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Top Six Things We Learned About Social Branding and Entrepreneurship From Newhouse NYC’s Social Branding Panel

By Dan Denning


On Thursday, April 13th, Cheryl Brody Franklin, Director of Newhouse NYC, held a Social Branding Panel that featured four Newhouse alumni who are successful entrepreneurs and social media experts:

social branding panelists


Ali Maffucci (top left): Inspiralized

Violet Gaynor (top right): The Glow

Scott Wiener (bottom left): Scott’s Pizza Tours

Katie Sturino (bottom right): The 12ish Style

Before the actual panel, there was time for Newhouse NYC students to meet the panelists and other Newhouse alumni to meet current NYC students. Eating food and chatting with alumni was a great way to network. There were graduates working at all kinds of companies, varying from People magazine to Scholastic to Google. Each one was very friendly and wasn’t shy to share what their job was about and what advice they have to the current juniors and seniors.

After about a half hour of chatting, it was time for the Social Branding Panel to begin. The four speakers answered a variety of questions from Newhouse NYC students, and then took questions from the audience. There were a lot of tips that were shared, but here are the top six that we learned about social branding, and starting your own company:

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  1. Get experience: Before you go out and start a business, it is important that you have experience in the kind of work you want to do. “Don’t do something for the heck of it,” said Katie Sturino of The 12ish, a style brand for size 12ish-18 girls living in a size 2 world ( Once you learn all about the industry, you will better understand the niche markets that need to be filled so you can take advantage of them. 
  2. Love what you do: When working at a job, you do better when you love what you do. “Get into it; get obsessed,” said Scott Wiener of Scott’s Pizza Tours, a company that takes people to places all around New York City to try the best pizzas ( When you are into your job, you put in the best work and rise the ranks much faster. Running a business is hard, and it’s not something that goes away past the hours of 9 to 5 like a normal job. “Only do something you’re super passionate about” said Ali Maffucci of Inspiralized, the ultimate resource for cooking healthy foods using a spiralizer ( If it’s not something you want to be doing and thinking about all the time, it probably isn’t for you.
  3. Infuse yourself into your content: Social media is filled with clutter, especially when it comes to products. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself in your content; share your story,” Inspiralized’s Ali Maffucci said. By putting yourself into all your content, you automatically make it unique. “It helps you connect to your audience,” said Violet Gaynor of The Glow, a blog that shares a glimpse into the world of inspiring and fashionable moms ( People will get to know you better, and will be more invested into your personal brand.
  4. Understand your audience: It’s so important to know exactly who you are targeting to grow your social presence. Once you have fans, it is even more important because you’ll have people giving you direct feedback on your content. Read comments and listen to what followers and purchasers are saying. This is the best way to give them what they want as well as to grow as a person and as a business. 
  5. Put different content on different platforms: When running a social media account for either social or business use, it is extremely important to avoid putting the same content on all of your social platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat all have different purposes, so there is no reason to post the same thing on more than one platform. “Vary your content and tailor it to the platform you are posting it on,” said Scott Wiener of Scott’s pizza tours. This is the best way to maximize the engagement you get on social media.
  6. Always set goals for the future: Before you start a business or before working on your social media brand, know exactly what you want to accomplish. It’s not only helpful, but also really fun. Each of the four panelists shared their plans for the future and they were all so excited about the direction they were headed in. Being excited about these goals means you work even harder to reach them. It is the best way to ensure that you remain successful over time.
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Ali Maffucci of Inspiralized signs one of her cookbooks for a fan. 

It was such a great experience to learn from these amazing speakers. Luckily, BiB Media, a full-service media company in Brooklyn, helped us live-stream the whole thing on Facebook Live. You can still see the video here:

NYC Social Branding Panel

Thank you to all of the alumni who attended the panel and to the four speakers who were willing to share so much advice!


Visiting Droga5: A Look at Non-Traditional Wall Street

By Allison Raymond and Dan Denning

ADV juniors Dan Denning and Allison Raymond are the main contributors to the Newhouse NYC blog this semester

On Thursday, April 6th 2017, Newhouse NYC students got the opportunity to visit Droga5, the award-winning ad agency located at the very end of Wall Street, surrounded by financial companies. It was very clear from the beginning that Droga5 stood out from the rest because while everyone else on the street wore business suits, Droga5 employees opted for jeans, flannels, and artistic clothing of all different styles.

