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Field Trip: An Insider Look at The New York Times Social Media Strategy

By Casey Russell, MAG junior and Newhouse NYC student

In a culture where it’s easy to become obsessed with how many Instagram likes that heavily-edited photo of your restaurant entree is getting, The New York Times understands that when it comes to social media strategy, it’s not always about quantity. It’s about quality engagement.

“Friend-to-friend sharing is the most important,” New York Times Social Media Director Cynthia Collins told our class.

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Cynthia Collins explains how she and her team tackled social strategy with their recent story, The Follower Factory.

This was one of the many takeaways we learned on Tuesday, January 30, when Newhouse NYC students in Professor Simone Oliver’s social media class had the opportunity to visit the New York Times office in midtown Manhattan, where we got a brief office tour and learned about the paper’s social media strategy and newest projects.

A Walk Down the New York Times’ Hall of Fame

The highlight of our office tour was when Staff Editor for the Styles section Joanna Nikas took us to Pulitzer Hall, where they keep plaques displaying and honoring their prize-winning content and the writers who wrote them. I’m a history junkie, so it was especially cool seeing the award for the Pentagon Papers.

Pulitzer Hall also illuminated why diversity is so important in newsrooms. Of the 122 prizes the Times has won, there were only two women who won Pulitzers from 1918 to 1970. That’s almost 50 years. It was nice to see the wall become more gender and race diverse climbing up in years to the present, but there’s still work that needs to be done across newsrooms to give voice to those who did not have it in the past.

A Peek Into the Paper’s Latest Projects

As social media director, Collins manages social promotion of day-in and day-out coverage and breaking news, but she also assists with planning social media strategy for bigger stories and special projects. That planning can take anywhere from a few days to several months.

For example, she just finished work on The Follower Factory, a longform article about identity theft and bots on Twitter. She showed us some cool graphs tracking the article’s views, and how readers got to the article. Not surprisingly, Twitter was the driving force for this story.

Above all, well-presented and well-written stories with killer headlines get the most attention on social media. That’s what Assistant Managing Editor Monica Drake and Staff Editor Joanna Nikas are tapping into for their new project, Surfacing.

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Monica Drake and Joanna Nikas started their new project, Surfacing, to explore subcultures around the world in a visually-appealing and well-reported way.

Surfacing hires people who can write, photograph, and execute social media for articles that explore subcultures around the globe. They’re hoping to experiment with vertical storytelling and in-the-moment reporting with Instagram stories.

Hearing about social media from the Times, a legacy media company that still receives a large portion of its readership and ad revenue from print, proves just how important social media is now.

“If you’re not listening on social, you’re missing the next story, or the next three stories,” Collins said.
A huge thanks to Professor Simone Oliver and the amazing staffers at the New York Times for showing us around and letting us see social from a new angle.


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Facebook Staffer Joins Newhouse NYC Faculty

IMG_1526With experience at Facebook, the New York Times, and Allure, Simone Oliver now brings her social media expertise to the Newhouse NYC classroom.

She may not remember her first Facebook post, but as an early adopter of social media, Oliver has always been passionate about social storytelling.

“I went through different stages of each platform where I was posting like a madwoman,” she recalls.

Last year, Oliver took that passion to Facebook as the Editor of Magazine and Lifestyle Partnerships for the social giant. And this evening she’ll teach her first social media class as an adjunct professor at Newhouse NYC. With years of experience at Facebook, the New York Times, and Allure magazine, she’s sure to incorporate her vast knowledge of digital media into her class: Social Platforms, Processes and Perspective.

Video: Meet Newhouse NYC’s Newest Addition, Simone Oliver 

Social from Day One

In addition to taking classes, Oliver’s 22 students are interning at various media companies this semester. Fortunately, Oliver knows how critical those internships can be to their future careers.

Her summer internship with the New York Times in 2003 led to her first job as a news assistant and what later became a nearly 13-year career at the paper.

“We started to transition to digital and by that time I was obsessed with becoming a copy editor,” Oliver says of her start at the New York Times. “But they don’t hire copy editors who are just a few years out of school.”

