Master’s Alumni Profile: Claribel Rivas G’20

Claribel Rivas G’20

Newhouse Master’s Program: Magazine, News and Digital Journalism 
Current Position: Social Media Manager, PBS Digital Studios in Arlington, VA.

How did you obtain your current position, and what positions did you hold before it?  

In November 2020, I was offered the Gwen Ifill fellowship at Washington Week where I managed the Instagram account which the team was really interested in growing. After my fellowship was over in June 2021, I was offered a position as a senior social media manager for the National Digital Content team at WETA. There, I worked with the digital content team and producers to come up with social media strategies for campaigns, identify best practices to build viewership across broadcast and online programs, as well as oversee the social accounts for WETA programs. In December 2021, I was offered a social media manager position at PBS Digital Studios, working my way up to the PBS headquarters in Arlington, VA.  

What’s an average day like for you on the job?

PBS Digital Studios is a network of educational digital shows distributed on YouTube. The show topics range from STEM to music and arts. I start my day looking through any messages from the producers we work with and see if there is anything I need to review for the day. Some of the things I would review would be rough cuts of social videos, final cuts of social videos, social scripts or social assets that our show producers send us to help promote their series. Once I go through the reviews and approve them, I head over to our social calendar and see what is scheduled to be published for the day. I try to block time on my calendar for up to two hours to focus solely on publishing. Once all the posts are scheduled for the day, I attend any meetings on my schedule. Usually, our meetings are to catch up with producers and check in on how the show is going. We talk through episode ideas, social video ideas, episode schedules or any other agenda items. Once meetings are done, I usually have a few more posts that need to be published so I’ll go back and see what I’ve missed and make sure they are good to go. I also take time in the afternoon to review/moderate our comment section and respond/flag to anything that needs our attention.  

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current position?

Newhouse prepared me for my current position by providing a wide range of classes that helped build my skillset. From magazine writing classes to video production classes, I graduated with essential design and creative skills that would be useful for any job. Since graduating, I have used almost all of the skills I learned at Newhouse. I’ve had to manage websites, create graphics, edit social videos on Adobe, present in front of an audience and use my storytelling skills in all aspects of writing and design. Newhouse taught me so many great real-world professional skills, and I felt more than ready to enter my career after graduation.  

Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspects of your field you may have not considered when applying?  

After graduation, I was certain I was going to go straight into reporting for a digital magazine. However, the skills that I learned at Newhouse were transferable for a variety of different jobs. Social media was already an interest of mine, and I didn’t realize that there was more to being a social media manager than just posting on Instagram. Although publishing and managing our social calendar is a big part of my job, I also act as an editorial/social lead for some of our YouTube shows. I work with producers to craft entertaining and educational stories through social media video, while also ensuring each video meets our editorial standards and expectations. Creative storytelling is a big part of what I work on at Digital Studios and Newhouse was able to prepare me for a role that entailed the skills needed for this.  

What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it in the first place? 

What drew me to the magazine, news and digital journalism program was the Newhouse Diversity News Fellowship. This fellowship was granted to two students interested in the program who majored in something other than journalism in undergrad. The fellowship seemed like a great opportunity for someone like me who was interested in pivoting to reporting, especially since I had a growing interest in international reporting. Syracuse was the only school I applied to for my graduate degree, and I wanted to take a chance at being accepted into the fellowship program. I was selected as a semi-finalist and was able to receive a full-tuition scholarship to attend Newhouse! Since the program was only a little over a year long, I quickly applied to positions that would help make my resume stronger and enhance my skills, as well as trying new journalism avenues that I didn’t get to do during undergrad. I interned at NewsChannel 9 as a show intern, worked at Orange Television Network as the Promotions Manager, and even tried some broadcast roles as a bilingual reporter for Noticias on CitrusTV. There were so many great opportunities on and off campus.  

Did the Newhouse Career Development Center aid you?

The Newhouse Career Development Center was helpful in connecting me with alumni that were working in positions I was interested in, as well as in the city I was hoping to move to after graduating. There were many classes where alumni would come speak to students and have an hour to network, exchange contacts and allow us to ask questions. It was all really inspiring to me to hear from alumni that were in my shoes not too long ago, and now able to share their success with students. It made me hopeful for the future.  

What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field that students ought to be aware of? 

Working in journalism can be incredibly fun and rewarding. There are many opportunities to be in rooms with amazing people, travel across the country and help give a voice and platform to people who are often underrepresented or overlooked. However, even after graduating with a master’s degree, I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to start off with the most amazing salary, or even a senior-level role. Before attending Newhouse, I already had a full-time job and was on my way to moving up the ladder. Once I graduated from Newhouse, I had to pretty much start over as an intern again and work my way up. Although I worked my way up pretty quickly, I learned that sometimes you have to take a few steps back to get into the position and field that you want to be in. Only now, with a degree from Newhouse, you are much smarter, wiser, better connected and have a strong skillset to take on any role.  

What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining thus far? 

Every day I get to work with some of the smartest creators on YouTube. It is so cool to see how a video idea comes to life from start to finish and knowing that I was involved in part of the process makes me really proud. One of the most exciting moments was when I attended the YouTube conference Vidcon in Los Angeles and represented PBS Digital Studios. I had dreamed of attending Vidcon ever since I was 12 years old. It’s an opportunity to meet famous YouTube creators and hear their success stories. My parents couldn’t afford to send me, so I would just watch the recaps on YouTube. Being able to attend years later, as a representative for PBS and networking with other industry professionals felt like a full-circle moment. I felt like I was making my younger self so proud!  

