To Live and Learn in LA: The Newhouse LA Experience

If I had to sum up my experience in Los Angeles during the Syracuse University Dick Clark Los Angeles Program—which houses the Newhouse LA program—with one phrase, it would be “more than worth the price of admission.”

As someone who was born and raised on the East Coast, I always wondered what it would be like to live in Los Angeles. Before committing to Syracuse University, I was even interested in attending schools like the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles. The Newhouse LA program allowed me to spend a semester in a city I might never have had the chance to live in otherwise, and now, I have roots here that will extend far beyond my time here this semester.

a person gets mic'd up in a television studio
Joseph gets a microphone attached to his shirt before a practice take at the CBS Station in Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of Dhani Joseph)

From the moment I arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport, I felt as if I was in a totally different world than Syracuse—and that was OK. There is no doubt that there was a transition period. From the time difference to the lowest temperature being in the mid 50s in January (although no complaints there), I knew immediately that I wasn’t in Upstate New York.

Instead of living in a South Campus apartment, I was treated to a beautifully modern apartment in Burbank with amenities like pools and a gym, among other things. And although certain buildings on the Syracuse campus —like Newhouse—are stunning in their own right, the Los Angeles program campus is brand new and has a premium feel to it. Syracuse University does an excellent job of providing everything a student needs to feel as comfortable as they would feel on campus and it’s very much appreciated.

a person stands in front of a ferris wheel at the Santa Monica pier.
At the world famous Santa Monica Pier. (Photo courtesy of Dhani Joseph)
two people stand on a beach
Joseph and his friend Danie at Venice Beach. (Photo courtesy of Dhani Joseph)

Of course, it would only be a vacation if it weren’t for the classes. I took seven classes this semester, which is definitely more than most students. But if I had to choose the most memorable courses, it would be the sports production and acting classes.

As somebody who is interested in going into the sports media field, the sports production class—part of the Newhouse LA sports media communications program—was right up my alley. Taught by Jeff Proctor, a former producer at CBS and Fox Sports, the class was all about what goes into producing a sports broadcast.

Arguably, the best part of the class was the field trips, including outings to see the Los Angeles Lakers, the G-League’s South Bay Lakers and the Los Angeles Lakers. We got a behind-the-scenes look at the production truck and the work it took to produce live sporting events.

a person gives a sports broadcast standing on a basketball court
Joseph does a live pregame hit at a South Bay Lakers game, which he attended through his sports production class. (Photo courtesy of Dhani Joseph)

In some cases, we even got to do a pregame report from the field of play that was fully produced by the same professionals that produced the game. For those interested in sports television and broadcasting, that class alone is worth the trip to Southern California.

The acting was taught by former actress Barbara Deustch. Prior to this semester, I had never taken an acting class, nor did I have any interest in doing so. However, I’m so happy that I did. Barbara started us off with improv exercises and by the end of the semester I was performing a scene from the 1992 film “A Few Good Men” in front of a large audience. I always thought acting was an innate skill, but this class taught me that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Outside of classes, I interned with Fox Sports as a features intern over the semester. Getting to work in one of the major sports channels was really cool and I got to meet producers as well as talent for studio shows such as “Speak” with Emannuel Acho, Joy Taylor and others.

When I wasn’t working on classwork and internship responsibilities, there were tons of things to do in Los Angeles. The program offered many events for us such as movie premieres, outings to a Los Angeles Dodgers game and more. We also did some community service by doing a beach clean-up at Santa Monica beach.

Without a doubt, this has been the best semester of my college career, and I am so glad I took a leap of faith to travel across the country for this program.

Dhani Joseph will be a senior in the fall in the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.