Lots happening at NYFA over the past couple of weeks, and away from NYFA too. The September 8-week Broadcast Journalism workshop students graduated earlier this month. There they are below, along with instructors Daniel Hernandez and Evgenia Vlasova. The graduates come from (left to right) New York, Ukraine, New Orleans, Norway via London and Brazil. The instructors are originally from Mexico and Russia, although I believe they are now citizens of Brooklyn.
The day after graduation, the 8-week and 1-year students got a behind the scenes tour of NBC News. Col. Jack Jacobs, an MSNBC contributor as well as Chair of NYFA’s Veteran’s Advancement Program, showed them how a network news operation works. In the picture below, they are on the set on the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.Later they were on a “live” set, for an up-close and personal look at the production of AM Joy, withJoy Reid. Then they went to the control room where the program was being assembled, and sent out “live.”I think everyone found the tour fascinating, even though we weren’t able to visit the Saturday Night Live set. Apparently a number of the sets for that night’s show were still being built.Evgenia Vlasova made some news last week too. She was back home to Khabarovsk, in Russia’s Far East, to see her family for the holidays. And she was also back on-the-air, on the morning show that for many years she hosted and co-produced. Who says “you can never go home.”And as far as I know, Genia is the only person in the Russian Far East with a NYFA hoodie. But who knows, maybe she will recruit some potential students…Summer Session graduate Mariana Janjacomo has been busy as well. She writes: “Back in Brazil, I’ve been working as a freelance journalist for a lot of media companies… When I was in New York, I got to interview three Hollywood stars for the Capricho website, it is the biggest website for teenagers in Latin America. Lights and camera were already set-up, but it was very challenging to interview them in English. My questions were in the final version of the video too, so I’m glad I had to a chance to practice that kind of interview at NYFA.Among the stars she interviewed were Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, who are appearing in the film A Simple Favor.
As anyone who follows American media knows, stories about President Donald Trump and his administration have monopolized the news for months. But this week, an even bigger story dominated the headlines. Two massive California wildfires, one in the mountains of Northern California and the second in coastal Southern California, have devastated communities and resulted (as of today) in the deaths of more than 50 people. An additional 100+ people are missing.
News coverage of these tragedies has served an important public service function. And two New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism school graduates are on the scene, documenting the fires and their aftermath.
NYFA alum Celina Liv Danielsen, along with photographer Thomas Hass, are there working for the Danish television network DK2. Earlier this week, they visited what remained of a small Northern California town ironically called Paradise. It wasn’t an easy assignment, one which takes an emotional as well as physical toll…
Karen Hua is also a NYFA graduate. She is reporter with the NBC TV station in the Southern California city of Bakersfield. While not threatened by fire — at least not yet — area residents have experienced the side effects of these blazes for months. Karen wrote earlier this week:
“The fires in Southern California are relatively close to us in Bakersfield. We’re a 2-hour drive from the Ventura/Malibu area, and we’ve been covering them extensively…
“Ultimately I’m okay, and everyone in Bakersfield is safe — there aren’t too many trees in our city to spread flames. However, we’ve seen toxic air quality and heat as a result of the fires around the state this year. This summer was terrible with the Carr, Medicino, and Ferguson Fires. There were days when the entire city was advised to stay indoors. But we are fortunate we are all safe.”
There are many ways to cover the same story. A digital producer/editor, working at ABC News headquarters in New York, created a powerful story for the ABC late night news program Nightline. The story, distributed over multiple platforms, captured the sheer terror of what is taking place…
Public Television took a somewhat different approach. Friend and former colleague Miles O’Brian was in California shooting material for an upcoming episode of the popular Nova science series. While his focus was on previous wildfires, he and his team found themselves in the middle of a new “mega-fire,” an event so large that it literally creates its own weather. Miles was interviewed on the PBS NewsHour, for which I once produced.
As commentator Richard Reinhold noted earlier this year in TVNewsCheck, increasingly local TV news reporters are becoming “first responders,” often arriving on the scene of major events at the same time (or even before) police, fire, and emergency medical teams.