Another moment is connecting with Syracuse students at Newhouse DC! I had connected with Cheryl Brody Franklin, and she offered me the chance to be on the alumni panel for Syracuse students spending a semester in DC. It was an exciting experience because I also remember being a student, eager to learn from alumni, and now I get to share some of my knowledge! Another full circle moment.  

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

Really take advantage of your time at Syracuse and try new things! Even try things that you think you won’t enjoy and see if you can prove yourself wrong. It may surprise you! I would definitely recommend taking Corey Takahashi’s class in multimedia journalism. It really helped me think outside the box and learn how to be a creative storyteller through a bunch of different mediums. The skills I learned in that class come up in my professional life every day. From storyboarding, to identifying b-roll, to scripting, this class prepares you for any creative role you may have upon graduation.  

Master’s Alumni Profile: Adrianna Adame G’22

Adrianna Adame G’22

Newhouse Master’s Program: Magazine, News and Digital Journalism
Current Position: Indigenous Democracy Reporter at Buffalo’s Fire, Bismarck, North Dakota

How did you obtain your current position, and what positions did you hold before it? 

I obtained my current position after successfully applying to Report for America for the 2023-2024 cohort. Last December I completed my time as a Newhouse Graduate Minority Fellow. Once the holidays ended, I immediately began working on my application as I went on the job hunt. My former professors such as Aileen Gallagher and Melissa Chessher recommended that I apply to Report for America since I wanted to go into local news. It wasn’t until after a lengthy three-month long interview process that I found out I got the role at Buffalo’s Fire, a Native-led nonprofit online news organization.  

What’s an average day like for you on the job?

My schedule can be quite hectic at times, though I try to be well-organized. I usually start off the day responding to emails and calling sources to schedule interviews for stories. I am reporting on voting rights, tribal council, school board and rural co-op meetings, tribal college stories and K-12 education, but my main beat is Indian education. 

Then I go onto Slack and check in with my editor/the team. Sometimes I have Zoom meetings –– from June up until December 2023 I attended monthly meetings for the Solution Journalism Network’s rural cohort. Twice a week, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to the downtown office space we rent for my office hours, where members of the community are able to come visit me to chat, bring up concerns or discuss story ideas. Throughout the day I am also reporting on events, meeting sources for pictures/interviews and of course writing the story. Once I complete a draft, I contact my editor and then we begin going through the editing process together.   

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current position?

Newhouse prepared me for my current position by teaching me multimedia and networking skills. Prior to Syracuse, I was solely a writer. After Syracuse, I was able to compete with others applying for my role because the magazine, news and digital journalism program gave me the ability to be a well-rounded and detail-oriented storyteller. Boot camp during summer 2021 really set me up for success and freshened up my reporting skills. My instructor, Julie McMahon, took the time to check in with each of us and gave us advice on how to find stories and improve our writing. Professor Harriet Brown’s News Reporting class during the fall took me to the next level in my reporting as I began to incorporate data and other visual elements into my work.  

As a part of my fellowship, Newhouse also funded my first Native American Journalist Association— now the Indigenous Journalist Association—conference in Phoenix. By providing me that opportunity, I got to connect for the first time with other Indigenous journalists. Despite being an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe in Rocky Boy, Montana, I never lived on or visited my reservation. I grew up with the Mexican American side of my family in North County, San Diego, so while I got to learn some aspects of that side of my culture, I always felt disconnected from my Native side. Attending the conference was a big part of my reconnection journey.  

Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspects of your field you may have not considered when applying?  

Newhouse opened my eyes to a plethora of new professions and variety in my field. While I am primarily a writer, I became interested in multimedia storytelling after taking Professor Corey Takahashi’s class. After participating as a mentee in NAJA x Next Gen Radio in April 2022, I really began to get interested in audio stories and just began working with audio in my current work. I also gained an interest in editorial writing while in Syracuse. Though local news will always be my passion, I don’t mind expanding my horizons and trying new things.  

What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it?  

I only applied to two graduate programs—UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and Newhouse. While I got into both programs, I was already leaning towards Syracuse because of the amount of networking and professional opportunities offered. Magazine, news and digital journalism also seemed more aligned with my professional goals. I wanted to evolve from print to digital journalism and expand into multimedia storytelling. Once I was offered the Newhouse Graduate Minority Fellowship, my heart was set on Syracuse.  

Did the Newhouse Career Development Center aid you?

As a part of the Newhouse Graduate Minority Fellowship, I worked as an intern at Syracuse.com for a year. I chose to write features as well as some arts and entertainment articles. Though it was a hectic period, I am glad I had the opportunity to work with my editors, including the thoughtful and detail-oriented Alaina Beckett. Prior to Syracuse.com, I also was a Newhouse x POPSUGAR Voices fellow, where I wrote editorial pieces on the fitness, love, beauty, family, living, technology and Latina verticals. Some of my local news stories from the first six months in my program were also published in the Stand.  

What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field that students ought to be aware of?  

