SMPA is a pioneering teaching and research leader. Professor Silvio Waisbord is Editor of the International Journal of Press/Politics, an interdisciplinary journal for the analysis and discussion of the role of the press and politics in a globalized world.
Gain access to countless career opportunities
Students at our annual Communications Career Expo network with a CNN recruiter. SMPA helps students pursue rewarding careers in media, journalism, and communications via internships, networking events, and employment workshops.
Collaborate with faculty on research and special projects
Graduate student Rachel Weisel and Professor Kimberly Gross, in partnership with the Project for Excellence in Journalism, studied how the media uses Twitter. Their findings were published in a groundbreaking report that garnered national press coverage.
World-class speakers and events provide invaluable perspective
Students line up outside GW's Lisner Auditorium before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speak at an event hosted by SMPA. The event was broadcast on CNN.
Learn and operate industry-standard broadcasting equipment and software
SMPA Faculty and staff use the flash studio for live and recorded professional programming.
World-class speakers and events provide invaluable perspective
Longtime political reporter and broadcaster Gwen Ifill of The Newshour with Jim Lehrer addresses students.
World-class speakers and events provide invaluable perspective
CNN's Christiane Amanpour and SMPA Director Frank Sesno interview five former U.S. Secretaries of State, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Warren Christopher, Henry A. Kissinger and James A. Baker III. The free event was sponsored by SMPA.
Study media in heart of Washington, and the world
SMPA is home to Prime Movers Media, an organization that sends student interns and media professionals to public high schools in Washington, D.C. to teach journalism.
SMPA welcomed GW alum, PR/social media specialist and food blogger Marissa Bialecki on February 23 for a food blogging master class that included PowerPoints of dangerously appealing food blogs and photos, as well as Bialecki's own "10 Food Blogging Commandments." Bialecki began her food blog during her time as a GW student as a creative, and delicious, outlet to her academic classes as a Journalism and Mass Communication major.
Bialecki gives a rundown of the 10 Food Blogging Commandments.
Bialecki began the master class with the warning that a blog name is rarely temporary if one is lucky enough to reach popularity, so I promptly eliminated "I'm Really Hungry and Am Limited By My Lack of Cooking Ability" as my future blog's title.
Andrew Feldman, former SMPA student and political director for John Delaney’s (D-MD) successful congressional campaign, has started his own firm, Feldman Strategies LLC. Feldman Strategies will serve political and advocacy campaigns, specializing in communication strategy, event management, and political outreach.
Feldman graduated in 2011 from GW's School of Media and Public Affairs with a BA in Political Communication. He encourages all students to get involved with SMPA Director Frank Sesno's Advisory Council and to attend the many events the School organizes throughout the year.
"I believe SMPA will always be a major factor in my success in the political world. The relationships you make while at SMPA whether it be with professors, fellows, or guests who come to speak in the Jack Morton Auditorium — in addition to the skills you learn in the classroom — are truly invaluable to being successful in the political arena. I will always be thankful for everything I got to experience and everyone I got to meet while at SMPA, it is truly a one of a kind experience, and SMPA will always be close to my heart, said Feldman.
Prior to his role as the Delaney Campaign Political Director, Feldman spent several years working on campaigns ranging from city council seats to the presidency. He also worked in government, most notably doing advance work for the Office of the Vice President.
Tara Rosenblum (BA ’00) began her career in journalism as a young child in South Florida. “As a little girl, I ran around my neighborhood delivering a newsletter I wrote with crayons,” says Rosenblum. “For as long as I can remember, I wanted to pursue a career in journalism.” Since then, this SMPA alumna has been busy making a name for herself in broadcast news.
Rosenblum works as a reporter and anchor for News 12 Westchester and Hudson Valley Weekend Edition, both in New York. Since she arrived at News 12 in 2004, Rosenblum has earned more than 60 major industry awards, including 3 Emmy wins and another 17 Emmy nominations.
“My fiancé jokes that I am the Meryl Streep of local news Emmys because my number of wins and nominations is the same as her Academy Award wins and nominations,” laughs Rosenblum.
Her most recent Emmy win occurred at this year’s annual New York Emmy Awards ceremony, where she was named Best Writer for a news piece titled “When Cultures Clash.” The story was a culmination of a year and a half of investigative journalism into the conflict between New Square, New York, a community of devout Hasidic Jews, and its secular neighbors. Although Jewish herself, Rosenblum found it difficult to locate anyone in New Square willing to speak with her, either on or off camera. In fact, once she started asking the community questions about reports of zoning law violations, a man from the religious sect tried to run down Rosenblum and her camera crew with his car in an effort to deter further reporting. Nevertheless, Rosenblum persevered, pounding the pavement to cover on the story. The National Society of Professional Journalists, which just honored Rosenblum for her work on “When Cultures Clash” with an award at the National Press Club last week, praised it as “good old-fashioned shoe leather journalism.”
