Tag Archives: alumni

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How a COM grad student made the 2014 midterm elections her professional project

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

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.

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Anchor Louise Liu gets ready for The Midterms 2014.

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.

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Professor Cavalieri helps students with technical operations in the production studio.

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.

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Ashley Davis directs on the set of The Midterms 2014.

Here is a breakdown of The Midterms 2014‘s amazing team and their various roles:

On campus at COM, in Studio East/West:

  1. First Block: Anchors Supriya Muppala and Peter Zampa
  2. Second Block: Anchors Taylor Walker and Justin Shrair
  3. 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.

  1. Steve Sisto— MA 6th Congressional District, Seth Moulton Headquarters
  2. Paul Dudley—MA Governor Charlie Baker Headquarters
  3. Ashley Paul— MA Governor Martha Coakley  Headquarters
  4. Christina Erne—The Casino
  5. Hayley Crombleholme—MA Senate Edward Markey Headquarters
  6. Noelia Valero—Washington D.C.
  7. Rachel Mccubbin—NH Senate Scott Brown Headquarters
  8. Nikita Sampath and Rebecca Sananes—NH Senate Jeanne Shaheen Headquarters
  9. 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.

  1. R.D. Sahl- Broadcast Journalism Professor
  2. Susan Walker- Broadcast Journalism Professor
  3. Christophor Cavalieri- Film & Television Professor
  4. Jacob Groshek- Emerging Media Studies Professor
  5. John Carroll- Mass Communication Professor
  6. Kate Kahn- COM Professor

The large production team watches live coverage at the National Desk.
The large production team watches live coverage at the National Desk.

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.

  1. Jake Kassen- Technical Operations Manager
  2. Tristen Olly- Media Technician
  3. Scott Lovejoy- Digital Post Production Specialist
  4. Shawn Fallon- Media Technician

Additionally, BU Professor Michelle Johnson coordinated a simulcast on the Boston University News Service‘s website. Professor Anne Donohue coordinated live news updates on WTBU, Boston University’s student-run radio station. Coverage from DC was made possible with the help of journalism faculty member, Elliot Francis, who coordinated student packages from BU’s Study Abroad Washington Program.

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Anchors get ready at the National Desk.

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

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BU’s College of Communication Pioneers Emerging Media Studies

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

Even if you’re not in the communication world, chances are you’ve probably heard at least one conversations discussing new media—social media has changed everything, from interpersonal communication to journalism, and more.  Traditional media may still be around, but new media is quickly growing.  It feels like an absurd amount of media outlets and technologies have come and gone over the past few years, especially with the widespread use of smartphones.  I had to wait till my freshman year of high school to get a chunky old flip phone.  Now, parents are handing iPads and iPhones to their kids before they can even talk!

YLNnbxyzAfter a few years of discussion, BU’s College of Communication finally decided to introduce a one-year Master’s program that focuses solely on new and emerging media.  The MA program, Emerging Media Studies, is one of the first in the nation to do so (go BU!).

One of the primary courses taught within EMS is a collaborative class entitled Extended Group Research Project Seminar.  Quite a mouthful, right?  But the year-long class is not as intimidating as it seems.  According to EMS Director and Professor James E. Katz, Ph.D., the class aims to prepare students to take positions that will be a fast track to leadership in various organizations by helping them to become experts in big data, consumer psychology interaction, and research methods.

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Professor Katz with his Reddit Gifts present.

“Our goal is to mentor students in doing meaningful research relating to emerging media so that when they take their post- graduate positions, they will already know how to do research and will have a portfolio to show employers,” explains Katz.  I may be a PR student, but I already love the sound of this class.  It’s a class that does more than just theoretical and academic discussions.  It’s actually preparing students for the “real world” after graduation.

One of Katz’s students, Katharine Sipio, heartily agrees.  Having majored in both English and Communication Studies at Saint Joseph’s University for undergrad this past spring, Sipio is excited for the possibilities this class has opened up.

“The readings and projects we do not only give us some strong writing samples, but [also] research skills that would be applicable in different types of careers,” says Sipio.  After taking this class, Sipio can see herself going into a “various number of communications careers such as a social media consultant, or maybe even going into PR, media management, copywriting, or exploring the world of digital writing and publishing.”

In addition to Sipio, I was able to talk with two more of Katz’s students, Adrien Park (Syracuse, ’14) and Brittany Anderson (UMASS Lowell, ’14).  All three of them had nothing but good things to say about this class, even describing it as their favorite class of the semester.  Park adds that the class has become somewhat as a family between the students and faculty because it is solely for EMS students.