While waiting for our hosts in the lounge, we flipped through Adweek magazines and watched a few of the company’s award-winning ads on the screen, from Android’s rock, paper, scissors ad to Under Armour’s “Rule Yourself” ad. Then, Jamie Congo and Katie Leon-Guerrero, both talent recruiters at Droga5, showed us around the office space. Our favorite part was definitely the neon kitchen sign that read “Bacon has electrolytes too.”

Next we traveled up 25 more floors to the conference room and met the rest of our hosts:

They each shared their career journeys, the best and hardest parts of their jobs, and advice for us.

“The rigor [at Droga5] is just so much more intense than at other agencies I’ve been at,” Anthony Mariello commented. “There is a higher bar to meet, and everyone is striving to reach it. It’s really inspiring to be around so many creative-minded people.”

Leo Wong told us about his role as an account manager. “Prioritizing multiple accounts has always been a big challenge for account people, but that comes with experience,” he explained. “But the best part is definitely being around all of these people—everyone is really passionate about work and that creates a really productive atmosphere.”

“There’s no right way to a career,” Brian Eden advised us. “You don’t have to start out at the best agency right away. It’s more important to get a mentor with someone to help you get experience in your first few years on the job.”

When we asked what we should be doing to prepare for our first jobs after graduation, Mariello’s advice stuck with us. “Be proactive and get to know people,” he said. “Learn to be your own best advocate, know what you want, and don’t settle for less.”

Thank you to everyone at Droga5 for letting Newhouse NYC students get a glimpse inside the agency!

Get Social One More Time: Newhouse NYC Students Take Over Twitter, Instagram, and the Blog

Each semester, Newhouse NYC students put their social media skills to the test. Students choose to do a @NewhouseNYC Twitter takeover, @NewhouseNYC Instagram Stories takeover, or write for the Newhouse NYC blog.

We welcome you to follow along—here’s what’s going on this week:


Two students will be doing social takeovers today!

Follow MAG junior Laura Superina as she takes over @NewhouseNYC Instagram Stories interns at digital agency The Story Lab.




Simultaneously, keep taps on TRF senior Nate Giammichele on the @NewhouseNYC Twitter account as he documents his internship at BiB Media–the same company that produced last Thursday’s Facebook Live of our Social Branding Panel (ICYMI, watch it here!).







We’ve got you covered morning and night!

During the day, ADV junior Ada Lam will take over @NewhouseNYC Instagram Stories, giving you a behind-the-scenes peek at her internship at ad agency Sunshine Sachs.





At night, ADV senior Suling Sun will live-tweet our dinner & learn at NBC on the @NewhouseNYC Twitter account, as the students hear from alumni working at the TODAY Show,, and more.





Another two-for-one special!

During the day, ADV senior Suling Sun will switch over to @NewhouseNYC Instagram Stories, documenting her day interning at the design agency Catch 24.




At night, follow ADV junior Matt Alexander as he live-tweets the Social Media class’s field trip to Bloomberg on the @NewhouseNYC Twitter account.


Thanks for following along and we hope you enjoy!

Inside the Belly of The Daily Beast with Editor-in-Chief John Avlon and Senior Editor Harry Siegel

By Allison Raymond and Dan Denning

On Wednesday, April 5th, Profressor Joy-Ann Reid’s Race, Gender, and the Media class took a field trip to visit The Daily Beast, a political and pop culture digital news source.

From 11 floors up, we had a fantastic view of the west side of Manhattan as we waited for our hosts: John Avlon, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast, and Harry Siegel, senior editor at The Daily Beast and columnist at the New York Daily News. We talked about a lot of different topics: from diversity, to the controversial Pepsi ad, to their career paths. The best thing about this field trip was that it was completely unstructured, so we could ask them anything and really just have a conversation about it.

We discussed challenges facing the digital news landscape today, and discovered that The Daily Beast has a few rules when it comes to publishing. “We only write headlines that we would want to read,” Avlon explained. “It’s our job to make real news stories colorful and interesting, without using clickbait titles.” The goal of the site is to be like an interesting friend at a bar: you enjoy talking to them, and you learn something too.

