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Expanding out of Rutgers

JMS JMS degrees degrees span span further further than than journalism journalism Giving Giving back back from from classroom classroom to to community community


Managing Editor Eric Weck Online Managing Editor James King


Cover Design Kathryn Roque Cover Design Nishika Sen Masthead Eric Weck Table of Contents Eric Weck InfoGraphics Stephanie Cubias Back of the Book Stefani Zamora Back of the Book Ryan Sahlin


Photography Patricia Cortado Photography Richard Hampson Photography Alexander Harrison Photography Kenneth Kurtulick Photography Sabrina Tibbetts


Head Copy Editor Chad Stewart Copy Editor Kylie Bezpa Copy Editor Elijah Blackmon Copy Editor Alyssa Lopez Copy Editor Autumn Oberkehr


Marketing Your Media Studies

FEATURES 10 Sparking Change in New Jersey 12 Reporting from Bolognia 14 Marketing to Millennials 18 Nice Work if You Can Get It 20 A New Take on Children and Media 22 Next Stop: The Big Screen 24 From SNL to the White House



16 InfoGraphic 27 Memorable Moments


ALUMNOTES '16 Alex Esposito

has been a successful sales representative for SHI International Corp. since he began selling Adobe and Microsoft products for the tech company in Sep. 2017. “Communication skills I learned in my time at Rutgers come in handy every day, with me serving as the middle man between customers and manufacturers,” Esposito says. He previously worked for MLB Advanced Media managing teams’ social media requests and researched statistics during live games. During his college years, Esposito was heavily involved in the student radio station WRSU. He broadcast and produced Rutgers football, baseball and basketball games.

'17 Courtney DuPont

a graduate of the Journalism and Media Studies program, has joined Jersey Sports Zone as a multimedia journalist. She is also the representative for all mid-state Jersey teams, and is responsible for the complete coverage of this area. Courtney’s responsibilities at Jersey Sports Zone include shooting games, conducting interviews, editing and publishing completed stories, and staying up to date with social media.

'17 Ryan Moran, a graduate from the spring of 2017, double majored in both JMS and

Economics. While double majoring offered Moran more options post-graduation, JMS was his escape from his daunting economic classes. “My favorite part was the interaction level between everyone involved in all phases: students with teachers, with guests, and then with other students. It felt easy to interact with everyone involved which made going to class a joy,” said Moran. If he wasn’t in class, Moran was a voice at WRSU, where he worked calling and pro Rutgers sports events for the station. Moran is currently an invoice analyst in telecom expense management in Cranford, New Jersey.

'16 Dylan Stump landed a job at the Hopewell/Prince George Chamber of Commerce

after a two-year, post-grad lull. “Looking for a job is a full-time job,” he said. “Nobody is knocking down your door to hire you.” Stump writes press releases and memos for the company. However, he has bigger plans–his eyes are set on web design. “I've already taken the step of attending a coding bootcamp over the summer to gain the necessary skills,” he said. Stump is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and obtained his Associate of Science at Raritan Valley Community College.


Alumknights Magazine Spring 2018


'00 Steven Sandberg currently works as the press secretary to Senator Robert Me-

nendez of New Jersey. He joined the staff in 2013 after spending 10 years at WINS 1010 Radio in New York. As an on-air reporter, he covered the senator often. His career change was partially inspired by his passion for politics, and his law degree from Rutgers. Sandberg still uses his journalism degree daily, writing press releases and speeches for the senator.

’17 Chris Roney graduated with a double major in Journalism & Media Studies and

American Studies, and has since been working as a copy editor for POPSUGAR, an American media and technology company. Serving as a remote employee, Roney has had the opportunity to make the world his office, focusing on traveling and freelancing for various publications. He has previously worked as an associate editor at Passport Magazine, a contributor for Huffington Post and a representative for The New York Times. He seeks to bring attention to issues concerning the LGBTQ community, as well as grow his cultural fluency through his travels.

’00 Mike Pavlichko arrived at Rutgers in September of 1996 and immediately went

to Rutgers Radio station, WRSU. “I knew what I wanted to do; I wanted to come here and be a play-by-play announcer. I wanted to be the next Bob Murphy,” Pavlichko said. As an undergrad, Pavlichko enjoyed covering basketball and baseball for campus radio. After graduation, Pavlichko landed a job covering sports for New Brunswick’s WCTC, where he still works today. Pavlichko is also the broadcasting administrator for WRSU and a part-time lecturer at Rutgers. He said the coolest part about his job is watching players like Malcolm Jenkins and Karl-Anthony Towns grow from high school stars to professional athletes.

'85 Thomas Costello celebrated 30 years with the Asbury Park Press this February.

He is a visual journalist integrating still photography, video, live-streaming, and 360-video. He often works long hours covering breaking news stories on crime, weather and judicial proceedings. The National Press Photographers Association bestowed Costello with the President’s Award for his service as a regional director and production chair-person.