That’s why it is so important that we get the story right. People will act on the information we give them. We have to make sure it is accurate.
This is a big week for me, and for a group of instructors, here at the New York Film Academy (NYFA). On Wednesday, my latest documentary will make it’s US television premiere. And it could never have been made without the support of NYFA, and my fellow faculty members.
Distributed by American Public Television, Shanghai 1937: Where World War II Began will debut on WLIW/21 in New York on Wednesday, November 7 at 10pm. The following evening, November 8, the program will air on NJTV at 9pm and will be seen by viewers in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. (A schedule for key US markets can be found below.) Eventually we anticipate 200+ channels airing the program.
Following a six-month exclusive “window” for Public Television distribution, the documentary will become available on popular streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and iTunes.
World War II started in 1937? In China?
Those are the provocative questions behind the new Public Television documentary Shanghai 1937: Where World War II Began. While largely forgotten outside of China, the Battle of Shanghai in 1937 marked the first time the military forces of Imperial Japan came up against effective, ongoing resistance. The first American civilians killed in what would become World War II, as well as the first American serviceman, died in Shanghai during August 1937.
In Shanghai 1937: Where World War II Began, a group of internationally recognized historians and scholars describe how the events that took place in Shanghai pulled the world inevitably towards war, while at the same time instilling in the Chinese people a true sense of nationhood. The results of that transformation continue to be felt today. In fact, to understand contemporary Chinese attitudes and policies, you have to look to its past.
Still, at its heart, this is the story of shattered lives and enduring dreams. That story is told in part by Liliane Willens, who at 92 years old is one of the few witnesses to these events still alive. She and her family were members of a community of stateless Russian Jews. Deemed “citizens of nowhere,” they were welcome to live in Shanghai, but could never leave.
Shanghai’s large expat community controlled the city’s economy, living lives of privilege. War destroyed their world, and set the stage for the China of today. Liliane would eventually be admitted to the United States in 1951, and went on to teach at prestigious American colleges and universities. Today she is a lecturer and author, living in Washington, D.C.
Production of Shanghai 1937: Where World War II Began spanned three years and three continents. It incorporates little-seen footage located in film libraries around the world, as well as original interviews and scenic footage shot specifically for this documentary. Contributors include two of the leading Chinese experts on this subject: Su Zhiliang, Ph.D. of Shanghai Normal University and Ma Zhendu, Director of the Second Historical Archives of China, as well as Hans van de Ven, Ph.D. of the University of Cambridge in England, American military historian Edward Drea, Ph.D., and Danish historian and author Peter Harmsen.
Teacher’s Notes written by Syd Golston, a past president of the National Council for the Social Studies, can be downloaded free of charge. Included in these materials are poems written by Chinese American author Wing Tek Lum. The Teacher’s Notes are at Shanghai1937.tv, where additional information about the program is also available along with a trailer.
I am the Producer/Director of Shanghai 1937: Where World War II Began. Previously I developed and produced programming for PBS, CBS, ABC, HBO and Discovery. I’ve been telling stories about China for more than 25 years. My four-part documentary series tied to the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beyond Beijing, was seen in 43 countries by 250+ million viewers. I became Chair of the Broadcast Journalism school at the New York Film Academy in 2013.
Co-Producer/Editor Evgenia Vlasova was the anchor and co-producer of an award-winning morning show in her native Russia. Born in the Russian Far East, she is no stranger to China. She too is a faculty member in the Broadcast Journalism department at the New York Film Academy.
Digital Producer Theresa Loong traces her family heritage back to southern China. She is a multimedia producer and director based in New York.
Associate Producer Nancy Hanzhang Shen previously worked in admissions and social media at NYFA. She is now a freelance video editor. NYFA audio instructor Dionysius Vlachos was the Supervising Sound Editor, NYFA editing instructor Lexi Phillips was the Colorist, and NYFA acting instructor Lea Tolub Brandenburg narrated key passages. Wenting Wu was the Graphic Designer. (That is her wonderful work that you see in the trailer, and the opening of the program.)
Last Thursday we had a preview screening at NYFA, with our own version of a red carpet. Only at this event, it was the production personnel who took center stage.
