, I taught or assisted courses in advertising and news writing.

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

Newhouse’s Media Studies program prepared me really well for my current occupation as a Ph.D. student, and contributed to my success in the academic job market. While at Newhouse, I took advantage of every opportunity I could. For all my semesters, I worked as both an instructional assistant and a research assistant. This was really important to developing my organizational skills, so I could balance research, teaching, and classes simultaneously.

As a researcher now, I use a lot of quantitative and computational methods to analyze language and text. I developed my quantitative foundation at Syracuse, taking classes both in Newhouse and in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. I then applied it in a range of projects, including those I did with Dr. Guy Golan, who I was a research assistant for. While working with Dr. Golan, I was able to do more research on public diplomacy, which continues to inform my own research on state-sponsored disinformation and computational propaganda.

As a future teacher, my pedagogy is greatly informed by the courses I IA’ed in Newhouse, working with both experienced and new professors. One particularly influential professor was Dr. Anne Osborne, the first professor I was a teaching assistant for at Newhouse. The way she engaged with her students and excited them about mass communication continues to inspire my pedagogy.

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

The program provides good support for graduate students going to academic conferences, which is essential for any young scholar who wants to be involved with the wider academic community. Another thing that really appealed to me was the combination of theory and methods courses in the curriculum, which I feel provides master’s students with a well-rounded foundation in Communication or Media Studies research.

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

People tend to think that teachers, professors, and graduate students “take a vacation” during the summer months. In reality, we are preparing courses for the fall, attending several academic conferences to learn about cutting-edge research, and conducting research; research being extremely important in our profession.

Another misconception is that academic graduate programs are similar to terminal professional ones. In reality, the two train students to do very different things. The program I attended, Media Studies, was extremely good at preparing me to do academic research and become a professor. This involves reading academic papers, conducting research, and writing up results in our own papers. I think this program is best suited for graduate students who want to become communication or journalism professors, or who want to do communication or media research.

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

In 2019, my research was referenced in the Mueller Report. In the study, my co-authors and I found that U.S. news media outlets had quoted several Russian trolls in news stories from 2015 to 2017. Several months later, I spoke with CNN about the research.

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

I encourage students to take courses outside of Newhouse, and to bring what you learn in those courses [into] research with [your] fellow Newhouse graduate students and professors.

Truly, all of the professors that I worked with—[Brad] Gorham[Carol] Liebler, Golan, [Makana] Chock, Osborne, [Charisse] L’Pree—were excellent and showed me different ways of succeeding as an academic.

Kristen Powers G’16

In 2016, Kristen Powers graduated from Newhouse with a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism. Through various work and academic experiences, she capitalized on the opportunities afforded by a Newhouse education.

“Without a doubt, Newhouse prepared me to land a job after graduation.”

Kristen Powers, G’16

During her time as a graduate student, Powers interned with the ABC-affiliate news station in Syracuse and, over the winter break, interned with an entertainment host in Los Angeles. Additionally, she reported on the 2016 presidential election through a Newhouse political reporting class. Finally, she worked on campus as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate video production class.

After graduation, Powers worked for two years as a multimedia journalist and then fill-in anchor at the CBS/Fox affiliate in Bakersfield, California. Currently, Powers works as a reporter at ABC 7 in Washington D.C., primarily reporting for Good Morning Washington.

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

My average day has changed a lot now that I am working on a morning show versus working dayside. In Bakersfield, I turned a package every day, but in Washington I primarily go live. If I turn a package, they are usually more in-depth and I have more than a day to work on them, which I love. I am in the office by 3:30 a.m. and immediately start to prep my story. I do research, make sure I have all the elements I need, communicate to the producers what I’ll need for my hit, find video, etc. I’m out the door with a photographer before 4:30 a.m. I then go live in our 5, 6, 7 and 8 a.m. show. If there is breaking news, I will also do the 9, 11 and 12 [show]. After I am cleared from going live, I use the last few hours of my day to prep, find stories or go out and shoot a package. Although this schedule is usually the same, what I cover is different every day, so it keeps things exciting! I love that I get to learn something new every single day.

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current job

Without a doubt, Newhouse prepared me to land a job after graduation. The program gave me more confidence in my abilities. Newhouse sharpened my shooting, writing, editing and presenting skills. I always say it was my first market, but better. Many news directors will agree with that statement. We were putting together stories on deadline, but at the same time we had guidance and someone to look over our work and help us improve/strive to get better.

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

The BDJ program largely focused on traditional news, but there are so many classes you can take within Newhouse that will open your eyes to other aspects of media. Two of my favorite examples are the virtual reality class and the trendspotting class I took. These classes not only helped me see other career options, but also gave me good ideas on creative ways I could tell a story. The industry continues to change, and Newhouse does a great job at making sure there are classes that reflect [those changes].

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

This program is hands on and that was so important to me. From day one you hit the ground running! I didn’t want to learn how to be a reporter and anchor from a book, I wanted to go out and actually do it, receive constructive feedback, build a strong work ethic and hone my skills. Newhouse helped me do that.

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

I think a lot of people get into this field thinking it is all glamorous and relatively easy. Don’t get me wrong, there are glamorous moments, but the job will require a lot of hard work. Be prepared to work long hours, get sent out to breaking news at a moment’s notice, be outside in all sorts of elements, run around chasing a story and wear several hats.

I also believe many people come into this field thinking they need to be a certain way, when it comes to how you look, talk, tell a story, and the list goes on and on. Get that out of your head. Be yourself. This field is about connecting with people. Be authentic and let your unique personality shine!

