Media LLC visits New York alumni, media

The Media School Report • Jan. 29, 2017
Students in the Media Living Learning Center toured media groups in New York City over Martin Luther King weekend. (Audrie Osterman | The Media School)
Students in the Media Living Learning Center toured media groups in New York City over Martin Luther King weekend. (Audrie Osterman | The Media School)

Students in the IU Media Living Learning Center spent Martin Luther King Day weekend Jan. 13-16 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 sort of media to live in a wing of a residence hall, take a class, plan trips and organize events.

Arrival

By Hannah Bouford

Students packed the bus for their trip to New York. (Audrie Osterman | The Media School)
Students packed the bus for their trip to New York. (Audrie Osterman | The Media School)

Upon arriving in Manhattan Saturday, members of the LLC explored the city before the day’s events began. Groups of students went to Times Square, the 9/11 Memorial and walked along New York streets to see sites like the Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden.

After exploring, the group visited the Nintendo Store, followed by a tour of NBC Studios.

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Sunday, 11 students went to see CBS Studios. These students sat in the control room to see That Other Pregame Show filmed live. From there, they met up with the rest of the group to visit the Paley Center for Media, followed by a trip to the Apollo Theater in Harlem for a program celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. After a busy day in the city, students dined with alumni at the Houndstooth Pub.

To round out the trip on Monday, the group split in the morning to go to media trips to The New York Times or Sports Illustrated. After regrouping at NBC Studios, the group split again to visit either MSNBC or Google.

“I thought it was really neat to get the perspective of IU graduates because they were in a position similar to us when they were freshman,” said freshman Sean Mintert said. “It was really interesting to hear from people who had found success in the world of media using what they learned at IU.”

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MSNBC

By Joy Burton

Students were impressed not only by what they learned, but also by the studios and facilities at MSNBC. (Michael Tilka | The Media School)
Students were impressed not only by what they learned, but also by the studios and facilities at MSNBC. (Michael Tilka | The Media School)

A full-body photograph of Steve Carell starring amiably into a camera as he carries two trays of trash away, with the star caught mid-stride, greeted us as we entered the conference room where we would be joined by Cody Gnazzo, executive producer of The Rachel Maddow Show.

On our way to the conference room, we had observed the standard office space as we walked through the MSNBC home in New York City. Workers were were few among empty chairs at cluttered tables — cluttered with personality, memories. Despite the cookie-cutter blandness of the white desk and dark desktop combo, I was convinced MSNBC draws interesting people, no matter that they choose news over entertainment, simply by scanning their quirky knick-knacks.

Our tour guide mentioned celebrities, adding that in this work place, one quickly grows desensitized to spotting stars. I can hardly imagine becoming desensitized, becoming immune to the rush of adrenaline I felt when I sat across from Gnazzo on the 19th floor of the NBC building.

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Upon arrival to our designated conference room, Sheara Braun, BAJ’04, who works for All in with Chris Hayes, welcomed us and revealed that she once was an IU aspiring journalist herself. She loves the university so much so that she dressed in crimson for the tour.

Braun introduce Gnazzo, who leads an interesting life. For example, he has landed some positions due largely to his French language skills. Once dissatisfied with a job, he concluded his best choice was to enroll in graduate school. Afterward, he relied on his degree, new skills and new mindset.

Gnazzo said the first thing he thinks about in the morning is what the show’s going to talk about that night.

Just as many students have learned in the introductory media class, Gnazzo mentioned that in order to earn the position he holds now, he was first required to do lots of smaller jobs necessary for production.

A journalist in college, he felt it essential over the years to broaden his toolbox in order to ensure that he could reach his goals.

Besides answering specific questions pertaining to what students should and shouldn’t do as they work to make it in media, Gnazzo stressed the importance of being versatile and learning many types of media. He said that internships are the perfect time to immerse oneself in media jobs beyond one’s comfort zone, and he disproved what I had been told about building a resume. He said that consistently practicing only what job you want to do in the end isn’t enough to get hired in media.

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Google

By Bryn Eudy

Students hung out with a bot at the Google New York headquarter. (Genevieve Martin | The Media School)
Students hung out with a bot at the Google New York headquarter. (Genevieve Martin | The Media School)

With free meals, game rooms, Razor-brand scooters as a mode of transportation and beautiful views of the Hudson River, who wouldn’t want to work at Google?

