Horizontal networking helps Newhouse NYC students launch their careers

Daniel Wood had been here several times before. He had done months of carefully-worded LinkedIn requests. He had prepared for recruiter phone calls and gone to panel after panel. He had been at the video interview stage for an NBC internship before, but the process stopped there.

This time, the broadcast and digital journalism junior tried something different: horizontal networking among peers. He asked a fellow Newhouse NYC student who had worked at NBC for advice. 

This time he got the internship.

Newhouse NYC students know the benefits of horizontal networking in the highly competitive media industry. In spring 2021, a semester challenged by a global pandemic and a nationwide lockdown, this kind of networking among Newhouse NYC students proved a powerful force. With some students in New York City taking classes in person and others learning remotely from as far away as Atlanta, students still found a way to help each other start their careers. 

Finding the path to 30 Rock

It was the Newhouse NYC connection that made Daniel Wood comfortable reaching out to cohort Lilly Umana, who interned at CNBC, for help with the video interview.

Her advice: Be genuine. Daniel knew that meant being vulnerable.

“I shared things that I wouldn’t typically share in an interview. I talked about how I’ve been home this past semester, how it’s been so hard with COVID. I brought up things about how I’ve just struggled with different parts of my identity,” Wood says. “I remember when I submitted the video interview, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, did I just overshare way too much?’”

Evidently, NBC didn’t think so, because they offered him a summer internship at MSNBC. He says his conversations with Umana, and with fellow NYC student and NBC intern Ghael Fobes, gave him more concrete advice than his conversations with recruiters. 

Group bonding

Amanda Morris has also received useful advice from other Newhouse NYC students. 

She, along with five others in the Newhouse NYC cohort, interned at Peter Greenberg Worldwide, a travel news organization. Morris, a television, radio, and film junior who participated in Newhouse NYC from her home in Atlanta, said the interns got to know each other in the few minutes before the beginning of the staff meetings when the Zoom room was open but none of their supervisors had yet logged on. 

Those few minutes added up, and now she and the other interns look out for each other and sometimes even review each other’s first drafts. While she admits they don’t have the same connection they would have if they were together in person, she says the uniqueness of this virtual internship has bonded them.

“Those few minutes have been a nice way to get to know each other a little bit more [and] form some kind of camaraderie between the interns,” Morris says. “It’s cool when we log on to [our] Com Law [class] and I see Tyler or Daniel or Aorui or Alex or Aidan on the call. I’m like, you know what’s up. You know what my day has been like. So it’s nice.”

Team mentality

Jun Hyung Cho is another Newhouse NYC student who has found comfort in his camaraderie with his All Sports Television Network co-intern and Newhouse NYC student Irshaad Motiwala. 

Hyung Cho connected with Motiwala through Newhouse NYC before they began their internships, and he says knowing a fellow intern made the transition much less stressful. When he ran into roadblocks on an assignment, Motiwala helped him find resources to overcome those challenges.

“At one point in the internship, I was frustrated with the lack of responses I had gotten from the different sports organizations,” Hyung Cho says. “[Motiwala] helped me find more domestic and international sports organizations [and] leagues to continue reaching out to.”  

Horizontal networking

Beyond the benefits of networking with each other during the semester, Newhouse NYC students are thinking about how they can help each other in the future.

“We will all be working together or hiring each other someday,” says Morris. “It’s all about forming a group of people that hopefully you like and respect and that have skills. We are all at the beginning of our careers, and we are all going to different places. You never know when knowing someone could benefit you in the future.”

Elizabeth Kauma is a junior in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School. During her Newhouse NYC semester, she was a social media intern at WUSF Public Media.