Media LLC visits alumni, media outlets in New York

The Media School Report • Jan. 23, 2018

Students in the IU Media Living Learning Center spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend Jan. 12-15 exploring media outlets in New York City, an annual trip for the group.

The Media LLC is a learning community that allows students with an interest in any genre of media to live in a wing of a residence hall, take a class, plan trips and organize events.

Arrival

By William Trubshaw

I first heard that the Media Living Learning Center would be taking a trip to New York City sometime during my senior year of high school, while I was still applying to be a member of the LLC.

Students posing with an IU flag in a subway station
Students in the Media Living Learning Center traveled to New York City during Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. (Jessica Tompkins | The Media School)

When that fact was reiterated to us at the beginning of the year, a couple thoughts ran through my mind. First was pure excitement at the prospect of getting to see New York up close and personal, while also getting to explore and learn about the legendary media organizations that reside within its streets. At the same time, I felt a tinge of nervousness, as I would be spending a whole weekend in a city that I did not know, with 37 other people who I didn’t quite know yet either. My concerns from the latter were alleviated quickly as our floor came together and bonded over our shared interests in the fields of media and journalism.

As for the former, the excitement only continued to build through first semester and during winter break until it came time to leave Jan. 12. With classes finished for the day and luggage packed neatly, we boarded our coach bus and started east toward New York City.

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Winter weather forced the group to make an overnight stop in Ohio on its way to New York. (Jessica Tompkins | The Media School)

We came across a bit of a struggle in the wee hours of Saturday morning, as a blizzard forced the group to stay overnight in a hotel in Zanesville, Ohio. While this would ultimately lead to the elimination of participating in any of the day’s planned activities in New York (namely tours of NBC Studios and the Museum of the Moving Image, plus allotted free time to explore), we continued our journey, departing Zanesville at noon and reaching New York shortly before 11 p.m. With what little time was left in the day, a great deal of us took to the streets to explore and see what we could before going to bed that evening.

Sunday’s plans were not greatly impinged upon, as a select group got to tour CBS Sports and would later join the rest of the LLC at the Paley Center for Media for a tour and presentation. In the afternoon, we made a quick trek up to Harlem to watch a presentation on the life of Martin Luther King Jr. at the historic Apollo Theater. Then in the evening came a great opportunity for networking at the alumni dinner, where Media School alumni came to chat and network with us.

Monday morning, people packed their bags and got ready for our site visits, where we were split up and had the opportunity to see some combination of Google, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and Sports Illustrated. After these visits concluded, we returned to our hotel on the Lower East Side one last time, stowed our belongings and got back on the road to Bloomington.

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Bloomberg

By Asher Michelson 

Students toured Bloomberg’s offices during their annual New York trip. (Kaeley Geschke | The Media School)

Bloomberg’s headquarters are located in Midtown and surrounded by gorgeous architecture. The building looked similar to a donut, but a really fancy donut covered in beautiful tinted glass.

When the LLC walked in, the students had their photos taken and were given their access passes. Meg Ely, BAJ’12, was our guide to the inside of the company. 

Our first impression from walking in was how spacious and bright the workplace was. Fish tanks and panoramic views of Midtown ensured there would be no feelings of a claustrophobia or a work-cubicle environment.

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Bloomberg is the modern hybrid of media, journalism and communications meeting the stock market and financing. The core of Bloomberg is that it is a data behemoth that charges a lot for financial information, but it also works in news, radio, television and advertising/public relations in order to create a holistic approach to the competitive money market.

Margaret Ely, BAJ’12, talks to students about her job as senior editor for social and audience development at Bloomberg. (Katie Beck | The Media School)

Bloomberg is not an average news company; however, it is a news company that focuses on moving stock and giving its subscribers and consumers an edge in the market by receiving financial information from major companies as soon as moves are made.

The LLC had the chance to sit in one of its various conference rooms that are visible from most areas of the workplace and are made of glass in order to ensure a feeling of pure transparency in the company. The group asked Ely questions about her job and work experiences.

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Sports Illustrated

By Samuel Meyer

The visit to Sports Illustrated may have marked the end of the New York trip, but to some, it was perhaps the most fruitful.

