Even the most starry-eyed broadcast journalism majors know they’ll pay their dues writing, sourcing and researching stories for other people before they get their big break on camera. But thanks to a partnership between New England Cable News (NECN) and Suffolk University’s Studio 73, three lucky and talented students are getting a taste of live reporting in a segment called “Suffolk in the City” that airs on the network’s Morning Show.
Unique opportunity for students
Following a rigorous audition process, NECN selects three Suffolk University students each semester to act as the main “Suffolk in the City” reporters. The students work on weekly story pitches with NECN producers, tape person-on-the-street interviews, edit their footage into tv-ready packages, and participate in live Q&As with NECN anchors.
“'Suffolk in the City’ provides an extraordinary opportunity for our broadcast students,” said Robert Rosenthal, chair of Suffolk University’s Communication and Journalism Department. “Through our partnership with NECN and ‘The Morning Show’, Suffolk students are reporting live and producing entertaining pieces seen throughout New England.”
Get to know some of our recent Suffolk in the City reporters:
Jacob Athyal '14
Hometown: Kerala, India
Major: Broadcast Journalism
Professional Goals: I am fascinated by the ethos of the field. The way so many people come together with one unified goal in mind captivates me. I don't have a preference for on-camera or off, and am trying to get as much behind the scenes work done and also get the on-camera feel. I'd like to someday be a jack-of-all-trades.
Broadcasting Influence: Edward R. Murrow
Reporting Interests: Because I am originally from India, I have seen myself naturally leaning towards Human Rights issues. Broadcast journalism is an amazing medium that has the power to bring so many people into a story. If you have the power to bring attention and open people’s eyes, it just seems like wasting a resource by not doing it.
About "Suffolk in the City:" I've been lucky enough to work with a remarkable fellow student reporter, Dan McCarthy, and the wonderful Gerry Glendye and Keith Erickson, who manage the Studio. They showed me how we're all on the same team. It’s simple. There’s a job to be done: so do it. "Suffolk in the City" is amazing because it pushes you out into the real world of journalism, but slowly. We don't have to work nearly as hard as the NECN reporters, but we get to sneak a peek into what it’s like out there, on camera, in an actual live shot. That is a shot most people in college rarely get. Plus, you get your name out there on a major, renowned newscast
More about Jacob: I'm the President of the Techies Union, a member of the Suffolk Forensics team, part of the Bhangra dance team, and have acted in 15 school productions.
I also ran the Boston Marathon, am a Mixed Martial Artist and Indian monkeys always make it a point to snatch food from me. By now, I'm sure it’s personal.
Melissa Graham '14
Hometown: Norton, MA
Professional Goals: My ultimate goal is to become a news anchor for a local station in Boston. I’ve lived in the Boston area my whole life and I am in love with the city and its culture. With Boston being the #7 media market in the country, that will not be an easy task so I know that I will have to work my way up to the anchor seat.
Broadcasting Influence: I love Anderson Cooper from CNN, Maria Menounos from Fox, and Giuliana Rancic from E! News. Going live, putting together packages, and learning the camera and the equipment, you realize how difficult the news process is. I really idolize and try to emulate the reporters and anchors on TV who thrive under the pressures of live television and find new angles to tell a story.
Reporting Interests: I always want to know what is going on in the world; what the big stories are whether it is in politics or entertainment. I like to know a little bit about everything, so I think doing daily news or entertainment news would be the niche I would thrive the most in.
About "Suffolk in the City": The chance to work with NECN and go live for The Morning Show is a unique experience. I enjoy everything from finding newsworthy stories to putting together packages, and of course going live. It is such a wonderful opportunity to not only network with professionals in the field but also learn the ins and outs of the news process. This opportunity provides me with tools that you can’t learn in the classroom or from a textbook.
About Melissa: I’m fascinated by politics and following campaign trails. I find the whole process so intriguing. I am obsessed with presidential speeches and debates, and love analyzing their words and delivery. Speeches can be so powerful and I love a good quote.
