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BU’s College of Communication offers a degree that could help you develop the next big app

By Michelle Marino
MS Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

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.

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Often confused with Emerging Media Studies, 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).

Students and faculty of the Media Ventures Program explain how the program works.

“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.

MV graduate students get ready for PitchFest 2014 in LA.

MV graduate students get ready for PitchFest 2014 in LA.

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.

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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 President of FX Networks, 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.

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MV students with HBO Senior Vice President, Jay Roewe (COM ’79) at 2014 PitchFest in LA.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

Behind the scenes: Good Morning, BU

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

On Thursday morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn when I knew my 11 a.m. lecture wasn’t for another five hours. But, I had a special assignment for that Thursday morning. I had to rush to get to campus by 8:30 a.m. What on earth would compel me to sacrifice such precious hours of sleep?

Good Morning, BU. Enough said.

Good Morning, BU (GMBU) is Boston University’s own LIVE, weekly morning show. GMBU brings you the latest in news from around BU, Boston, and from around the world.

On that early Thursday morning, I joined GMBU’s student-led team to find out exactly what goes into this weekly butv10 production. Immediately, I knew this was the real deal. Move over, “Good Morning America”, BU is live, awake, and ready to inform…from sports to city news, celebrity gossip, you name it, GMBU has you covered.

Before I go any further, let’s back up to the night before. That’s right… on Wednesday evenings, students meet to put up the set, so they can promptly go live at 10 a.m. the next morning. During this time, the production team floods into the College of Communication’s (COM) labs to clip trending national and local news and create storyboards.

The following morning, everyone is back at COM by 8:30 a.m. Edit labs on the third floor are filled with students practicing lines, drafting scripts and testing studio equipment. It’s a lot of prep work with minimum time before heading into the studio for rehearsal at 9 a.m.

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Alex Hirsch, a first semester Journalism grad student focusing in Sports Broadcast, helps write the script and edit voice-overs for sports’ anchors Andre Khatchaturian and Mariah Kennedy (both third semester Journalism students focusing in Broadcast). Hirsch showed me how to run the teleprompter during GMBU’s sports segment, which to my surprise was a lot more complex than expected. The geek in me was quite impressed with the mechanics.

From 9 to around 9:45 a.m., is rehearsal time. Everyone’s running around, trying to get last minute things done before going live. Everything has to be perfect. No room for excuses. At this point, it’s clear, tensions are running high.

At exactly 10 a.m., Good Morning, BU finally goes on-air. I was very impressed with what I saw. Everything was so professional, so well executed, so well done that I felt as though I was watching a national news production.  Khatchaturian really brought it home with the sports commentary and hosts Ashley Davis (MS, Broadcast Journalism ’15) and Paul Dudley (MS, Broadcast Journalism ’16) were absolutely professional, on point and energetic. Everyone worked together as a great team to deliver the news.

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By 10:30 a.m., it’s all over.

But, before anyone leaves, the production team gets together to do a quick post-production meeting. Usually Professor Cavalieri (butv10 faculty advisor) gives everyone a run-down of how the show went and what changes need to be made for next week’s production.

During set cleanup, I got a chance to quickly speak with Ashley Davis, one of the executive producers and hosts, about her take on the production of GMBU. “Besides three returners, everyone for the most part is new. There are a lot of first timers,” she says. “Production is pretty hectic and can get extreme, but it’s still a very page-one, basis teaching in which we have to show everyone how to do things. But what’s great about this year’s team is that everyone’s a quick learner, so that helps get the show progressing. We’ve definitely improved since we first started!”

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GMBU is just another example of all the amazing opportunities available to students at BU’s College of Communication. It’s a huge commitment with high demands and expectations, but the rewards are absolutely priceless, especially for those interested in a career in broadcast. It’s a learning experience no textbook or lecture can teach, but every journalist should know.

I say it over and over again, but I cannot stress it enough– you have to really want to be here. GMBU is a fine example of students showing their commitment and drive to becoming successful in a highly-competitive industry.

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Check out GMBU’s Facebook and Twitter to see more clips and pictures from their set. Don’t forget to catch Good Morning, BU LIVE every Thursday at 11am. If you’re interested in joining GMBU’s team, email one of the show’s producers:

Ashley Davis – adavis17@bu.edu
Courtney Sonn - csonn@bu.edu 
Hayley Gershon - hgershon@bu.edu 

Want to learn more about the graduate programs at Boston University’s College of Communication? Ask us your questions in the comments section below and visit our site. 

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Behind the scenes: Film/TV and Journalism grad students work together

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

On various Fridays throughout the semester, BU’s Film and Television department at the College of Communication hosts free premier screenings of innovative film and television programs. This screening series is part of the department’s Cinemathèque: meetings and conversations with filmmakers/television-makers. The series’ curator is Gerald Peary, a cinema professor at Suffolk University and a long-time film critic for the Boston Phoenix. He chooses his BU programs based on his extensive contacts in the professional film world and from his travels to film festivals around the globe.

For each featured production, a special guest  (the producer, filmmaker, etc.) is invited to COM for the screening. During the screening, film students quickly escort the filmmaker to a brief interview shoot.  Afterwards, a Q&A is held to provide more information to the audience regarding the production process.

Setting up the interview.

Setting up the interview with Journalism and Film/TV graduate students .

However, it wasn’t until after this year’s first screening that the After this year’s first screening, the Cinemathèque team decided they wanted to shoot interviews with the featured guests. Clearly, figuring out the production technicalities for these interviews would not be an issue, but what they did need was someone who could ask the right questions.

Without much thought, fingers pointed in the direction of third semester Broadcast Journalism graduate student, Alistair Birrell. “I thought it would be a good way to hone my interviewing skills,” he said.

On Friday, October 24, Birrell interviewed filmmaker Frank V. Ross, during the screening of his film, Tiger Tail in Blue. This was Birrell’s second interview of the semester for Cinemathèque.

Allistair Birrell interviews filmmaker Frank V. Ross.

Alistair Birrell (MS, Broadcast Journalism ’15) interviews filmmaker Frank V. Ross.

With only a fifteen minute window, Birrell must make sure he steers the interview in the correct way. “Where are you from?” Ross asked Birrell during the interview. “I’m from Scotland, but we can talk about me later,” Birrell quickly responded.

Birrell prepares some of his questions beforehand.

After each interview, students on the production team edit the video down to around three or four minutes. All interviews are featured on the Cinemathèque page, so be sure to check out Alistair’s full interview with Ross.

Overall, this program is an excellent example of COM’s Film and Television department preparing its students with hands-on, practical experience for the ever so competitive entertainment industry. These are lessons no textbook can teach, yet something every student should experience.

Take a look at the 2014 Cinemathèque schedule here to see what will be screening over the next few weeks. Although these screenings are designed to primarily  benefit  Film and TV students, they are free for all BU students and professors as well as the general public.

Interested in applying to one of the graduate programs at BU’s College of Communication? Tell us which one and why in the comments below.

To find out more about all of the graduate programs available through COM, be sure to check out our website here.

 *Pictures by Nikita Sampath