Things usually slow down over the course of the Summer. But that wasn’t the case for the NYFA Broadcast Journalism department, or many of our graduates.
Starting in late July, Evgenia Vlasova and myself co-taught NYFA’s first Moscow Journalism Summer School (JSS). Thanks to support from the U.S. State Department, we were able to offer an intensive three-week course-of-study to early career Russian journalists along with a number of current university students.
It was a real challenge, seeing as we had to conduct the entire workshop online with participants spread out over seven time zones. While classes started for Genia and me at 7:00 AM in New York, it was 2:00 PM for students in Moscow and 6:00 PM in Siberia. (The Siberian students regularly finished classwork after midnight!)
The stories the workshop participants created were nothing short of spectacular, covering a wide range contemporary topics. And no two were the same. Everyone approached their topic with their own personal style.
NYFA alum George Colli, who many of you know from the NYFA website, lent his experience and perspective as well. He spoke from the point of view of someone who knows what it takes to create compelling TV news stories under tight deadlines. (And now he has a beard! A look many of you reading this know I always find fashionable…)
Other grads graciously agreed to “drop in” on our Zoom sessions as guest speakers. Among them was Karen Hua, who “called in” while covering an out-of-control wildfire in Southern California for KGET in Bakersfield.
Starla Sampaco is a news anchor at KCTS, the PBS station in Seattle as well as an entrepreneur building her own digital platform.
And Gillian Kemmerer, who has firsthand experience working in Russia covering sports, business, and the business of sports.
Other NYFA Broadcast Journalism grads have been busy too. Isabella Faria is now a reporter at CNN Brasil. She came to New York to learn to shoot and edit, used those skills to get a job in the video department of Brazil’s largest newspaper, was hired by CNN as a producer, then promoted to an on-air position. She wrote to me: “You know I can’t thank NYFA enough for all the incredible classes. They sure helped me to get where I am now “
And speaking of Brazil (OK… Brasil) Livia Fernanda got a challenging assignment back in August. She had to explain the U.S. Presidential Election — in particular, “political conventions” — to her viewers.
On a far more serious note, Celina Liv Danielsen covered the violent reaction to the recent shooting of an African-American man multiple times by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin for TV2 in Denmark.
Georgia Hammond is working on a series of video essays about the people of Strathbogie Shire, in the Australian state of Victoria, and their efforts to combat the loneliness and isolation that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, Turkish alum Esra Ozturk is an example of how, after you study how to make TV news, you might find yourself in a job in which you are interviewed on TV news. In this case, on TRT World, the global English-language service of Turkish Radio and Television.
Case in point: Most of you already know that the film Parasite was the surprise big winner at this year’s Academy Awards. Well it just so happens that independent film/entertainment reporter and NYFA alum Federica Polidoro did an EXCLUSIVE interview with the South Korean director behind this brilliant film, Bong Joon-ho.
Joelle Gargulio was a member of the very first NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduating class. From there, she started an entry level job at NBC Interactive, then worked her way up to a reporting/producing role on the Weekend Today show.
Here she is hosting the #PopStart segment on a recent Saturday morning (Note the cross-platform distribution).Television isn’t just television anymore!
Speaking of cross-platform distribution…Gillian Kemmerer was already an accomplished print journalist when she enrolled at NYFA, but wanted to become a multimedia journalist (MMJ). These days, she is covering sports and business, with a special emphasis on international hockey. She just passed an important milestone on Twitter and now has over 35,000 followers.
Gillian Kemmerer being filmed for a hockey segment.
Over the years, we have had a number of talented Brazilian students in the Broadcast Journalism department. Daniella Gemignani was already working for Brazilian media powerhouse Globo when she came to NYFA to study Broadcast Journalism, but she wanted to deepen and expand her skill-set. Recently, she celebrated her fifth anniversary with Globo.
Another Broadcast Journalism alum, who took a short-term workshop at NYFA, Daniel Fideli, recently recounted his final graduation project for the workshop back in 2014. “NYFA was such an intense experience,” he remembers, “I tend to say that those two months were more useful for me than my four years at university.”
Meanwhile, we also have an update from the Broadcast Journalism department’s “ambassador to the red carpet,” NYFA alum Bryanna Reynolds:
Finally, this July, Evgenia Vlasova and myself are teaching a 3-Week Journalism workshop in Moscow. Are you Russian? An early career journalist? A university student starting your senior year in September? (Or do you know someone like that?) Full scholarships are available, covering tuition, housing and transportation. Find more information at: http://nyfajss.com.
We’re only a few weeks into the New Year, but it already feels like months have gone by. That is the essence of digital journalism today. And with the coming of the New Year, I’ve heard from some more NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduates.
One of the last times I saw Alyssa Cruz was when she was sitting in our Green Screen studio, getting ready to record on-camera segments for her Resume Reel.