'07 Dan Swern

is the co-founder and producing director of the local nonprofit organization coLAB Arts. His development of coLAB Arts is part of a larger effort to engage artists and social activists to create work that is both transformative and impactful for the community. Swern is still an active member of the Rutgers community, working as a mentor and facilitator for students in the Journalism and Media Studies Program who are working on projects for the multimedia platform NJ Spark.


’16 Kathleen Mariquit is currently the social media coordinator for Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. Her responsibilities include managing entertainment marketing announcements for over 15 social media accounts and assisting with video production. While at Rutgers, she was an executive producer, founder, and co-host for Rutgers Recess, an entertainment talk show featured on WRSU. She graduated with a double major in Journalism and Media Studies and Sociology.

03’ Rich Edson graduated with a double major in History and Journalism and Media

Studies. Edson first interned for Saturday Night Live as an undergrad from 2001 to 2002. After receiving his B.A. he attended the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He currently works as a Washington Correspondent for the Fox News Channel.

’17 Jennifer Marin is a magna cum laude graduate who majored in Journalism and

Media Studies and minored in HR. She began her career as an intern with Telemundo New York, working more than 30 hours a week as a full-time student. Marin is currently a reporter for a family-owned station, WBOC News, the CBS affiliate in Salisbury, Maryland. In addition, she anchors for Telemundo Delmarva, the first Spanish-language station in that area. “The WBOC News director came to recruit at Rutgers and Steve Miller helped me with the entire process. The rest is history,” Marin said.

’03 Kathryn Tappen has joined NBC Sports Group as a host and reporter, covering

Super Bowls, all-star games, and the Olympics. Previously, Tappen was a reporter for the New England Sports Network and was a host on the NHL Network. Tappen has won several awards during her 15 year career as a television sports broadcaster, including the Woman of Inspiration award from the Women in Sports and Events, and an Associated Press award for her feature story, “Swim Meet.” Off the air, Tappen serves as an ambassador to the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command Foundation, which supports veterans and their families.

'16 Adam Samuel contributes to a number of online publications, including his own

personal blog (Adam’s TV Blog) where he talks about television shows. Samuel currently works as a newspaper reporter for The Jewish Link in Teaneck, New Jersey, where his roles include covering local stories and interviewing businesses for press releases.



MEDIA STUDIES JMS Alumni proves that this major can open up a world of possibilities, much bigger than just journalism.

Photography: Steve Kuchenruther

By Eric Weck

Chloe talks with students about future internship prospects.


iguring out the way things work always fascinated Chloe Philips.

In 2013, her obsession brought her to engineering classes at Rutgers University. In understanding about how things were built, she hoped that she could, in turn, learn how to create them the way she wanted. However, after a semester filled with science courses that failed to spark her inter-

est, she realized that engineering was not the best way for her to do this. Still eager to follow her original plan, she registered for a set of random classes, including Introduction to Media with Professor Steven Miller. “I was so interested in the media aspect of that class—not so much the journalism part—that I declared a JMS major and a Digital Communication, Information and Media minor,” said Philips.


FEATURE Philips quickly discovered that people depend on media for information. She then set out to hone the craft of marketing, understanding that this was the key to mold people towards creating a more just society. It was also the key to locking down eight internships and an above entry-level full time job, all before graduating.

Photography: Steve Kuchenruther

“I [learned] about influencer marketing, media consumption and paid ads, and that’s when I definitely knew I wanted to do something in marketing, analytics or sales,” said Philips.

The fear of being pigeonholed into a journalism career because of her major crossed her mind, but never discouraged her. Philips knew that, with enough effort, she could employ the skills she would gain in any and all career paths that might interest her. “All of these media studies skills are applicable to more than just journalism or communication,” said Philips, “because you get into marketing and how information is represented and consumed.”

“In Chloe’s case, she took the education she got in journalism—it’s reading, it’s writing, it’s research—and adapted that to what she wanted to do,” said Miller. “She was the one who created her own path, and she’s a great example.”

“All of these media studies skills are applicable to more than just journalism or communication. Learning how to write concisely, bury the lead and keep people engaged changed my life.” 8

Chloe Phillips graduated JMS in 2017.

In her current position as a field marketing manager at WayUp—an online platform for, ironically, students searching for internships and jobs—Philips is constantly producing new content and writing to communicate with others both inside and outside the company’s network. Her position is an aggregation of responsibilities borrowing from fields such as journalism, marketing, communications, public relations, sales and even human resources. She argues that her JMS degree prepared her for all of this without fail.

“I manage around 900 brand ambassadors, or our college marketing team,” she said. “I seek, hire and seamlessly integrate our brand into influencers’ brands in order to recruit more users. I also seek out partnerships with large organizations and leverage their expansive networks to acquire more users.”

