Tag Archives: Journalism

Accepted Students Open House Day

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

The last weekend of March was quite a busy one for COM—what with the three-day long Narrative Conference going on at Boston University with so many amazing keynote speakers, journalists and storytellers from all over to sharing their experiences from the industry.

Over at the COM building on Saturday, March 28, the graduate program also had a panel of five keynote speakers, journalists and storytellers of their own at the Accepted Prospective Students Day, except the only difference was, it featured COM’s own current graduate students.

The panel of chosen students answered questions from the audience and talked about their current experiences at COM, why they chose the program, what the competition is like and how to manage the workload.

Alex Hirsch, (Sports Broadcast ’16) was one of the students whom the professors recommended be chosen to participate in the Q and A session panel. Just a year ago, Alex had been one of the many prospective students still trying to decide his future and whether or not his destiny lied with COM.

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“It felt pretty cool being on the other side of the podium for once,” Alex said. “You’re always wondering whether you’re actually succeeding or doing your best work here at COM, but knowing that the professors recommend you to be on that panel is further confirmation that you’re on the right path in life, and that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. It’s validation that I’m working towards the right goal and I’m right here where I belong.”

He also mentioned that although the Q and A session was for him to inform interested students, it was a learning lesson for him as well.

“I didn’t do journalism before COM and I realized that while I was answering questions, I was representing all those people who are coming to school without any journalism background either. I was there to explain that just because I didn’t have undergraduate experience in it, doesn’t mean that it can’t be done,” he said.

Hanae Armitage, (Science Journalism ’15) was also chosen to be on the distinguished panel of students to represent her field and help prospective students consider COM to be their future home.

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“It was definitely a great experience honestly,” she said. “I remember having a ton of questions and being in their position last year, and it was great to share my own experience with them. Especially even more so now because I can confirm that I absolutely love it here, and I made the right choice.”

For Armitage, it wasn’t tough to gush about the program and encourage students to come experience COM for themselves. “Everyone here I’ve met in the science journalism field has been super supportive of incoming journalists which I appreciate. So I felt like I really wanted to relay that attitude to the new students too,” she said.

Feel like you’re at another turning point in life with a fork stuck in the road? Time grabbing you by the wrist directing you where to go? You heard it here first. COM is definitely the path that can’t be beat!

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.

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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.

 

 

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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)

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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.

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Journalism grad students showcase all they’ve learned from BU’s College of Communication

By Michelle Marino
MS Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

On the last day of classes for the Fall 2014 semester, 13 of BU’s College of Communication (COM) journalism graduate students presented their professional projects at the Journalism Graduate Showcase.  Students, faculty, friends and family filled the room on COM’s second floor to support those who were presenting.

Print, photo and broadcast were just few of the many journalism mediums showcased at the event. The projects were diverse in content, offering a wide-range of stories that have never been told, such as an interactive multimedia website that take readers on a storytelling journey along Boston’s Mass. Ave. and a five-part video and article series about BU’s archeology research around the world (see video excerpt below).


Graduate student Amy Laskowski (COM ’15) uncovers the sercrets of the Three Cranes Tavern as part of her BU archeology research series. Video by Bill Politis.

Katie Tamola (COM ’15), a Print Journalism grad student who presented on her written self-harm project, says she took a great deal from the experience of her professional project and offers advice for those yet to begin the process: “I took so much from it,” she says. “This was a topic that affected me and I was curious and passionate about it. Pick something that means something to you, something that makes you think. This is your baby, and it becomes your life. Choose a professor who will challenge you but who really gets you, one you’ve had a class with or formed a good relationship with. The experience is demanding but makes you such a better journalist.” Check out experts from Tamola’s project here.

Saba Aziz (COM ’15), also in the Print Journalism grad program, wrote a piece on the history of the Longwood Cricket Club and maintenance of their grass tennis courts. Tennis is something that is close to Aziz’s heart, as she was Pakistan’s number one women’s player and a Federation Cup team member. She comments on the importance of solid reporting when completing the project: “For me personally, this was the longest piece I’d ever done at BU. When you’re doing something that’s written with not a lot of visual, the more reporting you can do to get the narrative and details the better.” View the photo slideshow here.

Along with reflections on the experience and advice on completing the project, Samantha Mellman (COM ’15), creator of “The Never Forget Project“, an interactive multimedia site documenting Holocaust survival stories, stresses the critical role of journalism in bringing stories to life. “As a journalist I think we’re playing a part in helping the world,” says Mellman. “It takes one great story to create a domino effect. Even talking about the Holocaust, which seems very removed from us now, seeing those people on screen, it makes it that much more real.


Lucy Jacobs is a Auschwitz Holocaust survivor who re-tells the horrors she struggled to live through as part of Mellman’s “The Never Forget Project.”

 For those of us who have yet to complete the project, it will surely be an intensive but rewarding process. Andre Khatchaturian (COM ’16), a Broadcast Journalism grad student, says although he knows what he will do his professional project on, he’s still marveled at the presentations. “A lot of people have put a lot of work into this,” says Khatchaturian. “The one I was most involved with was Ashley Davis [COM ’15]’s project on the 2014 midterm election coverage. I was a national desk reporter for that. To see the final product was awesome. They’re all very interesting topics. I learned a lot about a variety of things. Journalism is cool in that sense – you don’t have to specialize in a specific topic. You can tell all kinds of stories.”

According to Associate Professor Susan Walker, this is the second year of the Graduate Showcase, and will be an annual event the last week of classes in December. “Students gain from presenting, succinctly, a topic into which they’ve done a deep dive,” says Walker. “It is an opportunity to seed ideas for other students pursuing a project as well as a chance to demonstrate the craft they’ve learned here at COM.” Since graduate students finish mid-year and often can’t return for graduation ceremonies, it’s also a chance for them to get together and celebrate their hard work. In the future, Professor Walker’s hope is to invite more people, including potential employers and prospective grad students. “Nothing sells our graduate journalist program better than our students and their work,” says Walker.

Be sure to check out some of the other professional projects here.

Interested in learning more about BU’s College of Communication Journalism graduate program? Make sure to visit our website here. You can also find more information about all graduate programs offered through COM here.