Following graduation, she spent time in New York, then returned to her home country, the Philippines. But then she was on the move again. She wrote recently:
“I am currently a video editor and narrator for a media company which features food documentaries, here in Singapore.”
Having worked in Singapore, I can tell you that it is an important hub for Asia-Pacific media production.
Another graduate, Tommy Germain, was here at NYFA a few weeks back. And he arrived with a camera crew! Tommy is originally from Cameroon, and from there he went to Brazil. He’s had a successful acting career, but now he is working behind the camera as well. His first digital project is all about New York City. He and his team flew all the way from Nigeria, just so he could include NYFA in this program.
Six months ago, a series of devastating earthquakes hit southern California. NYFA alum Karen Hua, as part of a series of end-of-the-year stories, went back to see how people living in the communities hit hardest by those earthquakes were coping. And the news director at her station sent her by herself…
This is what it means to be a multimedia journalist (MMJ.) Karen brought along all of the camera, lighting, audio and editing equipment needed for the assignment, packed in the back of the station’s SUV. Karen herself described the trip:
“Nothing like solo MMJing in the desert, popping your tire and having limited service! It’s one big adventure!”
Working “on the road” may sound glamorous, but the truth is it often involves plastic dinner plates and lots of coffee…
If you are one of my former students, you know that I have a tendency to launch into personal stories that I feel help “illuminate” the subjects we deal with in class. (And if you are Evgenia Vlasova, you have probably heard all of those stories at least four times…)
One of those oft-told stories is about me traveling on-the-road for a month, trying to record voiceover narrations in a different hotel room every night. (Rooms similar to the one pictured above.) The one way I finally was able to get good audio was to go into a hotel room closet, close the door, put a blanket over my head, and read my script by flashlight.
For those of you who doubt successful video producers actually use such techniques, I submit the picture below of NYFA grad Wes Newfarmer. Yes, this hack actually works…
Finally, just before Christmas, Genia and I spent a week in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan. We were there to teach a Journalism workshop for mid-career professionals at Kazmedia, the nation’s dominant TV media company. We weren’t there to tell them what to report, but rather offer suggestions on how to report. The workshop was funded through a contract with the US State Department, one which NYFA won over other colleges and universities. And at the conclusion, one of the national channels there announced they were going to produce a new political talk show based on what we explored in the workshop. (The folks with the certificates in the picture below were some of the attendees.)
We must have done well, seeing as we will be going back sometime in the spring to hold a second workshop. In addition, NYFA responded to another Request for Proposals from the State Department and was selected to offer a three-week Journalism Summer School for early-career journalists this coming July in Moscow.
When last we encountered New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism grad Bryanna “Red Carpet” Reynolds, she was quitting a paying job in Australia to follow her dream to Los Angeles. And while she has only been there a matter of months, she seems to have settled in very well! But her big break came on a “black carpet.”
Another alum who is doing well, this time in New York, is Nicole Abebe. Nicole is back from Lagos, and getting some NYC media experience. She writes, “I’m a commerce reporter at the Daily Mail. So I write articles on fashion, beauty and lifestyle products.”
International students who complete the 1-Year Broadcast Journalism conservatory are eligible to remain and work in the United States for one year, in order to receive Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Sometimes it takes a while for news to make its way from Tokyo to New York. So I just learned about a NYFA alumni event that took place in Japan a little while ago. Ryo Matsuo was there to represent the Broadcast Journalism department. (That’s him on the right, in the picture below.) Ryo is a busy multimedia journalist in Tokyo, putting into practice the skills he learned at NYFA.
And speaking of graduates, congratulations to the September 2019 4-Week Broadcast Journalism students. Here they are on Graduation Day. I will leave it up to you to pick out the two faculty members in the picture. Here’s a hint…Daniel Hernandez and Fabiola Torres.
Finally, I am not a NYFA grad. I have been at the school for 6+ years, and I still don’t have a certificate. (Obviously I am not applying myself…) However, I know enough to be heading back to Kazakhstan in early December to co-teach a 1-Week Journalism workshop sponsored by the US State Department. (I was there at a conference in April.)
Given that I don’t speak either Kazakh or Russian (the second national language), I am going to be relying a lot on NYFA faculty member Evgenia Vlasova. As all of our grads know, Genia’s Russian language skills are flawless!
Here at New York Film Academy (NYFA) we take great pride in the fact that our instructors are also active professionally in their specific craft(s). Case in point, Broadcast Journalism’s own Evgenia Vlasova. She is now producing and hosting a series of reports for RTVI, a digital Russian-language programming service that reaches 20 million people around the world. The camera operator for her first story? NYFA instructor Daniel Hernandez!
Email is a wonderful thing… On a regular basis I hear from NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduates I may not have actually seen in years. This week there is big news from Grace Shao. When last we reported on her, she was working for CGTN in Beijing. After a sojourn in NYC, she is joining the staff of CNBC in Singapore. Congratulations, Grace!