Alumknights Magazine Spring 2018

FEATURE Philips served as a WayUp brand ambassador herself, as one of her internships during her time at Rutgers. “I gathered more users for the website than anyone else in the history of the company,” she said. “Then, I was offered my manager’s position, but I turned it down at first. They tailored the position to be more acquisition focused for me—that’s when I took the job.”

helped so much. I also have to create landing web pages for those organizations, so the training in JMS classes with content management systems like WordPress really aided me in that.”

The diverse set of skills taught in JMS can open up an entire world of potential careers and graduate studies, insists Philips. The media studies part of the major is often overlooked, but she serves as a prime example that the strengths it provides are just as valuable as those of its counterpart.

"If I had done that, I would have never gotten the eight internships I had during college, and graduated with manager in my first job title."

“Don’t be afraid to apply for positions that have nothing to do with your major, or you feel that you’re not qualified for,” said Philips. “If I had done that, I would have never gotten the eight internships I had during college, or graduated with manager in my first job title.” “It’s students like Chloe that don’t want to be journalists, that are now taking our major,” said Miller. “They realize that the skills they get in our department are extremely applicable to the digital technology-driven world that we live in today.”

She remains thankful for her journalism courses, as the stress placed on developing writing skills and knowledge of digital production systems have proved invaluable.

“In my outreach with influencers and organizations, I have to cold email them,” she explained. “Learning how to write concisely, bury the lead and keep people engaged changed my life and Photography: Right, Ariana Simon; Left, Chloe Philips

“Anyone can do anything with a journalism degree—it really prepares you for anything,” said Philips. If anyone is proof of that, it’s her.b

A WayUp QR code outside Demarest Hall, posted by Chloe.

Chloe sits with her mother, waiting to graduate.





Social engagement from classroom to community. By Nishika Sen


ew Brunswick activists are getting the messages out, with the help of JMS students. Together, they’re creating awareness campaigns about all kinds of causes, including wage theft for undocumented workers, sexual assault and mental health.

As a part of one project, students documented an event called “It’s on Us”, during which former Vice President Joe Biden spoke to students regarding sexual assault on college campuses. This was one of the first times that students in his course experimented with “live-tweeting” and Facebook’s new live feature as well.

“[Each project] offers students the opportunity to learn to be journalists and media makers in the service of local communities,” Wolfson said. “It gives students hands on experience in making media that is embedded in communities in the region, while offering stories and other media about communities struggling to survive and make change in New Jersey.”

Students also worked with New Labor, an organization aimed at improving working conditions for immigrants throughout New Jersey. Through their involvement with social media practices and internal work, NJ Spark gives New Labor a bigger voice through online exposure.

Todd Wolfson, an associate professor at Rutgers and long-time social justice organizer, helps to create the connections between students and activists as a part of his courses, Media and Community, and Media, Movements and Community Engagement. Wolfson’s website NJ Spark showcases their work.


Three students from his class attended the event as part of the press, documenting Biden’s speech through video which they shared in real-time over Facebook, and through a collection of tweets that captured the feeling of the event and kept followers tuned in throughout the duration of the speech. This allowed audiences to gain a first-hand view of the event as it played out.

Alumknights Magazine Spring 2018

Photography: Rutgers School of Communication & Information


Associate Professor Todd Wolfson speaks on panel with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

"This course is about everything sports, except what goes on on the field. This project, where you're coming up with an idea to promote the games in the media, is exactly what we're talking about." A third project -- this one done in collaboration with the Free Press -- looked at the effects of poverty on individuals. Thirty-seven people were profiled to represent the 37 percent of New Jersey households living in poverty. The project won the Montclair State Excellence in Local Journalism’ award last year. Mike Rispoli, an author for the Free Press wrote in the article "The Voices of New Brunswick's Working Poor," “we heard residents talk about the desire to see Rutgers students out in the city more. We heard people from Rutgers talk about ways to build better relationships with residents who lived close to campus but often felt like the university was a world away.” This project helped strengthen that relationship between Rutgers stu-

dents and community members by showcasing the success that can be achieved when working together towards the same causes.

Wolfson hopes to expand NJ Spark beyond the journalism department, and get various student groups across the Rutgers University cam campus involved. He wants to see NJ Spark become a “robust student learning opportunity as well as a powerful outlet telling the story of New Jersey.”

He stated that the first step to this would be to give the program a “365 orientation” rather than limiting the work to the Fall and Spring semesters exclusively. Eventually, Wolfson believes that NJ Spark can begin working with communities surrounding Rutgers’ two other campuses located in Newark and Camden.b





A once in a lifetime travel experience for aspiring journalists.