U.S. TOP 50 MARKETS CARRIAGE
(Partial list, all times are local. Some stations will air the program more than once.)
WLIW Wednesday 11/7/18 @ 10p
WNJB (NJTV) Thursday 11/8/18 @ 9p
WNJN (NJTV) Thursday 11/8/18 @ 9p
KLCS Tuesday 11/13/18 @ 9p
KCET Tuesday 11/13/18 @ 8p
WTTW Sunday 11/11/18 @ 5p
WNJS (NJTV) Thursday 11/8/18 @ 9p
WNJT (NJTV) Thursday 11/8/18 @ 9p
KQED Sunday 11/11/18 @ 7p
KRCB Sunday 11/18/18 @ 10p
KCTS Monday 11/12/18 @ 1p (Veterans Day programming)
WLRN Monday 11/12/18 @ 8p
KRMA Tuesday 11/20/18 @ 10p
WEFS Sunday 11/11/18 @ 9p
WNSC Sunday 11/11/18 @ 2p
WNPT Thursday 11/8/18 @ 11p
Salt Lake City
KUEN Wednesday 11/14/18 @ 9p
KCPT Sunday 11/11/18 @ 2p
WCET Tuesday 12/4/18 @ 8p
WNEH Sunday 11/11/18 @ 2p
KLRU Thursday 11/8/18 @ 9p
KENW Friday 11/9/18 @ 9p
WKMJ Sunday 11/11/18 @10p
WGVK Sunday 11/11/18 @ 3p
There is an old saying about how “the only constant is change.” That is certainly true of Broadcast Journalism. Whether you are a major TV network, an up-and-coming producer, or a student just learning the basics, you can’t stand still.
The latest case in point comes from NBC News, which is launching a new streaming service called NBC News Signal. Aimed at folks far younger than me, who use media in far different ways than my generation, it will have its own “nightly news” hosted by Simone Boyce.
The major networks have long posted stories — and even full programs — on their websites. But the majority of you reading this don’t “watch” TV in conventional fashion. If someone wants to reach you, they are going to have to do it through your phone, in a way that stylistically mirrors other digital information services.
It’s a crowded field… CBS, Fox, ABC, Cheddar… they are all out there competing for the digital audience. Then there is streaming media app Flex, which went into the news business through its acquisition of Watchup. Flex started as a way to organize your digital content. Now they want to provide content.
Whatever happens regarding distribution platforms, there will always be a need for something to distribute, for content. Learn the skills essential to being a content creator — in the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism school, for instance — and there is a place for you out there.
Last week saw a return visit to the Academy by CNBC reporter Leslie Picker. Leslie is so generous with her time, coming in to teach a Master Class for our students. She shared with them insights into how things work “in the real world,” using the arc of her own career as a starting point. She also discussed how stories evolve as they are being reported, and the resulting debates in the newsroom on the best way(s) to cover them.
After class, all the students had the opportunity to chat with Leslie. For all of her kindness, she left with the highly coveted (and somewhat rare) black NYFA baseball cap…
Last week, my long time friend and former colleague Grace Wong (currently of ABC News) contacted me about the New York Press Club Foundation’s Annual Conference on Journalism, asking if any New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism students would like to attend.
Well it didn’t take long to find out that a number of students did indeed want to go. So, under the leadership of faculty member Evgenia Vlasova, early on Saturday, October 13 they made their way to the NYC conference site.
Besides getting to meet practicing national and New York area journalists, they had an opportunity to chat with the guest speakers as well. That included Jill Colvin, who is White House correspondent for the Associated Press. You can only imagine the stories she had to tell, given that she started covering Donald Trump when he was just one of many candidates seeking to be the Republican nominee for President.
That’s Jill, third from the right, with Genia and some of the NYFA students:
Students also met Kathryn Dill, who is an editor at CNBC Digital, where she oversees coverage of careers, the workforce, and women in business, for what is primarily a millennial audience.
