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.
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!
Megan 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.
Alongside classes, Prof. Daly does his bit to help these same students acclimate to American culture and the education system. “In a program like journalism, a lot of our assignments depend on cultural awareness. If the students need to tackle topics like the Red Sox, Halloween and Black Friday they need to have a general knowledge of American folkways and society, as they cannot be expected to have that exposure coming from another country” he says.
The American exposure begins early in the semester, when Daly invites students to his home so they can get a first-hand impression of an American household. Daly is also known to bring alumni and other experienced journalists into his classroom to speak to the international students.
The positive influence Daly’s class and efforts have on international students is apparent through the grad students who have been in the program for a few semesters. “My more experienced students come into class and happily and spontaneously testify that they got a lot better over the course of their first year. ” says a proud Daly.
Those grad students who visited Daly’s current students had a lot of advice to offer. Third-semester Journalism student Claire Giangrave told them about how she would ask American students who were better than her to let her read their work. She would look at what they did and imitate it. “The truth is, you have to work harder and better than the others. I made it my goal to compare myself with the best, not just among my peers, but also with great journalists and professors.” she said. She also advised the students to not hesitate to ask for help from fellow students and BU’s amazing faculty. Claire herself moved to Boston from Rome.
Prim Chuwiruch, another third-semester Journalism student from Bangkok, advises new grad students to relax. “ I know that it sounds like the most easiest piece of advice but it’s true. Once you take a breather and get yourself accustomed to everything in this new city, things will fall into place on their own and you’ll look back and wonder why you ever stressed out so much in the first place.”
A couple weeks ago, Melanie Lidman, an alumnus from the University of Maryland, visited Daly’s international class. Lidman now writes for The Times of Israel and the Global Sisters Report. The entire section pepped up when Lidman told stories about her reporting experiences in troubled parts of the world including Egypt and Israel. She also offered some sound advice for those pursuing a career in the journalism industry: “You will make mistakes along the way. It’s a long journey to grow as a writer and move your career forward,” she told the class.
Are you an international student looking to apply to BU? Find out more about the application process here.
Check out my interview with BU College of Communication alum Paul Kresge, who is now an Account Manager for Centro, an advertising tech company in Chicago. Kresge talks about how he’s been able to use what he learned at COM to help him become successful in the communication industry.
Kresge received his Bachelor’s degree in Communication at Boston University. He went on to earn a MS degree in Public Relations at BU’s College of Communication.
Recently, Centro was ranked No. 1 on Ad Age’s 2014 list of best places to work in advertising, media and ad tech. Centro makes software that helps companies better engage with their audience.
Have any questions for Paul that we didn’t cover in this interview? Feel free to ask in the comment section below.
Interested in attending one of BU College of Communication’s graduate programs? Check out our website to get more information on all the programs here at COM.
Tucked away in the College of Communication’s Film & Television department sits a relatively new Master’s program that you may not know much about—Media Ventures (visit our site to find out program details). The program, which has only been around for five years, already has its graduates making quite a splash in the world of new media.
Media Ventures (MV) is a 12-month MS program that focuses on media innovation and entrepreneurship—a creative degree for creative students. This bi-coastal program combines practical experience with theory and mentorship to help students prepare for a career in technology, business and media (if the business component appeals to you more, a dual MBA/MS degree in MV is available- more information can be found here).
“I look at it as the new producing,” says Media Ventures Director Cathy Perron. “I was a TV producer and I liken this to that process [producing]. You have the idea phase to air date, and all the constituents you work with until the show airs. Here, instead you are coming up with a new media process and working with similar constituencies,” she says.
During their first semester in Boston, MV students develop a new media business product or service, complete with prototype, business and marketing plans (this project serves as the degree’s thesis component). Students work with each other to brainstorm and pitch different ideas. The following two semesters are spent in Los Angeles, where students complete two internships while simultaneously finalizing their thesis. “Los Angeles has a very vibrant startup community and most are focused on media startups,” says Perron.
Students in MV talk about their experiences as interns in start-ups in Boston and LA.
As the two semesters unfold in LA, students are constantly working to improve their new media project. Each summer, COM hosts their annual summer PitchFest, which gives MV students the opportunity to present their projects to a guest panel of media start-up and venture capital experts. This 15-minute presentation with 15 minutes of Q&A allows students to receive valuable feedback on their ideas and create networking connections with those in the media industry. Check out pictures from this year’s PitchFest by liking BUMediaVentures on Facebook.
Even if creating the next big app is not your goal, there are other things you can do you’re your MV degree. “Students who have graduated are getting really good jobs,” says Perron. “They are in well-compensated strategic positions. The program was timely in its launch because the kinds of jobs out there are jobs that Media Ventures will prepare students for,” she says. The program has alums in positions like Senior Manager at Hulu and Editor of Bloomberg.com.
Beth Haber, Consumer Insights Manager at Hulu and graduate of the program, says her role at Hulu is directly related to what she learned in Media Ventures. “Media Ventures is focused on the execution of media and the introduction of new media platforms,” she says. “Hulu has really been a part of that. It’s interesting to see what I was learning in the program and how it relates to what I do every day now,” Haber says.
COM’s current MV class is comprised of students from all walks of life—a largely international crew with backgrounds in technology and engineering, design and even law. “What I want to stress is it’s a cross-disciplinary program,” says Perron. “Anybody who’s interested in any different form of media could come into this program as a one-year grad program and learn the strategies of innovation,” she says. “You get real roll-up-your-sleeves practical experience, where at the end you have a calling card [thesis project] to show a possible employer or investor and you can show them what you’ve done from concept to marketplace,” says Perron. “It’s a tremendous opportunity.”
Make sure to follow @BUmediaventures, so you can keep up with what’s going on in their program.