So shortly after joining the newspaper, she moved into their digital space where she worked on their website and helped make the paper a digital-first publication.

During her nearly 13 years at the New York Times, Oliver advanced to positions including Senior Fashion and Styles Web Producer/Journalist, Online Fashion Editor, and Growth Strategy Editor. She launched the newspaper’s first Instagram account in 2011, led the editorial side of their first fashion app, and co-created a fashion video series focused on individual style around New York City and the world called, “Intersection: Where Culture Meets Style.”

In 2016, Oliver became Digital Director of Allure magazine. In just a year, she led a team of 20 to completely overhaul their digital editorial strategy.

Now, six months into managing Facebook’s Magazine and Lifestyle Partnerships, Oliver is finally is achieving a lifelong career dream.

 “This company is based on Mark Zuckerberg’s dream to connect the world and I mean, c’mon, it’s kind of hard to beat that company mission,” Oliver says. “I also get to work with some of the smartest, most humble people ever.”

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Simone Oliver at Facebook’s miNY room, a tiny conference room at their NYC headquarters

The Classroom Experience

Although she’s not a Syracuse University alumni, Oliver has admired the Newhouse School since she was a teenager.

“How far back in history should I start?” Oliver jokes. “I visited Syracuse when I was a junior in high school. I remember going to the campus and being overwhelmed with how beautiful it was. And I remember thinking how amazing it was, but it was cold!”

Oliver graduated with a degree in English from Howard University in Washington, D.C. And while it’s understandable that the Syracuse cold isn’t for everyone, Oliver feels like she’s finally getting a piece of Syracuse through teaching at Newhouse NYC.

“It’s something I wanted to do because I’ve had teachers that have made a tremendous difference in my life,” she says. “It’s been a dream of mine for a very long time and to have this opportunity to me is something that I won’t ever take for granted.”

The Spring 2018 Newhouse NYC students will be her first teaching experience, and she promises not to disappoint with a “really, really fun class that covers a lot of ground.”

“I really want students to leave the class with an understanding of how much they can do across social media and realize how important social media is for storytelling and business growth,” Oliver says.

Her philosophy for teaching? Mostly, she wants to be extremely welcoming.

“We have a lot of different minds, personalities, and learning styles in one room week after week, and I think it’s important to make yourself accessible and to be approachable,” she says.

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Simone Oliver wearing one of her signature styles at Facebook’s NYC headquarters

Outside of her Social Space

Aside from her passion for all things digital, Oliver is quite the fashionista. Throughout her career, fashion has played a large role in her daily life at work and at home.

“Here’s why I like fashion: Fashion to me has nothing to do about how much money you have, how much access you have. Fashion to me is a convergence of creativity and business. And, to me, it just never gets old.”

 Aside from her unique style, this New York native is also a beloved foodie and travel addict.  She enjoys traveling with her husband and daughter around the world, trying different cuisines.

Newhouse NYC is thrilled to have Professor Oliver as an addition to their faculty.

Article and video written and produced by Nicole DeMentri, Broadcast & Digital Journalism ’18 and Newhouse NYC alumna

Does Your Newhouse Major Dictate Your Job? (The Answer is “No.”)

By Brad Hanford, Television, Radio, & Film ’17 and Newhouse NYC alum


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The nine majors offered by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

Committing to any one of Newhouse’s nine majors may cause paralysis for many prospective students. The fluid and overlapping nature of the media world means that almost anyone drawn to it will inevitably have interests that lie in more than one of these categories. And the inevitable need to decide on a career path adds another element of stress to this decision–even for those who feel confident in their choice of major.


Luckily, the majors we choose at Syracuse University aren’t as prescriptive of our future careers as we might think. As countless Newhouse alumni–including the three below–can attest to, the degrees we earn in school don’t have to correspond to the jobs we end up in.

Raja Ram

Raja Ram ‘14

Major: Television, Radio, & Film

Current job: Digital Strategy Analyst, Condé Nast  

Raja Ram went to Newhouse as a Television, Radio, & Film major, but he currently works as a Digital Strategy Analyst at Condé Nast. If that doesn’t sound like a TRF job, that’s because it isn’t.

