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LHSC embarks on inaugural Hofstra in NYC program

LHSC embarks on inaugural Hofstra in NYC program

LHSC students visit the Google headquarters in NYC. Photo Courtesy of David Henne

Being in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication sure does have its perks, especially with the abundance of opportunities that allow students to jump-start their careers. It’s even better when those perks include meeting Bryan Cranston and childhood legend Elmo. Before we get too ahead of ourselves, here is some necessary background information.

Just as the semester ended and students began soaking up the summer sun, a group of 10 ambitious undergraduates and two brave chaperones – professor of journalism, public relations and mass media studies Jeffrey Morosoff; and professor of radio, television and film Peter Gershon – embarked on a week-long trip to New York City. The itinerary was full of professional meetings with Hofstra alumni, visits to iconic New York City sights and a Broadway show.

This was the first year of the Hofstra in NYC program, and we were all eager to see how the esteemed Hofstra in LA program would be replicated in our own backyard.

To start our immersive experience, we began at The Museum of Public Relations, followed by an afternoon that was filled with gold chains and scooters. We met with arguably one of the most interesting and successful alumni of Hofstra, Joe Carozza, the executive vice president of Republic Records. We all gathered in a room encrusted with diamonds and velvet, also known as Cash Money Records’ conference room. There, we asked our burning questions to Carozza, the man who represents Ariana Grande and many other well-known musicians. It was inspiring to see one of our own flourishing in the communications industry. 

We made a quick shift from music to technology when we stopped by Google’s headquarters. The tech giant is known for its creative, lighthearted workspaces, as commonly seen in the main California headquarters and in the movie “The Internship,” starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. The New York City offices certainly did not disappoint with their colorful hallways and Razor Blade scooters used by employees to keep up with the fast-paced environment. 

Google exposed us to a whole new aspect of journalism and public relations: technology. When you think about it, technology companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft truly do rely on journalists and public relations practitioners to introduce new products to the world and maintain their credibility as competition heats up among other companies. 

Our next day consisted of networking at Viacom, NBC, Bloomberg and Fox News. 

Viacom is a communication hub that links MTV, Paramount Pictures and VH1 under one roof. While it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hold an actual VMA “Moon Man” award, the real highlight of our visit to Viacom was listening to a panel of alumni who work across different areas of the company. Within such a large-scale company, it was encouraging to see the diversity of jobs available in the industry. Although it may seem like an entertainment-centric company, Viacom’s employees are also experts in technology, engineering, communications and other fields. As college students, many of us have yet to decide what path we want to take after graduation, but Viacom allowed us to see that our career paths are not necessarily limited by our undergraduate degrees. 

This exact sentiment followed us into NBC. Many of the experts we met throughout our trip, including those at NBC, have worked across the fields of both public relations and journalism. They discussed how the two disciplines intersect and rely on one another, showing us one of the symbiotic relationships within the industry.

Although it was enlightening to hear about this crossover, the highlight of our visit was the studio tour. It was a thrilling opportunity to see the (surprisingly small) studios where the magic of “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” happen.

We had the opportunity to experience another behind-the-scenes tour of a broadcast studio – but this time, on a local level. at PIX11.

Unbeknownst to almost all of us, PIX11 is the original home of the Yule Log, our favorite Christmas tradition. Besides our infatuation with the Yule Log, which has a cult following on Twitter, PIX11 surprised us with a partial viewing of its nightly news broadcast.

What stood out the most about PIX11 is their focus on local stories – the stories about the people who watch and support the station. They showed us a video that conveyed what it means to be a journalist at the station. The company strives to make a difference in its community by giving a voice to the voiceless. For the journalism majors who were present, PIX11 made a meaningful impact on their industry expectations and aspirations. 

Many students who used LinkedIn to foster professional connections virtually, were able to meet and connect with media professionals in person.

We saw “Network,” the show based on the movie of the same name, which was in its final week on Broadway. While the show itself was simultaneously hilarious and horrifying, the best part was standing outside of the stage door to meet the star himself, Bryan Cranston. 

The next day, as we were trying to recover from meeting Cranston the night before, we began with a surprise visit from Elmo during our trip to Sesame Workshop. The presence of this icon was overwhelming enough to drive some people to tears. If only Bryan Cranston and Elmo were on LinkedIn!

The rest of our trip throughout New York City was packed with other grand networking opportunities that showed us how broad the field of communications truly is. There is crisis management as seen at Weber Shandwick, publicity for major celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio at Sunshine Sachs and writing for major publications such as the Wall Street Journal. 

Overall, Hofstra in NYC allowed us to stray from our preconceived notions of what working in the communications industry should look like. As a journalist, national or global news and politics aren’t the only options to be pursued, even though it is so commonly seen that way. There are business, technology, entertainment and local news aspects of journalism that are often overlooked.

We learned that public relations is necessary to maintain relationships between the general public and the clientele, and this service can be provided by various means.

In a society that is ever-changing because of technology, video remains a constant across all mediums of communication. Both journalists and public relations practitioners rely on videography and the use of television to further their messages and communicate with the public. Communications professionals work together in harmony, all specializing in different skill sets, in order to achieve this goal.

The next Hofstra in NYC program is already in the works. It is scheduled for the week of May 31-June 6, 2020. More information about this career accelerating program will be provided at the following meetings: Friday, Sept. 27, at 9:30 a.m. in Herbert 306; Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 6 p.m. in Herbert 306; and Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 4:30 p.m. in Shapiro 401.

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