Photo by Leona Juan

By Alyssa Lopez

Colorful homes in one of Venice's neigboring islands, Burano.


or the second summer in row, SC&I’s department of Journalism and Media Studies (JMS) is giving students the opportunity to enhance their reporting and writing skills by studying abroad in Bologna, Italy. This unique program is run by Assistant Professor of Professional Practice Mary D’Ambrosio and Associate Professor Regina Marchi, and accepts 12 to 15 students per session. Students can take a three-credit International Reporting course where they will learn to work as foreign correspondents by


covering stories about Italy and the European Union, a three-credit Travel Writing course where they will learn to develop interesting stories about Bologna’s rich history, food, and culture, or take both courses for a total of six credits. Students also attend a course in basic conversational Italian each morning, in order to help them communicate with the public. When asked about why the city of Bologna was chosen as the study abroad destination, Professor D’Ambrosio said, “Bologna has all of the

Alumknights Magazine Spring 2018

FEATURE right ingredients: it’s a very authentic Italian city, without too many tourists, so students get a real taste of a different culture. It’s a progressive city, at the forefront of many Italian social justice initiatives, and therefore a good fit with our department’s strong social justice focus. It’s a gorgeous university city, and region, full of young people, music and things to do. And finally, we were offered a chance to develop a terrific partnership with the University of Bologna’s Department of Interpretation and Translation.” D’Ambrosio, a dual U.S.-Italian citizen, also expressed how she thought it was important for student journalists to experience what it’s like to live in a culture that differs drastically from that of New Jersey. One of the biggest culture shocks for many students was the lack of cars in Bologna, where many citizens solely rely on biking or walking to get around.

Although Monday through Thursday is reserved for learning and reporting in the city, students are free to travel on the weekends. Junior Gianna Bruzzese participated in the Bolgna program last summer, and she visited Florence, Venice, Rome, Vienna, San Gimignano, and the Apennine Mountains in her free time. “I think it's important to travel any chance you get. This program advanced my skills as a journalist and also taught me completely new things about living and working abroad,” said Bruzzese. One of the highlights of her travels was going on a wine tour in Florence, where she visited multiple vineyards and was able to try authentic Italian wine with her classmates. While in Bologna, students are given the opportunity to exercise both their written journalism and visual storytelling skills through various assignments based on what they find most compelling. “During our time in Bologna, we were broken up into small teams in order to complete two projects: one written piece and one film,” explained Mason Plotts, who also participated in the program last summer. “My team, in particular, decided to focus on the culture and tradition of Italian cuisines as western influences

began to trickle into the ‘food capital’ of Italy.” Ultimately, they created a documentary about the historical pilgrimage to the Porticos of San Luca, one of the famous Catholic sanctuaries. Plotts also said it felt liberating to use what he had learned in class, in real life interactions with local citizens. “During the first day of the program, a few students and I traveled into the busier part of the city and sat down to eat a small local restaurant, but little did I know

"I think it's important to travel any chance you get. This program advanced my skills as a journalist and also taught me completely new things about living and working abroad”

we would eat there multiple times over the next few weeks. Right from the start, the owner of the restaurant took interest in us since we were not from the city. He did not speak English, but we were both excited to communicate with one another. Over time we were able to practice elementary Italian enough in class that we were able to finally have a conversation with him,” Plotts said. “It is fun to look back on what I learned, who I met, and all the conversations that were had over traditional Italian dishes at this restaurant.”

Professor Steven Miller, coordinator of undergraduate studies, is a strong advocate for the Bologna program and believes students should take advantage of any travel opportunities they have available to them while still in school. “One of the things that people forget about college is curiosity,” Miller explained. “We want you to be curious about the world, we want you to explore and travel because education does not just stop at the classroom. By going to foreign countries you are going to become more educated about the world and the people that live there. I’ve found that students who have studied abroad are more curious, and isn’t that what a journalist is supposed to be?”b





Professor Steve Miller’s class paired with FOX Sports University to pitch marketing campaigns for Big Ten Basketball. By Kylie Bezpa


achel Ehrenberg sat on a bench inside the School of Communication and Information. She adjusted her blazer and tapped her heels on the ground. Mumbling under her breath, she recalled her key points.

In March, Ehrenberg and her group presented in professor Steven Miller’s Critical Issues in Sports Media class. It was a midterm progress report on their project. But Miller was not the only one listening, marketing executives from FOX Sports were there too. FOX Sports recently acquired the rights to Big Ten Basketball. To attract millennials, it turned to Rutgers University. Miller’s class officially paired with FOX Sports University, a program where the network partners with a college to create real-world solutions. Miller's students were to create a marketing campaign for new channel, FOX Sports 1. Their projects could include a range of methods, including on- and off-air promotions, social media campaigns, and more. Miller hoped students would see the project and partnership as an asset to both their college years and careers afterward.

“This course is about everything sports, except what goes on on the field. This project, where you’re coming up with an idea to promote the games in the media, is exactly what we are talking about,” Miller said.


The students were essentially given free reign. The goal was to drive awareness and excitement for Big Ten Basketball and to position FS1 as the go-to network for coverage. The only specific instructions were to market to people aged 18 to 34. “It’s so exciting,” said Ehrenberg. “This is real marketing experience. We are doing actual research into Big Ten Basketball and its viewers. We are learning what attracts people to college basketball and what viewers want to get out of it. I am very interested in social media and marketing, and this project is giving me a chance to see how a company such as FOX Sports uses social media to grow their audience.”