We asked about how they’ve seen diversity in the newsroom change and evolve over their careers. Siegel commented, “Our job is never done. Our writing staff can always be more diverse. It’s a matter of taking the extra effort to go out and find a writer who is doing great things and also has a new viewpoint that our team lacks.” Avlon said he often refers to The Daily Beast as “non-partisan (but not neutral)” because they do not have a political leaning or affiliation with a political party, but their writing staff includes people from all kinds of backgrounds with different political leanings. “Diversity is always at the top of our mind when hiring,” Avlon said. “It’s essential to reflect the culture that we are trying to represent.”

Thanks to John Avlon and Harry Siegel for taking the time to talk about diversity in the newsroom and news in the digital space!

Get Social Again: Newhouse NYC Students Take Over Twitter, Instagram, and the Blog

Each semester, Newhouse NYC students put their social media skills to the test. Students choose to do a @NewhouseNYC Twitter takeover, @NewhouseNYC Instagram Stories takeover, or write for the Newhouse NYC blog.

We welcome you to follow along—here’s what’s going on this week:


Two students will be doing social takeovers today!

Follow TRF junior Erin Skelly, who will be documenting her day interning at The Dr. Oz Show on @NewhouseNYC Instagram Stories.






Later, don’t miss ADV junior Jill Jandl’s @NewhouseNYC Twitter takeover where she will live tweet the night’s two social media class guest speakers, Daniel Taroy of Fast Company, and Laura Cohen of Redbook!







Newhouse NYC’s Race, Gender, and the Media class will be taking a field trip to VICE at 6PM. You can follow TRF junior Sara Zadrima as she does a @NewhouseNYC Twitter takeover.






This day is yet another double feature!

First, ADV junior Ada Lam will be doing a @NewhouseNYC Twitter takeover of an AOL Build Series presentation she is attending where Julian Lennon will talk about his new 3-part picture book series. Catch it between 12PM and 1PM.





Later, Newhouse NYC will be attending a Social Branding panel where they will meet people in the industry and learn all about creating an online brand for themselves. PR junior Natalie Rudakevych will be doing a @NewhouseNYC Twitter takeover of the event. You won’t want to miss it!





Finally, end the week by tuning into MAG junior Madeleine Buckley’s @NewhouseNYC Instagram Stories with live updates from her internship at New York magazine

Hidden Treasures: 4 Places I Discovered While Getting Lost in NYC

By Jillian Jandl

As a Boston native, coming to New York City has definitely changed my definition of a big city. This realization has come from a lot of time spent getting lost and navigating my way through this city maze. But, once the fear subsided, some of my favorite days here have been those during which I got very lost and found exciting new places to explore.

I have lived about fifteen minutes outside of Boston my whole life, and I always considered Boston to be so large and overwhelming. Last summer I worked at a small advertising agency in Boston and commuted into the city every day. At first, it was a big change from my usual day-to-day suburban travels, but I quickly realized just how small and manageable Boston is. My train brought me into the North End of Boston and my office was all the way across town in the South End. I expected that this would mean needing to get on another train, adding to my lengthy commute. But, once again, Boston’s small size became apparent when I realized that I could walk from the North End train stop all the way down to my office in less than 20 minutes. If you have the right shoes on, you really can walk from any point to another within the city of Boston. 

So, naturally, learning to commute in New York City was a bit of a different story. Living on the Upper East Side, I was not quite sure how I was going to get down and over to Columbus Circle for my internship at Young & Rubicam every day, and then further downtown to the Fisher Center for class. Luckily, the Q train opened up just before we got here, offering almost door-to-door service for me from our dorm to my office. If I spent my entire semester here simply going from home to work and back, I would have no problems and no chance of getting lost. But that is not the best way to take advantage of a semester living in New York City. So, as I am sure you can guess, I have gotten myself lost a time or two…but it wasn’t always bad!

I am very stubborn, so when I get lost I wait as long as I can to pull my phone out and look at my maps. I am always waiting to turn a corner and have the “oh I know where I am” moment. Here are a few of my favorite places that I have found by accident while lost in New York City:

Bryant Park: I was planning on going to the New York Public Library one day to see how beautiful it is. I came up from the subway and I was not at all where I thought I would be, and I could not find the library. So, I wandered around a bit and landed at Bryant Park. It was winter, so the ice skating rink was still there and hundreds of people were spending time in the park. I walked through very slowly, taking it all in—and once I made it to the other side, I realized that the park backs up to the library. It’s now one of my favorite places in the city. 

