Karen Davis’ ’83, G’90 desire to create a welcoming environment for all has permeated every corner of the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS). Building the college’s career services from the ground up and becoming the assistant dean of…
Future TV Journalists Partner With Future Diplomats for Joint Exercise on Public Affairs
More than a dozen students from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs made a field trip to the television studios at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications this fall for a hands-on lesson in how to make foreign affairs topics relatable to the American public.
The international relations students took part in a series of live, on-camera interviews with broadcast journalism students in the weeks leading up to the 2022 midterm elections. Students answered questions about how other countries view U.S. politics and why foreign governments pay attention to U.S. election outcomes.
The Maxwell students were recruited by Professor Michael Williams, who teaches a class on international relations, for the exercise. The Newhouse students were part of a television newscast class taught by Professor Elliott Lewis.
“Last year, I was interviewed by one of Elliott’s students for a project,” says Williams. “It dawned on me that having journalism students partner with international affairs students was a great way for both to gain experience and enrich the learning process.”
Williams and Lewis paired each international relations student with a broadcast journalism student who had to conduct a pre-interview with their partner in preparation for the five-minute segment on camera.
Journalism student Erin O’Brien was matched with a student who is specializing in Sub-Saharan Africa. “I didn’t know much about the area before,” says O’Brien. “Not only did I gain knowledge through this experience, but I also got to work on my interviewing skills.”
Lewis said the exercise was a way for his students to practice hosting a live segment in the style of The Today Show or Good Morning America. “For most story assignments, all of the interviews are pre-recorded for editing later, and they take as long as they want,” says Lewis. “Here, students got to experience what it’s like to interview a subject-matter expert in a limited amount of time and help that expert impart their knowledge in a relatable way.”
The Maxwell students also received guidance from Professor Beverly Kirk, who serves as program director for Syracuse University’s new Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship Institute in Washington, DC. Kirk, a former NBC News correspondent who holds a master’s degree in diplomacy and international commerce, spoke to Williams’ class via Zoom to offer tips on making complicated topics understandable to a broad audience via the news media.
Williams said the overall experience was “a great way for two top schools to combine their efforts into one successful outcome.”