While his career began in the TRF field–he interned at a production and distribution company during his Syracuse University in Los Angeles semester–he quickly realized that the creative field wasn’t for him. Raja soon landed a job at an ad agency.

“I was a bit concerned at first, as I had no advertising experience,” he says. “But I assumed that the recruiting staff had confidence in me, I was eager to learn on the job.”

Although he doesn’t work in a traditional TRF position, he says that his TRF education and experience has helped him in his work forecasting video and ad views.

“A major is not a definition of yourself,” he advises current students. “You are inherently valuable and have proven you have the ability to learn by being a Newhouse student.”

Going further, he advises that “media is a big world and it’s important to view it as more than simple silos.”

Like countless other Newhouse alumni, Raja realized that the real-world experience of his major wasn’t for him, and used his education to help him adapt to a position better suited to him.


Stephanie SmithStephanie Smith, ‘13

Major: Magazine

Current job: Senior Account Executive, Hunter Public Relations

Stephanie Smith, a Magazine major currently working with Hunter Public Relations, tells a similar story, but her move into a different field wasn’t motivated by a distaste for the careers in her major. While in school, she worked for several campus publications and held magazine internships, as well.

“I loved working at all these publications and was excited to take on these opportunities,” Stephanie says. “If anything, I think they helped shape and make my experience even stronger and more diverse.”

Stephanie also says that her magazine background has helped her work in PR, from giving her a general understanding of the media field to, most importantly, making her a strong writer.

“Don’t have tunnel vision and think the only job you can get is in your specific field,” she advises current Newhouse students. “Look at job descriptions and think about how your skill set can be applicable and speak to alums who have made a switch.”

Like Raja, Stephanie’s career goes to show that the education we receive in Newhouse can be, and often are, applied almost anywhere in media.


Dana Froome

Dana Froome ‘16

Major: Public Relations

Current job: Assistant Programming Editor, Mashable

Dana Froome’s career found its shape in another way, one that shows that different media fields can overlap with each other.

A PR major at Newhouse, Dana says she was consistently drawn to the editorial side of her work. During her Newhouse NYC semester she interned at Hearst PR, which then helped her land an editorial internship at Cosmopolitan during the winter semester of her senior year. She now works as an Assistant Programming Editor at Mashable.

Like Stephanie’s background in writing, Dana’s experience in PR gave her universal communications skills.

“I understood how to craft engaging stories via multiple platforms,” Dana says.

Dana’s advice to students unsure about their majors or how they’ll translate to the real world is to join clubs on campus that they might be interested in.

Reach out to alum whose career paths you admire, and pursue every internship/freelance position that comes your way,” she advises.

Like her fellow alumni, Dana’s interest in other parts of the media world led her down her an unexpected but rewarding path.


As we in Newhouse NYC are shown on a regular basis in our internships, the real world doesn’t neatly correspond to the layout of any academic program–and nowhere is this truer than in media. The skills and experience we acquire both in Newhouse and on our own afford us a wealth of career options, which is essential for those of us who find that a different field may be a better fit.

Newhouse Alumni in the Social Space: 5 Alums Explain the Evolution of Their Social Media Careers

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By Tessa Latrenta, ADV senior and Newhouse NYC student

As part of the Newhouse NYC semester, students have the opportunity to hear from various alumni throughout the communications industry–which now especially includes social media. Many students, like myself, hope to graduate and one day work for major social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare. I spoke with five alumni now working in the social industry to learn about their careers–both past and present–and how their roles have evolved.

Eric Forman ‘11, Advertising

Facebook, Global Marketing Solutions

Eric FormanOne of our first field trips this semester was to Facebook, where we had the opportunity to speak with Eric Forman. He credits working at an advertising agency post-graduation for allowing him to transition to working within the social space now. After gaining experience at a media agency for two years, he then moved on to land a job at Facebook.

