Mentoring Tomorrow’s Professionals

OCC Alumnus and CNY Central Photojournalist Matt Landers (right) works with Electronic Media Communication majors as they prepare for a shoot in Whitney Commons.

It’s not unusual to walk past a class in OCC’s Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major and see a member of the Central New York broadcast industry speaking with students. Current broadcast professionals regularly visit campus and share their experiences with students. “We’ve had many special guests ranging from photographers to news directors,” said Zach Sheridan, an EMC major and 2016 graduate of Fabius-Pompey High School. “They offer real-life examples of problems or issues they deal with every day and help give us a greater understanding.”

Each instructor within EMC has either worked in or is presently employed in the broadcasting industry. Most are behind the scenes staffers who play critical roles in the success of a broadcast. Others are people you see on-camera such as Niko Tamurian, a 2005 grad of the EMC program and Sports Director of CNY Central TV.

EMC Adjunct Professors Laura Bailey (left) and Tammy Palmer (right) pictured at Newschannel 9.

Earlier this semester students enrolled in Television News Production were given a challenging assignment by their professors who are both Syracuse broadcast professionals. Tammy Palmer is an anchor and reporter at WSYR TV, Newschannel 9. Laura Bailey is a Director at the same station and is also a 2017 winner of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching. Professors Palmer and Bailey divided their students up into news gathering crews and gave them two-and-a-half hours to shoot, write and edit a story. It’s a tall task for those who do the job every day and even more challenging for students.

Each student crew was paired with a highly talented broadcast professional volunteering his or her time to work with students. They included Emmy-award winning CNY Central photojournalist and OCC Alumnus Quindell Williams, CNY Central photojournalist and OCC alumnus Matt Landers, Newschannel 9 photojournalist and OCC alumnus Evan Bailey, OCC alumnus and SUNY Oswego videographer Jim Kearns and Newschannel 9 multimedia journalist Olivia Ugino. Throughout the process they continuously offered advice on shooting, editing and writing techniques.

Some of the student crews beat the two-and-a-half-hour deadline, some did not. The lessons learned from those in the industry were invaluable. “It was great to get this hands-on experience while working with people currently employed in broadcasting,” said Jacob Manrow, an EMC major and 2016 graduate of Jordan-Elbridge High School. “Getting in-depth, real-world experience this early in my career gives me a competitive edge when taking my next steps.”

The EMC professors overseeing the exercise were pleased with the results. “Walking into class the students were very nervous about not only the assignment, but the whole semester,” said Bailey. “Two-and-a-half-hours later they had new confidence about what they could accomplish.”

“Mentoring is crucial in so many fields,” added Palmer. “Newsrooms lose experienced journalists every day. We need to make sure the next generation has the opportunity to learn from the men and women who do important work daily. Now more than ever the media is facing a skeptical audience. The cycle of passing down valuable lessons can’t fade away. Knowledge is power.”

You can learn more about OCC’s Electronic Media Communications major here.

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