Television executive Ed Hersh joins Newhouse NYC faculty

by Sarah Shane

September 12, 2019

His new course, Making News, starts tonight

Ed Hersh
Ed Hersh

Television executive, strategist and broadcast journalist Ed Hersh is teaching for the Newhouse NYC program during the fall 2019 semester. His new broadcast and digital journalism course, Making News: The Business of News and Non-Fiction Storytelling, begins tonight at Syracuse University’s Fisher Center in midtown Manhattan.

Students may recognize Hersh from campus, as he’s been an adjunct professor for the television, radio and film (TRF) department for the past 10 years. In addition to teaching, Hersh is chief creative officer at StoryCentric, a company he founded in 2007. StoryCentric aims to advise networks and producers on development, production and storytelling strategies. Notable clients include Discovery Communications' Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Travel Channel and WNET/PBS in New York.

Prior to founding the company, Hersh served as executive vice president at Court TV (now truTV) and vice president of documentaries and specials at A&E, and spent 16 years in various senior production capacities at ABC News. Hersh intends to offer his expertise in media strategy and storytelling in this new course.

Hersh talked to us about his career and his goals for the semester.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in video storytelling? 

It’s funny. When I was a young kid, there was a Beatles movie, “A Hard Day’s Night,” and in the movie, there’s a scene where the band shows up to be on TV. There’s this control room in it… and that’s when I said, “I want to do that.” 

What does a day in your life look like? 

My life as a consultant is like a snowflake—no two days are alike. Some days are spent very much in an isolation tank looking at programming, taking very detailed notes and writing reports. Other times I’m in meetings with clients and talking to different constituencies to try to build partnerships. Now, with the change of technology, I can work wherever I am, so I have to be rigorous with my own scheduling, and I spend a lot of time looking at my Outlook calendar. 

How will the course you’re teaching for Newhouse NYC differ from the one you teach on the Syracuse campus?

The TRF course I teach in Syracuse is a short course where we deconstruct unscripted shows: how they have evolved, how that storytelling works and what makes those shows successful or unsuccessful. In the broadcast and digital journalism (BDJ) course, it’s a little different. What’s fantastic is that we’re in New York City, the epicenter of news in this country. So it’s a wonderful opportunity to look at different aspects of the business and understand them firsthand. We’re going to do a deep dive into local news, network news, cable news and long-form. We’re also going to visit places that represent each one. We’ll have guests who are decision-makers. They’ll talk about how they make decisions, how their particular piece of business works, how they make money and they’re going to answer questions on a very one-to-one basis. 

What’s the one takeaway you hope students leave your class with? 

I hope that the takeaway from this class is how important it is to stay attuned to what’s going on around you—to look at situations and not just say, “Oh, that’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal,” but instead say, “How does the topic of the article affect the business? Where does that put me?” Say The New York Times announced that they were going to have a whole department that produces video; that means if you’re in BDJ, there’s a career path outside of going to a small local station in Iowa to be a reporter. Things are changing wildly in this industry. Hopefully, students leave with a new way of watching media and thinking about the changes that are going on. 

Is there anything you want students to know about you that they may not have known before taking the class? 

Boy, that’s a tough question! I hate wearing a tie, I like music that is way too alternative for my age and I have seen every Jason Bourne movie five times.

Sarah Shane is a senior television, radio and film student  at the Newhouse School.