He now works within global marketing solutions at Facebook and has been there for the past four years. As Eric related, working at a media agency opened various opportunities and connections for him, and one of those contacts was able to introduce him to the right people at Facebook.

“Don’t fret the first job post-graduation,” Eric advised. “But as students advance, they should make sure they are working on the right business and accounts to help them succeed within their next role.”   

Mindy Diamond ’11, Public Relations

Twitter, Senior Product Partnerships Manager

Mindy DiamondMindy Diamond started her career within the sports industry, interning and working for companies like ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Mindy explained that she was able to gain a ton of experience and enjoyed working on one of her passions: sports. For the first few years of her career, Mindy moved around at various companies trying new roles and starting new projects. After trying several roles for three years, she felt that she needed to take her next move very seriously in order to find something more lasting.

Mindy reflected on what she had done and what she hoped to do for the next few years. She spent a lot of time thinking about what made her excited every day and came to a conclusion.

“I loved the intersection of media and technology, and became most excited when it was all about tech,” she said.

Mindy was faced with the decision to either stay in sports or be more industry agnostic. She looked for a company that she believed in and could grow into; she explained that many companies are open to having their employees discover new roles by offering shadow programs or other opportunities.

Eventually, Mindy found her current position at Twitter working in product partnerships. Her roles and goals have evolved from a focus within one area, sports, to become more centralized on advancements in technology and consumer media behavior.  

Mindy’s biggest piece of advice for students and recent grads is to not get caught up in wanting to work for big brand names and have a flashy company on their resume.

“Large companies can be great workplaces, but often people need a smaller company to start at, where they can move internally and develop various skill sets,” Mindy described.

She also challenges people early within their career to not be afraid to explore outside of their major. “All communications jobs are writing intensive, and Newhouse trains you to work collaboratively with others.”

Michael Rosen ‘94

Foursquare, Vice President Sales

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen, the current Vice President of Sales at Foursquare, challenges students to think of companies like Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter as much broader than just social companies.

“These companies have roots in social, but I wouldn’t say they are just social companies, rather they have leveraged a core consumer set that interacts with content,” Michael explains.

Michael began his career at Showtime Networks and found that opportunity through the Newhouse network.

“Relationships help to get in the door, but, after that, you have to shine on your own,” he says.

He spent six years at Showtime and was invested in the company, but, at the time, digital was just starting to be part of the discussion. He knew that he needed to go outside to try a hand at digital.

“If you see a subset of market you believe is critical take the risk and do it. For example, an upcoming market right now is augmented reality,” Michael urges students.   

When he was looking for his next roles–at Bloomberg and now at Foursquare–it was more about his future potential rather than the positions he had held previously. One of the most important aspects of advancing and finding the next role is to move to a transparent company where every voice matters, Michael says. Many of his leadership roles have come because the company wanted a new perspective.

Michael recommends recent grads go to companies with “diversified offerings where they can gain experience in various different areas.”  


Angela Hu ‘12, Magazine Journalism

Instagram, Business Marketing Manager  

Angela HU

Angela Hu is currently a business marketing manager at Instagram, but she started by working at New York magazine.

The opportunity was facilitated by several Newhouse alumni who introduced her to editors at New York magazine. This lead to an internship and then an editorial assistant position for their special issues.

After this role, she moved to J.Crew and then Madewell in social media marketing.

“I know when to move on to a new role is when I’ve learned as much as I absolutely can and feel like I have performed at my best,” Angela says.

She never wants to feel complacent in any job and always tries to challenge herself to find roles that are both mentally and emotionally stimulating. So when a recruiter reached out to her for the Instagram team, she interviewed immediately. She says she was lucky to join a team and product that she loves.

“It differs a lot [from my past roles],” Angela says of her new position at Instagram, “but there are a lot of skills that I acquired from my degree in magazine journalism that I still use on a day-to-day basis.”

One of her best skills is writing clearly and succinctly, which she learned through magazine journalism. She is now in more of a senior role, which means she gets to be more strategic and think broader about overall team and company goals. It also comes with the responsibility of presenting to more C-level executives and honing public speaking skills.

