Students from Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism traveled to the concrete jungle on the first of April as part of the school’s “Professional Fridays in New York” series of trips into Manhattan, visiting Buzzfeed and NY1.
Jonathan Sanders, journalism professor, led the group for the day and was joined by Professor Charles Haddad. Once a month students are given the opportunity to go on a trip to visit newsrooms and experience what journalism looks like in the field.
The students started off their day with hopeful smiles, and even a rainy day couldn’t dampen their excitement about the day ahead. Stepping off the subway and walking just a few blocks, the students found themselves in front of Buzzfeed’s New York headquarters.
The popular online publication is a hit among millennials, as well as for anyone interested in anything from investigative journalism to quizzes about cats. Buzzfeed has 6 billion monthly global content views. Crossing over to the technological era, Buzzfeed gets more than 70 percent of its views from mobile devices.
Brenda Blanco, a recent Stony Brook Alumna, helped show the students around Buzzfeed. Blanco graduated in 2015 and is now working for Buzzfeed Espanol.
The group had a chance to walk around the unconventional offices, observing the plethora of couches, snack and coffee bar and the overall relaxed working newsroom atmosphere.
“I was walking past this guy that was just on WordPress writing an article that’s going to go on BuzzFeed later. It’s going to be another article that I might just click on,” junior Emily Benson said. “It’s just another thing that you would never even think about– how it got there.”
The group ran into Adrian Carrasquillo, another Stony Brook Alumnus, who is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News. Carrasquillo spoke with the eager students on why it’s important to work towards what you want to do.
Jasmin Suknanan, a sophomore, is an aspiring journalist who felt the trip helped connect her with students in the program. “I felt like I got to know some other journalism students…I probably wouldn’t have approached any of the people that I met today if it weren’t for the trip,” Suknanan said. “I definitely learned that a lot of the time you have to work on getting your foot in the door early on.”
After a heartfelt goodbye to BuzzFeed, the group ventured to Chelsea Market, where the newsroom of NY1 was stationed. Students were greeted by Jonathan Millian, a Stony Brook alumnus, who now works at the company as a producer. Millian provided students with advice for the future, while also taking the time out to speak to them about internships and offered first-hand knowledge of the field.
“Jonathan gave us some good advice,” sophomore Evelin Mercedes said. “He said if you don’t like whatever you’re studying to just change it up, because if you don’t like it, you won’t want to pursue it.”
NY1 gave the students deeper knowledge on what a functioning newsroom and broadcast department looks like. From control rooms with producers and script writers at work to anchors taping for segments, the students were exposed to a live newsroom.
Junior Nikita Ramos attended the trip in hopes of gaining more insight into the workings of a professional newsroom.
“I learned that, especially from the anchor at NY1, being turned down is actually not the worst thing that can happen, because you can build off of that and anything can happen. So you have to learn to take criticism the right way,” Ramos said.
The trip explored two different news outlets, but both proved that they are only for serious journalists who wish to report their best.
“I learned that in the field of journalism you have to be passionate about what you do. This is not a field for money or because you’re not sure,” senior Autumn McLeod said.