The room buzzed with excitement as a crowd of eager sports fans entered the Time headquarters, each one hoping to gain useful information and contacts for the future. This stop gave everyone who went in exactly that and more.

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The tour began with a quick walk-through of the writing room, where we saw people hard at work writing new stories for the next issue and for the web. Then, we were taken to the studio, where we all were allowed to stand on stage and look at a room full of monitors, cameras and lights — all pointing directly at us.

All of that was exciting, but the best part came at the end, when we were allowed to ask questions of DeAntae Prince, BAJ’10, Priya Desai, ’02, and other workers. From there, we learned information about the company, its different jobs and how we could get internships there as soon as the coming summer.

The group got contacts for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and even World Wrestling Entertainment all in one stop. Not only that, but the group was also given advice on how to land internships with these companies. All in all, this was a highlight for all who attended. 

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Google

By Matt Coutu

Of the various media outlets toured during our time in New York, Google was by far one of the most impressive. The building, located across the street from Chelsea Market, is the fourth-largest (and first most expensive real estate purchase) in Manhattan; it even has more square footage than the Empire State Building. We were privileged to be shown around by Mike Abrams, BS’09, a senior account executive at Google.

Students toured the New York Google office, the fourth-largest building in Manhattan. (Jessica Tompkins | The Media School)

Abrams gave us the grand tour, beginning in a room that displayed a grid of squares portraying the current trending searches. However, what was most intriguing was how large each floor was. He informed us that each level is so large that it would take 15 minutes to walk from one side to the other. Thus, the use of scooters is common in the Google office. In order to navigate the hallways, each floor has a particular theme. This one was New York-themed, so all of the conference rooms were named after streets and areas of the city.

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Shortly after seeing the trends screen, we entered one of Google’s 10 auditorium-style conference rooms, where they often have celebrities come to speak for their event, Toxic Google. Among the few who have visited recently are Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman and Reese Witherspoon.

Scooters in the Google New York office
The Google New York office provides scooters for its employees to use to get across the office. (Courtney Stapleton | The Media School)

Exiting the auditorium, I couldn’t help but notice the massive freight elevator. Abrams told us it was capable of lifting cars, and had no problem elevating a fire truck, an ice cream truck, taxis and race cars in the past.

The next room had one of several micro-kitchens that promote healthy eating. Employees are able to eat for free in any of the dining halls, but sometimes time is of the essence. Because of this, free beverages and snacks are provided among other luxuries, such as an espresso machine. While healthy foods were kept out in the open, Abrams did mention that sweets were available but kept in more conspicuous places. An employee would have to retreat to the back of the fridge if he had any hope of finding a soda.

The lifestyle choice of eating healthy extends beyond the office, though. Tucked into one of the dining halls was also a teaching kitchen, where employees can receive cooking lessons from various famous chefs.

Game room in Google New York office
Mike Abrams, BS’09, led students on a tour of the Google New York office. Pictured is a game room. (Courtney Stapleton | The Media School)

One of the rooms that surprised me the most was the Lego room. We learned that the creators of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were avid Lego enthusiasts, which is why the colors of Google are also the primary colors of the Lego brand. Even brilliant computer scientists need to let off some steam, and they’re clearly no novices at building with the brightly colored bricks. A shelf full of employee creations decorated the back wall, with a ladder to the floor above in front of it. Among some of the most impressive Lego creations were two QR codes and various symbols for prestigious universities across the nation and world.

Of course, getting a job at Google is no easy feat. Abrams said the hiring process took more than four months and included at least 10 interviews. To put that into perspective, it is 25 times harder to get a job at Google than to be admitted to Harvard. Yet, 55 percent of the employees aren’t even engineers. Of the employees, 45 percent work in sales, while the other 10 percent comprise maintenance and food service workers. Yet, that’s still no small number considering there are more than 8,000 employees in the New York office.

The tour concluded with a stunning view of the city skyline, an anticipated benefit of working for one of the largest companies in the world. There’s no question that this specific tour inspired us to complete our best work in all that we do. Abrams helped us realize that nothing is impossible, and that if you love the work you are doing, it’s not really work at all. Though the name tags we were provided may crumple and fade, I certainly will not be the only one who displays it at my desk for years to come.