Last week I heard from Mariana Janjacomo, in Brazil. She told me that she is working as a video producer for a radio station in Sao Paulo called Jovem Pan. (Talk about “multimedia”…)
“I came here to work as a producer for the brand new daily newscast of ‘Jovem Pan Agora’ (something like ‘Jovem Pan Now’), a newscast that is broadcast daily on YouTube, and the very first one that was conceived as a TV newscast. But I also work as a reporter, and sometimes I host a few shows.”
Closer to home, successful international model, fashion journalist, and NYFA grad Amanda Salvato is based in New York City. It’s only natural, given that New York is a global center for both media and fashion. Recently she had the opportunity to interview Brazilian designer John John, known as the “Alchemist of Jeans.” One of the things I love about her story is the way she had John John explain how a common assumption (“jeans are always blue”) just isn’t true!
Lots happening at New York Film Academy (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 Veterans Advancement Program, showed them how a network news operation works. In the picture below, they are on set of 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, with Joy 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.
Instructor 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.
Eulogio Ortiz is a longtime friend, and a former colleague at WNET here in New York. These days he is the director of the PBS NewsHour Weekend. While it is a nationally-distributed network program, and is shot in a state-of-the-art studio, he still uses something as simple as a felt-tip pen and a spiral notebook to determine the best placement of cameras, air talent, and guests on the set. Granted, it’s analog, but there are no batteries to go dead.
Congratulations to NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Sarah Keoghan, who was one of a small group of young journalists chosen for positions at the Sydney Morning Herald. She writes:
“Eight of us were selected out of 900 applicants, and in the current media sphere in Australia, a full-time job is unheard of, and I am beyond stoked. I’m officially a reporter! Thanks again for all your amazing help during my time at NYFA. It is truly an experience I will never forget.”
And speaking of graduates, last week the students in our September 12-week Evening Broadcast Journalism workshop wrapped up their time at NYFA. That’s Hands-on-Camera instructor Daniel Hernandez on the left, although he looks youthful enough to be mistaken for a student.
NYFA alum Federica Polidoro has one of the best jobs in the world. I’m serious… She travels throughout Europe, and beyond, covering the motion picture industry. Earlier this month she was in Morocco, at the Festival International du Film de Marrakech. Legendary director Martin Scorsese was there too, to present an award to equally-legendary actor Robert DeNiro. Federica was able to interview DeNiro later…
Brazilian graduate Daniel Fideli covers sports for media giant Globo. Last week he posted on Facebook about this story:
“Football and motorsport. Finally I manage to get these two passions together in the same story.”
The holidays are rapidly approaching, and that means the Broadcast Journalism Update is going on hiatus until the New Year. Later this week, I am flying to Da Nang, in Vietnam, as I am the Executive Producer of an independent feature film called Invisible Love which is shooting there. Joining me is NYFA Acting for Film graduate Kazy Tauginus. Kazy has a major role in the film. You may have seen him in Denzel Washington’s most recent film, The Equalizer II. Kazy played a really bad guy. (Who died a really bad death.)
For those of you who live outside the United States, you may have never heard of Variety. It is the Hollywood-based, leading entertainment industry newspaper/magazine in America. And last week it named the New York Film Academy one of the best film schools in the world. When I read the review, I was amazed to see that Broadcast Journalism was one of the departments they singled out for mention. They’ve done the impossible — they’ve rendered me speechless…
One thing I am never speechless about is the work of our graduates. Yesterday I saw, via LinkedIn, a fabulous story done by NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Suzane de Oliveira. Suzane works for Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Brazil. Here are the credits for the story:
Entrevista exclusiva da Anitta pra AFP.
Reportagem: Daniele Belmiro e Cecília Sorgine
Imagens: Marie Hospital
Edição de texto e vídeo e narração: Suzane de Oliveira
We can’t take credit for Suzane’s wonderful writing and narration skills, but she learned how to edit video at NYFA. And this is a very well-cut story. So good, in fact, that AFP posted it online and on social media!
Now, contrary to what some of you may believe, NYFA grad Gillian Kemmerer does not pay for the frequent mentions she gets in this newsletter — she just keeps accomplishing things! The latest is a scholarship to travel to Moscow for intense Russian language studies, then work there as a correspondent with an international news agency. That means good-bye to Asset-TV and mornings on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. However, if you need help with Russian grammar, Gillian, NYFA instructor Evgenia Vlasova will be happy to help you. (Because “once you are our student, you always are our student.”)
On a personal note, I’d like to thank all of the current and former students and NYFA colleagues who wished me a happy birthday. (If you are adept at investigative reporting, you can figure out just how many birthdays it has been.) One of the nicest “gifts” I got was a lovely preview of my documentary Shanghai: 1937 by the China Global Television Network (CGTN). A special screening of the program is being arranged to take place in conjunction with the Shanghai International Film Festival in June. Negotiations are also underway for American and international broadcast distribution, along with home video and VOD.