NYFA Photography School
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  • The Palm Springs Photo Festival Welcomes New York Film Academy Students

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Department’s third annual trip to The Palm Springs Photo Festival was the best yet.

    “Everyone I met with said they were really impressed by the work from the students at The New York Film Academy,” said NYFA Photography Instructor Amanda Rowan. “I felt so proud to be representing our school and the amazing and talented emerging image-makers in our program.”

    NYFA Instructors took 13 students and collectively attended more than 50 portfolio reviews. The review meetings included photo editors from People Magazine, National Geographic, Wired Magazine, and Vanity Fair, as well as gallerists from both emerging and established national galleries.

    In addition to having portfolio reviews, the students attended several lectures and career retrospective presentations by legendary image-makers such as Stephen Wilkes, Dan Winters and Erwin Olaf. The festival hosted networking events and parties every night, which NYFA students were able to attend to connect with the wider photography community.

    NYFA BFA Photography student Lotta Lemetti said,For me the biggest lesson this festival gave me, was having to learn how to articulate what my work means to someone who has never seen it before.”

    “It was really cool to get to talk about my work and show my images to fresh eyes,” agreed NYFA 1-Year Photography student Maddie Smith. “I had no expectations going in but was just excited. The feedback was amazing!”

    Each year at The Palm Springs Photo Festival, students receive valuable feedback that often lead to jobs or gallery exhibitions. Last year MengMeng Lu met with the curator from Embark Gallery in San Fransisco and a few months later was a part of an amazing exhibition there. In addition, Alejandro Ibarra met with an Editor from BuzzFeed and was then published.

    Amanda Rowan and Kean O’Brien organized this event alongside the director of The Palm Springs Photo Festival, Jeff Dunas. The festival is very generous in supporting the New York Film Academy’s students each year. We cannot wait to go back next year.

     

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  • Photography Grad Venkata “Venky” Krishna Ganesan Rocks 24 Straight Hours of Street Photography in Times Square

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    From his hometown of Chennai to his recent 24 Hours in Times Square project, one thing that never changes for street photographer and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Conservatory grad Venkata “Venky” Krishnan Ganesan is keeping an open mind. The artist recently challenged himself to spend 24-hours straight, out on the streets in New York City, convincing perfect strangers to let him take their portrait on a chilly winter day (20°!). No wonder this enterprising photographer won the Best of Manhattan Award for Photographer 2017.

    Ganesan is hoping to set an official record with his marathon 24-hour portrait session on the streets of New York, during which he told Fstoppers he blasted through:

    • 2.5 liters of water
    • 3 energy bars
    • 5 cups of coffee
    • 15.9 miles (walking back and forth between Duffy Square to Times Square)
    • 1,000 strangers
    • 680 portraits

    Now, the Photography Conservatory grad tells the NYFA Blog about his process behind his herculean street photography project, his approach to art, and what’s coming next.

    NYFA: What inspired your 24 Hours in Time Square project?

    VKG: The idea is been in my mind for a long period of time. It was more of a goal I wanted to achieve as a test of endurance: Will I be able to stand and talk to a whole bunch of strangers for 24 hours straight, and convince them to get a portrait done in less than a min?

    NYFA: What surprised you the most? What did you learn through this experience?

    VKG: Learning how to handle rejection was very important for growth. Everyone talks about failure. I think if you are open to rejections and you will never have failure.

    I was surprised that I was able to handle rejection for 24 hours non-stop.  

    NYFA: What is your key advice to students interested in street photography?

    VKG: Sometimes you have to be more of a business person than an artist. If you need something, you ask for it and you will get it.

    My advice would be stop clicking pictures with the camera and start clicking with your mind. You will get better pictures.

    NYFA: As a street photographer in these extreme conditions, what were your strategies for endurance? And how did you select your subjects?

    VKG: Endurance will follow with excitement. I am always excited to click pictures of people I can never do that will nature. I go with my gut for my subjects and they turn out to be interesting faces.