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Wall Street Journal 

A small staff occupied the Wall Street Journal newsroom on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, when students toured the office. (Ariel Zou | The Media School)

By Jacob Taylor 

Visiting the Wall Street Journal on Martin Luther King Jr. Day gave media students a firsthand look into the media industry. 

 Brittany Hite, BAJ’07 and leader of the Digital App team at The Wall Street Journal, led members of the Media LLC on a tour of the WSJ section of the News Corporation Building. She walked students around the Wall Street Journal showing off conference rooms, different reporting desks and the Barron’s magazine headquarters.
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In the center of what’s known as the hub of the organization is a large projection of the home page of The Wall Street Journal. It’s projected so associates are always aware of how the website looks and what content is being shown.

“Even though there weren’t a lot of people there, it was a very welcoming environment,” LLC resident Maddie Haltom said. “You could tell that everyone was hardworking.”

The Journal was especially interesting to students who want to pursue journalism.

Although The Wall Street Journal tells news stories through many different platforms and mediums, written journalism is its focus.

“It gave me a good view into the world of journalism and what my future career might look like,” Haltom said.

After the tour, Hite shared insight on her career. Hearing from someone in the industry was rewarding to students who are just getting started in the field.

Hite was open to questions from both students and advisers on the trip. Her advice included getting experience through internships and digital training, and to have fun in college. She encouraged people to try new things, because you can never tell what skills you could need in your future career.

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CBS Sports

By Luke Dearinger 

Students visited CBS Sports during a taping of The NFL Today. (Courtesy photo)

A group of students from the Media LLC toured CBS Sports on Jan. 14.

The tour consisted of a behind-the-scenes look at The NFL Today and a tour of the studios themselves. Students saw where John Oliver and Samantha Bee record their shows, as well as Inside Edition’s studios. 

We entered the studio for the live broadcasting of The NFL Today and watched anchors do pregame coverage of the Jaguars vs. Steelers and Vikings vs. Saints games. Students were also taken into the control room of the show and into a staff room as well.

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Many of us were surprised by the number of staff in the studio and in the control room it takes to run the show compared to the two or three people we see on the screen. The staff consists of cameramen, control room operators, producers, directors, makeup artists, researchers and people who set up and tear down the set between segments. These employees are here normally four hours before the show starts. Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson was the guest appearance on the show, and Bill Cowher and Phil Simms were the anchors in the studio. On his way out of the studio, Simms stopped and greeted students. Cowher waved to students on his way in as well.

The control room staff was hard at work to keep the broadcast rolling smoothly. Media School director of facilities Jay Kincaid, BA’82, who travels to New York on some weekends to work on the show, worked diligently to run the broadcast but took the time to greet students in between segments. We were surprised by the level of cooperation and staff needed to run the show smoothly from the control room. Screens displayed not only what was being recorded in the studio, but also other broadcasts and screens dedicated to game scores around the country.

Outside of the control room was a large room with computers and desks, where staff spends time between broadcasts, as well as where researchers from the show work. Screens had almost every other major sports network playing, and workers were supposed to keep an eye on last-minute breaking news for the anchors to talk about, as well as find interesting statistics for the broadcast.

Overall, students found the trip to the studios interesting and loved seeing the filming from inside the studio as well as what the work in the control room looks like live during a broadcast.

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Alumni Reception

By Amy Gallagher

On Sunday night, the Media LLC arrived at Loreley, a trendy restaurant on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, to meet several Indiana University alumni. These recent alumni are currently working in different areas of media in New York City. Many major media companies were represented, including Google, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, InStyle and more. Many of the alumni gave us tours at the site visits the following day.

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We had our own room in the restaurant, which in turn created a whole room of people who love all things media. Many students expressed the dinner setting was not what they had imagined; there were colorful lights and trendy music was playing in the background. Within this casual, house party-esque setting, students were relieved of the pressure from talking to alumni. Regardless of the setting, the alumni were extremely friendly and genuine. They were eager to talk about their time at IU and how it shaped their careers. Also, most of the alumni were young, or at least younger than we thought they were going to be. The alumni present ranged across their 20s and 30s, and some graduated just last May. It was comforting to see that IU students graduate and immediately have jobs at successful companies.