These days, some journalists work in the so-called “gig economy” not out of necessity, but by choice. Creating content for a wide range of outlets sometimes offers more income security than being tied to a single platform. (Just ask newspaper reporters…)
Lisa Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with credits from The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Rolling Stone, and other publications and websites. She has reported from several counties, including Haiti from 2010-2014. She is on the left in the picture below:
This is why it is so important to study in New York. There are opportunities here you just can’t find anywhere else…
Everyone knows how much I enjoy writing about New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism graduates. But usually I only “talk” with them via email and Facebook. Recently, however, two of them were actually able to stop by!
Ibtisam (“Tisam”) Karaasian had already graduated from the Broadcast Journalism 1-year Conservatory Program when I arrived at NYFA in September 2013. But she was still “here” as a TA. Much of what I initially learned about the “student’s perspective” of the program I first heard from Tisam. Later she returned home to Germany, and has worked on a number of different things including a long-term project for the United Nations. And she shared all of this with the current students… and instructor Evgenia Vlasova.
As all current and former NYFA Broadcast Journalism students know, we have a “skills-based” curriculum. And while those skills are essential to the practice of conventional journalism, they can be used in a wide range of media genres and forms.
I say that because last week I saw someone else who I first met when I arrived at NYFA, Ljubica (“Lubi”) Popovic. She was part of the very first class I taught at NYFA, the 12-week Evening workshop. Currently she is working at the production unit of the City University of New York (CUNY), but that’s just the start. For Fashion Week New York she was a casting director assistant and worked on all the runway preparations for Tadashi Shoji and Bosideng. That meant working with top models, and A-List Hollywood celebrities like Jeremy Renner and Anne Hathaway.
Next up she is producing a Comedy Special for Sasha Srbulj, which will be filmed in mid-November at the BRIC theatre in Brooklyn.
So, did I ever tell you how I studied French for four years… three years in high school, one year in college? Probably not, since almost everything I learned was long ago forgotten. But I am glad to know that NYFA grad Delphine Darmency is still contributing to francophone culture. She recently posted a nice multimedia piece about the Women’s March in New York for French media giant TV5Monde.
Fabulous work, Delphine…
Finally, the two great “secrets” behind incredible human interest stories aren’t secrets at all. Everybody knows them… little kids and animals, neither of whom will do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it.
NYFA alum Livia Fernanda creates online video content at Somar Meteorologia in Brazil. Last week she posted a gem of a story about little kids, climate, and TV weathercasting. I don’t even understand what the children are saying — my Portuguese language skills being worse than my French — but it is still cute. Take a look for yourself… (BTW, that’s the green screen effect that every 1-year NYFA Broadcast Journalism student learns about.)
Last week, we featured the new class of New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism students learning the fine points of video editing. This week, it is camera class. Graduates will recognize Classroom #505, where many of our students first learned how to shoot with a Canon C300 camera. And as the pictures show, at first it was a lot of fun.
But out in the field, shooting your first story (30-second Voiceover) is always challenging. However, things seemed to work out pretty well in the end. (How many of you shot on Stone Street for that project?) I don’t remember the “lion” ever being interviewed before. And with a reflector to even out the light!
The big news last week was New York Film Academy grad Sergei Ivonin winning a Primetime News & Documentary Emmy Award. (That is the highest honor in American television.) Sergei was a member of one of the first NYFA Broadcast Journalism classes, and after graduation he went to work at NBC News. For many years he was an MMJ (multimedia journalist) for the magazine show Dateline NBC. That meant lots of travel. He also played an important role in NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. In fact, his Russian language skills made him irreplaceable.That meant he didn’t get very much sleep, as stories had to be generated around the clock for various NBC programs.
Sergei is now a producer on the Today show, working on the 9am hour with Megyn Kelly. But it was as a field producer on the Dateline NBC team that he won his Emmy, for a segment in which former U.S. President Barack Obama was interviewed.