    NYFA: What inspires you most about street photography?

    VKG: Interactions with lots of people inspire me the most. When you talk to so many people, you get a new perspective in life, and it gets better the more you interact.

    NYFA: How has your approach to photography grown or changed since studying at NYFA?

    VKG: After being a commercial photographer for many years, I had to unlearn what I did in the past. I think unlearning is the key to learning. You always think you know, but you actually don’t. I learned how to look at photography in a different way in terms of becoming an artist and making money. With the help of all my mentors at NYFA, I have become a extremely evolved photographer.

    NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time studying with us?

    VKG: I enjoyed every moment in NYFA. That was the most exciting period in my life. You get to see and lean the something new every day.

    NYFA: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

    VKG: I am working on something with which I will be able to give back to other photographers. It’s a website where you can upload your images, and we will help you get your photographs curated. This will help photographers develop their style and introspection.  

    With the 24 Hours project, I will be applying for the book of records and thinking about doing the same project for five more years, and make it into a book of strangers.

    NYFA: Would you say your time at NYFA was at all useful for the work you are doing now?

    VKG: It is like the human brain — I use only 7-10 percent of what I learnt at NYFA, but I am trying to use more and see what happens. I use almost all the basic techniques and NYFA gave me a road map on what how and why, which makes me a better photographer.

    Check out all of Ganesan’s 24 Hours in Times Square project page as well as his website, Venky Photography, for more of his work.

     

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  • Amina Zaher in Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, and Jute Magazine

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    This Women’s History Month, we’re very excited to get to share stories from the incredible #WomenOfNYFA in our community, and right now the spotlight is on New York Film Academy (NYFA) grad Amina Zaher.

    Zaher has been working up a storm as a fashion photographer, with her work appearing in Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, and Jute Magazine, among others, throughout the Middle East. She took the time to sit down with the New York Film Academy Blog and share her journey from corporate management to the glamorous world of high fashion and lifestyle photography.

    Check out what she has to say…

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    AZ: Well my journey started similarly to any student graduated from business/marketing, headed directly to corporate life. First I started working for Microsoft Egypt for five years as a project manager, then Danone Egypt for another three years as well.

    Within these eight years I used to love photography, but had no idea what I could do with that passion. I used to study photography and retouching through Youtube tutorials, sometime by online courses, and I never thought one day that I might become a full-time photographer — it was only a dream (that I was extremely passionate about)!

    Bit by bit, having many test shoots done with other talented friends in the field (as I was still not sure what kind of photography I want to settle into, but used to have conceptual/fashion sessions), I started getting proposals — not payed, for sure, but some local magazines were interested in collaborating together.

    That’s when I realized that the dream might come true, but I would have to really study. We had many good photographers in the market, and I’ve always thought education is the best way to be up to competition.

    I applied for NYFA in 2014 and it was the experience of a lifetime. It made me first realize that I’m crazy about fashion photography, and also that I’m interested in street and documentary photography. I learned that I can try to use those to compliment my photography mood and compositions, and how important is it to know more about the history of photography!

    Then I came back to Egypt, resigned from corporate life, and started my photography journey. I’d travel every once and a while to a different country with a different culture and try having test shoots there (India, Dubai, the U.S.), and I never stopped studying, as much as possible.

    NYFA: Why photography? What inspires you most?

    AZ: I’ve always felt that I need to make art in some way, and realized that I love to capture portraits of people wherever I’m at. Also I’ve been crazy about fashion since I was a kid, and I used to ask my mum to get me magazines all the time.

    Lately when I started reading about photography I was obsessed with the idea of using lights and shadows to create an interesting image. To me it was very similar to drawing.

    NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time studying with us?

    AZ: A lot!! Haha … I was super lucky with my TAs and classes. I was broken hearted the day I left NYFA — they were super helpful extremely kind, and I’ve always felt that they believed [in me]. They even gave me the opportunity to have a test shoot on my last day!

    I also remember once we had to shoot random people in the streets and ask them about their stories … it was so much fun.

