Internships: The Best Ways to Sell Yourself

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

Just about a month into the second semester means quite a few things for COM graduate students across the board. It means really getting into the thick of things, having turned in a handful of assignments (or maybe just one or two thanks to the record-breaking snowfall the past month), stressing out over how much more difficult the workload is than the fall, and most importantly, summer plans.

COM students don’t get to have the luxury to bask in the summer sun, to take time off and do nothing at all. If anything, we’re trying to do even more work than the regular school year.

Internships—that dreaded word has become one of the hottest topics to discuss in between classes, in passing during winter break, or something to congratulate each other on. Internship decision season is finally upon us and we are reminded of a year ago, when we scurried around having anxiety attacks over graduate school admissions.

Along with the courses that COM teaches us, another important part is this process of securing an internship—hunting for the right ones that fit your next career move, perfecting resumes and convincing your prospective employers why you’re right for the job.

In the midst of all the stresses and worries for the amount of work that is piling in front of me every day, I remind myself how lucky I am to have the opportunities to do assignments that’ll equip me for the summer job. I was lucky enough to find an internship at The Courier Journal-Louisville that I found through the COM Newsletter last semester.

After receiving my first and only acceptance, I realized that the semester’s workload is only going to help me. My future employers informed me how impressed they were with my academic resume and most importantly, my experiences last semester with multimedia.

Remember that weekend class we all had to take last fall and the crazy hours it came with? That Multimedia Toolkit course was what landed me an internship. Adding that I knew not only how to write, but to use all types of media platforms, means and mechanisms to report a story really marketed my accomplishments to showcase me as a favorable applicant. Here is a link to the piece I created.

With an increasingly paperless world and the prominently digitized society that we are becoming, we have to prove that our skills in reporting aren’t just limited to one medium. We need to show that we can handle all kinds.

We are lucky that our program at COM whose hindsight is 20/20 understands this and requires students to learn all facets of multimedia journalism, albeit during the weekend from 9-5:30!

For anyone who is still looking for help on hunting for jobs, resume advice and further questions, visit the COM Career Services for drop in hours.

Spring ’15; all that’s new this semester

By Michelle Marino
MS Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

The Fall 2014 semester seems like another time and place, a lifetime ago. I had just transferred over from PR and was starting an entirely new course load and journey into journalism. I was pretty overwhelmed by the transition and trying to take on everything at a quicker pace than other first semester journalism students, since I knew I would only have a year to accomplish everything they would be doing in a year and a half. Last semester I wrote for this blog, the features department at The Daily Free Press, a Boston-based online food magazine called Simmer, and freelanced for BU’s online magazine The Quad.

Besides that, I was searching for an internship for the spring; I knew that would be critical to me entering the workforce come graduation in May ’15. I fortuitously ended up with an internship with Boston magazine this semester, and am already enjoying it. Since my preferred topic and medium is lifestyle magazine writing, I couldn’t be happier. I am doing a lot of fact-checking, which allows me to dig deep into how sources were gathered and the information given. Although it can be painstaking, I’m learning a lot about the newsgathering process and topics I knew nothing about.

On Feb. 24, my first article will be published in Boston HOME. It is a piece on an artist and her gouache paintings. If you know what that means, I salute you. I didn’t before I wrote the article. I’m hoping I will get to write many more over the course of the semester. I’m also an editor of the Spotlight section of The Daily Free Press. Editing has really given me the opportunity to keep on top of AP style as well as keep up with the news cycle. Having to pitch several stories every week keeps me constantly on the lookout for what’s coming up on the horizon and what is newsworthy.

This semester is going to be a whirlwind, especially once the thesis gets off the ground. I think the hardest part about starting it will be deciding on a topic. I’m hoping some of my professors will be able to help, and I’ll aim to do a print series (with some multimedia) on some aspect of agriculture or the fishing industry. The one thing I’ve learned from all the craziness is the more involved you are with everything around you, the more you are able to connect the dots. Whether you’re interviewing a professor, chef, biologist, business owner, or Miss USA, you can learn from each one something that will surprisingly apply to something else you are doing.

