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The FIU SJMC Alumni Magazine

The Social Media Issue

Pamela Silva Conde makes an “impact� at Univision Social Media 101 Gio Benitez heads to New York SJMC goes digital

Volume 1, Winter Spring2013 2013 Volume 1,

The FIU SJMC Alumni Magazine




Spotlight on the Kopenhaver Center


Gio Benitez on social media’s relevance








CONTACT BAYVIEW AT Florida International University Biscayne Bay Campus 3000 NE 151 Street, AC-2 335 North Miami, FL 33181 PHONE EMAIL

Let’s get digital

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Professors unite on documentary

How alumni are using social media

A day in the life of a PR guru

Behind the scenes with Josh & Wayde Social media 101

Meet the professor: Dr. David Park Link up with Liberty City New Dean. New era.


FACEBOOK TWITTER BayView is published by Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and distributed free of charge to alumni, faculty and friends of the University. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. If you are an FIU student and would like to take part in the next edition of BayView, please e-mail Heather Radi-Bermudez at

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On the cover: Pamela Silva Conde Class Notes

Faculty Notes


Letter from the Dean Dear SJMC Alumni, Students and Friends:

Happy New Year! As we begin 2013, it is my pleasure to share with you the inaugural issue of BayView, the new official alumni magazine of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at FIU. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I left beautiful and sunny Southern California and moved to equally beautiful and sunny Miami! I want to share with you some of our many recent accomplishments here at the SJMC, as well as some of the wonderful things we have in store for this coming year. Just this past fall, we started our new major in Digital Media, which solidifies our commitment to preparing students to be “Worlds Ahead,” when it comes to playing a major part in this new, multiplatform, digital media revolution. Actually, you’ll find in these pages several stories on how our students and alumni are having a major presence in this new media environment. By the way, all the stories that you’ll read here were done by our incredible SJMC students, under the professional supervision and care of professors Chris Delboni (writing, reporting and editing) and Elizabeth Marsh (layout and design). You’ll also find stories about some of our great faculty and how their professional and academic backgrounds, as well as their deep connection to what’s going on in the media industry, are shaping a new generation of mass communicators. In fact, it is this connection and drive that have allowed us to establish wonderful partnerships with organizations such as The Miami Herald, WLRN, Telemundo, Zubi Advertising, Turkel and the Discovery Channel, among many others. In these past months, we also have been able to secure generous gifts from donors, including the Scripps Foundation, the Knight Foundation, Telemundo/NBC Universal and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. These investments help us to support and expand some of our student-centered projects, such as the South Florida News Service. I am particularly thankful to our Dean Emerita for her generous $1,050,000 gift to establish the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication. This ground-breaking, unparalleled initiative will have an impact on a new generation of female mass communicators, and its positive effects will go much beyond our South Florida region. As we look forward, please let me assure you that we can’t fulfill our important mission without your support and participation. At the top of my agenda for 2013 is reconnecting with you, our SJMC alumni. We want you to be an even greater part of our SJMC family. After you browse these pages, please take a second to update your contact information and let us know what you have been up to! Enjoy BayView! Regards,

Dean Reis

BayView / 3


Allan Richards digitizes SJMC

Not a Rolling Stone: Associate Dean Allan Richards stands next to a photo of his 21-year-old self.

BY LEONCIO ALVAREZ Allan Richards had to choose between elephants and FIU. Thankfully, for SJMC students, he chose the latter. He is now an associate dean, but a while back during his reporting days, Richards’ phone rang with an opportunity to teach at FIU. Seconds after that first phone call, it rang again. This time with an offer that was difficult to turn down. “I had done a story on an elephant conservation program in Southern Africa,” Richards said. “The Zimbabwean government had contacted me to come back for a follow-up story.” Despite the appeal of chasing elephants on an African safari, Richards headed to the classroom. “I went in there and started talking, and I was terrible. After about five minutes, I thought,

‘This is really hard. “So I started doing what I do best: telling a story.” Richards thought no one would show up for his second class. “I walked in, and they were all there,” he said. “One student goes ‘Are you going to tell another story?’” Since then, Richards has had a vital role in taking FIU’s SJMC into the future. He saw a need to go digital before it was the new media trend. In 2003, Richards and his class created an online news magazine, FusedOnline. The publication was produced entirely by SJMC students. Its content was shared internationally via the World Wide Web. It was the first of its kind for FIU, cementing a spot for the university in the rapidly devel-

website that, to this day, could very well give some news sites a run for their money due to its professional layout. It is no longer available online, but Richards proudly kept a copy on a CD. It all came full circle for Richards with the addition of the Digital Media Studies major to the SJMC curriculum, which started in fall 2012. It began with a simple appeal to faculty. “I put out an e-mail that read: ‘We’re going to hold a digital rap session. Please let me know if you’re going to come,’” he said. Nobody RSVP’d. “So I thought I would be sitting there by myself. But surprisingly about eight people came,” Richards said. “By the second session, we figured out what we should do and how we should do it.” The new undergraduate major will aid students entering the digital communications field to better understand media theory and analysis of public opinion. Students will also be equipped with the software knowledge necessary to be full-fledged multimedia journalists. Wherever the future of the media takes us, both Richards and FIU will be there for the scoop. “Print, video and TV all have their different approaches and they each develop their own different way of telling a story,” Richards said. “That’s still what we’re trying to do now with digital: tell a story.”

“Print, video and TV each develop their

own different way of telling a story.”

