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What We Learned at VICE, the Fader and TBWA

By Liesel Rickert, Senior Newhouse NYC student and PR major 

Ask any of the 19 students studying in Newhouse NYC this fall what their favorite part of class and you will overwhelmingly hear class field trips. In the Race, Gender and the Media (RGM) course taught by Danyel Smith, we were lucky enough to visit VICE, TBWA and The Fader. We got tours of the offices and sat down with our hosts to hear how their identities have impacted their careers. Read on to learn a little more about each trip!


On October 14, the RGM class had the opportunity to visit VICE’s office in Brooklyn and talk with Angela Zucconi, VP of Finance, and James Schwab, Co-President of VICE Media. It was incredible to see and hear firsthand about how fast the company has expanded over the past few years. When we asked Mr. Schwab about how VICE has managed to keep its “cool kid” persona while undergoing such rapid expansion, his answer was quite simple: “To us, it’s not about getting cooler, it’s about getting better.” He argued as long as VICE keeps hiring the best and brightest, everything else will fall into place. After talking with Mr. Schwab, Angela Zucconi walked us through everything VICE has accomplished as well as her own inspiring career path as a female in the world of finance.

After receiving a tour of the working space at the advertising agency TBWA on October 29, the students in the RGM class were inspired by SU alumnus Doug Melville (Chief Diversity Officer at TBWA). He led the students through his unlikely and motivating career path, from working with A-list celebrities to founding his own company and finally becoming the Chief Diversity Officer for TBWA. As Doug moved through the communications and entertainment industries, he picked up seven helpful tips he was happy to share with the students as well as tips of his own including “you’re live once you walk in the door” and “focus on the ideas that aren’t ideas yet.” The students loved hearing from Doug.

Finally on November 4, we heard from Joseph Patel (Vice President of Content) and Rawiya Kameir (Senior Writer) at The Fader, and they shared their career paths and how their race and gender affected their positions. Rawiya, for instance, said being a woman has helped her score some major interviews, however she doesn’t always want people to view her content through the lens of her identity markers. Joseph noted that often friction of identities and expectations inspires creativity. Syracuse University alumnus and co-founder Jon Cohen also left a lasting impression with the students as he talked about his career and enthusiasm for the music industry.
Thank you to all of our incredible and welcoming hosts for the great field trips!

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