Update: 3/5 Of The Way Through The BDJ Graduate Program

Update: 3/5 Of The Way Through The BDJ Graduate Program

I am now in my third semester of the Broadcast and Digital Journalism program and I honestly can’t believe I made it this far. I still remember the day I applied for this program. I was scared, nervous and excited all at once. I just knew I wanted to be in a great journalism program where I could have more practical skill and be tested more than I was in my undergrad. At my undergrad, I learned a lot about the fundamentals of journalism and wanted to actually get into the “nitty gritty” with my next degree. I wanted to actually shoot stuff on a camera and experience “real” deadlines.

Once I got accepted into the Newhouse School, I remember going to the Open House and current grad students, at the time, were telling us hopefuls about the Summer Boot Camp we had to endure. They said it would be the worst and best time of our career there. They were definitely right. Our first summer semester was filled with days of story turnarounds, meaning I had about 6 hours to find a story, go shoot it and then come back edit it and get ready to go live. Every day. That was only for the summer; no one prepared us for the fall semester woes.

Over the fall, we ended up taking a class on news reporting for broadcast and we had to create packages this time. A package is a 1:00-1:40 minute piece you see air on the news basically all the time if it’s not a live hit of someone on location. Every week, we had to come up with a story that was relevant, newsworthy, and timely. We needed to have three sources or more (if you could – More SOTs, better SOTs), keep it under the time allotted, and also have great sound and natural sound (pops; so when someone is talking about potholes, we should hear the sound of a car going over one and also maybe hear the tire on the road itself). Those are pops and nat sound.

Some weeks were harder than others because sometimes stories would fall through last minute or it was just a super slow news day or week. But either way, we had to make it work and come up with a great story. We are never treated like students, but always as reporters. That’s really what we are and what we do on the daily, and it’s nice to be treated as such. We have multiple deadlines, get told when something needs to be cut and taught all-around as if we’re in a newsroom at all times. I have learned how to mic myself and others up, set up my camera with all settings in under 5 minutes, shoot some quality work, and edit in Adobe Premiere and Audacity for my tracking if need be.

This semester I am in a live weekly morning show called “Mornings on the Hill”. I rotate out of being a reporter, social media producer and an anchor. Every week I still have to shoot content, which helps me stay on my toes. But I’m also in another News Reporting class where we explore different long-form story-telling (2:00 instead of 1:30/:40).

Next up, we have graduation and then our summer session! I’m sure if I made it this far, I can keep going. Good luck to everyone who is almost finished with their Master’s.

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Alexis Scott
Alexis Scott is a graduate student at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and studying Broadcast Digital Journalism. She hopes that when done at Syracuse University, she will be a reporter and multimedia journalist for a media/TV company. You can follow her on Twitter @ livewlex to have updates and follow her journey through graduate school.

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