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oping digital world. “During the time when the Internet was working its way into the media, there was a lot of resistance from the media,” Richards said. “People didn’t know if this really was a trend or a one-time thing.” With FusedOnline, Richards and his class created a polished

Dean Emerita not done yet BY JESSICA DE LEON & SILVIA RODRIGUEZ Starting in 2013, when The Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication opens its doors, women in the professional and academic fields of communication will have access to a new resource specifically created to help them succeed. The Center, a project envisioned and headed by Dr. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, SJMC Dean Emerita, will provide resources for training students and young professionals and scholars in communication to attain leadership roles. “I wanted to help the next generation of [women] communicators, so that it’s easier for them to attain positions of leadership, and to have their dreams come true,” Kopenhaver said. According to one CNN report, women are still outnumbered in newsrooms with 60 percent of

newspaper employees being male and 80 percent of newspaper op-eds written by men. Kopenhaver, who has been with the SJMC since its creation as a department in 1981, has had various firsts as a professional.

She became the first woman president of the Greater Miami Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in 1973 and the first woman president of the College Media Advisors, now College Media Association, in 1979. “I actually grew up with the

University,” said Kopenhaver. “It’s been a wonderful adventure.” Dr. Kopenhaver thinks of SJMC students as her “kids” and hopes that the creation of the Center will be her legacy to them. “To me, this is my family,” Kopenhaver said. Part of attaining these career milestones was breaking through gender stereotypes. With the Center, she hopes to make it easier for other women to succeed. Although still in planning stages, the Center’s vision is emerging via programs such as leadership training, curriculum initiatives, lectures series, seminars, mentoring programs and an annual dinner honoring women who have strong presences in the field. “Right now, we are at about 73 percent female in the [SJMC] in our students,” said Kopenhaver. “When you have that many female students, it’s something we need to think about.”

Monroe and Palm Beach. “Our goal is to look at each county and inform people about what needs to be done,” MacMillin said. “Citizens should know how they can take part.” According to MacMillin, the issue is not whether or not sea level is rising. “It is,” she said. “And this documentary will be about how to deal with it. How much is it costing?

Who are the people affected?” Students will have the opportunity to take part in the making of the documentary by assisting in production and writing. Student Barbara Corbellini Duarte will be an assistant producer. “I will be doing some interviews and helping in anything that needs to be done,” Duarte said.

Continuing her mark: The new resource center was the idea of Dr. Kopenhaver.

Doc will focus on sea level rise BY LEONCIO ALVAREZ Professors Juliet Pinto and Kate MacMillin have joined forces. The duo has paired up to create a documentary that deals with sea level rise and South Florida. Set to premier in September 2013, the one-hour long documentary will air on WPBT-2 and will focus on the issues facing four counties: Miami-Dade, Broward,

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SOCIAL WORLD of Gio Benitez

Reporter, anchor leads the way in new generation of broadcast journalism


From the moment Gio Benitez wakes up, he is connected. Whether it is checking for breaking news on Twitter or posting photos to Instagram, the CBS reporter and FIU alumnus knows how to use social media to his advantage. He looks at the several outlets almost like newspapers. Taking the stories that have developed online, he identifies which ones would work for television. “Once the story has aired, we use social media again to gauge feedback on what people think,” Benitez said. Benitez has been in touch with his technological side for quite some time. He is the very first reporter to ever use an Apple iPhone to entirely shoot a story after the 3GS was released in 2009. “That’s actually how I got started as a reporter,” he said. “I was in line waiting for the new phone to come out at 5 a.m. when my boss called and asked me to shoot video once I got it.” Little did Benitez know, he would soon be making history. “While in line, I interviewed people, and by 6 a.m, we had the video,” he said. “We had no idea what we had just done.” It was via social media that the story initially generated excitement. “Through Twitter, people really started talking about us and saying this was the first story ever done with an iPhone, or with any mobile phone, on real TV.” International recognition soon followed.

“They started talking about us in China and South America, and that’s when my career started to launch,” he said. He has covered some of the most recent, biggest stories like the Trayvon Ready for more: Gio Benitez will join ABC Martin case and the News as a correspondent next year. “Causeway Cannibal.” For each one, Benitez has used Ryan had mentioned the closing social media to report on all of a Wisconsin General Motors aspects of the story as they were plant during Barack Obama’s received. presidency. Many on Twitter But with national stories, he were quick to point out the plant said it can be difficult to use had actually closed before he social media because there are so had taken office. many different heated opinions. “There’s this sort of immediate “What I do is stick to the facts fact checking now that we’ve the entire time,” Benitez said. never seen before,” Benitez said. “Some reporters receive hate “In 140 characters or less, everymessages on Facebook. I try my thing needs to be right.” best to remain fair.” But having Another platform Benitez uses so many opinions can sometimes is Tout. (See page 13.) be useful. “It’s kind of like video Benitez says getting feedback tweeting,” he said. “It’s more from people can be beneficial time consuming, though, because because there are often more more has to be done [to make a than two sides to every story. video].” Sometimes, there are six, Benitez, 26, graduated in 2008 seven or even more, he said. from the School of International Through social media, everyone and Public Affairs, but it was the can have a voice. broadcasting courses he took at Benitez said he likes all social SJMC that gave him the skills he media tools, but his favorite for needed to excel as a reporter. work is Twitter. He has won two regional “Twitter allows me to share Emmy Awards for his work at links to stories with the people WFOR, the local CBS-owned who actually want to read them,” station, and has been nominated he said. seven times. In some cases, Twitter can In 2013, Benitez will join ABC break a story. During this year’s News as a correspondent for the Republican National Convention, New York bureau. vice-presidential nominee Paul BayView / 7