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

Soak up as much as you can. Step out of your comfort zone.  Be open. You may enter the program thinking you know exactly what you want to do but don’t let that stop you from trying something new. Go to as many speaker events and seminars as possible. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Ask questions. Take time to really connect with your professors and classmates. Utilize the amazing Newhouse network. Enjoy the journey. 

Bria Holness ’15 G’16

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Newhouse in television, radio and film (TRF) in 2015, Bria Holness went on to attain her master’s from the dual degree media and education program.

“Newhouse gave me the foundation and language I needed to understand the work that was already being done out there and how I could build on it, even change it, and create something new.”

Bria Holness ’15 G’16

Ambitious and hardworking, Holness made the most of her time at Syracuse University. She was a Newhouse Ambassador, an online columnist for Jerk Magazine, served in the Mentoring Committee for JUMP Nation at Syracuse, was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and volunteered with Colores and the Rescue Mission.

After graduating from Newhouse, Holness worked for two years at the Educational Video Center, a non-profit youth media organization based in New York City, first as development associate and then as development manager. She then earned the position of development manager at Epic Theatre Ensemble, an Off Broadway theatre company whose mission is to create bold work with and for diverse communities that promotes vital discourse and social change.

Currently, she works remotely in Philadelphia as donor engagement officer at Population Media Center. This media production organization uses the power of storytelling to change lives by addressing the interconnected issues of the full rights of women and girls, population, and the environment.

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

An average day on the job is hard to describe because my position is entirely new and my organization is in the midst of major strategic planning and change. Therefore, every single day looks different. However, with the power of storytelling, social justice advocacy, partnership building and donor engagement forming the foundation of my job, in the past seven months I have done the following: created a donor recognition program from the ground up, which includes building inspiring content for newsletters, webinars and livestream events; helped build a toolkit which includes editing testimonial impact videos and creating external-facing pieces to increasingly engage donors and encourage their giving; overseen the pilot phase of an in-home friend/fund raising program in which volunteers host events within their networks to increase awareness of my organization and raise our base of supporters; and lastly, developed and coordinated an employee giving campaign, It Starts With Us, amongst our headquarters staff, international teams, vendors and contractors which has resulted in the tripling of donations given last year. A lot of research, creativity, planning and implementation of initiatives has been involved in my day to day.

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

Non-profit media is hard and not always glamorous because there aren’t tons of money to spend. Unfortunately, you will come across folks who are well-intentioned and are trying to do amazing work but aren’t necessarily cut out for the business aspect of it all. They end up making horrible mistakes administratively or financially that affect not just the work, but also staff and the communities being served. All to say, non-profit media isn’t Hollywood but it also doesn’t have to mean that a company should run itself un-businesslike or still find itself bootstrapping after 20 years in business. Watch out for folks who are visionaries and artists at heart and never set out to run a company, but find themselves in that position and won’t prioritize the need to hire the necessary help to put critical institutional structures and policies into place.

Another obstacle is that many folks in the non-profit social justice space tend to believe they “have arrived.” What I mean by that is, it’s easy for people who are working to positively impact and uplift marginalized communities to automatically think they are fully aware, unbiased and know all there is to know in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion. That is simply not true. Being aware of unconscious bias and doing the work to unfold and unravel those notions is an ongoing journey. In this space especially—where we are deconstructing harmful narratives, bringing marginalized people and their stories to the center and using the power of storytelling to challenge the dominant narratives with new stories—we have to be humble and willing to always continue learning. The savior complex is real, especially in the international development and philanthropic space so it’s just something to be aware of and prepared for.

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

Two most exciting moments come to mind. During my time at the Educational Video Center (EVC), I was tasked with planning and putting together the premiere screening of our students’ films at the HBO Theater in New York City. The event was such a major success with over 300 people attending and [it was] standing room only. The students were so honest and their stories so raw that it majorly impacted all that attended and left the students feeling empowered as youth storytellers and activists as they got the opportunity to present their films in a renowned space. Many people crowded around them, asking them questions and commending them on their bravery and vulnerability. What made it an even more exciting event was that I was able to plan it with my former boyfriend from ‘Cuse. Exactly a year prior, we attended this screening in which the Educational Video Center and HBO Corporate Social Responsibility were working together to put on. We tag-teamed that night and networked with both EVC and HBO representatives. After graduation, I was hired at EVC and [he was hired] at HBO and then were tasked as points of contact for the same event, now responsible for planning it together. It was really cool to see that come full circle.

Another exciting moment was this past November at my current organization’s staff retreat. I planned an Office Olympics kickoff event for headquarters staff and our international teams as part of our employee giving campaign. I was pretty nervous about how it would go because the company had never done something like this before and I didn’t know if it would be seen as unprofessional or if my colleagues were even going to enjoy it all. However, I did my best to set the energy level high with an opening Olympic ceremony, team bandanas, team captains, various games, Olympic medals, etc. People followed suit getting into the Olympic and competitive spirit. Kicking off the campaign like this engaged my colleagues in a new way that just focused on fun and participation as opposed to creating pressure to donate to the organization. The result? The most successful employee giving campaign yet, tripling the amount of donations than what we received last year!

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

  1. Grad school is hard. Pray, rest and make time to do the things that refresh you.
  2. Whatever you decide on for your capstone project, view it and use it as a career launching pad.
  3. Use the CDC, even if you just need a sounding board to talk through your thoughts and plans. Bridget Lichtinger is amazing.
  4. Advocate for your career goals and what you are looking to take out of your graduate program. Be humble and open to suggestions, but do not take classes just because the school says so. You know why you are going to grad school and although you will need direction, take the classes that you know will lead you to where you want to go. Particularly, for [media and education], take critical media literacy classes.
  5. Get in the corners of Professor Barbara Jones, Professor Tula Goenka and Professor Schoonmaker. They all have a lot of great direction, guidance and friendship to offer.