Something that almost all the alumni stressed was that they gained their professional experiences outside of the classroom. Mallory Simon, BAJ’07, who works at CNN, said she loved almost all of the classes she took at IU, but it was her involvement with the Indiana Daily Student that got her jobs after graduation. Many alumni spoke highly of how the IDS made them feel confident going into the world of media. As a current student, this reaffirmed the idea that IU, specifically The Media School, has countless organizations to join that will give you hands-on experience in a professional manner.

As the night came to a close, many students and alumni traded information to stay in contact after our weekend in New York. From the energy and enthusiasm of the alumni, it is clear that when students graduate from IU, they take fond memories and professional experience with them. Their passion transferred to the current students, as many of them left the dinner feeling inspired.

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Paley Center for Media

By Madelaine Haltom 

Abby Bainbridge (left) holds an Emmy award while Amy Gallagher (right) takes a photo at the Paley Center for Media. (Katie Beck | The Media School)

The Paley Center for Media was a great place to visit on our trip to the Big Apple because we got to take a step into the life of a major captain of media. We had the opportunity to tour the center, which is dedicated to the discussion of cultural, creative and social significance of media, before we watched a documentary that depicted the daily life of a TV journalist.

On the tour, we got to see elements of William S. Paley’s office that were donated to the center by the Paley family. Paley was a prominent figure in radio and television history who grew CBS into the powerful media company it is today. 

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Shelves in his office were lined with media-related books of all sorts, and many of them were signed. Due to the timing of the trip, one book stood out. It was a signed copy of a book by Coretta Scott King. We saw a statue that Paley purchased and Mrs. Paley finalized with a pair of old shoes. We learned that Paley used a poker table as his desk because he was all about business and wasn’t great at small talk, so he used the table as the conversation starter. The table is rich with history. Many television contracts were signed on this table, including the contract for the hit show I Love Lucy. There was also an opportunity to hold Paley’s Emmy.

“It was really inspiring to see the Emmy that Bill Paley won just to show that when you work hard, it really pays off,” said Jake Taylor, a Media LLC resident.

A favorite aspect of the trip for most of the people in my group was the meeting room and, more importantly, the giant table within it. Right away, people of the group began to pretend to negotiate contracts like Bill Paley. The meeting room also had original Al Hirschfeld drawings, including one CBS commissioned him to draw.

The tour was a great experience, but we can’t forget that the Paley Center, first and foremost, is an archive for media content.

“It’s cool to see a center so devoted to archiving media so that future generations can see where we came from and so I can view TV shows and news from the past that I can incorporate into my work,” Taylor said.

Overall, the Paley Center is rich with media history and was a beneficial experience for future media majors.

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Apollo Uptown Hall 

The group attended a Martin Luther King Jr. Day program, “Apollo Uptown Hall,” at the Apollo Theater. (Peter Talbot | The Media School)

By Ann Lewandowski 

A dream deferred is not a dream forgotten — this was the message delivered at the Apollo Theater on Sunday afternoon. After a visit to the Paley Center for Media, we traveled to Harlem to listen to activists and religious figures discuss the dream and the legend of Martin Luther King Jr. This year marks the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination and provides us with the perfect opportunity to discuss his work, his legacy and his dream. In the program, “50 Years After MLK: A Dream Deferred,” Brian Lehrer and Jami Floyd of New York’s WNYC public radio led a discussion about the progress made since Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and the work that still needs to be done. 

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Performances by Vy Higginsen’s Gospel Choir for Teens and Soul Science Lab provided a powerful punch that accompanied the message of the speakers. Guest speakers included Dr. Clarence B. Jones, a former political adviser, counsel and draft speechwriter for King. Jones spoke of the importance in keeping King’s dream alive and remembering him not only for his work in civil rights, but humanitarian rights and beliefs as well. Jones was accompanied by an incredibly moving women’s panel that featured the cofounder of the Black Lives Matter Movement, one of the national co-chairs of the Women’s March on Washington and a political commentator for Latina and Puerto Rican rights. The appearance of a minister, an imam and a rabbi added to this message of equality of not just race and gender, but also religion.

The audience members walked out of the Apollo Theater in a daze, as they attempted to wrap their minds around all of the sacrifices made and the work still to be done on the subject of equality. In the end, it is not enough to just remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We must wake up every day ready to continue the fight for freedom and justice for all people.

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