In their own words: Liz Balmaseda‘82

Keeping foodies up to date I’m the Food & Dining editor and dining critic at The Palm Beach Post. In many ways, it’s my dream job: getting to know chefs, spending time in the test kitchen, visiting great local restaurants and festivals. It’s an exciting time to be on this beat. Not only is this the age of food as fashion and chefs as celebrities, it’s a time when there’s a renewed awareness about where our food comes from and

Chris Necuze‘11

a greater appreciation for the farms and fields that inspire our kitchens. The food world buzzes on social media, so I do spend some time on Twitter and Facebook. I love Twitter because you can customize your feed to your true interests. My feed is a stream of chef postings, foodie rants, Miami Heat riffs and puppy pictures. I love reading what chef Michael Symon’s cooking that day, what Lebron James is up to and what great dog was adopted from Big Dog Ranch.

It’s tailor-made news. On Facebook, I post my reviews and stories, along with photos of what’s cooking in my kitchen. I recently started using Instagram, on which I post pictures of my hopelessly adorable pups, Lola and Jack. And I also opened a Pinterest account, but just started exploring it. This keeping in the flow of current events is something I learned at SJMC many years ago, long before Twitter was a glimmer on the horizon.

Why it’s crucial to stay connected Like most people born before 1995, I can still remember a time when there was no Internet. I can still remember learning the Dewey Decimal System and visiting the public library for research assignments. It was not long before search bars supplanted card catalogs, and the information age began to take shape. From early chat rooms to instant messaging, social networking has been a part of my life since my family first invested in a computer modem. Earlier generations spoke late into the night on the phone. We now instant message well into the night. But even before Facebook and 8 / BayView

Twitter became the institutions they are today, we were busy updating our Friendster and MySpace profiles. And it was this early immersion in social networking that prepared me for a career in communications. I was slowly indoctrinated into a culture of instant gratification and immediacy, not unlike the media environment today. Today, social networking has become arguably the most powerful instrument in a communicator’s toolbox. Knowing how to use these tools to one’s advantage can be the difference between success and failure in today’s market. The challenge has now become

strategizing for maximum effectiveness, and staying ahead of the curb. New services are constantly being introduced, and they must be monitored and worked into an overall strategy. Individual platforms like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter will inevitably come and go. But the Internet itself isn’t going anywhere, and as long as it’s around, people will use it to communicate with one another. Chris Necuze is currently a multimedia specialist for FIU’s External Relations and works as a freelance videographer.

Alumni stress mastering social media Zaimarie de Guzman‘10 Reporter talks virtual religion Mormonism and Mitt Romney. Religion in prisons. Catholics against birth control. Those are a few of the topics I’ve been covering as the religion reporter for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. I’ve also had other great reporting opportunities, like covering a state execution and a presidential campaign, for which social media played a big role in the up-to-the-minute reporting. During the execution and campaign, the other reporters and I fed updates – through our phones – to our paper and social media websites. That made the reporting

much stronger. I’ve also used Facebook to get in contact with sources, like when I wrote a localized story about a victim of the Aurora movie theater shooting. The family of the victim was not speaking to media, but I found a friend of hers on Facebook, and via messaging, was able to get an interview. As for my religion coverage, I often think of my multiethnic reporting class with professor Neil Reisner. His class helped most of us step out of our “reporting comfort zones,” which comes useful to me

Christin Erazo‘09

on Sundays, when I have to visit diverse cultural and religious centers in our area as part of my beat. Pages You May Like

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Breaking news the social media way After graduation, I first went to work at Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers under a yearlong fellowship in October 2010. As a general assignment reporter, I covered a series of beats from health/biotech, Martin County schools and the City of Port St. Lucie. In less than a year, I was hired as a staff reporter to cover the Port St. Lucie government beat. Before moving to the Treasure Coast, I had interned and freelanced for The Miami Herald. I greatly use social media, especially for breaking news. My beat involves covering a lot of breaking news whether it be political scandals at City Hall, the hiring of a

new police chief or layoffs at a major corporation within the city limits. Much of this news breaks first on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, so remaining plugged into these news feeds allows me to stay on top of my beat whether I’m in the office or out in the field. Following city agencies, city officials and residents on these social media sites also helps me to quickly gather sources for news stories. Once the story is reported and complete, I also plug the article on my own Facebook and Twitter page to spread the news, generate discussion and help drive traffic

to our news website. Integrating web components into my everyday print reporting was a vital tool I learned as an SJMC student and as a reporter for the South Florida News Service. Social media provides a forum for which I can gather a mass of information in one place and then disseminate it to a network of followers. It’s certainly a tool every journalist should keep in his or her toolbox. I got my internship at Scripps through SJMC and I value the SJMC professors who advised me about what to expect in the real world. I credit SJMC for opening the doors for me. BayView / 9

The Importance of Being Social BY SILVIA RODRIGUEZ When Melissa Arabitg graduated in 2011 with a degree in public relations, her social media skills amounted to a Facebook account she used to keep in contact with friends and family. Fast-forward a year and now as a professional working in the field, Arabitg uses social media more than she ever imagined. “I knew it was used in PR, but I didn’t realize how important it was,” she said. The world of social media has become so intertwined with the fields of communication that it is hard to imagine a time when journalists, advertisers and public relations practitioners did not use it as a corporate tool.