IU alumni Mike Abrams, BAJ’09, showed students around during a visit to Google’s New York headquarters, where Abrams works, located in Brooklyn.

We toured numerous floors and saw the little quirks that make Google such an interesting place to work. One of the most noticeable aspects for me was the color scheme. Everything was the classic “Google” colors; red, blue, yellow and green. The seating areas, the wall decorations and even our name tag clips emphasized the Google brand.

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My favorite part of the Google visit was the view from the top part of the building. Since we were in New York for only a few days, it was impossible to see all of the historic sights. However, from the view that Google employees are so lucky to grow accustomed to, I saw the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River for the first time.

After taking a few pictures, both with my phone and with my mind, it was time to leave. I’m sure that there are others in the group who would like to return to the office someday. Maybe a few of us will work there, and tell our new coworkers about the tour we took as college freshmen.

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The New York Times

By Lydia Gerike

Freshman Marlie Bruns checked out the displays at The New York Times. (Spencer Bowman | The Media School)
Freshman Marlie Bruns checked out the displays at The New York Times. (Spencer Bowman | The Media School)

Monday, several of us toured The New York Times in an awe-inspiring tour led by graphics editor Larry Buchanan, BAJ’11.

Seeing the inner workings of the Times was almost surreal. As one of the leading papers in the U.S., the Times is a definitely a dream job for me and many other students of the LLC.

Like New York City itself, news never sleeps, so some employees were still in the office working. Most people were off for Martin Luther King Day, but a handful were dutifully updating the website, working on projects and, in Larry’s case, giving a group of IU Media School students a tour of the building.

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My favorite part of the tour was seeing Pulitzer Hall with more than 100 Pulizer prize winning publications. The portraits of journalists with their winning articles, photographs or series covered a long, brightly lit hallway and drew me in just thinking about all the talent in one place.

From Larry’s tour and words of advice, I learned:

  • Be prepared to jump at new opportunities.
  • A career-defining day can sometimes just be the result of finding yourself in the right place at the right time.
  • The work you do will be the most important factor in helping you get a job, so make sure you work to improve and always keep creating new content.
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Paley Center for Media

By Jack Grossman    

When the Media LLC visited the Paley Center for Media, formerly the Museum of Television & Radio, students learned about the history of the center and mission of the center as well as interacted and watched archived videos.

The Paley Center was founded in 1975 by William Paley, who created the center as a place to archive the best of television and radio broadcasts. Paley not only archived broadcasts from his company, NBC, but also those of competitors, such as CBS, ABC, and later cable channels as well as internet content.

While at the Paley Center, Media LLC students learned about what the Paley Center does today. In addition to archiving content, the Paley Center acts as a virtual library for people who want to view the archived content. The Paley Center also holds panel discussions for different groups, such as the Star Wars cast.

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After learning about the Paley Center, students viewed an old Muppets episode that guest starred Luke Skywalker and other Star Wars characters. In addition, the students also viewed a Robin Williams comedy act at recorded at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gnazzo said the first thing he thinks about in the morning is what the show’s going to talk about that night.

Just as many students have learned in the introductory media class, Gnazzo mentioned that in order to earn the position he holds now, he was first required to do lots of smaller jobs necessary for production.

A journalist in college, he felt it essential over the years to broaden his toolbox in order to ensure that he could reach his goals.

Besides answering specific questions pertaining to what students should and shouldn’t do as they work to make it in media, Gnazzo stressed the importance of being versatile and learning many types of media. He said that internships are the perfect time to immerse oneself in media jobs beyond one’s comfort zone, and he disproved what I had been told about building a resume. He said that consistently practicing only what job you want to do in the end isn’t enough to get hired in media.

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Sports Illustrated

By Sean Mintert 

The offices of Sports Illustrated offered lots of scenes of artwork, including these cover. (Jake Preddy | The Media School)
The offices of Sports Illustrated offered lots of scenes of artwork, including these cover. (Jake Preddy | The Media School)

At the New York offices of Sports Illustrated, DeAntae Prince, BAJ’10, NBA producer at the magazine’s website, The Crossover, led the tour. Students saw the main office, which housed most of the writers, and some of the studios used for shooting video, which are shared by magazines like Sports Illustrated and People.