Rosenblum credits her time at the School of Media and Public Affairs for her solid journalistic foundation. Taking advantage of SMPA’s access to great internships in the city, Rosenblum interned at the White House, Capitol Hill, and CNN’s White House news unit while a student. She also formed close bonds with a number of her professors.
“The education I received at SMPA has been so relevant to my career,” says Rosenblum. “In Professor Steve Roberts’ class, for example, we were taught everything from in-depth questioning techniques to how to craft the perfect headline. I use these lessons every day as a reporter.”
She also credits Professor Roxanne Russell, who helped Rosenblum land her first job—covering the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles at CBS News—with launching her professional career. “I was so fortunate to have such great professors like Professor Russell who really believed in me,” says Rosenblum.
Since her time as a student, Rosenblum has embraced the visual power of the television medium, which she believes can illustrate a compelling story. Her philosophy? “If a picture is worth a thousand words,” explains Rosenblum, “then a video must be worth a million words!”
When asked what the most rewarding part of her job is, Rosenblum tells the story of Jason Price, a young resident in the Hudson Valley. According to Rosenblum, Price was diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer, but his insurance company refused to pay for the experimental treatment that could save his life. After she reported on his plight, local residents joined together to raise the over $50,000 needed to cover his treatment.
"It's all about impacting people on a local level with our reporting,” says Rosenblum. “I don’t think there’s anything more powerful than that.”
Watch Tara Rosenblum's Emmy-winning story "When Cultures Clash" below:
As director of communications and deputy chief of staff for Washington D.C. Councilmember David Catania (I-At-Large), SMPA alumnus Brendan Williams-Kief (PCM ’05) manages media relations, drafts press releases, coordinates press conferences, speaks with reporters, and pitches stories. When asked to summarize his job position in one sentence, however, Williams-Kief laughs, “Well, a huge part of my job is just talking!”
That Williams-Kief majored in political communications as an undergraduate is no surprise. After taking a course in broadcast journalism his sophomore year, however, he decided to explore a career in media. With the help of his professor, Mark Feldstein, Williams-Kief landed an internship at Washington, DC’s NBC 4. He worked as a production assistant the fall of his junior year, moved to weekend assignment editor the fall of his senior year, and, after he graduated, began working full time at the station. He eventually worked his way to manager of the editorial news desk for the flagship newscast, the 11:00 pm news. Despite enjoying his time at NBC 4, however, his love of politics was pushing him to embrace a new challenge.
“After having lived in the District for so long, I started seeing myself as a local,” says Williams-Kief, who hails from the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. “Obviously, I had been covering local news and living here for many years. The whole odd reality of being a DC resident without legislative voting rights, it really made me want to get involved in the political process.” Read the rest of this entry »
With Facebook's IPO gaining massive attention last Friday came this Saturday New York Times feature of their Washington D.C. efforts. Guess who is mentioned as the young Capitol Hill staffer who started it all? Our very own alumnus Adam Conner, Political Communication major class of 2006! Read the article:
Congrats are in order: Angelica Spanos (BA ’09), a video journalist at WBOC-TV, has won the “Outstanding Video Journalist/One Man Band Reporter” award by the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association. Way to go Angelica!
Beth Murphy, a 1992 alumna of The Documentary Center, will be premiering her latest documentary at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival this weekend.
Her film, The List, details the struggles of Kirk Johnson to help former Iraqi co-workers escape their war-torn country. Johnson worked for the United States Agency for International Development rebuilding Iraqi infrastructures destroyed in the war. However, upon his return home from the Middle East, he received word of former Iraqi co-workers being targeted as “traitors” to their country for having worked with Americans. Johnson immediately began compiling a list of threatened Iraqis and attempting to secure their safe passage out of Iraq. The List follows his efforts over the course of four years, highlighting the stories of Iraqis he has helped.
How did Murphy choose this subject to be the focus of her next documentary project? She serves on the board of the International Institute of New England, an organization that helps settle refugees in the Boston area. In early 2007, the organization was told to prepare for a large influx of Iraqi refugees, especially those who had worked directly for the United States government who were being kidnapped and killed by fellow Iraqis. This expected flood of refugees, however, never arrived. Murphy called the State Department to find answers, and her investigation led her to Johnson. Less than a month after meeting him, Murphy began filming. To document the story, Murphy traveled from Iraq to Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, braving war zones and hostile attitudes.