Today, Arabitg logs approximately six hours of active social networking, writing an average of 10 posts, viewing more than 20 images and using the words “social media” more than 50 times every day. ”The basics of PR haven’t changed, but the routine has,” says Arabitg, who is a content editor for two companies: Wonka, a sweets brand for Latin America, and BabySpa, a child bath and body care line. “It’s definitely not what I thought it would be,” she said. “It’s not writing press releases or crisis management all the time.” The FIU alumna now arrives at work in Coral Gables at around 9:30 a.m. to an inbox with more than 20 e-mails. While she goes

Media maniac: Melissa Arabitg’s career in public relations means averaging about six hours of social networking a day.


Photo Caption: hgjghjf sdhgg fh afkh gn fjhjsgk sb sdgj fjfhg photo by Jane Smith

Day in the life of Melissa Arabitg over them, her browser loads the social networking sites that have become vital to her work routine -- Facebook, Buddy Media (an online marketing program that lets businesses monitor various social media sites), and Pinterest, a site based on sharing images that helps in the social building aspect of a brand. Once the e-mails have been read, she logs into the sites she created for her clients on Facebook but doesn’t stay on those pages for long. “I usually use Facebook to see what’s going on every day,” said Arabitg, 25. “I see what people are saying about the brand, and if there are any questions, I make sure to answer them.” For Arabitg, Facebook provides an immediate, one-on-one dialogue with the consumer. “What I like about it is that you don’t have to wait for research or reports anymore. You get the consumer’s reaction right away.” In order to stay relevant, Arabitg spends a couple of hours a week doing research. She said when it comes to social media, whatever approaches are popular today are already outdated. “I like to stay up to date on what is trending online, what is getting the most engagement,” she said. “Things like that help me plan how I interact with consumers, so I get the best results.” After her daily research

routine, she usually sits with her peers to exchange ideas and come up with the best branding posts for the month. “If there is a promotion at the time, we discuss initiatives on how to get the most engagement and interaction.” C u r r e n t ly, Pinterest is her personal favorite social media platform. She said it might take longer to update, but the pictures-based site offers a way for companies to showcase the brand’s lifestyle. Arabitg uses Pinterest to interact with fans of BabySpa by

posting up original pictures that relate to the brand’s identity and by sharing, liking and “repining” other users’ pictures. “What I really like about


Education Trust certificate from Johnson and Wales University, he is considered a wine aficionado. Outside of school, Wayde can often be found on weekends scuba diving or playing golf when the South Florida weather permits. Wayde, from Long Island, came to South Florida in 1981. He and his wife Joanne have a son named Benjamin, 24, who is currently studying religious studies at a yeshiva, a Jewish religious school, in New Jersey and is considering becoming a rabbi. Prior to his days at FIU, Wayde owned his own business repairing video equipment. Josh, Miami born and raised, married his college sweetheart.

allows you and the consumer to build a brand together.” Arabitg, who graduated from SJMC last spring, said she has become submerged in the world of social media, but her effectiveness comes from never losing track of the core values of the field she learned in school. “At FIU, they really teach you the principles. Your word and your ethics, as a PR person, are very valuable,” she said. “Your image, as someone in the field of communications, is still based on credibility. You always have to monitor what you say, so that it reflects the best of you.”

“At FIU they really teach you the principles. Your word and your ethics, as a PR person, are very valuable.” Pinterest is that it is entirely based on images. For a brand, it is a great tool because it visually shows what you can’t always put into words,” she said. “Pinterest

These guys are more than just techies Need help with Final Cut? Josh and Wayde. Having issues with a computer in one of the SJMC labs? Josh and Wayde. Need to check out a laptop? Josh and Wayde. Wayde Klipper and Joshua Shear are SJMC’s broadcast engineers and IT techs. They are the go-to guys when it comes to any technical problems for SJMC students. “I like working with the students,” said Wayde. “I also like that as technology changes, we get to keep up with it and keep the school up.” Wayde’s expertise goes beyond the computer labs and television studio. With a Wine and Spirit

He and wife Sandra have two boys: Colin, 7, and Nicholas, 6. These days, his time outside of school is often spent in classes at Miami Dade College or studying. Josh is currently working on his bachelor’s degree in television production. “I would love to teach here one day,” said Josh. Josh and Wayde: Just another day in the studio


Tagging is a popular type of labeling used in the social media sphere. Unlike a hashtag, it is used for people. When people are tagged, they get a notification and they can approve what others have labeled them in. You can “tag” someone in a picture, a comment, or even at a place by adding the @ symbol followed by the person’s username without any spaces.

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Board it up!

The term “follow” is used to indicate the act of keeping up with someone’s account. As a user, one can follow any other account he or she finds interesting or simply likes. Once you follow an account, you get access to that person’s updates —whether they are pictures or text.

Follow the Leader.

What’s Tout?

While most sites focus on quick interactions through text or pictures, Tout allows users to send out short blurbs through video. In the spirit of Twitter’s 140-character limit, this site has a 15-second limit on the video updates. Users can use their personal profile to upload their own 15-second videos, search for other related videos through the use of hash tags and follow other users to get updates on their videos.

Although still in its beginning stages, Tout already boasts users such as the show Live! With Kelly and Michael, ESPN First Take, The Style Network and even basketball star Shaquille O’Neil, who famously announced his retirement from sports through this site.


Like: “Liking” is very simple. You see a page you find interesting, you “like” it and from that point on, you can see the updates that page makes directly on your newsfeed. Liking a page also adds it to your “Interests” section, so that others may see what your likes and interests are.

I like you.

The purpose of Pinterest is to share images of things you like. Pictures of gourmet dishes, the latest fashion and interesting DIYs are what dominate this site. Currently, Pinterest is the third most popular social networking site, behind Facebook and Twitter.