After my cohort graduated, the job market was tough due to layoffs in the industry. Many people I know are still having trouble finding full-time work in journalism. It can be very discouraging at times. I know it might not sound helpful at the moment, but in time things do work out. The job hunt is a painful waiting game. But in the end, all the hard work you put into applications will pay off. It only takes one yes for your life (and career) to change for the better. Stay determined, no matter how hard things get.  

What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining thus far?   

I’ve only been at Buffalo’s Fire for six months, so I’m still fairly new in my job, but there have been few cool opportunities I’ve been able to experience. Back in November, I was invited as a mentor by Doug Mitchell for IJA x Next Gen Radio: Albuquerque. I assisted my uber-talented and super organized mentee, Molly Mamaril, as she reported her audio story on a Native Hawaiian scholar who is aiming to return home after she receives her doctorate to give back to her community. It wasn’t that long since April 2022 when I was a participant in NAJA x Next Gen Radio program, so I was grateful to be welcomed back so soon. Not only did I reconnect with old friends, but I made new ones as well. It felt amazing to be surrounded by other Indigenous journalists and also be in the position to help guide someone on their project.  

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

I first came to Syracuse right after classes were back to in-person during the Covid-19 pandemic. After losing the last year of my undergrad experience, I decided during grad school I would make the most of it and say yes to everything. I encourage current and incoming students to step out of their comfort zone, for both their social and professional life. You’re only able to expand your skill set and meet new people if you try new things. One of my favorite classes was Professor Rawiya Kameir’s Critical Writing course. While at Newhouse I was experimenting with different forms of writing outside of the news. Kameir’s class taught me how to analyze, structure and write creatively. I appreciated the chill atmosphere and healthy environment that Kameir fosters.  

Master’s Alumni Profile: Justin Maccagnan G’22

Justin Maccagnan G’22

Newhouse Master’s Program: Television, Radio and Film
Current Position: Production Support Engineer at NBCUniversal and CNBC Business Channel

How did you obtain your current position?

This position, weirdly enough, came through a LinkedIn recruiter. My profile was suggested to her as I had a large technical background working as an engineer for trucks, stadiums and universities. I’ll be honest, I thought it was spam, so I ignored it, but after looking her up, I decided to talk to her. We had two interviews and here we are. It has been nothing short of spectacular since. 

What’s an average day like for you on the job?

As a production support engineer, I support all technical equipment for CNBC business channel and NBCUniversal, specifically the New York offices at the NASDAQ. This includes camera equipment, graphics operation systems, INews software, transmission technology and control room operations (any equipment breaks, I am fixing it). Aside from this, our shop has also merged with the IT department. So, I am also tasked with making new employee work accounts, troubleshooting computer programming issues, internet software updates, fixing PC routers and dealing with any issues that may be IT related. 

Any given day can be vastly different, which is why I love this job so much. We are a call support shop, so we respond to whoever calls with an issue, meaning one day I could be working on an INews issue and the next I am working on a camera problem in one of the main studios. On a regular day, I am also working on major projects that the network needs done. These projects come in spurts, but they are very exciting, and I love knowing that I am working on the future studios/equipment of CNBC.  

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current position?

Classes in sports and TV production were what helped prepare me the most for my current position. With professors like Olivia Stomski and Andy Robinson, I was able to obtain base knowledge of how to work in sports production and operate cameras as well as learn technical aspects of production. Specifically with Robinson’s class, the greatest part was staying after our show tapings and studying the technical aspects that went into operating the graphics system as well as the TD switchboard. I never thought staring at wires would be so enjoyable but after seeing how every wire contributed to the broadcast, I was hooked. Without Robinson’s class, I don’t know if I would have gone in the direction I did. 

All of the hard skills I learned were from being an engineer intern for the ACC Network and Syracuse Athletics. I did this job for the entire time I was in Syracuse. Things I learned included how to make ethernet cables, hardwiring cameras, setting up audio consoles, troubleshooting video signal issues and cleaning fiber cables. I developed a very close friendship with the chief engineer of Syracuse Athletics, and that friendship both led to my current job and is a friendship I will have for the rest of my life. In truth, Newhouse as well as Syracuse Athletics helped guide me to what my true-life passion was. 

Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspects of your field you may have not considered when applying? 

Through Newhouse, I was introduced to the ACC Network and Syracuse Athletics. At first, my objective was to just get in the door and work live sporting events. Scott Hecht, the then director of ACC Network, appreciated my enthusiasm and asked if I wanted to be an engineer intern. I had no clue what engineers do, but to me, it was an opportunity, so I jumped at it. That one leap of faith was what led me to where I am now. 

The greatest thing that happened to me while at Syracuse was working for Tom White, the chief engineer for Syracuse athletics. Up until I met Tom, I had never known what an engineer does. Tom took every chance he had to teach me something new. As an engineer, your main task is knowing every single piece of equipment, wire and cable that goes into a specific broadcast. You are the line of defense if something falls apart and all eyes look to you to fix said problem, so you are always learning something new. With Tom, we dealt with lots of issues, and I began to realize this is the career path I wanted to pursue. Very few people want to become broadcast engineers, so this helps the field as there are usually job openings for these positions. I saw this as not only an exciting growth opportunity, but one that I could make a full career out of.

What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it? 

