Newhouse students work with MSNBC to produce campus news report
Broadcast journalism students at Syracuse University’s S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications dream of seeing their work on major television networks like MSNBC. Two students lived the dream on Wednesday afternoon.
Patrice Innocenti, a freshman photography major, and Ralph Aversa, a senior broadcast journalism and marketing dual major, pre-taped an interview with Rita Cosby. The interview was aired on her show ‘Special Units’ as the first college segment at 1 p.m. for a new segment MSNBC is calling ‘MSNBC On Campus.’
The SU student’s segment is the first of what could be many other universities to participate in ‘MSNBC On Campus.’
‘It went great,’ said Aversa, after the interview. ‘The producers said it went well.’
Aversa said he and Cosby spoke briefly after the interview and she replied if she isn’t careful, Aversa might take her job. He joked, saying he was graduating in May 2007, if she wanted to offer him a job.
‘MSNBC On Campus,’ a program incorporating about 100 universities nationwide, was created by Innocenti this summer when she was an intern with MSNBC.
Innocenti said MSNBC President Dan Abrams approached her and a group of interns, asking them for ideas of how to gain a younger demographic for the network.
Innocenti said she came up with the idea that the network should have college campuses across the country produce a segment about events going on at that campus and have the segment shown on MSNBC.
The segment the SU students created was about stress and how it affects students on campuses, focusing around the arrest of SU senior Timothy Ginocchetti, who was charged in the killing of his mother, Pamela Ginocchetti, in August.
Ginocchetti’s case went to a grand jury last month.
‘The segment focused on his family, background and what’s going on in his head,’ Aversa said. ‘No one saw anything coming. They were the perfect mom and son couple.’
For the segment, Innocenti said she has spent the past few months calling representatives at more than 100 universities nationwide, getting them onboard for the project.
‘Eventually, (MSNBC) wants a weekly magazine show,’ Aversa said, clarifying that when other universities are added in, the segments will go much quicker.
After approaching Newhouse about the idea, Innocenti partnered up with Aversa, whose reputation was appealing, she said.
That is when the pair began working together.
The aired segment was produced by Innocenti and Aversa during the past two weeks, but the project has been in the works for the past several months, both students said.
‘I don’t know if we’re going to do a package like this every week, because it took a long time to do,’ Innocenti said.
Aversa said much of the specific research they did on Ginocchetti was tough because ‘no one wants to talk about it.’ This is a stark contrast to the case against Brian T. Shaw, which was highly publicized, Aversa said.
However, the next segment will be different. The plan is to do a man-on-the-street story about SU students’ reaction to hearing about the controversy around former House Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla.
Interviews and taping will be done by Friday afternoon, which is significantly faster than the first segment moved, Aversa said.
In the future, Innocenti and Aversa hope to work with the Orange Television Network and CitrusTV to produce the segments, both students said.
‘We’re looking to get more people involved,’ Innocenti said.
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