You can like company pages, public figures, activities, books, music—basically anything that has a Facebook page. You can also like pictures and posts made by friends or by those within your networks.

Subscribe: This option is Facebook’s version of following. It allows anyone to see updates without the need to become “friends.” Through this method, you can only see what the individual updates as a “Public Post.” Companies and businesses, however, still prefer the Like button. Social media is becoming the new platform for archiving our lives, and Storify is taking it a step further. The premise of this site is to create stories incorporating social media elements. Users can bring in tweets, Facebook posts, images, videos and other content and organize them on a timeline that tells a story.

Tell your story.

The slight journalistic aspect to this site comes as no surprise, since one of its cofounders is Burt Herman, a journalist who worked as a correspondent for The Associated Press. Storify is the perfect tool for 21st century storytellers because it allows users to create something entirely new from social media content. BayView / 13


BY ALTAGRACE GUSTAVE Dr. David J. Park, assistant professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at the SJMC, has come a long way from his hometown of Whitewater, Wis. As FIU’s new program director for the SJMC’s Global Strategic Communications master’s program, Park’s appreciation and interest in working with an international community has just gotten that much more hands-on. “I’m having a blast,” Park said. Park has been able to study, work and teach in different countries, such as Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina, so it’s not surprising that an international community like FIU would attract him. “Being in classes where 14 / BayView

FROM MIXING RECORDS TO MIXING COURSEWORK David Park’s global approach students are from around the world, every continent, many different languages, different cultures, different experiences with the world, with globalization, with the media, and to have that quality of a student group and discuss things as they happen is very exciting,” he said. Park is fluent in French, Spanish and Wolof, the primary language of Senegal. As the graduate program director for the new master’s program in global communication, Park has witnessed key differences between teaching in a graduate program and helping to coordinate one. “As the director, I’ve taken on a different position,” Park said. “I’m in charge of the curriculum, working with students to get them graduated, meeting

potential applicants and organizing the process from start to finish when people apply.” Working in academia runs in the family. Park is the son of retired professors. But his interests extend to other things outside of the classroom that he has been able to incorporate into his research. From a very young age, Park loved music. He was the first kid in his school to bring a boombox during recess, and the first to rock parachute pants, never missing a beat, always mixing them. Having deejayed in New Orleans and Argentina, Park was able to combine his passions for music and academia through a book. In 2007, his book, “Conglomerate Rock: The Music Industry’s

Quest to Divide Music and Conquer Wallets,” published by Lexington Books, pertained to corporate greed in the music industry. Two years earlier, fascinated with the culture of New Orleans, Park moved to that city where he became a faculty member for Xavier University of Louisiana. Then Hurricane Katrina happened. “The place where I was, the ceiling had collapsed and almost everything I owned was ruined,” he said. For nearly five months, Park was homeless and went from place to place, sleeping either on friends’ couches or in their basements in Madison, Wis., after

having to evacuate from New Orleans. “I was very fortunate, and I thank the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism

and Mass Communication for taking me in, and helping me with a little bit of support to finish my book,” Park said. Returning to New Orleans in 2006, Park and several of his students worked hard to build homes and raise money for the

victims of the 2005 disaster, raising more than $1 million. “We were, in many ways, first responders,” he said. “We had over 5,000 volunteers.” But then in 2009, an ad from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication brought him to FIU. “I saw the ad, and I knew about the institution,” he said. “It has an international reputation, the student body is international, there were many international programs that I find very appealing, and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet and learn from people from around the world.”

BY JESSICA DE LEON For nearly three years, Liberty City Link has been providing SJMC students an opportunity to get real reporting experience in the Miami inner city. Project creator Associate Professor Neil Reisner says the area is often underserved and misunderstood. Liberty City Link, which began as an experiment, soon became successful in the Spring 2010 semester when students began to cover the good, the bad and everything in between in this part of town. Many had never visited Liberty City before, and local

mainstream media generally only covers the area when shots are fired or corrupt politicians get exposed. “Liberty City is not the violent, crime-ridden neighborhood it is portrayed to be,” Reisner said. “It’s a vibrant community of people who are trying to achieve better.” The idea was born from Reisner’s days at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. “It comes from reporting in the South Bronx at a time when the South Bronx was universally regarded as a hell hole. That’s

where I learned street reporting,” Reisner said. “When you look for a similar city in Miami, you end up in Liberty City.” Today, that street reporting experience is what Reisner and Liberty City Link are providing students at SJMC. “I also wanted to put students in a place they have never been before because that is what journalists do,” Reisner said. Liberty City Link appears in the weekly South Florida Times, as it has since its premiere, on page 3B in the local section. “It’s doing good by doing well,” Reisner said.

“To have that quality of a student group and discuss things as they happen is very exciting.”