“Some days it’s still really scary (and uncomfortable),” she admits, “and that’s when I usually know I still have a lot to learn.”

Overall, Angela’s biggest piece of advice for recent grads is to follow up with everyone they meet and be persistent. “A nice email will mean a lot and as personalized you can make it, the better. It makes the receiver feel special.”


Brenden Lee ‘12, Public Relations

Twitter, Communications

Brenden LeeSimilar to Mindy Diamond, Brenden Lee started his career within the sports industry. Following his passion for sports, he worked within communications for companies like the Philadelphia Eagles and the National Football League.

Brenden related that as he advanced, his roles and responsibilities became more diverse. He emphasized that being able to execute as one moves up is crucial.

“Have a well thought-out opinion and show your superiors and coworkers that you are able to think creatively,” he advises students and recent grads.

After working in communications for the NFL, Brenden moved to the social platform Twitter. At Twitter, he is now able to combine working in technology with sports. As Twitter began live streaming sports, he related that he wanted to take on a larger role and learn new skills, so he made the move to the social platform to advance his career. He now leads sports communications for the platform, both consumer facing and business-to-business promotion for live streaming sporting events.

Brenden described that the biggest difference in his current role is the ability to execute his ideas. As a manager, he now leads a team and handles all of Twitter’s sports communications in the US.

“Be diverse, be able to write, know the news, and have the mindset—particularly in tech—where you want to grow and learn about everything,” Brenden urges students. “Those who aren’t stuck in a box advance the fastest.”

Mentor Matches: 6 Alums Who Are Giving Back to Newhouse NYC Students

By Haley Millan, MAG senior and Newhouse NYC student

One of the best parts of the Newhouse NYC program is the mentor program. Each semester, students gets matched with mentors—typically Newhouse alums who share their major and/or desired field. The commitment is for the semester only, but, as the following six students can attest, the relationships often last far beyond that. Much of that good fortune is thanks to Cheryl Brody Franklin, Director of Newhouse NYC, who knows how to be a good matchmaker. While every mentor-mentee match is unique, the following matches show how above and beyond mentors are often willing to go for their mentees.

1. Sarah Barth ’16 (Broadcast and Digital Journalism & Political Science) and Jessica Cunnington ’12 (Anchor/Reporter, News 12)


Sarah came to Newhouse NYC the spring of her junior year as a BDJ and Political Science dual. She was paired with Jessica Cunnington, a news reporter at News 12 who graduated with the same dual major in 2012. Jessica has mentored multiple times for Newhouse NYC, so it’s no surprise that there’s something special there.

“Jess is a total rock star and I don’t know how she does it,” Sarah says. “She’s training for a marathon and obviously works crazy hours, but she still makes time and is always there. To this day, we still talk.”

Even after Newhouse NYC, the pair meet up whenever Sarah’s in the city.

“It’s great to have the experience of a professional friend. It’s not like we’re networking, nothing’s forced. Cheryl does a great job of matching people,” Sarah says of Director Franklin, who coordinates all the mentor matches each semester.

This semester, Jessica is a mentor for Newhouse NYC student Nikki DeMentri. And Nikki loves her just as much as Sarah!

2. Saumya Vasuthevan ’17 (Television, Radio, & Film) and Fiona Gibb ’95 (Senior Editor, HBO)


Saumya came to Newhouse NYC in Spring 2017, and without Director Franklin knowing the connection, she paired Saumya, an international student from Hong Kong, with Fiona Gibb, a green card holder.

Saumya instantly felt connected to Fiona, saying, “It was really easy to talk to her about the whole visa nightmare. She got it immediately.”

Fiona, a magazine alum, was eager to help Saumya start her career. When interviewing for internships, Saumya received an email from Fiona with a link to interview prep that could help her land a gig. And it’s something Saumya still uses before all of her interviews today.

“I told her I was in really precarious position for my summer internship, and I was freaking out, because I had declined an offer, thinking I was going to get another (but got rejected from the second place). I had no offers so close to summer. She was so calm and just asked me ‘What can I do for you?’”