“The professors and TA’s are extremely caring and helping, giving us a lot of great tips and insight about working on research [projects],” explains Park.

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Next semester, the class will begin working with a project sponsor.  This sponsor will be a local organization for which students will work on a research project that focuses specifically on that organization’s needs – just one more example of how BU is preparing its students for post-graduation careers.

Make sure to follow EMS on Twitter @DEMSatBU and like them on Facebook so you can stay updated on all the happenings within the program!

Does this sound like a program you’d like to learn more about? Tell us why in the comment section below!

Please feel free to ask us any questions you have about the EMS program and be sure to check out or website for more information on all graduate programs offered through BU’s College of Communication

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“Get buzzed”: A look inside Boston University’s Lifestyle Magazine

By Michelle Marino
MS Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

This past week, I got out of the grad school bubble and spoke with some very knowledgeable undergrads about their experience working for the The Buzz, Boston University’s lifestyle magazine. The hard-copy magazine is published every fall and spring semester, but their online magazine publishes a variety of content on a weekly basis. The magazine’s sections include a little something for everyone – campus, city, arts, fashion, music, food, sports and travel. The site also features “The Weekly Buzz”, a video component showcasing a range of different lifestyle topics, from BU artists to features on the Assembly Row shops in Somerville.

With a mix of graduate and undergraduate students, The Buzz’s staff is large, ranging from writers to photographers to copy-editing and advertising. Alison Ortiz, a freshman in the process of transitioning over to COM’s Broadcast Journalism program, holds three different positions with the magazine. She is responsible for The Buzz‘s Instagram account, publishing for events and broadcast. Alison says she heard about The Buzz through a campus SPLASH event, where students are exposed to everything from BU’s  cultural clubs to dance groups, from academic associations to religious life.

Katie Tamola, a Journalism graduate student, writes for The Buzz‘s campus section.  “My experience has been nothing but positive and my editor has been amazing,” says Katie. “As somebody who didn’t go here for undergrad it’s ironic I covered campus. The Buzz has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it’s daunting to go up to someone and ask them about their noncommittal sex habits, for example. It’s been so much fun and they’ve given me such great opportunities. I’m so grateful. It helped me be a better writer and gave me the confidence to write for other publications as well.” Katie also commends The Buzz for being hospitable to new ideas, saying, “If you work for campus but want to do something else, they are open to that.”

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“I’ve made filming and editing my life and got really involved,” says Alison. The magazine can be flexible to your commitment level, however, and doesn’t require you to take on more roles than you can handle. “It’s very relaxed,” she says. “You don’t have to do a million different things, you make it as much as you want it to be. They don’t restrict you or hold you back either.”

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Sarah Wu, a sophomore majoring in Journalism at BU, writes for three sections of The Buzz – campus, fashion and food. She also heard about the magazine at a SPLASH event and began attending meetings, initially starting with food and then taking on other sections. Sarah says for her, the process has been a lot of deadline juggling depending on which section is going to be published online, or what piece she is working on for the print magazine.

“It depends where we are in the cycle,” she says. “There have been times when I’m writing one article for each section. For campus, I write one monthly, for events, if something comes up like fashion, they ask can you go cover this, and for food it’s generally dining hall stuff or campus food trucks.” When asked about what she’s learned from working with The Buzz, Sarah cites time management and the opportunity to improve her writing skills. “You’ve got to learn to be on your toes,” she says. “Since I’m writing for three sections I always have deadlines and you learn to manage your time.” “The more you write the better you get,” she adds. “Being able to receive feedback from the editor is very constructive.”

387117_10151201878281163_320955595_nGianna Fischer, a sophomore PR student, manages all of The Buzz’s social media. While she writes for other organizations on campus, she wanted to focus on the business side of things as well, saying publishing is an industry often misunderstood in terms of its business orientation. “So far it’s been a really good experience and a lot more organized than other organizations I’ve worked with in the past.” Social media falls outside of The Buzz’s three main publishing components, to include publisher, events and PR/advertising. Events primarily work on the fall and spring release parties, advertising and PR build the brands and funds for print, while social media cultivates the magazine’s online presence.

The Buzz’s publishing group is really structured and keeps people directed,” says Gianna. “It’s great to be a part of something with clear cut goals and to see strong leadership.” On working the social media side of things, she comments, “It’s a real world application that I wouldn’t have at the professional level otherwise. We’re talking to actual clients. COM is great because they have AdLab and PRLab, but being able to do that before you get into those classes is nice,” she says.

