This month marked ten years since the start of the tragic, still ongoing Syrian civil war. NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Nour Idriss, who comes from Aleppo, found herself stranded in New York City when all flights back home to Syria were canceled. Enrolling in NYFA, she reinvented herself as a multimedia journalist, then found a home at CBS News. Recently she wasn’t just the producer of stories about the past decade, she became part of the story herself.She wrote: “I still can’t believe I’m actually doing this! I’m a journalist! And I owe you for this dream I’m living.”Thank you for your kind words, Nour. I think countless hours of hard work had a lot to do with it too…It is often said that journalism is the first draft of history. NYFA grad Celina Liv Danielsen can certainly attest to that. A producer/reporter for TV2 In Denmark, she was on-the-scene when violence broke out in Washington DC this past January. Needless to say, it wasn’t the story she thought she was going to report, the official announcement of the winner of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election.Livia Fernanda enrolled in NYFA to develop her reporting skills. Up until that point, she had worked strictly as an in-studio weather reporter. Now an on-air reporter with Grupo Jovem Pan in São Paulo, she demonstrated the difference between covering Brazilian Carnival in 2020 and 2021 with two striking photos.Staying in Brazil (I know, Brasil), congratulations to NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Beatriz Puente, now producing for CNN Brasil, based in Rio!When Eduvie Martin came to NYFA from Nigeria, she had already developed strong on-camera skills. What she felt she lacked were the technical skills essential to success. She has over a decade of experience in communications and reputation management for global brands and start-ups in Europe and Africa. And as this Linkedin posting can attest, she can multitask with the best of them!Lorenzo Capezzuoli Ranchi always looks dapper “on-air,” or I guess I should say “in cyberspace.” He is a regular contributor to the Italian digital media app 264 Zoom. He continues to bring to his stories the same unique qualities that served him so well on the projects he produced as a student here at NYFA.Elina Mukherjee, who is back home in India, writes: “These days I work at a food/travel/lifestyle channel called Gobble. …venturing into digital content has been a shift from mainstream journalism. But so far I am really enjoying myself.”Closer to home, NYFA alum Dr. Nicole Cross continues to do great things at Spectrum News in Texas. She is not only a wonderful news anchor, studio host and field reporter. She is also a powerful role model for young African American women, and other women of color, who might be considering a career in Journalism.Emilie Cruz was recently promoted at ViacomCBS to Senior Manager – Editorial/Creative Strategy. If you look at her LinkedIn page, you’ll notice that she chose for her profile picture a still shot taken from one of the stories she did at NYFA. She’s even holding an NYFA News mic!Thanks, Emilie!As regular readers of the Broadcast Journalism Update know, last Summer Evgenia Vlasova and I co-taught a three-week online workshop for early-career Russian journalists. This past January, we all got together (virtually, of course) to find out how everyone was doing. Each participant had produced a story on the theme: 2020 – Not The Year Anyone Expected.Anastasia Dzutstsati’s story examined The Church In The Era of COVID, while Ekaterina Frolova created a global digital experiment, asking people the question 2020: The End or the Beginning? If you have a few minutes to spare, I have posted these stories and others on Vimeo. They are definitely worth screening.Stay tuned for NYFA Moscow Journalism Summer School II, taking place this July and August in (hopefully) in Moscow. Support for this innovative enterprise comes from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.Finally, I am proud to announce that my independent feature film, Invisible Love, won several prizes at the Paris International Film Festival including Best Narrative Feature. Here is a link to the trailer. Coming to a digital platform or theater near you (if you live in Vietnam or China) soon. Here in the United States? Probably next year…For more information on NYFA’s Broadcast Journalism program, click here.
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 “Congratulations, Isabella!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.
Without a doubt, the spread of the COVID-19 virus is at the top of TV newscasts around the world. That’s not surprising. That said, it is “business as usual” for the Broadcast Journalism department. And even if we can’t meet in Manhattan, my office in cyberspace is functioning just fine.
Something else that has been transformed is the U.S. Presidential race. Big campaign rallies have been cancelled, until further note. But, before they were, NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Celina Liv Danielsen was traveling throughout the United States for Denmark’s TV2, and was able to capture when President Donald Trump arrived in New Hampshire.
As voters were getting ready for Super Tuesday and the selection of Democratic convention delegates in 11 different states, NYFA alum Karen Hua covered a Bernie Sanders rally in California for the NBC affiliate station in Bakersfield; note that she covered this event solo and posted on social media. TV news reporters are now expected to do so, as such
postings are essential to building and maintaining audiences.