Students get street reporting experience

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MEET THE DEAN: DR. RAUL REIS IS TAKING SJMC INTO NEW ERA Students at the Biscayne Bay campus may periodically spot the new Journalism and Mass Communication dean swimming in the pool. Dean Raul Reis is a member of the FIU master’s team. “I’m no Michael Phelps,” Reis joked. But while he might not be an Olympic gold medal swimmer, he has been an avid swimmer since childhood. During the later years of his schooling, he didn’t find time for swimming, but 20 years later in California, he said he

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found his love of the sport again. “I love the experience of being so close to the water and the environment,” said Reis, who found two new hobbies in Miami. Now, he may be seen kayaking at Oleta River State Park, spotting the occasional manatee, or paddleboarding. “I always loved Miami,” Reis said. “I always loved the city and its proximity to Latin America.” Born in Brazil, Reis did a great deal of canoeing down the country’s rivers, encountering such diverse species as caimans, something that informed his career trajectory as a journalist

Going Global: Dean Reis traveled to Iceland on vacation.

and educator. A love for the environment and science also manifested in his professional work. Originally a physics major at the Federal University of Pará, he soon discovered an avenue to combine his passion for science with his love of writing. Reis landed his first job in journalism at O Liberal, the largest daily newspaper in the state of Pará. When it came time for graduate school in 1992, a Rotary International Scholarship and research on the top journalism programs in the United States set the path for him to arrive for a master’s at Kansas State University. It was there that he realized his academic aspiration. “I really liked university life,” he said. Soon after, in 1994, he chose the University of Oregon to pursue a PHOTO BY JESSICA LAMAZARES


doctorate degree, choosing education as a career. Then, in 1999, he was approached by one of his former communication professors at the University of Oregon, who presented him with an opportunity to rub elbows with Mickey Mouse. Reis was asked if he’d be interested in writing a chapter in a book that would study the effects Disney has had on cultures around the world. He jumped at the chance and created a survey in Portuguese. He interviewed many Brazilian university students to get their personal experiences with Mickey. “Brazilians are fascinated with Disney,” Reis said. “They have this love-hate re l a t i o n s h i p with Disney.” His chapter on the Brazilian Disney experience appeared in the book, “Dazzled by Disney: The Global Disney Audiences Project,” published in 2001 by Leicester University Press. It shows the effects Disney has on other cultures through its films, amusement parks and products. “As media, what we do has an impact on people’s lives,” said Reis, whose international roots have been an integral part of his career in other ways, as well. In 2002, during his time as a professor at California State

Making an impact: Dean Reis brings his passion for technology and innovation to FIU’s SJMC.

University, Long Beach, he created a Global News Media course, where students got a chance to study abroad in Reis’ homeland of Brazil. While there, his students benefited from his connec-

will teach how to report on environnmental issues while being immersed in it. But this is just another of his ideas as part of his new vision for SJMC. “Another passion of mine is technology and i n n o v a t i o n ,” Reis said. That is what he found when he arrived at FIU’s SJMC, and talks of the need for a digital media track were already under way. “I want the school to be ahead of the curve,” said Reis, who believes social media has become the new way of communication. He hopes FIU can be the birth place for the creators of new apps and associated content that will provide learning opportunities for students, as well as jobs for alumni. “There will always be jobs for content producers, no matter the platform or media,” Reis said. “We must make sure our SJMC students are well prepared for this new media world.”

“As educators, we have a great responsibility to give the opportunity and to be global.” tions with local researchers and learned how to report on social and enviornmental issues. As a professor, his gratification would come from students who said to him, “This trip changed my life.” “As educators, we have a great responsibility to give the opportunity and to be more global,” said Reis, who hopes that in the near future students at SJMC will also have the same experience through a new study abroad program that will visit the heart of the Amazon. The program

BayView / 17


Lights, camera, action: Pamela Silva Conde is ready for a new day on the set of “Primer Impacto.”

Alumna’s steps to on-screen success BY LEONCIO ALVAREZ Before graduating from FIU in 2003 with a degree in broadcast journalism, Pamela Silva Conde had a dream and a goal. She wanted to make strides in Hispanic media, and she knew Univision was the place to start. “I looked online every day for any job opportunities here,” Conde said during a break on the set of “Primer Impacto,” one of the nation’s most watched Spanish news magazine shows. It is also the show she has been co-anchoring since 2011. But success didn’t happen overnight for Conde. “I started out writing public service announcements for the public affairs department,” she said. “I also did some administrative work, pretty much a little bit of everything. It was a great learning experience, and from there, I started moving up and 18 / BayView

working with other departments.” A true journalist at heart, Conde wanted to be reporting and writing news stories. She began collaborating with the news department and started producing “Miami Ahora,” a community affairs show, and guest reported on several others, including “Despierta América.” “Then I officially joined the news team as an entertainment reporter, which led to me becoming an anchor for the local news affiliate,” she said. When news anchor Ilia Calderón left “Primer Impacto” in 2011 to join “Noticiero Univision Edición Nocturna,” Conde’s proven on-air professionalism made her the ideal candidate for the job. “The best part of working at ‘Primer Impacto’ is definitely connecting with an audience on a national level, on a daily basis,” she said. “It’s a privilege and also a huge responsibility doing a live show.”

Conde says FIU was her choice to obtain her degree in journalism. “I started out at Florida State University, but I knew that Miami was such an important place for Hispanic media, so I transferred to FIU,” Conde said. “I was doing print journalism, but I saw how fast media was evolving. Also, professor [Don] Sneed, suggested I go into broadcasting.” Conde decided to switch from print to broadcast, but she strongly believes there should be less emphasis on separating the two. “More people should just focus on being better journalists, whether it’s for television, print or digital,” she said. “Overall, we should all be investigative and seek the truth.” Being a better journalist also means being able to adapt to change, Conde said. “In the last 10 years, social media and digital journalism have really brought a whole new dynamic,” she said. In 2009, Conde won her fifth Emmy Award for a featured news report she did on Facebook titled “Perseguidos Por El Pasado,” or “Haunted By Your Past,” about the setbacks of sharing personal information online. “I’ve been tracking social media for a while,” she said. Today, with more than 52,000 followers on Twitter, Conde is part of the social media phenomenon and has plenty to say about it. “Social media are essential tools for journalists, but you really have to choose which ones you can rely on wisely,” she said. “There are plenty of advantages because

of the relationship you build with the audience, but there are some risks if you don’t know how to manage them properly.” Conde believes those risks include writing news that has yet to be completely confirmed.