One of the key features of my program was that I was brought on as an instructional associate. As someone who aspires to be a college professor one day, I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to get some teaching practice. I worked with first year and sophomore production courses and loved every minute of it. 

The television, radio and film program is arguably the most unique program at Syracuse. It is an amazing program in that the objective of both the professors and the curriculum is to allow the student to grow their mind as well as tap into their creative potential. The program’s objective is to help you find your creative voice and run with it. Aside from that, this program also uniquely combines all facets of the film and entertainment industry into the coursework, including screenwriting, pitching films, business models of the film industry, production and law practices that all networks/film houses follow, giving a well-rounded knowledge of the entertainment world. 

Lastly, if you join the program and you feel you may not be bonding with the film material as much, Michael Schoonmaker, the television, radio and film department chair, is more than willing to help find you electives that are in the other programs of Newhouse. I had several graduate friends take courses outside the normal TRF curriculum and they couldn’t have been happier.

Did the Newhouse Career Development Center aid you?  

The Newhouse Career Development Center did help me, both with my resume as well as job leads. Bridget Lichtinger was crucial to my success at Syracuse and my resume looked a lot better once we went over it a couple of times. She is a true asset to the school. 

What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field?

A lot of young students that get into the broadcast engineering field may think they just set up the equipment and then leave it for the people to operate. Unfortunately, this is anything but true. As an engineer, your job is to know where everything goes for a broadcast. And when I mean everything, I mean EVERYTHING.  

I’ll use an example: Say you are using a Sony camera. As an operator you just need to know which buttons on the camera do what, how to shoot and what to shoot. As an engineer, you need to know button functions, where do the wires that are connected to the camera go, what signal goes to those said wires, what is the lens type of the camera, what unit powers the camera and what signal sends to the operator so they can see what they are shooting. When you think about this, most people’s minds explode and you’re not expected to know all this right out of the gate- but when you work many years in the field, you are expected to eventually know all the information pertaining to those systems spoken about. 

What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining thus far? 

There have been many, so I’ll name a couple:

The engineer job with CNBC and NBCUniversal: This is a position most people don’t get until they are in their 30s due to the level of knowledge required. By a stroke of luck, I was brought on with an expectation they would train me on equipment for the long term, so I am always appreciative that I got such a unique and amazing opportunity. 

Phillies corporate event: This was the first major corporate event I had worked for the Phillies and due to a callout, I was left to man the event by myself. I set up everything, operated all consoles and broke down everything afterward. It was a big moment for me as it increased my confidence that I could do these events by myself.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

One of the greatest assets of Newhouse is the main control room for Syracuse Athletics and ACC Network out of Syracuse. Go inside, look around and talk to the people that run operations there- they are always looking for dedicated students that can work events and want to learn. Whether you are someone that wants to be an on-air talent, producer, replay operator, or even engineer, they always have spots available for people to get involved. 

Even if you don’t enjoy it as much as I did, I promise you the most successful producers and on-air talents are the ones that know about the technical aspects of a TV broadcast. It can only help you in the long run. 

The classes I recommend are any production classes with Olivia Stomski and I also recommend any courses with Kelly Leahy, Robert Thompson and Shaina Holmes. Three of the best professors I had while at Syracuse.

Master’s Alumni Profile: Jerald Pierce G’18

Jerald Pierce G’18 

Newhouse Master’s Program: Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications 
Current position: Chicago Editor at American Theatre Magazine, Chicago, Illinois 

What set you on your career path?

Well, I got my undergraduate degree in acting and realized fairly quickly that that life wasn’t for me. I still loved theatre, so I wound up looking for other ways to stay involved. I saw a (now defunct) website advertising that it was looking for theatre reviewers who were also theatremakers themselves. I had strong opinions about theatre and it was a pretty low risk opportunity, so I gave it a try. I wound up running that site for a bit when the editor needed to step away, and I realized that I absolutely loved criticism, both writing and working with other writers on their reviews. So, when I got to the point in my life where I was thinking about getting a masters degree, Newhouse and the AJC program were one of a few different paths I was interested in, and I let the admission fates decide what was next. That’s all to say, basically I just kept following open doors until I made my way to my current path.

What skills did you acquire at Newhouse that you use in your work now?

I came into Newhouse with basically zero reporting or journalism knowledge beyond what you can glean simply from reading a lot of news. I could form complete sentences to give my opinion on art, but everything I know about journalism, reporting and editing I got from Newhouse.

What experiences or activities that you took part in outside the classroom stands out from your time as a graduate student at Newhouse?

The easy answer is to point to any of the trips I was able to take while at Newhouse that I never would have been able to take on my own. Attending the Toronto Film Festival, traveling to the Spoleto Festival in Charleston and spending time in Israel were all life-changing experiences that I never would have had the opportunity to do, and now they’re all foundational in one way or another to who I am as a reporter and editor.

Jerald Pierce
Jerald Pierce (Photo by Dominique Hildebrand)

What does it mean to you to be a Newhouse alum?

Newhouse has been a great support system for me so far in my career. I’m not a big “networking” person, but Newhouse comes with a built-in network that continues to pop up everywhere I go (American Theatre Magazine’s current managing editor is also a Goldring alum, for instance). Over the years, I’ve leaned on folks I met at Newhouse for career advice and job references, so being an alum has been a real support system during my career journey.