386337_10151201878446163_1187353376_nI asked all three undergrads what they thought of grad student involvement at The Buzz, and they all enthusiastically supported it. “The Buzz is the type of organization that likes to push limits and be the best. Grad students would put us a step above,” says Gianna. “At the start of the semester we have an all staff meeting the first month. They tell you what The Buzz is about, give you contact information and you talk to editors. If you want to join now you can talk to a particular section. They’re very open to having new writers,” says Sarah.

On Nov. 18, The Buzz Fall 2014 print issue will launch, and copies will be available at the George Sherman Union on campus. There is also a launch party called “Refined 2014” on Nov. 20 in the Burke Club Room at the Agganis Arena. The party is intended to promote the issue while also showcasing student talent that may have been featured in either the print or online edition. Refreshments, raffles, music and more will be provided.

Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University
Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University

If you are interested in joining The Buzz, you can email Ashli and Meredith (Editors-in-Chief) at the.bu.buzz@gmail.com, or contact a specific section (emails below). Have you written for The Buzz? Tell us what your experience was like.

Editorial:

Campus: campus.bu.buzz@gmail.com
City: city.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Arts & Entertainment: culture.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Music: music.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Fashion: fashion.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Food: food.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Travel: travel.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Sports: sports.bu.buzz@gmail.com

Publishing: publish.bu.buzz@gmail.com

Photography Director:  photo.bu.buzz@gmail.com

Arts: Illustrators and Graphic Designers:  art.bu.buzz@gmail.com

Broadcast: broadcast.bu.buzz@gmail.com

If you want to learn more about what graduate programs here at Boston University’s College of Communication have to offer,  please ask any questions below and visit our website.

 

 

 

 

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COM student represents BU at this year’s Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader

By Keiko Talley
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

“It’s the word we all never want to hear. “Cancer.” Not a single person on the planet looks forward to hearing those six letters spill out of the mouth of a doctor or a loved one. Not a single person wants to go toe to toe with one of the most villainous diseases known to man. Unfortunately many of us either will directly deal with the disease or be close to someone that has to. There are no statistics necessary to back this up, as everyone alive today has already been impacted by cancer one way or another “ (Connor Lenahan – Lets Beat Cancer www.connorlenahan.com).

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has teamed up with colleges and universities all over the country to help raise money for the fight against “The Big C”. This year, for the season home opener, Boston University Men’s Basketball will compete in the Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader at TD Garden with Boston College, Harvard, Holy Cross, UMass, and North Eastern.

Since October 16, these schools have been trying to raise the most money for the fight against cancer. Each of the six schools has nominated one person to be their representative for this event. The top two fundraisers will be announced at the end of the first game of the Tripleheader on November 16. Winners will have the opportunity to compete in a shoot-out against each other during the event.

Boston University chose junior, Connor Lenahan, (@connorlenahan) to raise awareness and money on their behalf. Some of the other representatives include former Celtics player Togo Palazzi (Holy Cross), American Idol contestant Ayla Brown (Boston College), and former Piston’s player Lou Roe (UMass).

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According to the guys on BU’s basketball team, Connor is considered “the least narp narp of all time” (a “narp” is a non-athlete, regular person). The terriers think of Connor as a member of the team, although he would never be able to physically play as a member of the team.

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Connor suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), often called brittle bone disease. It’s a rare disease that leaves Connor with fragile bones. OI affects somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000 people in America. It is a caused by a genetic defect that doesn’t allow the body to make strong bones, causing many breaks and fractures in the body. The bones of a person suffering from OI are so fragile that putting a blanket on them can cause a fracture. All of the breaks and surgeries that Connor has had leaves him walking with a limp on his right side and needing a wheelchair to get around for most of his day. Although he has never been able to compete in organized sports, Connor has never let his disease hold him back from his one passion; sports. In fact, you might know him as a PA announcer for Boston University.

Despite never being able to play organized sports, Connor’s love for sports grew making him a die-hard sports fan. He uses a wheel chair to get around campus, but is not bound to his chair. Overall, Connor remains positive and open about everything. He is most known for his blog (www.connorlenahan.com) where he discusses a variety of topics from his condition and surgeries to Toy Story 4.

I had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with Connor about being chosen to represent Boston University. He explained to me his rare condition and his passion for being able to give back to people and make some sort of difference in peoples lives. He explained to me how he wouldn’t be as passionate and excited to compete if it was just a regular shoot out, but the fact that he gets to be the person in charge of asking for donations and creating a difference in so many people’s lives makes the experience more exciting. “It would give me bragging rights with my friends– I got to play against a former Celtics player while being 5’3” and in a wheelchair forever,” said Connor when telling me about the possibility of him winning and competing in the shoot-out.