    One of the great things that I’ve learned from NYFA is how to get inspired, how to read about great photographers work, and learn the story behind every piece, I used to get attached to these artists.

    NYFA: You’ve done a lot of high-profile fashion photography work, published in Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, and Jute Magazine. Congratulations! What advice would you offer fellow NYFA students who dream of seeing their own work in such publications?

    AZ: Dream big, guys! Dreams do come true!

    But first work extremely hard, and never think “I’m already good enough,” because there’s never enough in this field. Do as many test shoots as you can, it’s what makes you learn best.

    I never stop stalking talent to collaborate with. Last month I caught a model in Philae Temple, dressed her up with my own outfit, and had a 10-min test shoot that got published in a local magazine.

    Nothing is impossible.   

    NYFA: What inspired your Major Tom editorial shoot?

    AZ: The idea of Major Tom was inspired by the great David Bowie. It was about a girl receiving a phone call about David Bowie’s death and having a very glamorous breakdown.

    NYFA: Do you have a signature style or favorite equipment you are always sure to use? What do you like to experiment with in your work?

    AZ: I Use Canon 5D Mark III with 85mm or 24-70. Shadows, composition and colors are always what I like to experiment with.

    NYFA: What has surprised you most in working as a commercial and fashion photographer?

    AZ: Actually, I never thought that I working as a commercial and fashion photographer would make me realize I can’t stop studying! It’s funny how fast this field can be with new techniques, equipment, moods that you have to keep up with — not only that, but you must be proactive and come up with your own new identity and creativity. It’s endless.

    NYFA: Would you say your time at NYFA was at all useful in terms of the work you are doing now?

    AZ: NYFA is the one thing that pushed me and made me realize that I have to let go of corporate life and move on with my passion. NYFA showed me new aspects. I learned that I don’t have to be a street or documentary photographer to get inspired by that work.

    For example, it made me realize how much I loved the “dirty framing” technique when we were studying street photography, and I used it a lot in fashion. Also pictorialism and juxtaposition were really inspiring to me.

    NYFA: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

    AZ: Just had three new shoots published in Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, and Jute magazine.

    NYFA: Anything I missed that you’d like to speak on?

    AZ: Only that I’m still dreaming really big! I hope someday I will be shooting for brands like Chanel, Prada, Gucci, and Vogue worldwide. It’s still a very long trip, and I will be working Hard for it until I earn it one day. Who knows?

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  • Check Out FAYN Magazine by New York Film Academy Photography Department

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    FAYN is a collaborative photography magazine produced by the New York Film Academy Photography Department. The magazine features students, faculty, and alumni whose work explores contemporary concepts in art and culture.

    We are a community of global visual storytellers, with students and faculty from around the world. We thrive in our constant engagement with a multitude of perspectives and aesthetic practices, and we mine our diverse understandings of cultural identity, beauty, and symbolism in the collective pursuit of artmaking.

    As faculty advisors and editors, we see the inspiring voices of emerging image-makers represented in the content of this magazine, alongside the deep values that guide our program. We prioritize both intersectional diversity and the highest standards of photographic practices in this magazine, as well as in our classroom critiques.

    FAYN is a platform for visual expression, and it’s a celebration of printed media. In this fast-moving digital era of photography, FAYN serves to slow down the experience of viewing photography and experiencing art. As you flip through the pages, we hope that you take the time to savor the experience of holding them in your hand.

    We want to thank the students and faculty who participated in issue #002 of FAYN. We are honored to guide, teach and learn from such creative and talented artists.

    Click here to buy your copy of issue #002 of FAYN.

    Amanda Rowan, Kean O’Brien, and Naomi White

    Faculty Advisors and Editors

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  • Artist William Wegman is Guest Speaker at New York Film Academy

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    The New York Film Academy Guest Speaker Series welcomed acclaimed visual artist William Wegman to the New York Film Academy this month. 

