Tag Archives: Living in Boston

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.

MTurchi1

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.

 

 

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!

Guest blogger: PR grad student shares her first semester experience at COM

By Becca Liudzius
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

The halls of BU’s College of Communication (COM) are much quieter now that everyone has settled into what many consider the most stressful week of all—finals week. Lucky for me, and for most other COM grad students, my semester ended last Wednesday with the last day of classes. No, I did not have final exams, but yes, I did have four (that’s right, four!) final presentations within a three-day stretch. As I sat back in my desk last Wednesday night after my Writing for Media Professionals final presentation, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was finally done with all my work. I had successfully completed my first semester of graduate school.

Now, don’t let me confuse you… this semester wasn’t just all stress and no fun. Sure, the adjustment from being an undegrad to a studious “adult” in graduate school was difficult, especially when it happened all in one year, but my first semester as a Public Relations grad student at BU has overall been an incredible experience.

Some of the hi934808_10203805522673568_1393775127967161284_nghlights of my semester include:

My first weekend: What better way to start the semester than with Boston Calling (a three-day music festival on City Hall Plaza in the heart of Boston). I went with a couple of my friends and it was an awesome experience! Despite us having to evacuate for a couple hours due to a severe thunderstorm, we still got to see Lorde and Childish Gambino.

My Professors: This has been the first semester of my life that I have genuinely liked all of my professors. All four have been so helpful and knowledgeable.  I am so grateful to have such great mentors as I embark upon my grad school journey.

Group projects: Yes, group projects!  A task I absolutely despised in undergrad has become a lot more bearable, even fun at times. Group projects are now an experience where I can look forward to input and collaboration from my peers, and not worry about having to do all of the work myself.

Cooking: Having always had a meal plan at my undergrad, I never really learned to cook. At all. The beginning of this semester was filled with frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets, but now I have learned that cooking can be really fun and yummy. Adult life, here I come!

BuzzFeed: For my aforementioned writing class, our final project was to interview someone interesting. I took a long shot by emailing one of my favorite writers from BuzzFeed asking to interview him. He said yes, and I got to go to the BuzzFeed office over Thanksgiving break and interview him. That was probably my favorite thing I did this semester.

photo
Overall, this fall has been great. I am looking forward to next semester (especially my Nonprofit Public Relations class with Professor Downes and my internship with Peace First). But before that, my winter break will consist of much need sleep, my mom’s home cooking, some reading for leisure, and lots and lots of Netflix.

Have any questions for our PR graduate student, Becca? Ask her in the comment section below!

If you’re interested in finding out more about all graduate programs offered through BU’s College of Communication, make sure to visit our website here.

 

 

 

Story

Why journalists shouldn’t fear numbers: storytelling with data

By Michelle Marino
MS Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

We live in a digital world. No matter what you do or what profession you’re in, this reality permeates everything around us. In the communications field especially, it has never been more critical to embrace digitization to effectively gather, analyze and disseminate information. Aside from a compelling narrative, finding ways to insert data and help people visualize information is vital.

COM Journalism Professor Maggie Mulvihill
COM Journalism Professor Maggie Mulvihill

It’s no coincidence the Fall 2014 issue of COMtalk (BU’s College of Communication publication for alumni, parents and friends) listed data storytelling as one of three major trends affecting journalism today. Within the issue, many of COM’s professors are featured for their keen efforts in providing students with the tools needed to succeed in a changing field; one of those professors is Maggie Mulvihill. This COM Journalism professor is dedicated to getting students on board with using data not only to enhance their story’s credibility, but also arm them with valuable skills eagerly sought out by employers.

Professor Mulvihill, whose background is in watchdog and investigative reporting, has been using data to inform her stories for over 20 years. She ran a Storytelling with Data workshop at BU this summer, and is currently teaching a class this semester—Data Storytelling. The course focuses on learning how to identify and obtain appropriate data, how to download and extract, clean, analyze and finally bring it to life through data visualization. “No matter what occupation, we need to know how to work with digital information,” says Mulvihill. “All records are being digitized. In three to five years, government information will be streaming instead of static. Journalists have to be able to harness and capture information as it’s streamed and tell stories,” she says.

story telling

Data is important, but when coupled with good journalistic skill, it can be powerful. Especially when analyzing, if you’re asking the right questions, your data can serve to elevate your story in a meaningful way. Although most of us aren’t statisticians or research scientists, as social scientists we’re able to ask the right people to fairly and accurately assist us with data interpretation.

Currently, Mulvihill has a student in her class working on a story with the use of government data. After analyzing this data and obtaining a statistical finding, the question of statistical significance comes into play. Mulvihill asks the question, “Is it statistically significant to be news?” In other words, to be newsworthy, data has to provide information that isn’t already out there and doesn’t serve as an outlier. The student looking at government data consulted with a statistics professor who advised them to get more data so they could look at a broader spectrum of information. In the end, these types of consultations will ensure a statistically sound story.

Data

Along with journalistic skill, data is always more effective when presented with a human face. “It can’t just be statistics and government records,” says Mulvihill. “It has to have a strong character driving the story so people who read, watch and care about it can identify.” This is why Mulvihill asks her students to choose a character at the beginning of the story development process to focus on throughout.

Mulvihill is also in the process of developing a computational journalism initiative at BU. She says there is a sense of urgency for journalists to move in the direction of telling stories with data, and more and more people studying journalism are learning and integrating computer science into their careers. “There are so many jobs for journalists now with data storytelling skills,” says Mulvihill. “It’s prominent and it’s not just limited to journalism, it’s every profession,” she says. “I love the ability to do stories other people can’t.”

What are your thoughts on incorporating data with journalism? Let us know in the comment section below.

Interested in BU’s College of Communication graduate programs? Visit our website here and you can find out what it takes to earn your MS in Journalism at BU.

 

 

 

International Students

A helping hand for the international students in COM’s Journalism graduate program

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

All Journalism graduate students at BU’s College of Communication are required to take JO721- Journalism Principles/Techniques. Every fall, Professor Christopher Daly teaches a section of JO721 designed for all new international grad students in the Journalism program.

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.