"This course is about everything sports, except what goes on on the field. This project, where you're coming up with an idea to promote the games in the media, is exactly what we're talking about." For most, this project is much more than a grade for a class. Miller calls it a “creative and intellectual exercise.” Students gain valuable research and communication skills. They can also add their pitch to their portfolio. Best of all, the winning group – as se lected by Fox – will have some of their project incorporated into the real campaign.

Alumknights Magazine Spring 2018

Photography: Richard Hampson


Ehrenberg and her group brainstorm revisions for their final project.

According to Miller, the students took to the project “like ducks to water.” This is because the project allows students to learn for themselves, instead of simply from lectures.

Ehrenberg and her all-female team presented their marketing theme to the executives using their unique perspective to target women and increase viewership in that demographic. By conducting surveys and online research, they began to understand what female millennials want to see during college basketball games. They found that women like to learn player backstories and participate in giveaways. The group pitched multiple production and marketing techniques surrounding their findings. Confident with their research and ideas, the group glided through the presentation easily. They watched the faces of the FOX executives as they took notes, and eagerly awaited feedback following the pitch.

“I think this experience will stay with me no matter where I end up,” said Ehrenberg. “Getting to work for FOX Sports is something I never thought I would be doing. I want to try and get the most out of this class and use the techniques

I learn here in my future internships and jobs.” While a project like this has been done at the MBA level at the Rutgers Business School in Newark, Miller believes his class is the first undergraduate class to have an opportunity like this.

Ehrenberg said, “It is so interesting to be the first group and get to learn about what this class was supposed to teach us, but in an extremely immersive and interactive way.” Miller hopes that this partnership can continue every semester going forward. He said, “I can see this becoming an integral part of the course.” As long as the FOX publicity team is pleased with the class’ performance, he would love to offer this opportunity to more students. It provides students the chance to grow and gain a different perspective on the sports industry. Ehrenberg sighed through a smile. She thanked professor Miller and the FOX executives. Her group left the room, excited by the feedback they received. Relieved it went well, they looked forward to fine-tuning their presentation and presenting their final marketing campaign come May.b



MODERN JOURNALIST GRAPHIC DESIGNER Create and design graphical marketing content and media using computer software programs AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY (2017)

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 THOUSANDS

REPORTER Collect, analyze, Report, and write stories for newspaper, news magazine, radio, or television AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY (2017) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 THOUSANDS

PUBLIC RELATIONS SPECIALIST Create and maintain postive public image for an employer or company. Write media releases, plan and direct public relations programs AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY (2017)

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 THOUSANDS By Stephanie A. Cubias

PHOTOJOURNALIST Photograph, edit, and present images to tell a visual story AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY (2017) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 THOUSANDS

TECHNICAL WRITER Write how-to guides, journal articles technical and instructional manuals AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY (2017) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 THOUSANDS

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Create and manage a company’s social media presence AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY (2017) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 THOUSANDS

SPORTS JOURNALIST report on amateur and professional sporting news and events AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY (2017) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 THOUSANDS Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Photography: Wikimedia Comons



The center of Broadway in NYC where Karen Freidus found her passion.


Karen Freidus, sales director of a top Broadway theater company, shares how journalism skills helped her move beyond the field. By Autumn Oberkehr


aren Freidus had three passions during her time at Rutgers: journalism, math, and theatre. In 2004, she graduated with a combined degree in all of them to land her current dream job at one of the largest theatre companies in the world. Freidus has been the Director of Sales for Jujamcyn Theatres for almost six years and she couldn’t be happier with her current career, though her journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing. "I'd worked on Broadway for about eight years


and was ready for a new challenge and my boss at that time wasn't interested in helping me grow or have more opportunity,” said Freidus. “This role opened up and was just exactly the challenge I needed. I have just about complete freedom to run my division how I see fit, I am truly trusted which is so important to me. I also have an amazing team who works so hard and cares so much about they do. It's just a great place to come to work.”

Alumknights Magazine Spring 2018


Although Freidus graduated with a journalism degree, she never worked as a journalist. After her time at Rutgers, she realized that her passion was in theatre. However, she did gain a lot of valuable skills from that major that she’s been applying in her career ever since. She says that majoring in journalism made her a better writer and speaker, but the most valuable skill she learned in her journalism courses was how to be a better listener.

kind-hearted, talented, the whole package.” She continues to have fun and lively experiences working at Jujamcyn as their office is located in one of their historic theatres, the St. James. She recalls one such experience that happened a couple of years ago.

“Steve was super knowledgeable and made everything so much fun. And he truly cared about all the students and fostered an amazing community,” Freidus said “It was always lively and informative and we were always laughing.”

Givenik is Freidus’s primary responsibility at the company. It is the group sales department of Jujamcyn Theatres. They sell discount group tickets to all shows on Broadway (not just the ones playing in Jujamcyn’s six theatres) and give five percent of those sales to a participating charity of the customer’s choice.