Manhattan Bridge: I had seen this iconic shot many times, but never knew where it was until I looked up and realized I was there. I had to go to Brooklyn for a meeting one Friday, and decided that I would walk the Brooklyn bridge back to Manhattan before getting on the subway to go home. I started walking towards the bridge and could not find the entrance for pedestrians. So, a little lost and uncomfortable, I kept walking around assuming I was missing something. I wove through a couple of side streets and came across this view where I was able to take this picture for myself. Right by the waterfront, there are also some really cute coffee shops and a carousel. 

The Museum at FIT: I was over in Chelsea one day and decided to walk uptown a bit on the west side because I had not spent much time over there yet. I walked by FIT and saw a sign for the museum on 27th street, so I went in and realized it was free admission (perfect for my budget). The museum featured a great exhibit about fashion in Paris and a tribute to costume design in Hollywood. I definitely want to go back when they start the next exhibit.

Central Park: This one is more about getting lost on purpose. I love going into the park and just letting the paths guide where I will end up. Every time I go into Central Park, I try to walk a different way and see a new area of the park. As pretty as the park was after snowfall, the spring colors are drawing me in a lot more. 

As someone who has a hard time reaching too far outside of my comfort zone, coming to NYC has really allowed me to stretch this zone farther than I have been able to in the past. While the Newhouse NYC semester is all about preparing us for careers in the communications industry and taking relevant courses to complement this, it is also a time to discover a new city. As an advertising major, I know that a great deal of the advertising world exists in New York, so this semester is truly a test-drive to see if this is the place for me after graduation. Lucky for me, every time I stumble upon a new place I have not seen before, I fall in love with this city even more. Whether you are here for a semester or just a weekend, don’t be afraid to get a little lost. Have fun exploring!

Sawhorse Media Field Trip: Inside Muck Rack and The Shorty Awards

By Dan Denning


On Tuesday, March 28th, Newhouse NYC students in Professor Ariana Finlayson’s social media class took a trip to Sawhorse Media, a tech company with two different facets. Not only is it in charge of Muck Rack, software that helps journalists and public relations practitioners, but it also runs The Shorty Awards, the popular award show that honors all parts of the social media world.

Natan Edelsburg, the Executive Vice President of both the Shorty Awards and Muck Rack, showed the class the office and treated us to delicious pizza from Bleecker Street Pizza before his presentation.


The Shorty Awards

The first thing Natan spoke about was his work with the Shorty Awards. When the event first started, it wasn’t meant to be such a big deal. However, an award show dedicated to social media didn’t exist in the late 2000s. The awards gained an enormous amount of press coverage and was quickly dubbed “The Oscars of Social Media.”

In the beginning, all nominees were appointed by fans, and winners were chosen by fan votes. This was a problem because there were a lot of unfair winners, such as celebrities like Justin Bieber winning science categories. As a result, the company created an algorithm that takes into account many different factors to determine who wins each award.

One of the most interesting aspects of the event is how it gets funded. Sawhorse opened up The Shorty Awards to brands, allowing them to pay to participate in special categories against other brands. There are even awards for brand partnerships, meaning the best combinations of brands and social media influencers. This has created a really cool platform for brands to showcase their campaigns and attract young people who are interested in these awards.

Muck Rack

Sawhorse makes most of its money from Muck Rack, a program that keeps track of journalists and what articles they have written. It is very helpful to public relations professionals because not only does it help them keep track of articles written about their clients and how many shares the articles have received, it also helps them identify journalists who cover specific topics. The program gives PR people the journalists’ contact information, so it’s extremely helpful for creating media lists. On the other hand, it is helpful for journalists because it creates a profile for them that keeps all of their work in one place. Since so many Newhouse students want to work in journalism and public relations, this is a useful program to know about.

Advice for Newhouse students

On securing a job after graduation, Natan’s three biggest pieces of advice are customizing your resume for every single job you apply for, creating clear subject lines for all emails you send, and always being persistent and following up.

Natan also shared his point of view on working at a tech company like Sawhorse. He loves the laid back vibe of tech companies. There are unlimited vacation days, the ability to work from home, and the flexibility to come in whenever you want. However, with this much freedom, you have to be on top of your work.

The biggest reason he loves the environment is because he is always at the center of innovation: “I don’t know what our company will be doing in a year or two, and that’s why I love coming to work every day.”