She gave Saumya the best advice she says she’s received so far: Never accept a job you’re not excited about.

“Sure enough, everything worked out in the end, but it was really comforting having someone more senior than you help put things in perspective. And make you realize that things like this happen, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll be okay.”

3. Daniel Denning ’18 (Advertising) and Leo Wong ’14 (Account Manager, Droga5)


During his Spring 2017 semester at Newhouse NYC, Dan was paired with Leo Wong. Both advertising majors, Dan and Leo had a professional and friendly relationship. Leo emailed and texted Dan advice about his career, as well as the coolest things to do in NYC.

A lot of Leo’s advice echoed Director Franklin’s, like emphasizing the importance of networking and staying in touch.

“He also advised me not to be afraid to change my mind about what I want to do,” Dan says. “Leo thought he wanted to do creative advertising and even did the creative track in the Newhouse advertising major, but ended up loving account management more and pursued that instead.”

While in NYC, Dan visited Droga5 twice. Once was on a field trip with other Newhouse NYC students, but the second time Leo personally invited Dan to give him a more in-depth company tour. Dan told Leo which Droga5 departments interested him, and Leo set up half-hour interviews with five different employees.

“Since my Newhouse NYC semester ended a few months ago, I have been keeping up my professional and friendly relationship with Leo,” Dan says. “He has continued to give me advice, and I always feel comfortable asking him for help with anything advertising or career related. He came to visit Syracuse University a few weeks ago and gave me a big hug when he saw me. It was great to see him on campus and catch up.”

4. Kaitlyn Frey ’16 (Magazine) and Abigail Cuffey ‘07 (Deputy Editor, Woman’s Day magazine)


During her Newhouse NYC semester in August 2014, Kaitlyn was matched with Abigail Cuffey, a Magazine alum who was then the heath director at Woman’s Day. Kaitlyn looked at Abby as a role model, and once they met she was overtaken by how down-to-earth she was.

“The first thing we did together was SoulCycle, which was so fun,” Kaitlyn recalls. I didn’t expect to do something with her that was so personal.”

Kaitlyn would always text and email Abby about any internship questions, like prioritizing assignments or sharing stories that she had published.

Even after Kaitlyn’s Newhouse NYC semester ended, the pair still meet up. They keep in touch through email and social media. And Abby even made sure to take Kaitlyn out for drinks once she finally turned 21.

“Now we are more close on a personal level,” Kaitlyn says. “Over the years we’ve talked about her wedding and dress shopping, and now she’s married and has a baby. It’s crazy how time flies by.”

5. Laura Superina ’18 (Magazine) and Sarah Christensen ‘07 (Director of E-commerce Product Management & Operations, ANN Inc.)


In the spring of her junior year, Laura came to Newhouse NYC with a dilemma: she was a magazine major, but didn’t want to pursue an editorial career in magazines. Director Franklin matched her with Sarah Christensen, who was also a magazine major who decided editorial wasn’t for her either.

“When I first spoke to Sarah, I was confused about what I wanted to do,” Laura said. “She made me feel so much better because had been in the same position. We talked about how to create a narrative for myself where I can use the skills I learned in my major. She helped me shape what to say to stand out amongst others.”

Sarah helped Laura figure out what kind of internships she should look for, and even sent leads over that she thought Laura would be interested in.

“I had never thought of anyone as a mentor, and with this experience—to be given a mentor who you respect and get along with—set an example for me,” Laura says. “It taught me how to make connections and maintain them.”

6. Ada Lam ’18 (Advertising & Psychology) and Helen Rubinstein ‘13 (Account Supervisor at Cohn & Wolfe)


Ada came to Newhouse NYC in Spring 2017 as an advertising and psychology dual. She splits her time between Wisconsin and Hong Kong, so location was a main concern. Thankfully, she was paired with mentor and Public Relations alum Helen Rubinstein.

