Newhouse Takes Europe: Summer 2023

Newhouse students and faculty embarked on adventures across Europe this summer. Whether it was attending a glamorous film festival, shooting an important World War II documentary or visiting an international sports federation, the Newhouse globe-trotters broadened their horizons and gained new perspectives on their future careers, education and even themselves. Read more about these unforgettable experiences:

WWII documentary film shoot in Geneva, Switzerland and Paris and Limoges, France

By Shaina Holmes

A group of students and their professor stand at the top of the Château de La Roche-Guyon in France.
TRF assistant professor Shaina Holmes (far right) and her students climbed to the top of the Château de La Roche-Guyon in France.

For the second summer in a row, I’ve had the pleasure of bringing a group of eight talented television, radio and film (TRF) students—Sophia Moore, Jada Marie Knight, Lyss Hollenbeck, Joane Chavez, Shannon O’Malley, Erin Pachapa, Owen Tindall and Adam Lewis—to Europe to shoot a documentary with the World War II Foundation. This year, we went to France and Switzerland to focus on a story about the French Resistance. During our 10-day trip, students rotated to shadow various crew members, including the director, cinematographer, composer, producer and multiple historians. Each day brought new obstacles like filming in a downpour, interviewing subjects in high traffic areas, key crew members becoming ill and construction in progress on essential buildings needed for the story.

A group of students and their professor take a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris France.
TRF students and assistant professor Shaina Holmes smile in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

My role as faculty advisor and production assistant supervisor on this documentary trip was to ensure that my students were having an engaging experience no matter what their role was each day. I was constantly keeping my eyes and ears open to the conversations between the director and cinematographer, always thinking about how my students can be involved in the process. When the students were performing their production assistant role, I was there to answer questions and encourage them to participate. After a few days, the students started to take this initiative on their own and it was exciting for me to watch them grow throughout their time there. Before the trip, we researched and decided on the projects they wanted to create on the trip to present to the Newhouse community.

A group of students and their professor stand in a field in Limoges, France.
Shaina Holmes (far left), TRF students and the World War II Foundation documentary crew in Limoges, France.

Upon our return, I worked with each student and project group to finalize each project, providing feedback and determining the best delivery method to a public exhibition. Personally, being on a trip like this is an essential aspect of what I teach in film and TV production classes. Being able to supervise on-set for an international documentary production like this offers me a different perspective with a smaller crew and the problem-solving that comes along with challenges of shooting in a non-English speaking country. Everything I observe and participate in on these films, I can bring back into the classroom.

Shaina Holmes is an assistant professor in the television, radio and film program at the Newhouse School.

Attending the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France

By Sam Johnston

A man in a black suit stands on the red carpeted steps at the Cannes Film Festival
Sam Johnston on the red carpet at Cannes.

This past May, I got the opportunity to attend the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, where I worked as a partnership liaison between the festival and The American Pavilion, a hospitality and communications hub for Americans attending the festival. I am extremely grateful not only for being able to attend the festival, but for the opportunity I had to network with industry professionals, as well as attend film premieres and workshops with notable names in film. 

My experience at Cannes allowed me to attend the most renown film festival in the industry, but it also broadened my understanding of film distribution. Attending the Marché du Film, or Cannes Film Market, I had daily opportunities to speak with film producers firsthand who had traveled to Cannes in hopes of finding a distributor. Connecting with them in person allowed me to visualize a professional future that could involve personal participation in the Marché. 

My favorite moment from the festival was probably attending a talkback with director Todd Haynes immediately after attending an early screening of his upcoming film, “May December.”

Overall, I am extremely grateful for my opportunity to attend Cannes Film Festival and the hundreds of doors the festival has opened for me. Looking ahead, I hope to apply for accreditation and attend the event for many years to come. 

Sam Johnston is a senior in the television, radio and film program at the Newhouse School.

International sports management in Lausanne, Switzerland

By ​Stella Balaskas

A woman holds her arms out in front of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Stella Balaskas poses in front of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland before a day of learning about the IOC’s communication strategies and different departments.

On June 4, 13 Newhouse students embarked on a first-of-its kind study abroad program. Over the course of three weeks, the students—led by public relations professor of practice and creator of the program, Brad Horn— visited 12 international sport federations (such as the IOC, FIFA and FIBA); met with two world-class graduate sport management programs; worked a summit; and made Lausanne, Switzerland home.

A group of students stand in front of the World Baseball Softball Confederation headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Newhouse students and public relations professor of practice Brad Horn (far right) stand in front of the World Baseball Softball Confederation headquarters after a day of meetings regarding the federation’s communication and social media initiatives.

I was fortunate enough to be one of those extremely lucky students. I could tell you about the eye-opening conversations we had with communication executives of federations, the real and honest advice we received everywhere we went or about the best hospitality I’ve ever experienced. And trust me, while all of that was incredible, it was the personal exploration and development that made this trip one of the most influential and amazing experiences of my life.

A group of students sit around a table at the BCW Sport headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Newhouse students spent their first day in Switzerland at the BCW Sport headquarters, a PR agency. Managing director Lars Haue-Pedersen (standing) educated the students on the intricacies of global sport business.

Each and every day, we were pushed out of our comfort zones. Whether it was navigating language barriers, adjusting to and learning from the differences of global business and culture, or just thinking outside the box, we spent every day becoming better people and better public relations practitioners. We received a first-hand account of where our careers could lead. For most of us, including myself, our entire perception of the sports industry broadened in scope. Most importantly, we came to a better understanding of how sports, life and culture lives outside of our American lens.

We learned. We worked. We experienced. We became more informed and more curious global citizens. And that is something I will take with me for the rest of my life.

Stella Balaskas is a junior in the public relations program at the Newhouse School.