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Communications/Media Management Featured Events | Dec 02, 2020 |

Conference Gives Students an Inside View of the Media Industry

By Claire Curry

Leadership through COVID-19, driving social change, and breaking into careers in the media are among the topics covered at the One Day Immersion in Media, Technology, and Entertainment conference held virtually on Nov. 13.

The annual event, this year titled “Breakthrough: The Brilliance of Resilience,” was hosted by One Day Immersion (ODI), Inc. in partnership with the Gabelli School. Its purpose is to share the latest trends in the industry and provide career advice to college students around the globe. The day-long line-up was innovative and wide-ranging, featuring conversations with media experts and news correspondents, panel discussions, comedy performances, and Zoom yoga power breaks.

Approximately 450 students from universities in New York City, around the country, and as far as China, Prague, and Lithuania, attended the virtual event.

Changing the Narrative: Racial Equity and Inclusion

In the session “Media + Race,” moderator Sandy Nunez, an ESPN executive producer, opened a discussion about increasing awareness of racial equity and inclusion within the media industry. Panelists shared examples of situations they’ve encountered in their workplaces in which they were able to make an impact. They also discussed strategies that companies can take to ensure that all members of an organization are engaged in the conversation. All four panelists expressed optimism about the opportunities newcomers to the media field have to change the narrative.

“Whether you’re crafting something for the client or helping with the talent casting, that means that you will have a chance to tap into who is going to be that cast,” said Tamika Blockett, vice president and content developer at UM Worldwide. “You’ll have a chance to tap into the diversity. There is an energy and awesomeness about being in this field and to be able to have a seat at the table is terrific.”

Panelists also offered the student audience tips including developing a “personal advisory panel” of mentors and speaking up on the job if you have ideas on how something can be done better or more efficiently.

“Someone who can think of ways to share or add to the organization, that person is a thought leader,” Blockett said.

The Value of Mentors

Hallmark’s Crown Media Networks CEO Wonya Lucas advised audience members to “contribute beyond their job description” and emphasized the importance of networking. Lucas, who left her career in engineering to work in consumer packaged products, said she went on 37 job interviews over the course of a year and a half before she landed a position at TNT.

“Through the course of my career there, I encountered all of those people and [consequently] got a lot of mentors that way,” she explained. She also told students not to be shy about reaching out to ask mentors for 10 minutes of their time, because most will be happy to accommodate.

Pursuing Your Passion

CBS News Correspondent Vlad Duthiers used his own career trajectory to illustrate the different directions one’s life can take after graduating—and because of some chance encounters.

Although he wanted to be a reporter since childhood, Duthiers spent the first leg of his career in investment banking. By the time he was 24, he was working in Europe as a managing director with travel to nearly 40 countries under his belt.

“As I got closer to my 40s, I realized that I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing,” he said. So, at 37, he left his job, returned to school, and landed an unpaid internship at CNN. But instead of putting in the required 10 hours weekly, he put in 50, and took advantage of every opportunity to learn and network.

After a chance meeting with Anderson Cooper, Duthiers, who is fluent in French and Haitian Creole, served as the CNN journalist’s translator while he covered the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. “It was the biggest story in the world, and I was there for it,” said Duthiers, who has since earned awards for his reporting of major international events and celebrity interviews.

Gabelli School Students, Behind the Scenes

Bozena Mierzejewska, Ph.D., professor of communication and media management at the Gabelli School, has been instrumental in establishing the partnership with ODI and worked closely with ODI’s team to plan this year’s programming. Several students enrolled in the Gabelli School’s MS in Media Management Program also worked on promoting the event and moderating the Q&As as “Student Stars.”

One is Yuliia Rusianovska, MS ’22, who took the lead on managing social media prior to and during the conference. She also facilitated Q&A sessions with the keynote speakers. “I was grateful for the opportunity because it has definitely made me go outside of my comfort zone and opened new networking opportunities,” she said. “It was such an honor to be a part of a conference that helps young media professionals shape their future.”

ODI President Dolly Wolf said she was grateful for the work performed by the Student Stars, and for the partnership with the Gabelli School. “As our official partner for our 2020 event—our first fully virtual event—their unwavering support and guidance helped make this year’s event a huge success.”

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