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I will be following Connor in his race to raise as much money as possible, until we get him on the court on November 16. I encourage everyone to follow Connor with me and help donate and spread the word for an amazing cause. Connor has set a goal of raising $1,500 for The American Cancer Society and the Coaches vs. Cancer event. In the short time between when I first met him and when I wrote this story, Connor and Boston University went from $200 in donations to $1,705, which is more than his original goal. However, with your help, we can raise even more than that.

Please donate here, and help Connor compete in the shoot-out this weekend at the TD Garden, proving to everyone his disease is not holding him back from doing what he truly loves.

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BU COM celebrates its 100th Anniversary with COM Talks

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

It’s been a great past week for Boston University’s College of Communication (COM). With the celebration of the program’s 100th anniversary, COM hosted a number events that honored its alumni, students, staff and faculty. This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend COM Talks, an event not too different from the ever so influential TED Talks, which have been making such a huge difference in people’s lives. These talks reach millions nationwide, informing them of ideas worth sharing, ranging from “Why a good book is a secret door,” to the controversies of gender violence. At BU, we’ve developed our own, unique style of a Talk event but with the same idea in mind: connecting and communicating the ideas worth sharing.

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At the event, COM featured a superstar panel of experts in their respective fields of mass communication and journalism. Each speaker shared their personal experiences, what their roles in this industry mean to them and how every story we report leaves a mark everywhere and affects the way society functions. Each speaker reminded us of what roles we take on as both the reader and the reporter.  As each speaker shared his/her message, one message remained consistent: Storytelling is the heart of what COM does and it gives every individual an opportunity to connect with audiences. This event brought the best alumni and faculty to demonstrate the craft of true storytelling.

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This is a candid photo that my friend and fellow blogger Keiko Talley took while I was waiting in line to meet the Senior Vice President of HBO, Jay Roewe, a BU alumnus and producer of many major hit shows such as “The Newsroom” and the show that’s taken the entire world by force, “Game of Thrones”. Needless to say, I was absolutely stoked. Not to mention, absolutely star struck. I don’t usually get too fangirly but, GAME OF THRONES?! Come ON!

He was just one of the few amazing people we got to meet and listen at COM Talks. It was definitely a panel of rock stars in the industry; from New York Times best-selling authors, to legal prosecutors, to those who worked for Good Morning America and my very own Media Law professor Dick Lehr, whose investigative reporting on the case of Whitey Bulger for the Boston Globe got turned into a Hollywood movie starring Johnny Depp, Sienna Miller, and Benedict Cumberbatch. This group of superb individuals that came to speak at the event were so impressive, and they all reiterated the same message reminding us why we chose journalism, and what we can do to utilize it as an important facet of society.

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At the end of the event, we were given a small card that forced us to go up to any of these speakers and ask them the questions printed on the card. I had to go up to an alumni and ask what their favorite course was at COM. That part was easy…I was already given something to ask. However, being forced to jump out of my comfort zone and overcome my shyness to reach out to these amazing people was another story. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of being in their presence, but I mustered up all the courage possible and did it. In turn, I had the privilege of meeting with our first COM Talk speaker Travis Roy (COM ’00), author of “Eleven Seconds” and former hockey player for the BU Terriers.

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Besides speaking with Mr. Jay Roewe, meeting with Travis Roy was definitely a personal highlight of the event.  His speech stood out to me for so many reasons. He came to BU in the fall of 1995 with a hockey scholarship, but a few weeks later on October 20th,  his life changed forever. Roy suffered an injury that left him a quadriplegic. On Saturday, Roy said it was at that challenging time in his life when he realized that as often as we may choose our challenges, other times, the challenges choose us. It isn’t about how much gets taken away from us, but rather, how we choose to respond and find what drives us forward, despite our obstacles. The core of Roy’s personal story was definitely emotional; as much as he kept pointing out the simplicity of his message, it was definitely the most profound.

IMG_2475What COM Talks helped me realize that every day we are here, we get more and more inspired and motivated. Whether we find the inspiration in our classes, the lectures or even the events that are put together for students, they all push us forward. Not only are there a lot of impressive individuals at COM worth getting to know, but there is also such a large pool of successful alumni always willing to help current students out. The event reminded me why I’m here, and the endless opportunities that await all of us even long after we leave.

Most of the speakers are all alumni who, at one point in their lives, were in our very shoes, trying to get the word out and deciding on their career paths. They were students just like us, hoping to make a mark on the industry someday. At the end of the day, as COM Talks reminded us, it’s about serving the public’s needs, discussing the truth, and making a difference.