Do you have a great idea for media innovation? The Media Ventures graduate program could be for you! Learn how BU’s College of Communication can help you take that next step in your career by visiting our site here. Have questions? Ask us in the comment section below.
Check out the video below to hear what HBO Senior Vice President, Jay Roewe (COM ’79) has to say about PitchFest and the forward-looking aspect of a Media Ventures degree.
One of the greatest components to Boston University College of Communication’s Journalism graduate program is the professional project. When I say “greatest,” I don’t mean easy, fun or relaxing. As with anything great comes hard work, and that is exactly what the professional project showcases. After three semesters worth of classes, sleepless nights, and every ounce of blood, sweat and tears you have finally reached the end. You are now a mere shadow of what you were when you first entered grad school, and your professional project is your opportunity to show everyone else that transformation.
What is a professional project? I will explain. All candidates for the MS in Journalism must submit a professional project in their final semester. Each student arranges for a faculty member to be their adviser for the project. Upon completion, students are expected to endeavor to sell or place their work with a professional news organization.
Third semester Broadcast Journalism student Ashley Davis set out to accomplish one of the most daunting tasks and most impressive professional project to date— The Midterms 2014, a live coverage production of this year’s midterm elections. I shall elaborate.
Monday, November 5 at 6 p.m., the night before Election Day, a dress rehearsal took place. About 60 BU students (both grad and undergrad) were involved, including an impressive number of BU COM faculty and staff. Everyone had a job to do. Some were helping in the studios, a handful of students (selected by Ashley after auditioning) were anchors at the National Desk and others were scattered throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and even D.C. to act as call-in reporters for the live production.
Ashley went over every aspect of the entire coverage the night before and explained exactly what needed to be done. After she sent the troops on their way, she remained at COM to get ready for Tuesday, November 4. This was her professional project, and since everything was going live, there wasn’t any room for mistakes, as per usual.
Tuesday, November 4 came quickly. Some people were asked to report to the studios several hours before going live at 9 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., the anchors prepared their cut-ins—pre-made news packages (stories). These packages would air in-between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., mixed in with some live shots, on-cam anchoring and reporters calling in from different headquarters around Massachusetts.
I spent my time on COM’s third floor in Room 321, where I worked with others to help Professor Susan Walker push out live content and numbers for the anchors to live report as votes came pouring in from states across the nation.
Here is a breakdown of The Midterms 2014‘s amazing team and their various roles:
On campus at COM, in Studio East/West:
First Block: Anchors Supriya Muppala and Peter Zampa
Second Block: Anchors Taylor Walker and Justin Shrair
Third Block: Anchors Mikaela Lefrak and Jamie Bologna
During this block, Kate Kahn — BU professor and former Senior News Producer for WHDH-TV (NBC-Boston)— served as the live shot producer, coordinating all the live reporters. Andre Khatchaturian and Louise Liu— both Broadcast Journalism students at COM— were anchors at the National Desk. Lauren Westberg— Broadcast Journalism grad student— was a live reporter and interviewed Professor Groshek, Professor Carroll and Tom Fiedler—the Dean of COM.
Candidate Headquarters: Students were placed at all of the following locations in order to quickly report polling results back to BU’s College of Communication.
Steve Sisto— MA 6th Congressional District, Seth Moulton Headquarters
Paul Dudley—MA Governor Charlie Baker Headquarters
Ashley Paul— MA Governor Martha Coakley Headquarters
Christina Erne—The Casino
Hayley Crombleholme—MA Senate Edward Markey Headquarters
Noelia Valero—Washington D.C.
Rachel Mccubbin—NH Senate Scott Brown Headquarters
Nikita Sampath and Rebecca Sananes—NH Senate Jeanne Shaheen Headquarters
Keri McAlpine and Kathlene Gibbs—MA 6th Congressional District, Richard Tisei Headquarters
COM Professors Involved: The following faculty and staff members stayed hours and hours after they should have gone home. Instead, they helped make sure this live-production was nothing less than exceptional. Just one more example of COM’s professors doing all they can to make their students succeed.
R.D. Sahl- Broadcast Journalism Professor
Susan Walker- Broadcast Journalism Professor
Christophor Cavalieri- Film & Television Professor
Jacob Groshek- Emerging Media Studies Professor
John Carroll- Mass Communication Professor
Kate Kahn- COM Professor
Technical Operations Team: Quite possibly the most important part of this production, these students and staff members worked hard to make sure everything in the studio was functioning and the coverage aired without flaw.
The Midterms 2014 was an immense success. Ashley Davis could not have done a better job handling such a high-stress situation, nor could she have selected a better team. Ashley never lost her composure, always made time to answer questions and kept very calm throughout the entire evening. She had so much responsibility lying squarely on her shoulders, but yielded excellent results.
Watching Ashley’s professional project come to life makes us first semester grad students realize that this time next year, a similar task is awaiting us. Although it was a little intimidating, I now feel inspired to find a professional project in which I can showcase all I have learned throughout grad school. No other institution would provide the resources, the studios and opportunities to create something so impressive and professional. Now, not only does Ashley have a remarkable production to add to her resume, but she also made history happen, right there on the third floor of COM.
Ashley Davis’ final professional project is currently being edited. Check back here to view the final publication and follow her on Twitter @ashley_m_davis to see what else she is up to.
On Wednesday, December 10 from 5-7 p.m. in Room 209, the College of Communication’s Department of Journalism is hosting the Journalism Graduate Showcase. The event will feature journalism graduate students presenting excerpts of their professional projects. Seniors, graduate students and faculty members are all invited. Adult beverages will be served, so please bring your ID.
Interested in one of BU College of Communication’s graduate programs? Tell us which one and why in the comments section below. You can find out more information on our website, so be sure to check it out here.