Also last week, 2011 Broadcast Journalism graduate Alana Blaylock was profiled in Forbes magazine. Alana used the skills she gained at NYFA as the basis for her development as an innovative content creator. She also has some insightful things to say about the arc of her career, as well as the creative process. Underlying it all is a belief in hard work, adapting to the demands of a project while retaining your integrity, and the enduring value of curiosity and an open mind…
Finally, Summer Workshop graduate Varvara Makarevich is still working in Russian language television… Only here in the United States! She is working with Voice of America (VOA), which is a U.S. government-funded broadcast service that distributes journalistically balanced programing in a variety of languages around the world. I know it sounds like a contradiction — a government agency providing unbiased programming — but it’s true. A long-time friend and former colleague in Tokyo is now head of the VOA White House bureau. I think he has one of the toughest jobs in the world. (But that’s just my opinion…)
Great work, Varvara!
You can find more information on classes offered at the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School here.
Last week was the first week for the new class of students attending the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism school. On their third day of classes they were introduced to nonlinear video editing software. Yes, it was time to meet Avid Media Composer 8. And the first reactions were… positive. The credit goes to our fabulous Editing instructor Christine Schottanes, and equally stellar TA (and NYFA grad) Catherine Kobayashi, for making complicated software understandable.
The class has students from Zambia, New York City, Ukraine, Connecticut, England, China, Louisiana, Spain, and Brazil.
When I posted this on Facebook, I heard from NYFA grad Laura Isern. She was chosen from among more than a thousand applicants for a prestigious journalism training program run by Brazilian media giant Globo.
She wrote: “I’m using Avid in my internship a lot. Classes were really helpful.”
And speaking (again) of Catherine Kobayashi, the two of us were part of a Virtual Open House last Wednesday. It was great to get questions from people everywhere, including some folks for whom it was the middle of the night. (Now that’s dedication…) If you were one of the participants, thanks for spending time with us. And if you have any additional questions, we’d be happy to answer them…
So the Broadcast Journalism camera classes Celina Liv Danielsen took as a student at NYFA came in handy last week. That’s her in the picture below, shooting (and producing) a story at the United Nations for Denmark TV 2.
“…my new job title is journalist and producer for our US correspondent who is based in Washington DC. Together we are going to cover all US news for the people of Denmark. My job is to find all stories that we are going to produce for our newscast. I’m calling and finding all the sources, writing the manuscripts and articles, I’m the photographer when we are covering events where we are not making stories for our newscast but only covering it live. If my boss is on vacation or is doing other things then I’m reporting live to Danish national television. So I’m pretty busy and have a lot on my plate but it is so much fun. Since I got here I have only been in my apartment four times.
The first week was very hectic. I reported live from John McCain’s memorial in DC, then the Danish photographer and I flew to Boston to meet my boss (the US correspondent) to do a story there, then on to Toronto Film Festival and then San Francisco to cover the world’s first try to send out a machine in the ocean that can pick up all the plastic. Three days later we were in North Carolina covering the hurricane and this week was all about the UN. Next up is the midterm elections where we move out in “Trump land” to do many stories and then on election night a lot of live reporting.
I’m living in another city and get to travel all over America – it is so perfect. And I work with a very famous journalist from Denmark over here so people back home are starting to know my name in a bigger scale then before. Feel very lucky and blessed. But it took a lot of hard work ”
Viviane Faver was a member of my very first class of 1-year Broadcast Journalism students in Fall 2013, after I had arrived at NYFA just a little more than a year earlier. Well I am still in New York, and so is Viviane. Last week she was doing what we in the business call a “cross-platform” story. It will appear in a Brazilian newspaper, a magazine, and on a website. Here is how she summed up the experience on Facebook:
“I just had the pleasure of interviewing the CEO of @Climategroup, Helen Clarkson. ‘As countries step up to drive down emissions it’s important not to leave others behind. We need to ensure a fair and just transition to a clean economy that benefits us all.’”
Thanks to LinkedIn, each morning I get to see the latest edition of GeekWire, hosted by NYFA grad Starla Sampaco. (Not “Sanpan,” as the autocorrect on my email keeps changing it to.) Last week she was reporting on how the cofounders of Instagram were leaving the company. But with all the talk about “fake news,” I have some questions, Starla… That’s a whole lot of blue sky behind you. I thought it rained in Washington State every day…