Though Helen couldn’t completely relate to Ada’s situation, she made sure she would do whatever she could to help Ada—even reaching out to her friends in the industry to get advice. She always kept it honest with Ada, especially when it came to facing the fact that the job market in Wisconsin would likely pale in comparison to Hong Kong.

Ada and Helen saw each other more often than the required two or three meet-ups. They would get lunch every two or three weeks, which gave Helen the opportunity to show Ada around New York and introduce her to the best food places (like a spot in the Flatiron district with the best tacos Ada’s ever had).

“Sometimes meeting and connecting with people is very formal, but Helen was so casual with me. I felt comfortable,” Ada said. “She seemed genuinely interested in not just helping me settle in NYC or my internship, but also my classes and personal life.”

NEWHOUSE ALUMNI: Interested in becoming a mentor? Apply here! 

Newhouse NYC Professors: On and Off the Job

By: Isabella Wood

At Newhouse NYC, we are so lucky to have amazing professors who are successful leaders in their industries. There is nothing better than being taught by people with current, real-world experience–and there is something to be said about learning from powerful women.

I interviewed our three professors to see how their professional careers inform their classes, and how teaching has influenced their professions.

Ariana Finlayson

Adjunct Professor, Social Platforms, Processes, and Perspectives

When you work in and teach social media, your job responsibilities–and your syllabus–are constantly changing.

This is certainly true for Professor Ariana Finlayson, who is the Vice President of Digital Engagement at Marina Maher Communications, a modern marketing communications company in New York City. She has an editorial background, having worked at Hearst and Wenner before transitioning into public relations and marketing.

“At the end of the day, I love reaching consumers, and I really find people in general really fascinating,” she said of her transition.

In her current role, Professor Finlayson is overseeing various team members and brand sets. It’s a switch from her previous job on the front lines of corporate brand channels.

She recognized that being a manager is not all that different from being a teacher.

“When you’re in a managerial role or in a leadership role, like being an adjunct, you have to be really aware of how much energy you have because you’re affecting a lot of people,” she said.

She mentioned that her classes can help in her professional career, because her students are a “soundboard for reaching generation Z,” which is a frequently targeted audience. Professor Finlayson often discusses targeting, so we can help her determine what the youngest generation will be captivated by.

Professor Finlayson also says the class brings her back to the roots of the industry, as she gets to explain complicated concepts to people who are essentially blank slates.

“In a way it kind of keeps me human, and doesn’t make me go too far down the marketing strategist hole,” she said.

Teaching a class reminds her of the industry basics, which she has less hands-on work with in her managerial position.

“I kind of have to break it down back to its foundation,” she said, adding that “I keep reconnecting with that foundation” while teaching the class.

But her career helps her class even more. Social media is ever-changing, and Professor Finlayson is careful to not get stuck teaching old practices. She is constantly updating her syllabus with the industry.

“My syllabus has never stayed the same semester over semester… it kind of changes based on the clients that you have,” she says.

Being immersed in the industry means she always knows what is up and coming in the social landscape, so she can teach her class in real time.

Joy-Ann Reid

Adjunct Professor, Race, Gender, and the Media

Professor Joy-Ann Reid, best known as the controversial and captivating host of MSNBC’s “AM Joy,”  begins every class with a discussion of what happened in politics over the previous week.

“This is honestly the perfect time to be teaching this class,” she said of teaching such a relevant topic in the tumultuous political atmosphere.

She will frequently rearrange her syllabus to include relevant lessons during weeks when the topic is pertinent. For instance, this semester we discussed the concept of race and policing in America during the NFL anthem protest controversy, which was incredibly relevant and topical.

As an MSNBC anchor and national correspondent, Professor Reid is always happy to share her insights on the news as well as listen to her student’s perspectives.

“What you write in your papers is so interesting… it offers a different perspective,” she told me about the class as a whole.

Professor Reid is also an invaluable resource to her students because of her diverse professional background. Along with hosting her own show, she is a frequent guest on “Meet the Press” and “The Rachel Maddow Show,” she is working on a documentary project, and she has written books including Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide.

Professor Reid is not only working in a landscape relevant to this class, but she’s living it.