What advice would you offer someone thinking about pursuing a graduate degree?

Take the leap. I went to graduate school at 27, marking a complete change in career path. It can be hard to find time and opportunities to solely focus on skill-building post-college. Grad school gave me a chance to hyper-focus on what I wanted to learn with minimal distractions, and that’s incredibly valuable.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Ideally, I’d love to be the lead theatre critic at a publication somewhere in the country. As someone prone to walking through any door that is open, I’ve learned that I never really know where life is going to take me. But if I could shape that path, I’d want it to lead to being a trusted source of theatre criticism for a community.

Master’s Alumni Profile: Kellan Godfrey G’ 22

Kellan Godfrey G’ 22

Newhouse Master’s Program: Advanced Media Management
Current Position: Assistant Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing at Gardner-Webb University Athletics

How did you obtain your current position, and what positions did you hold before it?  

After completing my master’s at Newhouse in July 2022, I worked briefly in communications and marketing at Washington & Jefferson College. I worked in athletic communications prior to Syracuse at Bowling Green State University and Indiana University Bloomington, and I really missed it. I cold applied to various department openings in the summer of 2023 and was fortunate to get this opportunity at Gardner-Webb. It has been an amazing experience and one of the best moves of my career.  

What’s an average day like for you on the job? 

In athletic communications no two days are the same. As a sports information director, I wear many different hats. My assigned sports are men’s and women’s soccer, men’s basketball, women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s tennis. My office days consist of updating game notes, managing my assigned sports on our website GWUSports.com, updating social media and organizing and tracking official stats for the NCAA. On game days, I work at my designated position and help whenever anything is needed, whether it is official stats keeping or DV Sport instant replay. Post-game I will manage media requests, send stats where necessary and write the recap for our website.  

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current position?

My program at Newhouse helped me tremendously in many ways, but one specific example I can give is with my content management skills. I have a much better understanding and a keener eye for how our content should be presented to the appropriate audiences whether it is on our website, social media or another form of communication. I purposely worked outside of the sports industry through my graduate school assignments and as an instructional associate, so I have been able to bring this knowledge and apply it back in an industry I am very passionate about.  

Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspects of your field you may have not considered when applying?  

Absolutely! That is what drew me to the position I had prior to this current one. I know I am capable of using my knowledge and skill sets to work in a wide range of content management positions in the future. But this is the industry that I belong in. I spent enough time out of it to know that my place is in it.  

What features of your graduate program drew you to it? 

What drew me to the advanced media management program in the first place was the versatility it was going to provide me. Coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, I knew I wanted a program that would strengthen the skills I had, while providing me tools to take what I know to any industry if needed.  

Did the Newhouse Career Development Center aid you?

The Career Development Center at Newhouse helped me a lot. Mainly in the presentation of my resume and how to emphasize different skills for different applications. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having multiple resumes. I served as an IA in media law for two semesters at Newhouse and had the opportunity to lead a team to create one of three designated capstone projects in the summer of 2022. I was able to perfect the idea for a Morning Brew style email newsletter for remote workers called “Remote Start.” 

What campus organizations you were involved with while at Newhouse?

I was involved with the Blackstone Launch Pad in the spring of 2022 and won third place in the Raymond von Dran iPrize competition for my newsletter “Remote Start.” I used the competition to fine tune the idea for capstone.  

What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field? 

I would say that students might think that jobs in sports media or college athletics are glamorous. There is a lot of excitement, but it takes a lot of hard work as well to be great at what you do. I do what I do to build relationships with student athletes, coaches and student workers who are learning from us. 

What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining thus far? 

There are plenty of great moments. My first year as a sports information director I covered the men’s ice hockey team at Bowling Green State University the year that they ended an almost 30-year drought in reaching the NCAA tournament. Some people work their entire careers and never get that experience. I also covered a team that reached the NCAA tournament in my first year in athletic communications at one of my alma maters. Whenever I visit, I still get choked up when I see the 2018-2019 NCAA Tournament season banner in Slater Family Ice Arena.  

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

I would say to incoming students to ignore the imposter syndrome you might feel from time-to-time. You were accepted to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University for a reason. Come ready to work hard and expand your thinking in every way possible. You will learn and achieve things you may not believe by the time you are done.  I extend a special thank you to my professors Adam Peruta, Shelly Palmer, Bob Bierman, Jeff Passetti and former professor Ulf Oesterle. I learned a lot from all of them.  

Master’s Alumni Profile: Aahliyah Halloway G’22

Aahliyah Halloway G’22 

Newhouse Master’s Program: Television, Radio and Film
Current Position:
Content Producer at WSET-ABC13

How did you obtain your current position, and what positions did you hold before it?  

This was my first job after getting my master’s degree and before that, I was a development intern at American High and Alta Global Media. 

What’s an average day like for you on the job?

I get to work at 2:30 in the afternoon and check my emails to see what stories the reporters were assigned to for the day, check for breaking news and any big national stories I need to follow. Then I get ready for our afternoon meeting. This is where we discuss the reporter’s stories in more detail and come up with backups for them in case their story does not pan out or we need to put it on hold for the day. We also lay out the plan for our late newscast during the meeting. I produce two shows, the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. My job is to make sure the shows are as clean as possible. To make sure we start and end on time and put out any fires that may happen. After I finish the 6 p.m. newscast, I prepare my rundown for the 11 p.m. and take a dinner break. Then it’s kind of the same as when I first get to work, we have another meeting and discuss if there are any changes we need to make. Then I get ready to produce the 11 p.m. newscast.  