Meanwhile, Brazilian Broadcast Journalism graduate Livia Fernanda had a far more pleasant assignment. She got to cover Carnival in Saō Paulo… but everything ended at midnight with the arrival of Ash Wednesday.Former NYFA student Suzane de Oliveira works for the French news agency AFP in Rio de Janeiro. An important part of her job is taking international AFP stories and repackaging them for the Brazilian TV market. Certainly one of the most moving stories I have seen in a long time was about a father in Syria, who found the best way to keep his young daughter calm as their town was under artillery and aerial bombardment was to make her laugh. Every time an explosion took place nearby, the two would burst into exuberant laughter.Of course, some of our Brazilian grads (like some of our Danish grads) find their way back to New York City. Mariana Janjacomo was reporting from in front of the New York Stock Exchange recently, explaining the confusing economic news. She works for Jovem Pan, the main Brazilian radio station based in São Paulo. It is also the largest network of radio stations in the southern hemisphere and Latin America. Like other legacy media companies, they’ve branched out into online video news.Thanks to all of you that passed along information about the NYFA Moscow Journalism Summer School (JSS). We received more than three times as many applications and queries as we have available openings. Successful candidates will be notified later this month.Finally, if the Cannes Film Festival takes place this May (and right now, that is a big “if”) my independent feature film Invisible Love will be part of the Marche du Film. I must admit I was seriously surprised when I received a copy of the latest poster for the film, and discovered I got top billing! If anybody’s names should be up there, it ought to be Vietnamese actress Hoàng Phượng and NYFA Acting for Film alum Kazy Tauginas. They portray the two characters seen walking on a beach, near Da Nang in Viet Nam, in the poster.Stay tuned for more.
I think I speak for all the faculty in the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism department when I say we felt a deep sense of pride when we saw the bio of Grace Shao appear on the CNBC website. A NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad, Grace worked tremendously hard to reach this point. And I have no doubt she will continue working just as hard!
We’re in the middle of summer here in New York, and the weather report seems to repeat day-after-day. It always seems to be “hazy, hot, and humid.” It is easy forget that, in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s winter! A fact that was brought home to me by a video posted by former NYFA student Livia Fernanda, who works with Somar Meteorologia in Brazil. That’s an ice crystal in the graphic behind her…
Staying in the Southern Hemisphere, our favorite red carpet reporter—NYFA grad Bryanna Reynolds—is at it again, proving you can interview Hollywood stars thousands of miles (or kilometers) away from Hollywood. Bryanna always impresses me with her ability to communicate in “emoji.”View this post on Instagram
🎥 SURPRISE! Can finally REVEAL the secret! 😍 @kevinhart4real & @tiffanyhaddish got to have a chat with @grandma.daisy and I in Sydney last week 🥳 We chatted all things #secretlifeofpets2 for #9kidswb on @9gokids 👏 Two of the most amazing and down to earth people I have ever interviewed ✔️ Every day I wake up I am so grateful to be able to call this my job 😍 Thank you to everyone who gives me the strength and courage to pursue my goals and dreams 😊 Sending all the love and positivity in the world right back at you 👊💕 You can catch the interview on @9gokids tomorrow Saturday 15th June after 8am 🎬 . . . . #dreamjob #believe #tv #dream #achieve #broadcast #aspire #journo #journalist #goals #multimediajournalist #producer #editor #preditor #video #aimhigh #careergoals #media #melbourne #chasingnews #redcarpetreynolds #reynoldssisters #lovemyjob #kidstv #redcarpet #junket #kevinhart #tiffanyhaddish
You can find NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduates in many places. Even newspapers! Here is the latest from Lorenzo Capezzuoli Ranchi about the many, many challenges “dalla A all Z” (from A to Z) facing the Italian government.
Finally, the documentary that NYFA faculty members Evgenia Vlasova, Dee Vlachos, Lexi Phillips and I collaborated on—Shanghai 1937: Where World War II Began—is now available on Amazon Prime. So far, it has been broadcast on 180+ American Public TV stations. We’ve also seen more than 7,000 people click on the program website to watch an online preview. Many are teachers who used the free Teacher’s Notes we provided as the basis for high school and college classroom activities.
There are many reasons to become a journalist. A number of them involve idealism, and the belief that journalists play an essential role in society. Still, for me, a key factor was that journalism is exciting. No, you aren’t flying off on a helicopter into the sunset every day. Yet everyday there is the possibility that you might.