IMG_2908Michelle Marino at her desk at the Boston magazine office

This is especially true when it comes to networking. I went to a COM networking event last semester and met the Food Editor of Boston magazine. At my internship, I am sitting right behind her and get insight into what she’s working on every day. Here’s to a great Spring 2015 semester!

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Remembering David Carr, COM Professor and NY Times columnist

By Nikita Sampath
MS Broadcast Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication 

As the journalism community grieved the loss of David Carr last evening, students at COM had to put emotions aside and do what they are being trained to do in the face of such a happening; report.

The recent couple weeks have been unfortunate for the world of journalism; the killing of two Japanese journalists by ISIS, Jon Stewart stepping down from the daily show, Bob Simon of CBS’s 60 Minutes passing away and last evening, David Carr.To us at COM, he was not just another journalist. He was one of our professors, one of us.

Within minutes of hearing the news about his death though, students at the Boston University News Service (BUNS) and The Daily Free Press sprung in to action.

“Bulletin: There’s chatter on Twitter that David Carr has died. We need to confirm or debunk this. If it’s true, we need to report. If it’s not true we need to report how this happened.” posted Prof. Michelle Johnson on the Facebook page for BUNS contributors.

Within an hour of her posting, there were over a 100 responses in the comments section. Students had reached out to current professors, the Dean, students taking his class this semester and others who had taken it previously. The obituary that came out from this teamwork can be found on the BUNS website.

Jamie Bologna, a recent COM grad, who had taken Carr’s class last semester,tweeted about the loss.

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Jamie Bologna’s tweets from the night of 12th Feb, ’15

Prim Chuwiruch who took his course, Press Play, in the fall of 2014 said, “David Carr went beyond being just a professor. He was a mentor and a friend in times when he didn’t need to be, but he did anyways.”This is what the syllabus for his course Press Play looked like. I’m a second semester grad student at BU and I’ve not seen a syllabus from any other course look anything like this.

The Daily Free Press put together a page overnight dedicated to the late professor.  COM alumni Megan Turchi and Justine Hofherr who both took his class wrote this piece for Boston.com. More coverage on the life of Carr and his demise will be up on BU News Service over the next couple days.

Despite being sad for the loss COM has suffered, I’m honestly grateful for the experience of working in a newsroom with such great teams. These are essential lessons that we learn for our lives as journalists. And I’m glad I’m learning it here at COM.

 

(Featured image courtesy: BUNS)

Graduate students use final project to showcase all they’ve learned from photojournalism class

By Keiko Talley
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

BU’s College of Communication (COM) offers an advanced Photojournalism class  (JO513) taught by Pulitzer winning photojournalist, Greg Marinovich. In this graduate level course, students are taught how to produce long-form documentary work through the use of photos.

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Throughout the course of the semester, students develop a chosen topic for their final multimedia project. This topic tells a certain story through the use of photos and other forms of multimedia. To prepare for their final projects, students shot and discussed their opinions on each other’s photos, as well as photojournalism ethics and conflicts surrounding professional work.

Ester Ro, an undergraduate senior, Pankaj Khadka, a first semester graduate student, and Dominique Riofrio a third semester graduate student are three students who took JO513 and completed the final multimedia project. Their final productions stood out amongst the class, as they displayed photojournalism skills way beyond the ordinary.

“Good projects take time”, says Riofrio on what she learned from JO513. “When working with people it takes time to develop a relationship, to understand their realities, and to be able to show that in photos or video”.

Riofrio’s final project is called “We will not leave” – resisting eviction in Boston. It is a short documentary that explains the story of the Lopez family who are fighting an eviction from their home in Chelsea, Mass., due to a higher rent demanded by their landlord without reason. Her documentary exposes displacement within Boston.

“We will not leave” Resisting Eviction in Boston from Dominique Riofrio on Vimeo.