“Being a woman and being African-American means that I notice these issues of diversity,” she said, making clear that issues of race and gender are not unique to this political landscape. However, they are at the forefront of the news more often than usual.

“99 percent of what I cover is politics,” she said, and mentioned that teaching her class reminds her that “not all news audiences are over 50 years old.” Her students give her perspective each week during in-class discussions and through writing assignments–and we are just as lucky in return.

Maryanne Stanganelli

Adjunct Professor, Communications Law for PR and Advertising

Professor Maryanne Stanganelli finds direct parallels all the time between teaching and her legal career. teaches the communications law class. She is a litigation professional development manager at the law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. In that position, she works on professional development and mentoring young lawyers, so her role at the law firm is “almost teacher-like.” She mentioned the direct parallels between teaching undergraduates and professional development.

“What was great when I started this job was to be able to match my knowledge with a more practical approach for undergraduates,” she said.

This is not Professor Stanganelli’s first teaching job. Previously she taught both undergraduates and law students at the University of Miami previously, and she liked teaching because it is easy to get bogged down in specifics of law, whereas “this class requires you to stay on top of what is fun and new and cutting-edge.”

She also mentioned that her class reminds her of the basics, and gets her out of speaking exclusively in legalese.

“Every once in awhile you have to give legal advice to a small company where there is no lawyer and you have to be able to explain it in a way that’s not speaking in legalese… it takes some effort,” said Professor Stanganelli, comparing that circumstance to teaching law to undergraduate students with little to no background in the subject.

But, of course, her professional experience is invaluable to her students.

Until just recently, Professor Stanganelli was a litigator specializing in copyright and trademark law, a huge focus of our class. Her cases would frequently work their way into her lessons, ensuring that each lesson was as current and relevant as possible.

She loves her law career for the same reason she loves her class. “In both, you get to learn about new industries all the time,” she said.

We are so grateful to learn from these three industry stars as they teach us things we couldn’t imagine learning in any other classroom setting, and we hope we help them along the way as well.

Our Top Tweet-Worthy Moments at Twitter NYC!

By: Omneya Aboushanab

On Monday, November 27th, our Social Media class was given the chance to tour the Twitter NYC offices with Newhouse alumna Mindy Diamond. Mindy graduated from Newhouse in 2011 as a public relations major, and is now Senior Product Partnerships Manager at Twitter. She gave us a presentation about Twitter and her role there, as well a quick tour of the very cool office space.

It wouldn’t be an official visit to Twitter without a #tweet or two. Luckily my classmate and friend, Max Murphy, took over the Newhouse NYC Twitter on Monday to live-tweet our tour, and he captured some great moments that we want to share with you.

Of course, as you would expect, the branding at Twitter was amazing. Their infamous logo was everywhere! We saw it on the lobby entrance, the walls, the presentation, Mindy’s water bottle…our name tags. We loved it!


We learned a lot of insider information during our visit. By now, you probably know that Twitter upped its character limit. But did you know that you could turn that feature off? Neither did I. Now I know, and now you know. You’re welcome.

Fun fact about this sign: Every Twitter office that exists in the world has their own version of it. The hashtag comes from a Twitter employee that was ill. She received tons of support from her Twitter office family, and one day posted about it using #LoveWhereYouWork. She later passed away, and the hashtag stuck with the company. Mindy says that is just one example of how close-knit the Twitter employees really are.

One of the coolest spaces in the Twitter NYC offices was the cafeteria. It resembled a classic high school cafeteria. Twitter employees are given breakfast and lunch every day (jealous, I know), which allows them to interact with people from other teams. The cafeteria includes a small stage where they host employee events and speakers. Of course, that includes Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey when he’s in town.

A huge thank you to Mindy for an amazing tour, and another thank you to our Professor Ariana Finlayson for organizing this experience for us. Sadly, this was our last social media trip, but a great one. Glad we were able to end with a bang as the fall semester winds down.

To read more about the rest of our trip, be sure to check out Max’s full takeover on the Newhouse NYC Twitter!