What is guaranteed is that every day you are going to meet people with important stories to tell. Some of those stories are happy. Others are sad. But they are stories that society needs to hear. And you are the storyteller…
One of my favorite storytellers is New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism grad Bryanna Reynolds. She lives and works in Australia, and recently she reflected on her career and opportunities:
So what do you do after covering “the red carpet”? For Bryanna, it was onto the Australian Open tennis tournament…
Our students come from everywhere—across the United States, and around the world. We’ve been fortunate to have a number of students from Brazil. One of them is Livia Fernanda. During a cold New York City winter, it’s nice to think of warmer places. But if you take a closer look at the map behind Livia, I think some of those places are a bit too hot! 34 C translates into a toasty 93 F…
Last week we were back in the studio for the 2019 season of NYFA News, our own in-house news magazine. (We use the same type of green-screen effect that Livia does. Only instead of a weather map, we insert banks of TV monitors.)
That’s student Nicole Abebe anchoring the show. Nicole was born in Nigeria, but came to NYFA via London. And while this was her first time as a presenter, she looked and sounded like an experienced pro.
If you want to get an idea of just how exciting that day was, take a look at a short video NYFA instructor Evgenia Vlasova put together. I think it really captures how TV is a collaborative effort—a real “team sport.”
Fair Use, Syria, Music Therapy, and James Blunt: Updates from the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism SchoolCopyright is an issue that producers come up against again and again. Students often ask me about using clips from well-known films and TV programs, or portions — sometimes very long portions — of popular songs. My response is always the same: Everything is owned by somebody. In fact, usually a number of somebodies…In news, we will often acknowledge the source of a few seconds of borrowed video with a “courtesy,” listing the source of the material. Here in the United States, there is a principle called “fair use.” If you do not diminish the ability of the owner of the material to sell it, or use the material as the basis of commentary or for an educational purpose, and you don’t use a lot of it, you are probably OK. Or you’re not. This why TV stations and networks have lawyers. (This legal interpretation applies only in the United States: Every country has its own copyright rules and regulations.)A recent court decision involving Fox News further clarifies this issue. A company went into business selling digital “clips” of Fox News programming to subscribers. They termed it “fair use,” claiming they were only redistributing material that has already been distributed freely by the copyright holder. The court said NO, the material belonged to Fox, and distributing it to subscribers without permission from Fox was like selling somebody else’s chicken. (OK … I added the chicken part, but the principle is the same — if you don’t own it, you can’t sell it.)There is no “fair use” outside of news. To give you an example, a number of years ago I used a clip from a classic 1930s Hollywood film called The Maltese Falcon. It was part of the tease for the first episode of a PBS documentary mini-series called The Stuff of Dreams. (Extra points if you can name the classic English-language author who originally used that phrase. Answer below…)To use the clip, I had to negotiate payments for two actors (both dead), the director (dead), the writer (dead), the composer (dead) and the studio which currently owns the film (not the studio who originally made it). I did all of that before the program was broadcast, because afterwards these folks (or their legal heirs) can ask whatever they want, and you have to pay because you cannot “un-broadcast” the program.And the author? William Shakespeare who, as he has been dead for centuries, does not have a lawyer. Plus the filmmakers used it before I did. Of course, they’re all dead.I heard from NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Ahlam Tabra via Facebook last week. The TV channel she works with broadcasts from Dubai, and is one of the most reliable sources of information about what is going on inside Syria.“Since I have come back from NYFA, I have done a lot at work. Doing a daily talk show is amazing, but it is exhausting. As you said, there is never enough time, budget, or people. We run all day long to do a watchable 52 minutes.”Keep up your important work, “Loumi.”Also via Facebook, I got to see former NYFA student Georgia Hammond’s latest project, a wonderful short video about how music therapy is part of the treatment program at Sydney Children’s Hospital.
It’s Music Therapy Week and we can definitely say Sydney Children’s Hospital is a much happier (and louder) place thanks to the amazing work of the Music Therapy Team. In this video Music Therapist Matt shares how music can bring comfort and joy to patients and their families when they need it most.
And, thanks to Facebook (I see a trend here…), I found out that Brazilian NYFA grad Livia Fernanda recently interviewed British music star James Blunt. She got to use both the interviewing skills she developed at NYFA, and the English she had a chance to practice while she was in New York: