More than 50 undergraduates trekked to the Big Apple on March 15 for the annual New York Connection trip, which provided opportunities for current students to meet alumni who share their career paths.
Marketing students stopped by Likeable Media and MTV; Broadcast Journalism students visited NBC Universal/WNBC-TV and NY 1; Television students went to the shows What Not to Wear and the Rachael Ray Show; Public Relations/Communications students visited RLM Finsbury, and Quinn and Co. Public Relations; and Publishing students went to Huffington Post Media Group and Wenner Media.
The broadcasting students first met with Ofir Barnea ’98, who is still working his first job out of college as a director of newscasts at WNBC-TV, the New York affiliate of NBC that operates from the same studios as NBC News, MSNBC, Saturday Night Live, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
“I remember sitting in the Little Building [at Emerson] and looking at a map of cities and thinking, ‘Where could I tolerate living?’” Barnea, a New York-area native, told students during a tour of the NBC studios at the famed 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
After shuffling the students through the studios’ bustling hallways—and past an open door where NBC News correspondent Ann Curry was having her makeup done—Barnea told students he was once turned down for a job as “director of farm reports” at an Indiana television station before getting hired at WNBC.
“I must have sent out 45 to 50 cover letters around the country,” said Barnea, adding that he was hired because, at the time, WNBC used the same video production equipment as Emerson College.
Later in the afternoon, broadcast students visited Marc Nathanson ’94 at NY 1, the 24-hour cable news station where he works as the website manager.
Students were able to observe the contrast between the two local news operations—with WNBC having the vast resources of NBC at its disposal versus NY 1, which has a comparatively smaller operation and is owned by Time Warner—in the largest media market in the country.
“We’re a grown-up version of what you guys are doing at Emerson,” Nathanson told the broadcasting students, referring to Emerson’s student-run newscasts.
Unlike the vast majority of local TV news stations, NY 1 models its news coverage on the newspaper system—with most reporters working specific beats, such as crime, transportation, health, or a geographic area of New York City.
NY 1 also uses a “one-man band” system in which reporters also act as photographers; and the news anchors control their own Teleprompter by rolling a button on the news desk while on the air.
“It’s an allocation of resources thing,” Nathanson said. “Most of our resources go toward actual journalism.”
During a demonstration of the Teleprompter system with longtime NY 1 anchor Lewis Dodley, he told students the key to success in their career path is, “what I like to call ‘triple A’ – attitude, affability and availability.”
“Attitude is almost everything,” said Dodley, who has a 25-year-old son who works as a production assistant at CNN. “If you have those three things, you’ll never be without a job.”