What I Gained From Newhouse

What I Gained From Newhouse

I can’t believe it is the end of the semester! I’ll have had my graduation ceremony and will leave Syracuse in 2 months.  Everything is in a countdown. During my one-year study here, I learned a lot and achieved a lot. Newhouse taught me more than I expected.

Before I came here, I was not sure what I was going to do in the future. I only had a general and rough picture about my career. Though I chose my major Computational Journalism and I checked the class schedule for my major, I didn’t really know what I could learn. I didn’t understand how to use code to help with storytelling – the only thing I expected was using data visualization to make news more clear and attractive.  However, when I came here and started my classes, I realized that we can use data and code to do a lot of things. Since there are some conflicts with our classes, and we are not able to follow the class schedule (it’s another story), we are allowed to choose whatever class we want to take, which gives me the chance to explore some new fields that I’ve never touched before.

For the coding part, I took a basic Python class and nature language processing class. I learned the concept of Python coding and became able to analyze text by using Python. I also learned a lot about web design. At the end of the semester, now I can build a website from scratch and make some elements interactive. For the journalism part, I learned how to write FOIA requests for government information. I understood how to use SQL and Excel to analyze csv files. My ability of digging news out of data is also improved. Beyond these two parts, I chose two classes which focused on the most up-to-data technology. One was about virtual reality (VR) and another was about augmented reality (AR). In the VR class, I shot VR video and created a VR scene. In the AR class, I worked with other students in the class and we built a translation AR app for refugees.

Without Newhouse, I wouldn’t be able to know that there are so many possibilities with data and journalism. I wouldn’t know that people are coding to dig data, analyzing to find stories, using AR and VR technologies to present news, and execute website design to make news integrative. Newhouse opened up my mind.

Moreover, Newhouse gave me the chance to meet people whose backgrounds are totally different from mine. Some students had been working for several years in the field of journalism and came back to school to refresh themselves. Some students were working in other fields (computer science, law, etc.) and were very interested in journalism. We all can learn from others. Diversity is also important for Newhouse. Including me, there are approximately 30% of graduate students from various countries. Though we look different, there is no barrier for us to communicate. We understand others, respect others, and are willing to learn other cultures. Out of university, Newhouse also provides us with plenty of opportunities to build connections with alumni and other journalists. The staff in the career service office often hold company information sessions for us and invites career professionals to have lectures for us. Thus, I met some great journalists during my stay in Newhouse.

In summary, Newhouse brought me more than I expected. Though my program is just a one-year program, I think what I gained is abundant.

Baiyu Gao
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