By Molly Loughman
Emerson’s Common Collective is just that — Emersonians using their common interests for a collective purpose: Applying their communication skills to advance the goals of Emerson organizations as well as nonprofits outside the College.
Common Collective invites members from across the Emerson community to join its dynamic mediamaking crew — from undergrad and grad students to alumni, faculty and staff. “We can connect you with any resources to learn, perfect, and apply a new skill. It’s not a homework assignment — It’s working on something that’s going to affect other people’s lives. Having a diverse group of talent just makes us stronger,” says the group’s creator and advisor, Mark Brodie, MA’99, a digital marketing and narrative expert and affiliated faculty member in the Communication Studies Department.
Not officially recognized yet by Emerson’s Student Government Association, Common Collective began a year ago with 10 students. Today, 31 people are on the group’s roster, taking advantage of a variety of experimental learning opportunities.
“The way we look at it is, if you want to be a part of Common Collective, it’s pretty simple,” explains Brodie.“There are only three things you really need: passion, curiosity, and creativity.”
Exhibiting all three characteristics is how Emily King ‘22, a Public Relations major and Photography minor, encountered Common Collective. Brodie introduced her and others to the group in February, while they were working at the media center at Super Bowl LIV in Miami as a part of Communication Studies Assistant Professor Maria Scott‘s public relations class. Brodie asked them if they would be interested in documenting the experience on video, and King jumped at the chance.
“After working on that, I just stayed with the organization, and I’m so glad I did!” says King, who has since expanded Common Collective services as its public relations leader. “Being able to offer PR was a step closer to our goal of building organizational infrastructure and is also a great way to put my own skills to the test.”
Common Collective pays it forward, teaching members how to apply their own mediamaking skills, and then enabling them to teach others the same. Advising the group alongside Brodie is Communication Studies Assistant Professor Sharifa Simon-Roberts, whose work centers on television, new communication technologies, and culture. The group is now building out its production team to support a range of videos, podcasts, and webcasts.
“It’s an experiential learning opportunity, but instead of creating content that just sits on a shelf, we create content that gets used,” says Brodie. “And in the process, we master our skills.”
Becoming fluent across the communication field will pay off, assures Brodie, a photojournalist, account executive, and entrepreneur. Brodie owned a commercial photography and graphic design studio before he earned a master’s degree in marketing at Emerson in 1999. “Once I got into the corporate world, I rose through the ranks relatively quickly because I had, what we call today, ‘convergent skills.’ I could go out and do a photoshoot, I could do a video, I could design anything I needed to, and because I went to Emerson, I could write copy. So I became a one-person agency, even within agencies,” says Brodie.
Common Collective Projects
- Video: Emerson Blanquerna Center For Global Communication Global Gender Advocacy Pre-Summit Workshop – Fall 2019
- Video: Emerson Blanguerna Center For Global Communication Sports Communications- 2019
- Production: ESPN’s The Woj Podcast – First Woj podcast done outside of an ESPN studio. The Woj interview with Sam Presti of the NBA’s Oklahoma Thunder basketball team. (The Woj at Emerson: Time Lapse Video)
- Movie Premiere: The Great Brady Heist, about the theft of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey. Met with executives from FOX sports, Magnify, and NFL
- Podcast: Navigating Dementia. Aimed at helping the caregivers of those challenged by dementia
- Video: Boston Marathon medical team training Video – Instructs volunteer medical staff on medical procedures and guidelines for care during the race.
- Podcasting and Lighting Studio Workshops — Experiential learning opportunities aimed at improving members skills in podcasting, and lighting for photography and video.
- Video: Kobe Panel Discussion – Spotlights the perspectives of multiple faculty members regarding the death of Kobe Bryant
- Video: Sports Communications Barcelona— Captures Emerson Sports Communications students and their experience at FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium
- Team Harmony international web series, Hate, What are You going to DO? Common Collective members worked with a professional crew to host the web series premiere featuring guests, such as Emerson President Lee Pelton, poet and America’s Got Talent winner Brandon Leake, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Anti-Defimantion League President Jonathan Greenblatt, and Christin Picciolini, a peace advocate working to counter Nazi movements.
- Podcast: Emerson’s School of Communication Campus on the Common podcast. Students help with the production, editing and scripting.
- Communication Studies Department public relations activities
- Team Harmony: Social media. Students consult Team Harmony on social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) work in a multi-generational situation to help create content that is best suited for the target audience.
- Team Harmony: Public relations. Students work with both the Rendon Group and the Rasky group with an assortment of on-going public relationship projects for Team Harmony’s many initiatives
- Team Harmony: Youth advisory. Students work with Team Harmony to help engage and organize the youth advisory made up of young activists based in around the world
In Production- Fall 2020
- Podcast: Good Trouble. A Podcast to accompany Team Harmony’s web series. This podcast featured stories from Team Harmony’s 96 global youth reporters from 36 countries
- Public Relations Practice Group. A team within Common Collective that specializes in PR and will use their considerable skills and resources to provide PR support for area nonprofits, along with organizations and departments within the Emerson community.