Behind the Lenses, Presses

Morgan Harding, Print Editor

The communications department’s annual student media trip gave attendees a behind-the-scenes look at award-winning photography and the nation’s newspaper of record in NYC.

The group of 20 students was split into two tours, one of 10 journalists who toured The New York Times while the other 10 attendees visited the International Center of Photography where students were able to learn more about the communications discipline and the many opportunities it offers.

Communications department chair Melissa Sgroi explained that the student media trip is the department’s their way of showing appreciation to the students who volunteer their time, without credit, on all student media outlets, which include The Highlander, CougarCast, Cougar Radio and the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Senior communications major Gia Mazur was amazed by simply walking through the historic doors of The New York Times. The amazement spread through the 10 other attendees as the students stood in the newsroom used by the best journalists in the world and the long hallway known as the Hall of Pulitzers. The hall contained summaries of each article and photo that have won  Pulitzer Prizes as well as biographies of the reporters and photographers.

Students were also permitted to ask journalists questions about modern-day journalism. Mazur took asked about one of the most infamous days in the history of the big apple.

“I asked our tour guide about The New York Times on 9/11 and it was amazing to hear about the editors, reporters and photographers who had to go into ‘work’ mode while they were trying to comprehend the tragedy that was happening,” she said.

This gave Mazur a new perspective on the terrorist attack and the work of a reporter.

“I had never thought about how those who were writing about what they had seen had been feeling. It really made me understand what it means to be a journalist.” said Mazur.

While Mazur and the tour at The New York Times were learning about big-time journalism, first year communications major Taryn Talacka and the other group of students were absorbing the photojournalism of the past.

The International Center of Photography was founded by photojournalist Cornell Capa in 1974. It is now one of the nation’s foremost museums dedicated to preserving the past and ensuring the future of art photography. The International Center of Photography presents an extensive array of historical and contemporary images by some of the most talented photographers in the world with approximately 15 exhibitions each year

Talacka was taken aback by the style and composition of photographs of times past. “It was really cool to see pictures from different time periods,” said Talacka.

Sgroi felt that the work of extraordinarily accomplished European photographers and photojournalists demonstrates how photography can serve a society by providing record of sociopolitical events and the ways in which they impact all people.

“The experience of viewing such photography under the guidance of one of the Center’s educators was something our students could not experience anywhere else,” she said.

The trip was not just a chance for students to learn about their professional fields but also to observe the culture of Manhattan.  Junior communications major Heather Marsicano had never ventured into the city before. “I have never been to the city and never seen Time Square. I was in awe. It really was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I grew up in the country, woods and farms surrounding my house, so it was seriously like being in a whole other world,” Marsicano said.

Junior communications major Brittany Lovette and Talacka echoed the sentiment. Though they had been to the city before they never visited the New York Public Library or really explored midtown – both of which they accomplished after the International Center of Photography tour.

“It was really great to get away from everything for a day and to get to learn so much about those whose work has come before ours. This will definitely change the way I see photos – you never know where yours could end up,” said Lovette.

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