Prince also shared some of his personal experiences in the sports media industry, which included stops in Terre Haute, Indiana, as a staffer at the Tribune-Star, and his first big breakthrough, which was at job at Sporting News, before he made his way to his current position at Sports Illustrated.

Some of the students in attendance were impressed and encouraged by the path that Prince had taken to get to where he was today.

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“It was nice to see someone who had gotten their start at a place like the IDS really make a name for themselves in media” said Michael Ramirez. “Seeing how he used the resources available at IU gave me some good ideas about what I should be doing while I’m in college”

Not only was it a great opportunity to see one of the leaders in the sports media industry up close, but it was also a chance to pick the brain of someone who was once in the same position that we are.« Collapse content

Meet the alumni

By Sophia Clampitt

The best part of the New York City trip was meeting and talking with Media School alumni who are working in media organizations across the city.

We met Michael Zennie, BAJ’08, a news director at People.com; Brittany Hite, BAJ’07, mobile editor at The Wall Street Journal; James Okungu, MA’11, producer for NBC; Carmen Huff, BAJ’14, paralegal; Larry Buchanan, BAJ’11, a graphics editor at The New York Times; Mike Abrams, BA’09 (business), account strategist performance adviser for Google; Joseph Mwamba, BS’13 (business), coordinator at VH1; Chip Cutter, BAJ’09, an editor at LinkedIn; DeAntae Prince, BAJ’10, NBA editor for Sports Illustrated; Griffin Leeds, BA’15, lead sales assistant for OXO; and Kristi Oloffson, BAJ’09, video production manager for The Wall Street Journal.

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We heard advice about how to get internships and potential jobs. The alumni were happy and eager to answer any questions we had about their careers.

These alumni all have different stories about how they started working in in the Big Apple. Some moved to New York City as soon as they graduated, while other have worked in other parts of the country first.

The most surprising thing that many of the alumni talked about was the risks that they all took. For example Kristi Oloffson quit her job last year to travel to Africa and works as a videographer for a nonprofit, though she had no video experience.

On the other side of the spectrum, Mike Abrams moved to New York City just eight months ago after working for Angie’s List. He now works at Google as an account strategist.

But all of these successful professionals have one major thing in common: they all graduated from Indiana University. According to Larry Buchanan, graphics editor at The New York Times, his college experience “was the best four years of my life.”

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Apollo Theater

By Austin Faulds

Students heard the Martin Luther King Day program at the Apollo Theater. (Audrie Osterman | The Media School)
Students heard the Martin Luther King Day program at the Apollo Theater. (Audrie Osterman | The Media School)

As famed opera singer Marcelle Davies-Lashley stepped on the stage of the Apollo Theater on Sunday afternoon, voices hushed and applause followed. Davies-Lashley stood motionless for a moment, as Homer calling upon the Muses’ guidance, before belting out into the richest hymn those old walls heard in years.

Her voice was a time machine, shoving me back through decades of grooves, grinds, shakes and shouts with the tenacious vigor of a hurricane. It wasn’t Jan. 15, 2017. I wasn’t with 30-some Media School students. I was with Nina Simone, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson and the Supremes. I felt the reverberations of the gospel rumble the foundations of Uptown Hall. The world around us collapsed into its bitter bigotry, but the Apollo – this Holy Mecca of culture – laid stable like the greatest bomb shelter in the world.

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For the past 11 years, WNYC puts on a celebration commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I first attended this event in 2016 and had the fortunate opportunity to be a guest once more this year, on what would have been Dr. King’s 88th birthday. The program featured performances from Davies-Lashley as well as slam poet Staceyann Chin and Brooklyn MC Talib Kweli.

On top of that, there was an array of panelists discussing race issues from the past, present and what has yet to come. These included #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Opal Tometi, political strategist L. Joy Williams, commissioner Nisha Agarwal and the Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr.

All of the discussions and performances highlighted anger during troubled times. It was the kind of belly-boiling rebellion that influenced some of the greatest rebellions of all time. The whole affair was like some sort of two-and-a-half-hour stretching of a Native American war cry.

“Where do we go from here?” is written in bold red across the program booklet. Where do we go from here? Perhaps the answer they found was revolution.

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