Another aspect she valued about being a journalism major was being taught by memorable professors. Freidus especially treasures her experiences with long-time Journalism and Media Studies professor Steven Miller as she was both a student and a teaching assistant in his classes.

"Be a good listener, take an acting class and be nice to everyone. You never know who anyone is or who they know."

Miller remembers Freidus well and they would often chat in his office between classes. “She was a great student. More importantly, she was, and still is, wonderful to talk to. Some of my fondest memories of her are of when we just sat in my office, BS-ing,” said Miller. "Karen always had that special something and I’m not at all surprised by her success at Jujamcyn. She’s friendly,

“When ‘Something Rotten’ was playing there, Givenik was in a different office on the floor and on Wednesday matinees, a few of the actors would have to walk through the hallway of the office to get to their next cue. They'd walk through the halls at around 3:15 p.m. every Wednesday in full Shakespearean garb and chat with all of us without an accent. It was such a fun thing to look forward to and always reminded us about the shows and not to work in a vacuum.”

Even with her busy schedule, Freidus still makes time to watch the Broadway shows that she helps market. Her favorites include Arther Miller’s classic “The Crucible,” Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along,” and recent blockbuster and multi-Tony winner “Dear Evan Hansen.”

Even though she found her calling outside of journalism, Freidus had a word of advice for current and future JMS majors. “Be a good listener, take an acting class and be nice to everyone, you never know who anyone is or who they know.” Much better than Aaron Burr’s “talk less, smile more” advice to Alexander Hamilton.b



Photography: Sabrina Tibbetts


Amy Jordan joined JMS faculty in 2017.

Rutgers welcomes acclaimed research scholar Amy Jordan to the SC&I family. By Sabrina Tibbetts


or three decades, Amy Jordan has been studying families and their relationship with the media. Now, Jordan has brought her knowledge about media and childhood development to JMS students at Rutgers.

Jordan’s interest in media started at an early age. “I always loved media. I always loved television and magazines,” said Jordan.

Jordan went to high school during the 70s and it was then that Jordan decided to take


an advertising course as one of her electives. It was a transitional period, when TV was dominating all other media. It was also the era when marketers started aggressively targeting specific markets. The target-audience approach spread from TV to radio and magazines. Jordan’s fascination with media grew.

After graduating high school, Jordan chose to spend the next four years as an undergrad at Muhlenberg College, a small liberal arts college in Allentown, PA. that offered com-

Alumknights Magazine Spring 2018


munications. “I was very interested in media studies, and there were very few colleges and universities that offered it,” she said.

During her time as an undergrad, Jordan took a course that would shape the rest of her career: Media Effects. One of the assignments for the class was to analyze a television show. Jordan settled on cartoons as her focus for the assignment.

“This was back in the day where you had to get up in the morning and actually watch them as they were airing,” Jordan said, smiling. “I was watching the Smurfs, and as I watched it, I became angrier and angrier because I thought, what are children learning from this cartoon, full of male characters and one female character and of course, she is a ‘Smurfette.’” Jordan worried about what children would learn from a cartoon full of dominate male characters and one single female character named ‘Smurfette.’

Together with the Philadelphia Health Department and funding from the CDC, Jordan and her colleagues developed a campaign for parents highlighting the detrimental effects of sugary beverages and showing alternatives. The team tracked the impact the campaign had on parents and saw parents change their belief. People exposed to the campaign messages were more likely to believe that if they replaced sugary drinks with healthy ones, such as water, they would think they would be doing something good for the family.

"Here, there’s a whole community of scholars that care about children and adolescent and families and I think that it’s a valuable group to study about”

The stereotyping Jordan saw in the cartoon led her to focus the rest of her studies on the role of media in children’s lives and their development and the opportunity for media to have good impacts. “Ever since then I’ve been really interested in studying youth responses to media but also within the context of the family,” she said.

Jordan sees the project as a notable achievement, given that Philadelphia now has a soda tax. She believes her campaign, although not directly responsible for the tax, did have positive implications for policies about nutrition and food. Jordan plans to continue studying media and childhood development and its relationship with health, nutrition and policy making.

Jordan and her colleges partnered with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to find ways to address the growing obesity problem in the city. In the early 2010’s, about 40 percent of children in Philadelphia were overweight or obese, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Jordan is currently teaching Children and Media, a Masters course. Starting Fall 2018, Jordan will begin teaching an undergraduate version of the class as well as a class called Teens and Screens. “I feel lucky to be invited into students’ lives and I feel lucky to have that potential impact on student lives,” she said. “I have this chance to see the world the way they see the world and I learn as much as the students.”b

Jordan graduated from Muhlenberg College in 1983 with a bachelor in Communications and began her media career with various brief stints as a radio newscaster and a fashion magazine until her return back to school to get a master’s degree and PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

When asked why she chose Rutgers, she said, “Here, there’s a whole community of scholars that care about children and adolescents and families and I think that it’s a valuable group to study about,” she said. “I feel like of course this is where I should be, this is where everybody is!”