    Speaking to a packed house at the NYFA Theatre at 17 Battery Place, Wegman began by presenting with drawings he made at the beginning of his career. His work has been exhibited internationally since the ‘70s and is part of the permanent collection of numerous museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hammer Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

    A pioneering video artist, photographer and painter, Wegman’s Before/On/After: William Wegman and California Conceptualism is currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while his 30-year traveling survey exhibition Being Human opens summer 2018 in Arles. A book of the same title will accompany the opening, published by Thames and Hudson/Chronicle.

    Wegman is best known for the portraits and videos of his Weimaraners, who have collaborated with him in his art making process for many decades. His photos and videos have not only been an art world success, but also a popular success. They have been featured in books, advertisements, TV commercials, and films, from the cover of The New Yorker to Saturday Night Live.

    The New York Film Academy thanks William Wegman for sharing his expertise and insights with our students.

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  • Vogue, TEDx, Paper Magazine and Celebrity Portraits With New York Film Academy Photography Alumni

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    From Vogue to TEDx, it’s been a busy month for New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography School alums and students alike. As 2018 picks up momentum, we couldn’t be more proud to share some truly inspiring success stories from various members of our NYFA community who have had their incredible photography work featured on major publications and thought leadership platforms.

    Samuel McKnight

    Samuel McKnight grew up in Germany and Oklahoma before following his dreams to the NYFA Los Angeles Photography Conservatory, graduating from the 1-Year Photography Program in 2017. Not much later, his photo of DJ and activist Zeke Thomas has been published in an interview in Paper Magazine.

    Monika Sedziute

    Lithuanian Fulbright scholar and NYFA graduating MFA student Monika Sedziute has worked as a photographer all over the world, from her native Lithuania to London, Spain, and New York, with work published in magazines including IKONA, L’Officiel, Elegant Magazine, Promo Magazine, Shuba Magazine, Eden Magazine, Fayn Magazine, Stilius Magazine, Zurda Magazine (online), The Wrap (online), Luxure Magazine. See more of her clients on her website.

    Most recently, the graduating MFA student’s shots of actor Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me By Your Name, The Shape of Water) and actor/director Kenneth Branagh were published in Rap Mag. She has also photographed actor Waytt Oleff from the film, IT.

    Alina Grafkina

    Alina Grafkina is currently working hard as a BFA student at NYFA Los Angeles, but being a busy student didn’t hold her back from finding a home for one of her photos in the greatest fashion photography publication of all: Vogue! Her lyrical portrait titled Innocence went live on Vogue Italia in late January 2018.

    Alejandro Ibarra

    MFA alum Alejandro Ibarra nearly broke the internet when the Huffington Post, New York Daily News, Metro.Co.UK, Buzzfeed and more spotlighted his NYFA class proejct, Coming Out Stories, last spring. This year, Ibarra has held a burst of editorial photoshoots with celebrities including Kick-Ass star Chloe Grace Moretz, comedian John Oliver, Broadway star Kristen Chenoweth, and Armie Hammer of Oscar-nominated film Call Me By Your Name. Check out more of his work on his website.

    Brenda Cantu

    Brenda Cantu has been up to big things since completing her BFA in Photography at NYFA Los Angeles. In a project called Midnight Memories which she began during her studies at NYFA, Cantu began to document every interaction she had with people, and made some surprising discoveries. The project evolved to become her 2016 TEDx talk, Why People Matter.

    Pamela Garcia Aguirre

    MFA grad Pamela Garcia Aguirre is a multidisciplinary artist — a photographer, filmmaker, designer, and writer — focused on a cinematic approach to moments of magic and mystery in art history, sociology, life cycles, and more. Her mystical approach is evident in her photo Thunder in Paradise, published in Vogue Italia last fall. See more of her work on her website.

    Congratulations to our busy alumni for all their awesome work!

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  • Jungle Magazine Features New York Film Academy Grad Jon Henry as Cover Artist

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    We always love to hear what our alumni are up to, and this winter we were delighted to see NYFA New York City Photography Conservatory grad Jon Henry’s work featured as the cover image for Jungle magazine. His composition Untitled 27, Providence, RI was created exclusively for the magazine’s 03 limited edition.

