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Exploring DC: The Media by Metro Program

By Megan Clark

A photo of a metro station with logos overlaid from various media outlets.

Incoming freshman from American University started Welcome Week with a look at what a job in the media industry could hold as part of the Media by Metro program. Whether their hope was to learn about career opportunities, research internships, meet alumni, or to explore D.C., they were able to do so as they toured the city in two jam-packed days led by SOC Career Center advisors Julia Beyer and Felicia Parks. The site visits included Discovery Communication, The Washington Post, National Geographic, NBC 4 News and Porter Novelli. 

The group started the program with a trip to Silver Spring to tour Discovery Communication's post-production facility. Here the students learned about what goes on behind-the-scenes in promos and other videos. Students were given the opportunity to talk and ask questions with employees of Discovery who work on everything from audio to 3D. After our tour of the facility, the group was able to listen and learn from alumni of American University who currently work for Discovery Communication. The alumni panel gave advice on what paths led them to landing a job at Discovery, what they love about their work, and what their roles were at the company.

"It was great to hear all of the experiences of past AU students and how successful they have been since graduation," said Kristan Bravo, one of the Media by Metro students. After a quick trip on the metro from Silver Spring to Farragut North, the students started the next part of their day at The Washington Post. Our tour guide, who works on the Post's Health, Science and Environment news, greeted us and gave us a look around at the Post's prestigious awards and busy newsrooms. Next, we were able to sit down and speak with Deputy News Video Editor Jonathan Forsythe, who gave the students advice on choosing between broadcast, print and digital journalism. He urged the students to be willing to try new things and to build upon their skill as writers in order to move forward in this career path.

The last leg of the journey on the first day ended with a tour of National Geographic Channel. American University alumna, Natalie J. Sasser, Global Operations Supervisor, gave us a tour of the building and introduced us to several other AU alums and students working at National Geographic. Students were given internship and career advice as employees responsible for all different tasks at the channel greeted them and showed them their work. 

The second day of Media by Metro started with a quick walk to NBC4 studios where the students met with Matt Glassman, an SOC alumnus and adjunct professor who is the Assistant News Director for NBC4. The students got to sit in on the exciting and fastpaced environment of the control room and experience the 11 a.m. live broadcast with anchor Barbara Harrison right in the studio. The tour ended with words of wisdom from Matt Glassman about reaping the benefits of an internship and the personality characteristics of someone that works in the TV news business. 

The group then switched gears as we traveled to Porter Novelli, a public relations firm that is part of the Omnicom Group. Students were able to hear from alums and adjunct instructor, Anthony LaFauce, Vice President of the Digital Communications Group, who talked about what PR is, and why the field is exciting and dynamic. Students were able to ask questions and hear firsthand about the ups and downs of a career in the PR field. 

The program gave the students a well-rounded view of a career in media, communications, and public relations. With four years ahead of them, the Media by Metro program is just a taste of what careers are in store for these incoming freshman.