Award-winning writer, actor, and teacher shows the versatility of journalistic skills in other professions. by Stephanie A. Cubias


ong before the short film he wrote and starred in, “Page One,” debuted in film festivals, Tarik Davis was covering games for the Newark Bears baseball team and the New York Liberty basketball team, trying to make a career in sports journalism. He quickly realized he didn’t want to be a journalist and instead wanted to follow his long-time passion—acting. Unsure of his future plans, Davis took acting classes at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, created an improv group, auditioned, and performed in off-campus plays while completing his journalism degree.

“Boom Chicago is a comedy bootcamp. You're performing seven nights a week singing, rapping, writing sketches, doing improv and it really hones your skills,” said Davis. “We would close every show with improvised rap.

When I told my boss I couldn’t rap, he said, ‘Great, here’s the microphone, there’s the audience, go!’ You suck for a good year, until one day you don’t suck as much.”

Following his return to the states, from Davis apin 2002. Tarik Davis graduated JMS

Davis fondly remembers a talk with Steven Miller, Director of Undergraduate Studies in Journalism and Media Studies, who encouraged him to go after his dreams and continue acting.

After graduating from Rutgers, Davis moved to Amsterdam, Netherlands to work for Boom Chicago, a professional comedy theater, for three years. There he performed with celebrities, including Seth Meyers, Jordan Peele, and Amber Ruffin.


Alumknights Magazine Spring 2018

Photo credit: Elizabeth Burgi

“I told [Steve] I was interning and performing at Upright Citizens’ Brigade, an improvisational theatre and training center, he said it was great that I was acting and I should keep doing it. That really pushed me to focus on acting once I graduated,” said Davis.


Following his return to the states, Davis appeared in many theatrical productions, national commercial spots, late night television skits, and TV shows—fulfilling his acting dreams.

Davis has not steered away from journalism altogether, however. Along the way he has written several articles, including some travel writing for Tiquets, a four-part series on the popular horror site, The Stakes is High, and an article analyzing Black representation in genre filmmaking on the site, Graveyard Shift Sisters. Davis also has some published work, his essay, "Inside the TARDIS, Outside the Box," was selected for “Organic Creativity in the Classroom,” a textbook that is meant to teach creative-teaching.

Beyond writing, Davis has incorporated his journalistic teachings in to a company he co-founded last year, Engage: Improv for Life. A workshop that takes journalism, theater, and improv techniques and teaches children and adults how to be effective communicators. Based in Brooklyn, New York, the workshops were first held locally for groups of up to 25 people, but they’ve expanded to workshops held across the country, accommodating schools, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses.

Davis has also spent more than a decade writing a feature script that was turned into six-minute, award-winning, comedic horror short-film entitled “Page One.” It has been accepted into a number of film festivals, including the Cincinnati Horror Con, the Queens International Film Festival, and the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film festival. “Seeing the project you’ve worked on for 10 years become a reality, with your best friends on

“I’m black and I grew up watching horror films and I noticed people of color were always killed off early on. Why are we inclined to believe black lives don’t matter? So I created a character to deal with this issue,” says Davis. “In this post-‘Get Out’ and ‘Black Panther’ time there seems tobe a demand for black content that can both balance genre and the complexities of racial politics.” Davis hopes that featuring his film in festivals will give him the chance to turn it into a movie and ultimately get it on the big screen.b

Tarik Davis in the Last Bar at the End of the World.


Photo credit: Linus Gelber

"You suck for a good year, until one day you don't suck as much."

set -- it doesn’t get better than that,” says Davis. The film is about a black actor who has taken several roles in horror movies. In every movie his character is the first one to get killed within the first few minutes. He then finds himself on the set of a real horror movie, but having been ‘killed’ in several different ways allows him to anticipate stereotypical traps he is able to keep himself alive longer than the rest.




Rich Edson—The Rutgers Alumni who has seen it all. By Alex Harrison

Photography: FOX News

Rich Edson on camera for FOX News.


he current era of American politics is extremely unpredictable. All three branches of government are subject to volatile circumstances. But for reporters like Rich Edson, a Washington Correspondent for FOX News, the erratic nature of US politics is not only fascinating—it’s his lifeblood.


Edson, who graduated from Rutgers in 2003 as a Journalism & Media Studies and History double major, combined his passions. His early love of politics and unique ability to disseminate information in an intelligible manner has translated into an invigorating career. Since joining FOX in 2007, he’s interviewed some of the world’s most powerful leaders, traveled extensively, and broken huge stories.

Alumknights Magazine Spring 2018

FEATURE “I always had an interest in politics and current events; I also liked performing in the school play. All of these different interests seemed to come together in my career,” he said.

