Category Archives: COM Spotlight

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…

Bryan Sih

The Redstone Film Festival 2015

By Keiko Talley
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

The Redstones Film Festival is held each spring semester by the Film and Television Department at COM. The festival showcases works submitted by both graduate and undergraduate students. Films are awarded based on several categories: best film, best cinematography, best screenplay, best editing, best sound design, Fleder/Rosenberg best short screenplay; the festival is basically like the Oscars of Boston University.

This year’s 1st place winner and the winner of Best Screenplay, was Bryan Sih (COM’14.)  His film Winter/Spring, was about a Spanish-speaking couple working on a farm.

What inspired you for this film?

Lots of things. I started thinking of parenthood after reading Sherwood Anderson’s The Untold Lie. I began questioning the bringing of a child into the world when adults are just as confused as a child. Immigrants always inspire me with their bravery and often-tragic necessity to seek an alien world, and so I included that in the film. Then there are the actors themselves, since the film relies on improvisation, they are responsible for a lot. Unfortunately, I wrote the whole script for the spring. When we scouted the farm, it was covered in three feet of snow that refused to melt so I rewrote the film on the spot.

How long and what type of preparation did this film take?

I started preparing the script in December and we were still writing into April. I like to lock myself into a room, get a large piece of paper and write the scenes in blurbs all over the page. It usually lasts a few days and I am constantly rewriting it. I am a terrible writer, so the real preparation begins with the actors. I also have the actors work beforehand. For Winter/Spring, they drove up to the farm together without the crew and when they arrived on set, had formed their own private language. It made them come across as a self-enclosed unit.

RedstoneFirst place winner Bryan Sih (COM’14) flanked by his actors, Herlin Navarro and David Quiroz

What is the message that you wanted to portray in this film?

It was more a question: what does it mean to be ready for parenthood? It is a film about being on the cusp of great life change and not fully being ready, but learning how to work through this struggle together, with tenderness, forgiveness and communication.

You don’t speak Spanish, but your film is in Spanish with English subtitles, why is that?

I grew up in a diverse town with many immigrant families, they’re part of my world. The couple in this film is isolated somewhere in North America, and they’ve retained their spoken language. The film focuses primarily on their relationship actually, not ethnicity. Also, directing in a language you don’t speak makes observing the things that matter all the more vivid.

What does the future entail for you now that you’ve won the Redstone?

The Redstones gave me a camera to shoot more films with, so I hope to be more productive. I’ve learned so much from my experience with Winter/Spring and can’t wait to dive into the next project.

Alumni Spotlight: Megan Turchi and Life after Grad School

By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

Alumni Spotlight: Megan Turchi and Life after Grad School

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t it feel like getting a job is constantly on the mind?  It’s only the second of my three semester program, but all I can think about is finding a good job or internship this summer and then where that will lead for employment after graduation in December.  And yet, just my school work keeps me from finding time to write a decent cover letter.

What if I can’t find a job at all?  Or if I find one but hate it?  I think it’s safe to say that most grad students are feeling this way (and even undergrads for that matter).  If you’re a part of this group, let me tell you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Megan Turchi (COM ’14) finished her Masters in Journalism this past December.  Now, this BU alum works as a staff writer for Boston.com covering jobs, cars, and real estate.  And she enjoys it!

What’s a day at your job like?

Every single day is different, which I love! A typical day involves phone interviews for articles I am working on and sometimes getting out to do an in-person story. I did a profile on a dog walker a few weeks ago and tagged along while she walked dogs.  It was great! This job entails constantly learning new things and becoming an expert on a variety of interesting subjects.

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Megan Turchi at the Boston Auto Show. Her Instagram caption: “Sitting in a $620,000 Rolls-Royce that is the only one in the US, one out of 20 in the world, for work, obviously. #bostonautoshow”

What was your major at BU and why?

I got my masters in print journalism, but it was very multimedia focused and I took a variety of audio and video classes as well.  I chose it because I thought it would be an interesting way to use my undergraduate degree in American Studies. I knew I loved to write and I knew I had an interest in telling stories about fascinating people and topics.

Looking back, how did BU prepare you for your job?

BU prepared me a lot! Not only did I have fabulous professors with a lot of journalism experience, but I was thrown in to the real world from day one.  We reported from the ground right from our first class and that made my internship and job now so much easier.

Your advice for current COM grad students looking for jobs?

My advice would be to respect and learn as much from your professors as you can. Not only do they have lots of connections to jobs and internships, also a lot of experiences they can share with you. Be open to all kinds of jobs – you may not do exactly what you want to do at the beginning, but any experience is a learning experience!