    The UK-based publication focuses on fashion and culture and releases a new issue bi-annually, so it is all the more significant for a photographer to see their work featured on the cover.

    NYFA alum Jon Henry‘s photo on cover of Jungle Magazine

    This time, Henry’s work has the added distinction of representing Jungle’s limited The Resilience Edition, for which he photographed the cover model, actress and artist Jemima Kirke. Kirke’s story of starting over in a new country to provide a better life for her children is resonantly captured by Henry’s photography.

    Jungle features Henry’s work alongside Tove Lo, MNEK, Mark Hartman, Louise Trotter, Sally Bourke, Daniel Castro Garcia, Mark Hartman, Ben Murphy, ALMA, Joseph Special, Poppy Ajudha Blue Lab Beats and Jennifer Neiderhauser Schulp.

    In their forward to the The Resilience Edition, the Jungle editors explain why Henry exemplifies their theme of resilience: “Henry’s work responds to the violence and maltreatment of African American men in the United States, and looks at the resilience of the mothers who have to stay strong despite knowing the extent of the tragedies that could hit their family.”

    NYFA alum Jon Henry

    Jon Henry graduated from the New York Film Academy Photography School’s 1-Year Conservatory and is a teaching assistant at the New York City campus. In his visual artwork, he focuses primarily on the black family and the community at large. He also explores the representation of athletes in fine art. His Stranger Fruit in Smack Mellon’s Hot Picks 2017 and the project was also on the short list for the Lucie Foundation grant.

    Henry also appeared recently as a panelist at one of Miami’s major art festivals, Spectrum Miami.

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  • New York Film Academy Photography Student Tanne Willow Lights Up Profoto

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    While most students only fantasize about having their artwork promoted by a major industry player while still in school, New York Film Academy (NYFA) 2-Year Photography Conservatory student Tanne Willow lived the dream recently with her feature on Profoto.

    Known for decades as a cutting-edge leader in crafting fine light-shaping and flash tools for professional photographers, Profoto is a Swedish company that recently won rave reviews throughout the photography community for their first on-camera flash, the A1.

    Profoto features Tanne Willow and her images in their Local News section. The article, titled “Rising Light: Tanne Willow’s Journey from Dance to Film to Digital,” discusses Tanne’s toolkit of choice, her style influences, and her time at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus as a 2-Year Photography Program student.

    My preferred way to work is with people in motion,” Tanne told the NYFA Blog, “Whether it’s fine arts or commercial photography.”

    According to Profoto, Tanne entered NYFA’s program after a 13-year career as a dancer and instructor with only a rudimentary understanding of studio lighting. She has since gone on to develop an editorial style that draws inspiration from the lyrical relationships and creative perspectives of dance: “Tanne sees many parallels between dance and photography, both of which combine factual elements – things that we know or believe to be true, with elements that are suggested or imagined and left to the viewer to interpret from their respective points of view.”

    Also highlighted in the article are many of Tanne’s photos — most created since beginning her studies in NYFA’s Photography School. In them, the conservatory student displays bold artificial lighting and a knack for combining flash with ambient light.

    Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, Profoto reports that Tanne’s next dream is to see her work showcased in her hometown’s Fotografiska Museum. We look forward to seeing more exciting work from her in the future. Congratulations, Tanne!

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  • The New York Film Academy Welcomes Photographer Nina Berman as Guest Speaker

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    This Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 5 p.m., the New York Film Academy (NYFA) will host esteemed documentary photographer Nina Berman as a special guest in the ongoing Guest Speaker Series. Students, faculty, and alumni will gather in the main studio space in the New York City campus for this exclusive event, moderated by NYFA instructor Nancy Burson.

    “Nina Berman is regarded as a highly praised documentary image maker and educator, whose work is shown and published worldwide,” explained Nancy Burson. “We’re honored that she will be presenting her images to the photography students at NYFA.”

