Journalism Masterclass: “What I Wish I Knew Then”


By: Alaina Laszewski, Graduate Student

Be curious, read, pick up the phone, and always ask the next question; while their titles are long, their pieces of advice came forth succinctly, with honesty and humor. Audrey Cooper, Editor In Chief, San Francisco Chronicle; Walter Middlebrook, Assistant Managing Editor, The Detroit News; and Tom Cibrowski, Senior Vice President of Programs, News Gathering and Special EventsABC News were the alumni panelists at COM’s Journalism Masterclass on September 24, 2015 entitled, “What I Wish I Knew Then.”

The panelists began the hour by offering an overview of their careers, and then launched into a series of questions varying from “what is an opportunity you wish you’d seized while in college,” to “what is the biggest mistake you see young or aspiring journalists make,” on to “how do you avoid or overcome burnout?” While Cooper, Cibrowski, and Middlebrook live and work in completely different regions of the country, their thoughts touched upon common themes: be patient, work hard, find mentors and stay curious.

In a time when most college students are encouraged to stretch themselves any number of ways, joining numerous clubs and extra-curricular activities, Cooper explained the importance of getting to know people. “One of my bigger regrets from my time here was kind of flitting all over to a lot of different things…I would’ve availed myself more and been a little bit more assertive about getting to know people that might’ve been able to help me.”
When asked whether a journalism degree is necessary, Middlebrook spoke about the importance of a journalistic skill set, regardless of degrees held.

“There are some people who can’t write, but they can ask questions…Some of you are afraid to talk to people and you shouldn’t be in the business. Some of you are afraid to get in front of a microphone and you don’t learn how to enunciate…But there [are] various places in our different shops where you fit in, if this is what you want to be. But you have to practice that skill set.”

Cibrowski cautioned the audience to be careful with social media: “We’re all big on social media…but we’ve had to fire people who Tweet inappropriate things or take a stance. It’s really unfortunate…we can’t show bias. You have to be aware of where you are, who you work for.”

Cooper, Cibrowski, and Middlebrook stayed after the masterclass’ allotted hour, meeting with students to discussing the industry, as well as to offer more personal advice to those who came forward with questions.

Summer Experience: London Internship Program

By: Alyssa Marion
Second Year Graduate Student, Student M.S. Advertising

Current graduate student Alyssa Marion spent summer 2015 learning, interning and exploring in London!
Current graduate student Alyssa Marion spent summer 2015 learning, interning and exploring in London!

I’ve always had the itch to travel abroad. I was lucky enough to spend a summer in Madrid, Spain during my undergraduate time at BU, and ever since then, I’ve wanted to go back to Europe. The BU London Graduate Mass Communication program was actually the main reason why I chose BU for graduate school!

There were 15 graduate students in the program, and we lived in a great apartment building (the Sorbonne House) together in South Kensington. Winston Churchill once lived in our building! South Kensington was the perfect location for new students living in London- the Natural History Museum was right across the street, Hyde Park was a stone’s throw away, and Kensington Palace, home to royals Will and Kate, was a 15 minute walk from our flat!


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Kensington Palace

The two classes I enrolled in this summer were Global Marketing Communications with BU Professor Tobe Berkovitz and British Media in the Digital Age with BU London Professors Aleks Sierz and Lia Ghilardi. Tobe’s class gave us a broader global view into the marketing world. Additionally, he brought us to different advertising and communications agencies in London in order to compare the work environment between the UK and US. Aleks’ and Lia were our two British professors who co-taught our second class. They both taught us a great deal about the concept of “Britishness” versus “Englishness.” Since all graduate students were enrolled in the same two classes, we were able to work together well and grow throughout the summer.

I really think I lucked out with my internship placement this summer. I was so fortunate to be placed at MEC Global, a media agency located along the Southbank of London. My supervisor taught me so much about the world of media and how MEC fit in to the equation between the client and the press. I worked on the Display Activation team, and my responsibilities included tracking ads, drafting print media plans, and creating competitive analyses and post-campaign analyses for high-profile clients. My experience at MEC provided me with valuable insights into the field all while making great connections abroad.

This summer provided me with once in a lifetime opportunities, and that’s all thanks to the London Graduate Mass Communication program. Touring Buckingham Palace, attending the Wimbledon Championship tournament, waving to Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Ascot, seeing the eerie Stonehenge, finding the flat used to film The Parent Trap movie, and traveling to seven different countries in 12 weeks are just a sample of the incredible experiences I had this summer. It’s truly astonishing how much a person can learn and grow in just 12 weeks abroad, and I wouldn’t trade this summer for anything. Now time to start planning the next adventure…

Division of Emerging Media Studies Successfully Hosted Inaugural Research Conference, #Screentime


By Lauren Sale

MA Emerging Media Studies ‘15

BU College of Communication

On June 25th, the students of the Division of Emerging Media Studies hosted a day-long conference titled, “#Screentime.” Throughout the Spring and Summer I semesters, the eight students managed every aspect of the conference from paper submissions to promoting the event. #Screentime included presenters from Boston College, University of Denver, University of Massachusetts- Amherst, and of course, Boston University. Emerging media topics such as YouTube’s The Harlem Shake, Social Media Use Within Universities, and Online Censorship were presented. The Division welcomed guests from Bank of America, Fleishman Hillard, Keystone Strategy, Bank of America, and Accenture Digital to discuss the research papers and offer constructive feedback. Mina Tsay-Vogel, Ph.D, wrapped up the day with a keynote address on the state of emerging media research and what the future holds for the field. The inaugural conference was a great success and the next Emerging Media Studies cohort will organize next year’s conference.