she said. “Maybe I’ll go back and get another degree.” But for now, Conde spends a big part of her day at the Univision Studios in Doral and enjoys some downtime here and there. “I like to be outdoors and take

“Because of the urgency we have to put out news, and the pressure, everything is getting out there so quickly,” she said. “We have to make sure we’re not just the first ones getting the news out there, but that it’s also as accurate as it can be.” Conde said her education helped her become a better journalist. Though, like most students, she didn’t realize its impact at the time. “Some classes might not make sense to you while you’re taking them, but going forward and then looking back, they will all collaborate to your career in one way or another,” she said. There is one class in particular Conde says is extremely beneficial for anyone entering mass communications. “Law and Ethics really made a difference, and you can actually tell when someone has or hasn’t taken that course,” said Conde, who went back to FIU in 2010 to pursue an MBA. “I went back to network with people from the College of Business, with people who had a different background than mine,”

advantage of the fact that we live in Miami,” she said. “Miami is one of those cities where you can really enjoy being outside.” Conde can’t stay away from the news for too long, though. She just has to keep up with the latest headlines. “I am obsessed with The Economist,” she said. “I know it sounds nerdy, but I love reading.” That love for reading and words seems to have paid off.

“The best part of working at Primer Impacto is connecting with an audience on a national level.”

On top of it: Conde has been covering social media since 2006.

CLASS NOTES Lisa Mattson, C/O 1997 Mattson is the communications director for Jordan Winery in Sonoma, California where she leads the company’s digital media strategy. Her weekly video blog,, is a finalist for the 2012 Wine Blog Awards.

Lourdes Balepogi, C/O 2000 For more than 15 years, Balepogi – or as she’s affectionately known, Luly – has consulted, coached and connected her way to the top of her profession. She is the president of Chispa Marketing, her Miamibased boutique marketing firm with a “Who’s Who” list of clients that includes Miami Dade College, South Beach Wine & Food Festival and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, among others. Eyder Peralta C/O 2003 Peralta is currently a reporter and blogger for National Public Radio, focusing on breaking news, covering everything from the Democratic National Convention to the Occupy Wall Street movement, to disasters like the Japanese tsunami and the events of the Arab Spring. Peralta previously worked for The (Jacksonville) Florida TimesUnion as a pop music critic and as a features writer for the Houston Chronicle. He currently lives in Washington, D.C. Yeleny Suarez, C/O 2004 Suarez was recently appointed account supervisor at Everett Clay Associates where she designs, plans and executes 20 / BayView

communications strategies and collateral for clients, including crisis communications, press releases and pitches in English and Spanish. Suarez previously worked for The Miami Herald, Miami Today and most recently South Florida CEO magazine. Alfonso Duro, C/O 2006 With more than 10 years experience as a sports journalist, Duro has worked at Univision, GolTV and ESPN Deportes Magazine, among others. In his time since graduating from the SJMC, Duro has covered the soccer World Cup, NBA Finals, several Superbowls and has interviewed Kobe Bryant and Cristiano Ronaldo, among other superstars.

Ailina Marrero, C/O 2010 Marrero currently works for the Ignite-Faculty and Staff Campaign at FIU. She is pursuing a graduate degree in higher education administration.

Isadora Rangel C/O 2010 Rangel is currently working for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers in Stuart, Fla., where she started as an intern and eventually became the newspaper’s entertainment and features reporter. She covers everything from local events to interviewing artists and celebrities who perform in the area, as well as human interest stories. Rangel uses social media to find sources, to post her favorite stories and to drive traffic to the website, Rangel credits her involvement in the South Florida

News Service for giving her the exposure she needed to land the job with Scripps. Sabrina Gomez, C/O 2011 Gomez recently launched her blog, The Lady on Top, a dedication to empowering and inspiring women to unlock their full potential. In her blog, Gomez shares her life experiences and blogs about issues affecting women. Maria Murriel, C/O 2011 Murriel is currently a multimedia reporter and columnist for The South Florida Sun Sentinel, specifically its portal southflorida. com. Prior to joining the paper, Murriel was a features writer for Open Media Miami, The Miami Herald’s former hyper-local partner for news in the Biscayne Corridor.

Mihaela Plugarasu, C/O 2011 Plugarasu is now the Strategic Alignment Administrator at the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at FIU. In her role, Plugarasu works on strategic initiatives and special projects for the school’s dean and executive team. She interfaces with internal and external stakeholders, including industry advisory board members and the media. Plugarasu considers herself a champion of new technologies and credits her master’s degree in Global Strategic Communications for her ability to streamline communications within the school.

Heather Bermudez C/O 2006, 2012 Bermudez leads the marketing and alumni communications for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. An active member of the Miami chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, Bermudez sits on the board, as well as college relations and public service committees. Bermudez recently completed her graduate degree in Global Strategic Communications, where her final professional project was an integrated campaign on teen dating violence and relationship abuse in Miami-Dade County. The project, which Bermudez worked on under the guidance of Dr. Maria Elena Villar, represented a great example of SJMC engagement in the community. Through the support of the school’s PRSSA

chapter, the grassroots campaign was able to come to fruition with no funding and be implemented in the community by the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council of Greater Miami.