Ro is a senior at Boston University, who took on a graduate level class. “I just saw it as the natural next step in photojournalism,” says Ro. “I enjoyed being in a class mixed with undergrad and grad students, but I think we were all more or less on an even playing field”.  One of the perks to graduate school is that everyone comes with different backgrounds and levels of experience, so having an undergrad in a graduate level class is not uncommon.

Ro did her final project on her church in Boston, Highrock Brookline, bringing a more family oriented community that does more than just come together on Sundays to celebrate and pray. She chose to represent this family in a number of black and white photos that reflect what her church and the members of its community are like on a daily basis. Check out her project here.

Khadka is a first semester graduate student who claims Marinovich’s class has given him a better understanding of how to produce more compelling photo stories and take his time on his work.

Khadka’s final project is called The Mattapan Series: Blue Hill Artery, a multimedia project that documents life on the streets of Blue Hill Avenue. He explores the everyday lives of people living in the area and shows what it is that makes these neighborhoods, which are just five miles out of Boston, so unique. Check out his project here.

 

 

 

 

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COM’s first data storytelling course was nothing short of a success

By Iris Moore
MS Broadcast Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

In a recent post, blogger Michelle Marino filled us in on the most recent, innovative medium of journalism—data storytelling (if you did not get a chance to read it, check it out here). In her post, Michelle introduced us to Maggie Mulvihill, a BU College of Communication (COM) professor who is at the forefront of incorporating data storytelling into COM’s Journalism curriculum.

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I, along with a few other COM faculty and staff members, had the pleasure of sitting in on Prof. Mulvihill’s final data storytelling class of the semester. In fact, this was the very first data storytelling course offered at COM—I watched history happen!

During this particular class, Mulvihill’s students presented their final projects, which they had been working on all semester. However, before presentations started, Mulvihill provided us with a clear objective as to why she worked so hard to convince COM to let her build and teach this course—a journalist’s story becomes more powerful when data is used because it enables one to more effectively persuade, pitch, propose, advocate, engage and convince their audiences.

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Throughout the semester, Mulvihill worked to equip students with a number of skill sets for analyzing and obtaining data. After teaching students how to identify what data is attainable and appropriate for an intended story, she made sure they understood how to do the following:

  • Obtain data
  • Clean data
  • Analyze data
  • Extract data
  • Scrape data
  • Visualize and present data (students learned how to use a number of multimedia and software tools, such as Open Refine, Tableau, Time Toast and Google Fusion)

Mulvihill designed the course’s final projects to provide students with a practical understanding for telling stories with data. Students were expected to identify a data-set for their project, request it from a government agency, negotiate for it and obtain it.

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For each presentation, students first told us how they came up with their data story idea. Then, they explained why the data they had spent all semester trying to collect was actually newsworthy. From there, they described what tactics they used in obtaining the data. Each student explained the numerous challenges they faced while trying to obtain data (costs, contact issues, legal issues, etc.). In fact, some were even unable to collect the necessary data for their story. However, this did not make their project any less complete, as one thing was made clear by both the students and Mulvihill: data storytelling takes time!

The majority of these projects are not even complete. They will require months, maybe even years of work. One example is a project done by graduate student John Hilliard. He took on a project Mulvihill started back in 2013 and took it all the way to the front page of The Boston Globe (the day I sat in on their class was the same day the article was published—again, more history I was able to witness). If you want to hear more about Hilliard’s exciting accomplishment, be sure to check out blogger Gina Kim’s interview with him here.

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Other projects covered topics, such as domestic violence, housing issues, crime on university and college campuses in Boston and lightning related injuries in the state.  (Since many of these stories are being offered for publication and broadcast to larger news outlets, we are unable to provide you with the actual project).

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To me, these projects are a clear reflection of Mulvihill and her students’ hard work throughout the semester. On behalf of her students, Mulvhill spoke with so much pride and confidence in their ability to become successful journalists, given the tools they so successfully acquired over the last 15 weeks. Her passion and dedication for her students reminds me, yet again, as to why I am here at Boston University’s College of Communication.