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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Update – May 17, 2019

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    Avni Mahiji is a graduate of one of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism department’s short-term workshops. She has a great on-camera presence, which we helped her develop. And she knows that to build your career you always have to be ready when opportunities present themselves.

    Or better yet, you create your own opportunities. Recently she was doing anchor/presenter work on a small New York City-area TV station. It was a great opportunity for her to showcase her impressive skills.

    Great job, Avni!

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019

    I’ve heard from some incoming students who want to know a bit about the neighborhood where NYFA is located. It’s a good question… Here are some pictures for them, as well as any graduates who are feeling a bit nostalgic.

    So this is our neighborhood, downtown Manhattan.

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    This is a closer shot. NYFA is located in the building on the left.

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    We are at 17 Battery Place. Just look for the flags…

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    Now, strictly speaking, the next picture isn’t in “our neighborhood.” But each term, some students get the chance to visit NBC News for a behind-the-scenes tour. Their guide is MSNBC contributor Col. Jack Jacobs, who in and of himself is worth the trip uptown. They are on the set of the NBC Nightly News, regularly one of the most-watched network TV news programs in the country.

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019
    Finally, you’ll see much of New York through the lens of a camera like this. Believe it or not, all of our students leave NYFA capable of using this high-end HDTV camera. If you look closely, that is the soon-to-graduate Nicole Abebe hidden behind all that equipment…

    Broadcast Journalism May 17 2019

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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism Holiday Update

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    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 thereJoining me is NYFA Acting for Film graduate Kazy TauginusKazy 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.)

    All the best for the New Year!

    Broadcast Journalism Update December 2018


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  • Fake News, Twitter Rights, and NBC News: Weekly Updates from the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    Have you ever noticed how “fake news” (false rumors, conjecture, outright lies) seem to spread faster on social media than the truth? It turns out that isn’t a subjective assessment, but an actual fact. The Washington Post reports on a recently conducted survey that charted the speed with which phony stories were disseminated via Twitter, and compared the results with the speed actual stories were passed along. “Fake news” consistently spreads faster. Why? According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it is because the “fake news” is more sensational, attracting (and engaging) people who otherwise might ignore it. What does that mean for those of us who report real news? It means we have to work even harder to find story elements that will grab the attention of perennially distracted audiences.



    One of the reasons why the New York Film Academy (NYFA) bases its Broadcast Journalism programs in New York is the outsize role the city plays in all aspects of media. Just block from the NYFA campus, an important court case is being heard regarding the nature of social media, in particular Twitter. Present Trump has blocked certain individuals from commenting on his private and public Twitter feeds. One of those banned has taken the president to court, arguing that social media is the 21st century equivalent of the 18th century town square, and preventing anyone from participating violates the Free Speech clause off the U.S. Constitution. This case will likely to go all the way to America’s top court, the Supreme Court.


    Meanwhile, NBC News marked an anniversary last week, as the NBC Nightly News celebrated its 70th birthday. (The program has had several titles over the years, but has always been NBC’s primetime news broadcast.) As some of you know, the NYFA Broadcast Journalism School began as a partnership with NBC News. It’s a relationship we continue to value.


    So, regular readers of the Weekly Update know that this is place where I usually include “alumni news.” Well, this week is no exception. However, the alum being featured is not a former student, but a former faculty member — in fact, the former Chair of the department! Marian Porges helped create the NYFA Broadcast Journalism course-of-study, then she returned to NBC News, where she became Vice President for Standards and Practices. Last week I heard that Marian is being promoted to head that crucial department. (It’s the one that makes sure journalists, like us, have done a thorough job prior to a story hitting air.) Congratulations, Marian!

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  • New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School Visits NBC News

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    So, for graduates of the NYFA 1-Year Broadcast Journalism program, these pictures should bring back some memories!

    This month, the Fall 2017 1-Year students got an exclusive “behind the scenes” look at NBC News. It was all made possible by NBC News military affairs contributor Col. Jack Jacobs, who is also Chair of the NYFA Veteran’s Advancement program.

    While visiting NBC News, the students had the opportunity to meet MSNBC anchor Joy Reid.

    Then, they visited the set of her program “AM Joy,” while the show was in progress.

    Since prime time anchor Lester Holt was off, the NYFA students decided to help out as “substitute anchors” on the set of the “NBC Nightly News.”

    …and made a quick visit to make-up.

    They even had to chance to visit the set of “Saturday Night Live” during rehearsals. (You can hear the band playing here.)

    In fact, they even found out about some of the jokes on that night’s show, 10 hours before air time!

    These tours are available only to students in the NYFA Broadcast Journalism 1-Year Conservatory program. This group seems to have had fun…

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