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current position?

The beauty of Newhouse is that they offer you ways to really see what the industry is like, so when you enter it’s less of a shell shock. Through Newhouse, I learned time management (which is very important) and creating a schedule (it really helps you to stay on track) and I think the courses at Newhouse are a great pre-introduction if you will to the industry.  

Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspects of your field you may have not considered when applying? 

When I first entered Newhouse, I had a limited view of creative language and thought screenwriting was the sole avenue for its expression. However, my experience in various courses and group projects introduced me to diverse writing forms that demand just as much creativity, such as magazine articles and news stories. Newhouse has truly expanded my horizons, showing that having a specific skill in mind upon entry can open the door to a world of unexpected possibilities. 

What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it? 

The sense of collaboration is what cemented my choice to join the television, radio and film program. It was wonderful not only to see my own ideas come to life but others as well. 

Did the Newhouse Career Development Center aid you?

The Career Development Center was a tremendous help with perfecting my resume. If you haven’t gone by the center yet I would definitely recommend it. 

What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field? 

In television, things rarely go perfectly. You have to have the ability to pivot and stay somewhat calm. And when things go wrong, and they will, don’t get too hung-up on your mistakes. Luckily, this is one of the few careers where you can start each day with a clean slate. 

What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining thus far?  

I think the whole process of putting something together and then watching it come to life has been so great. I look at my job as a way of storytelling and I’m always eager to tell the next one. 

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

Be open and willing to learn and embrace group projects. You never know what new skill you might pick up or what new journey it might put you on. If you have the opportunity, take any of Dr. Kelly Leahy’s courses. She is brilliant and will push you to think in ways you haven’t before. 

Master’s Alumni Profile: Joey Creighton G’18

Joey Creighton G’18 

Newhouse Master’s Program: Advanced Media Management 
Current position: Social Research and Insights Manager, MTV Entertainment Group, Paramount 

What set you on your career path? 

My undergraduate degree was in information management and technology, which led to my first job in technology consulting. After exploring that, I decided that I wanted to make a career shift into media and communications, which is where I found the Advanced Media Management program at Newhouse.  

After I received my graduate degree, I went on to work in social media analytics on the vendor side working with different sports, media and entertainment organizations to measure their social media performance. This then led me to MTV Entertainment within Paramount, where I work with different brands and shows in social research. 

What skills did you acquire at Newhouse that you use in your work now? 

My Advanced Media Management graduate program involved coursework in both Newhouse and (the Whitman School of Management) to give me a very well-rounded understanding and background of the business side of the communications industry. I had exposure to different analytics tools and learned how to think critically about the way that the communications and media industry is shifting. There was a large focus on emerging technology and trends that will continue to develop in the years to come. 

What experiences or activities that you took part in outside the classroom stand out from your time as a graduate student at Newhouse? 

Outside the classroom, I was a research assistant for a project involving how the police department in Bangor, Maine, was using social media to engage with residents and people throughout the country. It was super interesting to see how a department from such a small town was able to reach such a large audience through the power of social media. The skills I learned throughout this research project have extended into my current role in research at Paramount. I also was a member of the Newhouse Seagulls Soccer Team which was super fun in meeting new friends from throughout Newhouse. 

What does it mean to you to be a Newhouse alum? 

I’m always super proud to be a Newhouse alum. All my career opportunities after graduating can be attributed to Newhouse’s incredible alumni network. Alums have always been super welcoming and willing to lend a hand in career pursuits. Prior to my current job when I was working in social media analytics, it was always wild when being on calls with different media and entertainment brands to learn of other Newhouse grads on the call. The Newhouse Network is incredible and something that can’t be replicated elsewhere.  

a man stands next to the MTV Moonman in the MTV Studios
“I’m always super proud to be a Newhouse alum. All my career opportunities after graduating can be attributed to Newhouse’s incredible alumni network,” said Creighton. (Photo courtesy of Joey Creighton)

What advice would you offer someone thinking about pursuing a graduate degree? 

I think it’s first important to understand the goal that you have for pursuing a grad degree. My undergraduate education was in information management and technology and I wanted to further explore the communications and media side of technology, so my grad degree in Advanced Media Management made for a great fit. Newhouse offers so many different paths that it makes it easy to find what best suits your future goals. I also think it’s great to get to know various program directors and professors that will be involved with your graduate degree to get a sense for the experience you’ll get in that program, and to make it as rewarding as possible.   

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I’m really enjoying what I am currently doing in social research and insights at Paramount. I love being able to use numbers and analytics to drive decision making and maximize the impact that social media has for different shows, brands, events and franchises. I’d love to grow and expand in my current role and continue to explore the evolving streaming landscape and how social media impacts streaming performance.  

Master’s Alumni Profile: Adriana Rozas Rivera G’21 

Adriana Rozas Rivera G’21 

Newhouse Master’s Program: Magazine, News and Digital Journalism 
Current position: Bilingual Reporter/Anchor at WPRI-TV, Providence, Rhode Island 

What set you on your career path?  

Two main things influenced my decision to leave a career in science and become a journalist. First, I saw how the 2016 election changed how the public treated journalists—and I became very concerned with the lack of trust in the profession. Moreover, Spanish-language disinformation was rampant. I wanted to do my part to deliver factual, bilingual reporting to my community. After the election, I lived through Hurricane María in Puerto Rico in 2017. That experience illustrated to me how critical journalism was in the aftermath of the storm. The journalists covering our situation, which left thousands of Puerto Ricans dead, held those responsible accountable. We would have remained in permanent darkness had we not had journalists fighting to uncover the truth about how hard-hit the island was. 

What skills did you acquire at Newhouse that you use in your work now?  

I learned to edit video and to identify great stories. If you get those two things down, you can do so much in this industry. Multimedia is the future of journalism! 

What experiences or activities that you took part in outside the classroom stands out from your time as a graduate student at Newhouse?  

 Thanks to a partnership with Newhouse, I was a project manager on a Frontline PBS documentary covering a family who was separated at the border under (the Trump administration’s) “zero-tolerance” policy. It was the first long-form video project I was a part of and showed me a different type of storytelling—one that can be more creative and multifaceted. I also won the Pulitzer Center fellowship, which allowed me to travel home to Puerto Rico to complete an investigative reporting project on menstrual justice on the island. It landed me my first byline in The Washington Post and taught me how your story idea can end up changing throughout the reporting process (and that’s okay!). 

What does it mean to you to be a Newhouse alum? 

It means I’m part of a family. I know that wherever I go, whatever job I apply for, whatever city I report in—there will be a Newhouse alum willing to connect with me about it. Going to Newhouse means you’ll have that network at your disposal, where people are always willing to help and offer advice (myself included!). You’d be hard-pressed to find another university whose alums are that loyal. 

What advice would you offer someone thinking about pursuing a graduate degree?  

Think hard about why you want a graduate degree and how it can prepare you for the job market. I used my time at Newhouse to hone many different skills in different mediums to make me a more competitive job applicant. I suggest you take advantage of the many extracurriculars and electives Newhouse offers to do just that. News directors and editors love applicants who can bring many skills to the table!   

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?  

I want to use my skills reporting at home in Puerto Rico. Plus, I’d like to teach bilingual journalism! We need more people who can speak multiple languages in this industry to reach more communities 

Master’s Alumni Profile: Eric Baker G’20

Eric Baker G’20

Newhouse Master’s Program: Public Relations (Public Diplomacy dual degree program) 
Current position: Associate Director of Communications, The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, Washington, D.C. 

What set you on your career path?  

a man sits and talks
Eric Baker (Photo courtesy of Eric Baker)

When I was growing up, my intention was to be a foreign or war correspondent for a major international news station. However, while in an internship after earning my bachelor’s in journalism, I realized I wanted to be in front of the proverbial camera, creating that impact. I served two years in AmeriCorps before working on a gubernatorial campaign in Colorado and applying to Syracuse University for the joint Maxwell-Newhouse Public Diplomacy program.   

At Syracuse, I got to marry my passion for politics and communications. After a brief internship at a consulting firm, which I found not to be for me, a friend from the Maxwell School reached out and suggested I apply for a communications position at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), where I could draw from my previous experiences to share DFRLab’s global work. 

What skills did you acquire at Newhouse that you use in your work now?  

Newhouse taught, honed and reinforced so many phenomenal skills that are always in demand: writing, graphic and web design, public and media relations, etc. In a first-year public relations course, we had to build an entire media kit for a simulated event that brought together two organizations you felt would work well together. It was both a challenge and genuinely fun to create the brand, logo, press release, media advisory, infographic and more.  

As the associate director for communications on a global 50-person team, I use all these skills daily to build out campaigns for both our flagship events abroad and our daily case studies – drawing the attention of those that need to be aware of our research and working with journalists to platform our deep bench of exceptional researchers.  
 

“Above all, I think the Newhouse name instills confidence, confidence from both those around you and in oneself,” Baker says of his alma mater. (Photo courtesy of Eric Baker)

What does it mean to you to be a Newhouse alum?  

The Newhouse name holds a cultural currency that few individual schools, as opposed to universities, can say they have. Newhouse is where the ambitious go to be tested, put in the work and be forged into some of the best communicators in the country. From my small cohort alone, the work many of them have already completed has been nothing but impressive.  

Above all, I think the Newhouse name instills confidence, confidence from both those around you and in oneself.  That said, I have the distinct pleasure of being a Newhouse  and  Maxwell alum, learning from some of the best in the business and earning degrees from two first-class and instantaneously recognized schools.  

What advice would you offer someone thinking about pursuing a graduate degree?  

Get creative. School is an opportunity to experiment, grow your skills, fail, pick yourself back up again and figure out what really excites you. If your degree is in public policy, but you’re interested in TV, find a show to work on. If you’re really into art, but there’s no publication writing about the local art scene, publish one. Even if the attention received is minimal, it looks great on a resume that you were honing your craft because you wanted to, not because it had a grade attached.  
 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I’d like to continue working for organizations that have strong social missions related to causes that inspire me: disinformation, extremism, climate, migration, education, etc. Regardless of where I am in 10 years, I suspect that I will continue working with global organizations that have strong human-rights based missions and tangible effects on peoples’ lives. In 30 years, depending on my beard and tweed collection, I could see myself teaching.