Photography: US Army (Creative Commons)

He remembers watching nightly news on the 1992 presidential election with his grandparents, while his mother, a nurse, worked a night job at a local hospital. This early gravitation to politics and thirst for knowledge followed him to college, where he began to study journalism and history at Rutgers University—New Brunswick. During his time at Rutgers, Edson wasn’t entirely sure what kind of journalism he wanted to pursue. He dabbled in a bit of everything—calling football and basketball games for WRSU, interning at Saturday Night Live, and honing his overall reporting skills.

“As a student he achieved; he was always asking questions and always trying to find out the right things,” said Steven Miller, the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies for the Rutgers JMS Department. “Rich is the type of person who sets a goal and goes for it.”

"Rich is the type of person who sets a goal and goes for it" As time went on, Edson found that he wanted to pursue a career that could combine his historical inquisitiveness and political savviness on the TV screen. Edson learned the fundamental aspects of his day-to-day job in front of the camera as an undergraduate journalism student. As he reflected on his time as a JMS student at Rut-

Edson at SOS Memorial Day Weekend.

gers, he recalled many instances where certain professors taught him tangible and invaluable lessons that assisted his career. Steven Miller’s TV Reporting taught him the very basic keys to putting a news story together, and the ground rules for communicating a complex idea in a short time frame. It also taught him how to be professional on camera.

As for the context that is so crucial to understanding the daily political undertakings of Washington, Edson said that he was deeply inspired by a professor who just passed away, Richard Heffner. Heffner taught Mass Communication in the American Image, a class that centered on the inherent power that journalists have in society, the respect that journalists should have for their craft, and the consequences that good or bad reporting can have on a nation as complex as America.


FEATURE “Even though the trust in journalism is currently low, when you report something— and how you report it—is such a powerful tool in our society,” said Edson. “You have to respect it. You have to treat it with the utmost care. And you have to understand that when you are telling someone something, that you are putting your reputation out there, and also potentially changing society.” These fundamental aspects of journalism—integrity, ethics, and finding the best story—were emphasized heavily throughout Edson’s Rutgers education.

and not simply smoke and mirrors. That skill can only be learned with time and experience.

"There are certain nuances that people leave out of the statements they tell you. It could be a window onto a greater truth that may be uncomfortable to them"

When Edson has had the opportunity to interview important world leaders (he interviewed recently-fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson), he always has to keep these principles in mind.

After graduating from Rutgers, Edson began to focus more specifically on Washington D.C. politics. He attended Columbia Journalism School, writing his thesis on the veteran’s vote in the 2004 presidential election. He then began to find local news gigs related to his desired field of federal politics; working as a government reporter Savannah, Georgia, and doing various local news tasks in Allentown, Pennsylvania. These jobs served as stepping stones for his next job: a Washington Correspondent at Fox Business Channel.

Being able to single-handedly change the national conversation on huge issues like foreign relations, domestic affairs, and the inner workings of the White House is a great responsibility. Edson has this responsibility. He understands how certain statements or newsworthy headlines can be misconstrued and manipulated. “There are certain nuances that people leave out of the statements that they tell you,” he said. “It could be a window onto a greater truth that may be uncomfortable to them.”

He’s covered many beats in Washington—Capitol Hill, the courts, and the White House. He follows the Secretary of State around the world. Because all of these arenas are so familiar to him, one of the challenges he finds is to explain to his viewers why something is newsworthy. As long as Washington D.C. exists, Edson will be there to cover it. “It’s almost kind of exciting not knowing what could come next,” he said. “I’ve been [at FOX] for 10 years and there’s still so much more I could be doing. I want to be there for it all.”b

Along the way, Edson learned a lot. It took time for Edson to become one of the foremost bearers of groundbreaking news to the American public. He says he had, and still has, to learn on the job—and that means being able to decipher when certain statements are newsworthy,


Alumknights Magazine Spring 2018




By: Stefani Zamora and Ryan Sahlin

Madison Quo '18

"I really enjoyed my TV Reporting class with Steve Miller last semester. We made a commercial for a news company and we used the theme of IT. One of my group memebers dressed up as a giant clown."

Pete Ancheta '18 "Taking Professor Steve Miller's classes, I always a good time in his classes, I learned so much. I He always tries to help his students out and he is very charismatic."

Margaret Haskopoulos '18 "I think my most memorable moment was photographing Rutgers students for my Photo Journalism class through JMS. It was fun to pay close attention to random people going about their daily lives."

Kyle Debelak '18 "I think my most memorable as a JMS major here at Rutgers was probably my Sports Journalism class taught by Professor Mike McCarthy. He had a really large amount of experience in the field, writting for sporting news and sports illustrasted."


Photography: Kenneth Kurtulik

AlumKnights Spring 2018  

AlumKnights magazine is created as a part of the Rutgers University course Media Publishing and Design. Approximately 20 students take the c...

AlumKnights Spring 2018  

AlumKnights magazine is created as a part of the Rutgers University course Media Publishing and Design. Approximately 20 students take the c...