MTurchi2Megan Turchi reporting on the “sleepwalker” statue at Wellesley College for a BU News Service report. Here’s the link to the report, done by her and one of her classmates from COM.

 

 

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How a COM grad student got his final project published on the front page of the Boston Globe

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

I had the pleasure of interviewing BU’s College of Communication Business Journalism graduate student, John Hilliard, whose semester-long project for Professor Maggie Mulvihill’s Data Storytelling course was published on the front page of the Boston Globe (to learn more about the course check out this blog post). Hilliard’s publication is a rare feat many experienced journalists work their entire lives to achieve, and he did it as a COM graduate student.

The issue driving Prof. Mulvihill and Hilliard’s story is an ongoing matter concerning federal funds used to repair juvenile youth programs and other court facilities operating in bad conditions and under terrible systems. Prof. Mulvihill first started working on the story in 2013. Then, at the start of the Fall 2014 semester, Mulvihill recruited Hilliard to further work on and research the topic for his semester-long project.

Hilliard has spent the past three months investigating and researching public records from the Justice Department and the state’s executive office for public safety, not to mention conducting countless interviews with those knowledgeable about the issue. While John wrote the rough draft, Mulvihill was right there next to him tirelessly going through edits, fighting tooth and nail to ensure that the story would be accurate and ultimately published. This is their story.

 

 

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Advertising grad students win poster competition and trip to San Francisco

By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

“The rate at which women are amassing wealth and exerting influence is unprecedented. Yet the work that is supposed to motivate them springs almost entirely from a male perspective. The advertising business is a $33 billion industry. Misunderstanding female consumers, from a business perspective, is sheer lunacy.” – Kat Gordon

As an advertising copywriter and creative director, Kat Gordon was tired of being a part of an industry lead by males.  She discovered that only 3% of creative directors within the advertising industry are women. So, she set out to create the 3% Conference in order to teach men and women in agencies and on the client side how to address these issues in new ways and offer something that has been sorely lacking for female creatives: a sense of community.  Today, two years after its first conference in 2012, the 3% Conference has expanded into a “2-day, 400 person event in San Francisco, multi-city road shows throughout the year, a vibrant online community on multiple social platforms, a student scholarship fund, a creative award, and a business blog to support the crusade,” according to its website.

Cindy Gallop, closing keynote speaker at the 2014 conference.
Cindy Gallop, closing keynote speaker at the 2014 conference.

This year, two of BU’s College of Communication advertising graduate students earned a trip to this year’s conference in San Francisco after winning the 3% student competition.   This year’s creative challenge was to imagine that the ratio of female-to-male Creative Directors has increased 300%. Working in teams of two, students had to create a poster to announce this news to the industry to motivate folks to attend the conference and keep the movement going.  Iona Holloway (COM ’16) and Annie Papadellis (COM ’16) were one of the top 10 winners (20 students total since they worked in pairs) to win the competition.

Holloway and Papadellis’s winning submission.
Holloway and Papadellis’s winning submission.

“I think it’s great,” explains Holloway and Papadellis’ professor at COM, Pegeen Ryan. “It’s very real life.  You’re going to be entering award shows and competitions when you’re in agencies. It gives you real and fairly tight deadlines; it gives you stipulations on what you’re working on. Kudos to them for taking on the extra work.”

Ryan worked with both of her students throughout the entire process, helping them to edit and perfect their ideas for submission.  The two were ultimately declared one of 10 pairs of winners from distinguished schools around the country, Brown University, Miami Ad School NY, University of Texas, Miami Ad School SF, Missouri School of Journalism and City College of New York. Besides tickets to The 3% Conference in San Francisco, winners also received a travel stipend, a gift bag from their sponsor Adobe and attendance at a portfolio review lunch during the conference.

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Sarah Granger, author of The Digital Mystique, speaks at conference. Photo credit 3% Conference.

“The conference was great,” says Holloway.  “It reinforced how I’m really going to have to kick my own ass if I want to really succeed as a woman in the industry, which I don’t see as a bad thing.”

Prof. Ryan was particularly excited about the networking opportunities for the young women.  The students were able to network with people from across the country, giving them contacts to potentially use in their job search after graduation.

Though the numbers have risen, there is still inequality in the advertising industry.  “It’s amazing to me that the majority of consumer are women, and more men are creating the advertising that these women see,” explains Papadellis. “It baffles me they still haven’t changed their approach,” she says.

However Holloway is excited for the future, as she believes “Women are brilliant, as are men. There’s no reason why the advertising industry can’t reflect the society it serves. It might take a while, but it will happen.”