Master’s Alumni Profile: Nia Lucky G’22

Nia Lucky G’22

Newhouse Master’s Program: Television, Radio and Film
Current Position: Freelance Associate Producer at CBS News, Broadcast Marketing division

How did you obtain your current position, and what positions did you hold before it? 

In the spring semester, CBS News took a trip to Newhouse and held an information session. They allowed students to meet with an impressive roster of CBS representatives. Ironically, I never attended due to a prior engagement. Someone in my cohort, whom I now call a dear friend, spoke highly of me, and passed along my resume. Shortly after that moment, I went through the interview process. About a week after I put on my cap and gown and walked across the Dome turf, I received an offer and was officially employed! I like to think of CBS as my first big girl job. Before joining the company, I was heavily involved with Orange Television Network at Syracuse. I also held various internships, the most recent being a production intern at Seacrest Studios under the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. 

What’s an average day like for you on the job?

If you know the news industry, it is challenging to describe an “average day.” My role is to cater to the thirteen owned and operated stations and over two hundred affiliates at CBS Networks. 

The cool thing about my position is that I can work across all CBS News broadcasts and platforms — I primarily focus on “CBS Mornings” with Gayle King, Tony Dokoupil, Nate Burleson and “CBS Evening News” with Norah O’Donnell. I service network producers, executives and on-air talent to help improve the brand of CBS News programs and provide high-quality promotional content for the affiliates. 

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current position?

One of my favorite courses at Newhouse was Mornings on the Hill with Professor Keith Kobland. The class emulates what I do in my day-to-day tasks at CBS. It is a broadcast and digital journalism course that is run like a newsroom and produces a 30-minute morning show. I was one of two students with a focus on television, radio and film. Professor Kobland ensured I was not an outlier and always worked with me. It was also exciting because each week, we would step into a new role, whether co-producing, anchoring or reporting on weather. 

Mornings on the Hill taught me to work on a deadline, understand AP ENPS and write anchor toss lines and teases. All of which I do now! 

a girl stands and smiles in a graduation cap and gown
Photo courtesy of Nia Lucky

Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspects of your field you may have not considered when applying? 

Do not put yourself in a box! Those random interests or passions can take you far. I had that a-ha moment during Professor Kelly Leahy’s course. It was the beginning of the summer session, also known as boot camp, and Leahy shared her well-versed career. I was amazed that she took what made her happy and made it into a profession. She leaned into her joy of children’s programming, technology and research. It might seem silly, but many people diminish one of their talents to make the other shine. You do not have to do that! Both can flourish simultaneously. 

What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it? 

I will always love hard news, but entertainment news has my heart! I am an entertainment enthusiast and understand the power of being versatile. When I looked for a graduate program, I wanted to know if I could diversify my television, radio and film talents. I wanted to strengthen my on-camera presence, writing and editing and use film to advertise pop culture. I needed to know if I could incorporate all the elements I am passionate about in graduate school. Newhouse did not frown upon being divergent. The program understands the industry. 

Did the Newhouse Career Development Center aid you? What internships or volunteer opportunities did you do while at Newhouse? 

Always stay resume ready! I was active in Orange Television Network (OTN), WAER, and as an instructional assistant. I visited the Career Development Center to help incorporate my new roles into my resume, and I am so thankful I did! You never know who will pop by Newhouse and when your next opportunity will come. I was able to learn that first-hand! 

I wanted to strengthen my on-camera presence, writing, editing and use film to advertise pop culture. I needed to know if I could incorporate all the elements, I am passionate about in graduate school. Newhouse did not frown upon being divergent. The program understands the industry. 

What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field? 

There is no clear-cut way to get to your end goal. I often asked Michael Schoonmaker, the television, radio and film department chair, and other professors for a how-to guide. I wanted to know what to do and how to get there. The lack of direction frightened me and still does at times. But — there is beauty to this concept. Career possibilities are endless, and no matter what lane you pick, exit you take, or U-turn you make, if you keep working toward your goal, you will get there! 

What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining thus far? 

A pinch-me moment was during my first Zoom meeting for the morning show’s rundown. I will never forget the gratitude I felt seeing news legends like Gayle King, Nate Burleson and Syracuse alum Scott MacFarlane, plus all the magic it takes to create programming. And yes, I texted my family group chat to share my awe! 

What advice do you have for current or incoming students?

1. Graduate school is when it gets real. 

You are not taking courses to get a picture-perfect transcript. Take classes outside your element, become well-versed and use your professors as resources outside the classroom. These things will make you stand out when you go in for that job interview. 

2. Closed mouths do not get fed. 

Advocate for your career goals and communicate with your professors what you want from the course. Newhouse’s faculty and staff are exceptional and will tailor your curriculum, but they must know what your interests and passions are first. 

3. Have fun! 

Graduate School could be the last chapter of your collegiate career unless you plan to continue your education. Make friends in your cohort, and plan group outings. You will surprise yourself with how many relationships you make during your short time. 

4. Tap into the alum network! 

The Newhouse Mafia is real, and alums want to see you succeed. LinkedIn is a great tool to connect with current and previous Syracuse students. Send them a message and ask to pick their brain. You never know what you will learn or where the conversation will take you.