New collaborative entrepreneurial program at Newhouse School will attract and support media startups

Oregon-based Rookie Road will be the first company to take advantage of Newhouse Startup Garage.

Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications today announced the creation of a collaborative entrepreneurial program that will integrate a unique set of services, facilities and capabilities for digital media and media tech startups.

The Newhouse-based collaborative workspace, which marries tech and communications, will be known as Newhouse Startup Garage. The program will  partner with media startups from all over the world by offering tailored services that will help the companies grow and succeed. At the same time, the program will provide unique, future-focused experiences for students through internships, job and research opportunities and other projects, all inside the Newhouse School.  

“Newhouse is committed to leading the way at the important intersection of technology and communication,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato. “Media is becoming a high-tech industry—that’s why this is such a good fit. Even better, our students get experience working in the future of media.”

The program will run under the auspices of the school’s Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship and its director, Sean Branagan.

“With this partnership, we extend media expertise and high-tech creativity and strategy via Newhouse faculty, students and more. It extends our offering of new services to allow our faculty and students to work more with new media startups worldwide,” Branagan says.

Newhouse Startup Garage will provide startups with on-campus office space, collaborative opportunities with Newhouse faculty and access to the Newhouse facilities, including Dick Clark Studios, the Alan Gerry Center for Media Innovation, the W2O Emerging Insights Lab and other spaces. Participating companies will establish co-op internships or job opportunities for students from Newhouse and across campus.

“Interning with a startup is different than a traditional internship,” Branagan says. “It’s an opportunity for students to do real work and be an integral part of the team—rather than just learning one part of a business or developing one particular skillset. Startup internships are the ultimate version of ‘getting your hands dirty.’”

Rookie Road will be the first company to take advantage of Newhouse Startup Garage. Co-founder and CEO Michael Gursha ’10 is an alumnus of Syracuse University, with degrees from the Newhouse School and the Whitman School of Management, and served as entrepreneur in residence at Newhouse in 2015-16.

“Creating this entrepreneurial workspace within the walls of Newhouse will provide amazing opportunities for students, faculty and staff to collaborate with media/technology startups and companies, right in their own backyard,” Gursha says. “We believe this workspace will lead to more innovation, cutting-edge collaborative research and new breakthrough technologies coming out of the Syracuse University community.”

Rookie Road is an innovative digital media technology company focused on creating unique, informative and engaging educational sports content. The company was founded by Gursha and his brother, Doug, who is the company’s president and chief technology officer. The brothers are joined by content analysts Andrew Prisco ’21 and Jayson Staiger ’21 and operations manager Jillian Barry ’20, all of whom interned for Rookie Road while they were students at Syracuse University.

“We’ve had incredible success hiring students, interns and full-time graduates from Newhouse and across Syracuse University,” Gursha says. “We believe having an on-campus presence will increase our ability to give students real-world experiences, and to continue finding great student talent in all disciplines. There is truly no better place for a digital media and tech company to establish a satellite office than inside the Newhouse School.”

Lodato says Rookie Road is a natural fit for Newhouse Startup Garage, given the company’s longstanding connection to the Newhouse School. “Rookie Road is a great example of what we hope to achieve with this program. It’s a company that has both been bolstered by Newhouse and has also given back to the school through internships and jobs for our students. We look forward to hosting them and continuing this successful model.”

Newhouse Startup Garage will be located at 220 Newhouse 1.