Picture Credit: Elizabeth Crocker



Producing Prowess – Jobs in Television Production

By Keiko Talley
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

NFL—if you don’t watch the games, you know what the letters mean: National Football League.  This year at COM, we were graced with the presence of two amazing producers who work with the NFL at an event called Producing Prowess. The two were guest speakers invited by Professor Andrea Kremer who teaches a class on the Art of the Interview.

Hilary Guy from the NFL Network, also a COM alumni, and Jordan Kronick from HBO Real Sports flew in from Los Angeles and New York respectively to give us an inside look as on their jobs as producers on various projects. When Guy started out at COM, she thought she wanted to be an on-camera reporter, but it wasn’t until her internship at the assignment desk at NBC that Guy started to fall in love with the jobs behind the camera. It was then that she decided to become a producer. Guy told students that the best thing a newcomer could do is to ask to learn a new job, or to observe a job they aren’t familiar with. Guy and Kronick both agreed that they remember those who offer to help out in other areas more than their designated jobs. She told students that was how she got to become a producer, showing her interests and making it her job to learn everyone else’s job.


Kronick discussed his newer project Death on Everest where he spent two ski seasons in Nepal to uncover the dangers of climbing Mt. Everest. He explained the process of finding the right characters for his story and discussed how as a documentarian, he has the freedom to take his time on some of his projects.

Guy works at a much faster pace, with quick turn-around on stories and covering breaking news. She later showed some of the interviews she produced with Andrea Kremer and the New England Patriots. She discussed with students the creative production that went into turning boring locker rooms into a magically lit set, and how she used metal cylinders and different lighting to change the scene to add more depth to interviews.

Producing Prowess introduced students to various other job opportunities that are available besides the on-camera talent. As a producer, it is important to keep your crew ready at all times. You almost act as a parent to the camera crew, talent, audio crew, and anyone else contributing to the project. It is important for students to know that there are various jobs available, and even though they won’t be in front of camera, the process could eventually lead them to that placement if their interest still holds. Andrea Kremer insists that learning how to produce and work behind the camera will be of tremendous help for when you’re in front of the camera because it gives you a better idea as to what the crew wants; learning behind the camera jobs will allow you to be one step ahead of the game as on-camera talent.


Picture Credit: Susan Walker

Accepted Students Open House Day

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

The last weekend of March was quite a busy one for COM—what with the three-day long Narrative Conference going on at Boston University with so many amazing keynote speakers, journalists and storytellers from all over to sharing their experiences from the industry.

Over at the COM building on Saturday, March 28, the graduate program also had a panel of five keynote speakers, journalists and storytellers of their own at the Accepted Prospective Students Day, except the only difference was, it featured COM’s own current graduate students.

The panel of chosen students answered questions from the audience and talked about their current experiences at COM, why they chose the program, what the competition is like and how to manage the workload.

Alex Hirsch, (Sports Broadcast ’16) was one of the students whom the professors recommended be chosen to participate in the Q and A session panel. Just a year ago, Alex had been one of the many prospective students still trying to decide his future and whether or not his destiny lied with COM.


“It felt pretty cool being on the other side of the podium for once,” Alex said. “You’re always wondering whether you’re actually succeeding or doing your best work here at COM, but knowing that the professors recommend you to be on that panel is further confirmation that you’re on the right path in life, and that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. It’s validation that I’m working towards the right goal and I’m right here where I belong.”

He also mentioned that although the Q and A session was for him to inform interested students, it was a learning lesson for him as well.

“I didn’t do journalism before COM and I realized that while I was answering questions, I was representing all those people who are coming to school without any journalism background either. I was there to explain that just because I didn’t have undergraduate experience in it, doesn’t mean that it can’t be done,” he said.

Hanae Armitage, (Science Journalism ’15) was also chosen to be on the distinguished panel of students to represent her field and help prospective students consider COM to be their future home.

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“It was definitely a great experience honestly,” she said. “I remember having a ton of questions and being in their position last year, and it was great to share my own experience with them. Especially even more so now because I can confirm that I absolutely love it here, and I made the right choice.”

For Armitage, it wasn’t tough to gush about the program and encourage students to come experience COM for themselves. “Everyone here I’ve met in the science journalism field has been super supportive of incoming journalists which I appreciate. So I felt like I really wanted to relay that attitude to the new students too,” she said.

Feel like you’re at another turning point in life with a fork stuck in the road? Time grabbing you by the wrist directing you where to go? You heard it here first. COM is definitely the path that can’t be beat!