Teresa Ponte, who has been the chair of the Department of Journalism and Broadcasting for four years, is excited to see the expansion of the SJMC through new programs. “We’re in the process of real vigor and dynamism,” says Ponte. “The broadcasting track is coming back, the school will be working with WLRN to add radio skills to the curriculum and a new digital track was launched this past fall.” Before academia, Ponte was an award-winning broadcast journalist and producer for 25 years, for NBC, CBS and Telemundo.

textbook on multimedia journalism due out in fall 2013. The text will include information about writing for different platforms, website development, blogging and digital photography. Additionally, Sheerin wrote a chapter on digital photography for Communication Technology Update, an international business and academic book. Sheerin and Dr. Moses Shumow co-authored an article titled, “Digital Immigrants v. Digital Natives,” for the University of South Carolina’s Convergence newsletter.

Faculty Notes

Michael Sheerin has been named interim chair for Department of Advertising and Public Relations. Sheerin co-authored a

Silvana Ordoñez C/O 2012 From her first year at SJMC, Ordoñez has been reporting and writing for South Florida’s three main papers: The Palm Beach Post, The Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel through The South Florida News Service, a school’s program. She had the honor of receiving FIU’s “Outstanding Journalism Student” award in 2012. Her experience at the SFNS landed her a summer position as a business intern reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where she fell in

Lilliam Martinez-Bustos and Dr. Mercedes Vigón, journalism professors, recently co-authored

love with the business beat and published her first front-page story. She then went to The Miami Herald, where she worked at the metro desk covering a city for eight months. In January 2012, she attended The New York Times’ Student Journalism Institute, a journalism boot camp with elite staff from The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Arizona Daily Star. Ordoñez interned at NBC Telemundo as a digital media producer and was privileged to be part of the Scripps Howard Foundation Semester in Washington Program in Washington, D.C., a mecca for journalists. Since June, she has been with NBC’s business news channel, CNBC, where she began as a summer fellow and is now working full-time.

a chapter in the summer 2012 book “Arizona Firestorm.” This publication captured different aspects of the controversial law. The two investigated how the local legislative bill in Arizona magnified to an issue that affected many immi¬grants on a national level. Vigón and Martinez-Bustos studied the Spanish language coverage by analyzing news packages from the top broadcasting networks like Telemundo and Univision.

Elizabeth Marsh is the managing art director and designer for the SJMC’s BayView Magazine. Marsh is currently working with professor Kate MacMillin on an online grammar workshop, BayView / 21

a course designed to allow students across the university to study grammar at their own pace. Marsh has also been working on PSAs for the South Florida Center for Independent Living. Maria Elena Villar, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, was recently named chair of the Public Awareness Prevention Advocacy Committee for the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council of Greater Miami (DVSAC). Villar’s community engagement has led to works on bringing to light the cultural stigmas that affect Hispanics. Through organizations like Mujer and Federation of Families, Villar has created a form of “edutainment” that focuses on helping those with domestic or substance abuse issues. The project includes photonovelas that depict real life situations and scenarios.

Alejandro Alvarado, Ph.D., is now the director of the Hispanic Media Futures Program, a partnership between Telemundo and FIU. The program, which began in fall 2010, is currently serving its fifth generation of students. It consists of an inside view of broadcasting, where students learn about technology, finance, programming, public relations, advertising and human resources management within the media organization. Alvarado also serves as director of the SJMC’s Spanish-language Master’s Program in Journalism and Multimedia. 22 / BayView

Weirui Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, was selected as one of the 2012 AEJMC Emerging Scholar Recipients. The funded project is titled, “The power of acculturation: Understanding online information seeking among new immigrants.”

In August 2012, professor Margo Berman celebrated the release of her third book titled “The Copywriter’s Toolkit: The Complete Guide to Strategic Advertising Copy.” Her second book, “The Brains Behind Great Ad Campaigns: The Creative Collaboration between Copywriters and Art Directors” was released in 2009. The following year, she updated her first book, “Street-Smart Advertising: How to Win the Battle of the Buzz.” Berman also works on creative and digital projects for clients, including e-brochures, corporate branding and website development.

New Faculty Chris Delboni, news director of the South Florida News Service since fall 2009, has been hired full time as an instructor at SJMC, where she is now combining teaching with the newsroom experience for students. Delboni is also the managing editor of BayView, this new alumni magazine, produced for the first time by students in journalism, advertising and public relations at FIU. Delboni is the faculty adviser of the newly revamped FIU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She has 20 years of experience as a Brazilian foreign correspondent in Washington,

D.C., and Miami.

Robert “Ted” Gutsche Jr., Ph.D., joined the SJMC faculty in the fall 2012 as an assistant professor. Gutsche’s journalism has appeared in several media outlets, such as The Washington Post, Newsday and Chicago Tribune. He teaches Digital Theories, a new course in the Digital Media Studies program. Gutsche is currently working on a book about black diaspora in the upper Midwest and how news coverage contributes to it. Gutsche just published an article in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly on The New York Times’ comparison of Jon Stewart to Edward R. Murrow. Grizelle De Los Reyes is an instructor and graduate director of the Global Strategic Communications Creative Track, a joint program with the Miami Ad School. De Los Reyes is an advertising professional who has held several management positions in media and advertising agencie, including Univision, Starmedia and J. Walter Thompson. Her areas of professional research and interest are in media, media technology in delivering mass messages and segmentation and targeting of consumer audiences. Yu Liu, Ph.D., joined the SJMC faculty in the fall 2012 as an assistant professor. Liu is teaching undergraduate courses in advertising. She co-authored several publications in 2012, including the “Ethical use of new technologies: Where do Indian journalists stand?” Liu’s scholarly articles have also included comparative studies on media consumption and world youth.



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