    Known for her arresting work in documentary photography, Nina Berman is an award-winning multimedia artist who has also created extensively as a filmmaker, author and educator. An associate professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a member of NOOR photograph/film collective based in Amsterdam, Berman turns a distinct and probing lens toward investigating American politics in contexts such as militarism, trauma and resistance. Social justice and violence — and their human toll — are eloquently explored in her imagery.

    Spc. Adam Zaremba, who lost his leg in combat Iraq, photographed at Ft. Riley Kansas at the Cavalry Museum on base. 2004

    Last month, Berman was featured in the New York Times in the article “A Photographer and Her Subject Share a Journey Over the Decades,” which spotlighted her recently published book “An Autobiography of Miss Wish.” The book chronicles Berman’s 27-year relationship with Kimberly Stevens, who has survived a life of poverty, homelessness, and sexual abuse. The book explores not only the effects of violence and trauma, but how memory of these things are treated externally. On the timely release of the book amidst a season full of headlines regarding survivors, trauma, and allegations, Berman told the Times, “Women of a certain privilege are speaking out in every industry. It is tremendously important, and hopefully people will start to understand that this is endemic.”

    Muslim Day at the Texas State Capitol draws counter demonstrators who assert that Sharia law is coming to the US and condemn Muslims refusal to “assimilate”

    “An Autobiography of Miss Wish” is one of three noted monographs Berman has published, while the others are “Purple Hearts – Back from Iraq,” and “Homeland.”
    With exhibits held worldwide at more than 100 venues — including the Whitney Museum 2010 Biennial, the Brooklyn Museum, and Dublin Contemporary — Berman will provide a truly remarkable insight into the realities of today’s documentary photography industry for NYFA Photography students. 
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    December 8, 2017 • Academic Programs, Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 1376

  • NYFA Broadcast Journalism School Updates August 7

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    So, who is a journalist? In some countries, you need to take a test and get a government license. Here in the United States, all you have to do is say you are a “journalist” and you are one. Still, typically we think of someone who works on TV or radio, a newspaper or magazine. But how about a guy driving a for-hire car, interviewing customers for a podcast? That’s the theme of a report on the Columbia Journalism Review website. It tells the story of a TV journalist who has reinvented himself as a digital journalist. It is an interesting read, and listen…

     These days, if you are looking for a story about “journalism,” you may find yourself scanning an online publication like TechCrunch. That’s because technology is now firmly embedded in journalism. (Or is journalism firmly embedded in technology?)
    The latest example is how Time, Inc. is moving all its websites (it has a bunch) to a new, in-house platform that will allow all of them to be the same yet still be different. It’s also a move to get pages to load faster on mobile devices…
     
    On Friday, we said “good-bye” to the Summer Session 4-week Broadcast Journalism students. This year, we had students from South Africa, New York City, Connecticut, New Jersey, Russia and Brazil. They deserve congratulations, given the tough schedule necessary to make sure they get the basic skills necessary to be Multimedia Journalists. And while it isn’t the same as “12 weeks on Paris Island” (any former Marines out there?), I think you still can term it “boot camp.” (But without the drill sergeants…)
     
     NYFA Broadcast Journalism instructor Zack Baddorf continues his “sabbatical” in central Africa. Today The New York Times published his latest report, which examines the recent electoral victory of Rwanda President Paul Kagame.
     
    I always tell our students we offer a skills-based program, and that you can use these skills in any number of ways. NYFA grad Kecia Gayle is a contributor to the digital news site Hollywood Unlocked. She was doing her red carpet thing this past Saturday night, when she covered “Black Girls Rock! 2017,” a leadership awards show sponsored by BET (a cable channel).
    Kecia wrote:
    “Ok, so I had to pinch myself to see if this was real. Not only did I get to interview some of the most amazing celebrities, but I got to hear some great and powerful messages from black women who truly rock, like Maxine Waters, Yara Shahidi, Solange Knowles, Issa Rae and plenty more. It was definitely a night to remember.”
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