“Wherever he was going with his remarkable one-man fight, I wanted to document it,” Murphy explains. “To me, Kirk Johnson represents the best of America – who we want to be or imagine ourselves to be when we engage in the world.”
This is not Beth’s first Tribeca experience. Her first feature, Beyond Belief, premiered at Tribeca in 2007.
“I’m looking forward to having the film’s world premiere in an environment that truly feels like family,” says Murphy.
When asked what advice she could give to aspiring documentary filmmakers, she shared this bit of wisdom: “The most important thing I learned is to just stay true to the story you’re trying to tell," she says. This lesson recently was reiterated by her former teacher, SMPA research professor and director of The Documentary Center, Nina Seavey.
“One of the most profound things I heard during production came from Nina," says Murphy. "Since I studied at The Documentary Center, Nina has been a mentor and friend, and she served as story consultant for The List. I had been editing for weeks to establish the film’s narrative structure, and knew I’d finally had an important breakthrough. Nina said, 'The story—as it wants to be told—is revealing itself to you.' And I love what that says about documentary filmmaking and about life itself."
Seavey has enjoyed watching Murphy develop into a skilled filmmaker.
"Becoming a filmmaker is not about even making one film, or many, it is about exploring the world around you in an honest, truthful, and engaging way," says Seavey. "Over the years, Beth has grown and matured so much in these critical areas as she has been finding her own, unique voice as a filmmaker. It has been a privilege for me to be part of that discovery."
The List premieres on Saturday, April 21, 2012. The documentary is one of twelve films competing in the "World Documentary" category. Watch the film's trailer below.
I began working at Edelman Public Relations shortly after graduation on the digital public affairs team. At Edelman, I manage a blogger engagement program, write Web content and develop digital strategies for a national energy trade association and other energy and international clients.
The #CapTweets data set included 456 official Congressional Twitter handles and almost 60,000 tweets sent by Members of Congress. Some of my favorite findings are that 49 percent of Congress tweets across the virtual aisle to colleagues of another political party. Additionally, Democratic Members of Congress mention @YouTube and @MSNBC most often, while Republicans mention @WSJ and @FoxNews.
Capitol Tweets has gotten some great pickup in the past few days, including a Mashable post, a Roll Call piece and a live hit on CNN. It’s been incredibly humbling (and really, really fun) to see the study make its way through Twitter, Capitol Hill and the media.
I credit my SMPA experience – and my senior honors thesis in particular – for giving me the tools and confidence to undertake such a large analysis. The guidance I received from Professors Kimberly Gross, Jarol Manheim and Silvio Waisbord during my thesis was invaluable and has truly enabled me to think critically and tackle large projects piece by piece. Thanks, SMPA!
The Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media has published an article co-authored by Professor Patricia Phalen and SMPA MA alumna Julia Osellame ('11) titled "Writing Hollywood: Rooms With a Point of View." Based on interviews with various Hollywood television writers, the article analyzes the culture and politics of "the writers' room," including what makes this institution work and who survives its demanding environment. The article can be read in its entirety by visiting bit.ly/writinghollywood.
Professor Phalen recently shared the research contained in "Writing Hollywood" at the Gothenburg International Film Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, where she participated in the annual TV Drama Vision seminar.
Watch the short Skype interview below featuring Professor Phalen describing her work while on sabbatical in California.
SMPA alumna Darley Newman (Electronic Media, '01), writer, creator, producer, and host of the Emmy-winning PBS travel television series Equitrekking, has been honored with a 2012 Inspiring Women Award.
Created by Women in Philanthropy and Leadership, the Inspiring Women Award recognizes the achievements of women leaders of various disciplines who were born in South Carolina or who have adopted the Palmetto State as their home. Newman, who grew up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, received the award for her outstanding entrepreneurship in the creation of the Equitrekking brand.
Combining her background in media from her time at the School of Media and Public Affairs and in broadcasting with her passion for horses and travel, Newman fashioned her dream career with the creation of the show Equitrekking. With the help of her executive-producer husband, fellow GW alumnusChip Ward, Newman travels around the globe to film episodes, exploring the world on horseback while introducing viewers to the history, culture and environment of each destination. The upcoming season of Equitrekking, which premieres in late April, will feature episodes filmed during Newman's recent trip to Africa. The series, which debuted nationally on PBS in 2007, now airs on television networks in over 65 countries worldwide.