Dan McCarthy '14
Hometown: New Milford, CT
Major: Broadcast Journalism
Professional Goals: To be heard. And I think the most important means of accomplishing that is by having something worthwhile to say. My goal is to have the ability to write, produce, and deliver stories that will provoke thought and conversation. While that’s pretty broad, I think an open mind and ability to adjust to new opportunities in new media are vital to success. If I'm having as much fun in 20 years as I am now, then I doubt I'll want much more anyway.
Broadcasting Influence: My parents influenced me into taking great pride in whatever your profession may be, so it led to me pursuing the job that I was most passionate about. And while it will mean fewer Thanksgivings and holidays spent with them, they are thrilled to see me trying my best, and having a blast doing it. While I don't think anyone in particular influenced me into pursuing this field, there have been many who have supported me, motivated me, and challenged me to constantly better myself as a person and in turn, a journalist. I am my own reason for pursing this industry, but they are all reminders that I'll never be alone while I do it.
Reporting Interests: Now more than ever, it is hard to keep people’s interest locked on anything for more than a few fleeting seconds. I would like to cover stories that make those seconds count. So whether I'm providing a look into something people have never seen before, or unique answers to the questions of human interest, I want to earn people’s attention rather than demand it.
About "Suffolk in the City": What makes it so special is knowing that Suffolk is the only school East of the Mississippi River that provides students the opportunity to go live on an actual morning newscast. So, to be coy, experience is what I've enjoyed most from the experience. Experience finding stories that I believe will interest viewers; discussing ways to improve my on-air skills with veterans in front of and behind the camera; and dealing with the pressures of a deadline to air stories to potentially millions of viewers. It is a wildly unique opportunity, and one I'm exceptionally fortunate to have.
More about Dan: I just finished an Independent Study as a writer, producer, director, anchor, and reporter for Suffolk U-News, our school’s student-run newscast. I'll have the same positions this spring, but with a full cast of classmates! I've spent the past 2 years working at Suffolk’s TV Studio at 73 Tremont Street, providing me further opportunities in front of and behind the camera for a wide variety of shows filmed there. Past that, I can be found wherever a Suffolk group is giving out free food on any particular day.
Heidi Walsh '14
Hometown: Medford Massachusetts
Major: Broadcast Journalism
Professional Goals: I want to be able to tell compelling stories so others will listen to the voices of those who don’t necessarily have an outlet. I want to come into work every day with an open mind and the skill set of how to create stories that will not only inform my viewers, but pull at their heart strings. While the road ahead is a long one, my ultimate dream is becoming a local television reporter in a major market such as Boston.
Broadcasting Influence: I have been fortunate enough to have a few mentors over the past four years through internships. My first internship at NECN provided me with a lot of people who cared about my growth as a young journalist. Editors such as Nick Chin and anchors such as Latoyia Edwards were always willing to take the time to sit with me and lend me their experience. I was also very fortunate to shadow WBZ reporter Bree Sison who has given to me wisdom that cannot be taught in a classroom.
Reporting Interests: I’m interested in covering stories that let people think for themselves and encourage new ideas for debate. I generally love hard news stories, but because the news is about people I like to tell an experience or event through their eyes. I also have a soft spot in my heart for politics.
About "Suffolk in the City": The ability to go live before we even have our first job is an amazing experience and incredible resume booster. I’m very fortunate that I get to have these live shots under my belt before I begin life in the “real world” of reporting. I enjoy coming in every day to the studio and learning how to set up a live shot, what to expect when something goes wrong during the segment, and of course pitching stories to NECN producers. It’s very hard to put into words, but I’m just very grateful that Suffolk has this partnership.
More about Heidi: I’ve been a part of other newscasts at Suffolk University, including Suffolk U News and Temple Street. I am also the general manager of Suffolk Free Radio, the university’s online radio station. I live by this motto by Este Lauder: “I never dreamed of success. I worked for it.”