Marist Young Alumni Make Their Mark in Media

Elisabeth Tavarez

October 19, 2018—Communication has come a long way since Lowell Thomas began reporting the news over the radio in the 1930s. Years later, the building housing Marist’s School of Communication and the Arts bears his name, and today’s recent graduates are making their mark in a vastly different media landscape.

Bernadette Hogan ’17, Spectrum News

Bernadette Hogan ’17 has found that you don’t have to major in communication to have a successful career in journalism. Currently a Video Producer at Spectrum News in Albany, Hogan works on Capital Tonight, a nightly statewide political show hosted by Liz Benjamin. She spends much of her time working with the show’s state capital reporter, attending Senate hearings, and filming interviews. The stories that Hogan produces are used either on the show or on its political blog, State of Politics, which she also writes for. She’s had the opportunity to attend the New York State Democratic Convention, produce Capital Tonight’s primary night coverage, and rub elbows with elected officials. Says Hogan, “I never would have dreamed that at 23 I’d be working for a statewide political show and learning from the pros, but the liberal arts education I received at Marist prepared me. All of those subject areas really converge in politics.” 

A double major in English and philosophy, Hogan also minored in Spanish and theatre while at Marist, indulging her interest in multiple academic areas and gaining a well-rounded perspective. She says, “I’m a firm believer in the liberal arts, so it was important to me to have that type of undergraduate experience. Marist’s small class sizes were a huge plus, as was the study abroad program.” An avid horseback rider who was on the College’s equestrian team for four years, Marist’s proximity to a nearby equestrian center sealed the deal for Hogan.

Once at Marist, Hogan had the opportunity to study at Universidad Carlos III in Madrid and to write both news and opinion pieces for the College’s newspaper, The Circle, ultimately serving as editor-in-chief. She adds, “Doing op-ed pieces in particular was a great experience because it helped me really think through national topics.” Hogan interned with the political unit of NY1 and participated in the School of Liberal Arts’ Albany Summer Internship Program, working at The Vandervort Group LLC, a lobbying firm in the state capital. The experience proved to be a great introduction to state politics.

Bernadette Hogan, class of 2017

Hogan cites a number of faculty members who were both supportive and influential during her college career, including Professor of English Moira Fitzgibbons, Professor of Art Ed Smith, Associate Professor of English Tommy Zurhellen, Professor of English Richard Grinnell, Associate Professor of Philosophy James Snyder, Assistant Professor of Philosophy Joseph Campisi, Marist Poll Director Barbara Carvalho and Director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion (MIPO) Lee Miringoff, with whom she shares a love for politics. She is also grateful to Isabel Carrasco from Marist Abroad. “Because Marist is smaller in size,” Hogan notes, “professors have more time to spend with you, so you develop relationships with the faculty in a way that’s hard to do at a larger school.”

Looking ahead, Hogan wants to be a political reporter, either on television or in print. She particularly admires the reporting of The Wall Street Journal and attributes her love of business news with the fact that her father was a commodities trader. Whatever Hogan ends up doing, she wants to be sure to continue writing, including perhaps for the theatre. Her advice for students looking to get into the competitive world of journalism? “Learn to become a great writer and speaker and develop the skills that make you versatile. Ask yourself, ‘What can I do to set myself apart from others?’”

Steve Raum ’15, Sports Illustrated

Steve Raum ’15, a Feature Producer at Sports Illustrated, also got the preparation he needed at Marist. There were many reasons why Raum chose Marist – the beautiful campus, the people, the culture – but the biggest factor he cites is the College’s renowned sports communication program, as well as the production studios and equipment available to students. As Raum notes, “I knew the best way to separate myself in a competitive industry was to get involved in as many clubs and activities as I could to learn important skills. Marist’s Athletics Department in particular was the best thing that happened to me because I had the chance to use industry-standard camera equipment and produce multi-camera broadcasts for the Red Fox Network, all during my first semester on campus.  It definitely gave me a huge leg up.”

As a student worker in Athletics, Raum recalls many exciting moments that convinced him that sports communication was the career for him, for example, the basketball pep rally [during the 2014-15 season] where a student hit a half court shot for $10,000. Raum was working in the control room when that happened, and had to turn around a video that same night to use on the website and social media. The video was a huge hit.  He also has fond memories of covering the MAAC basketball championships in Springfield, Massachusetts during his sophomore year. Raum notes, “That’s when I realized covering sports through video is exactly what I wanted to do.”

In Raum’s line of work, hands-on experience is everything, and he cites the production opportunities given to him by Marist Director of Athletics Tim Murray and Assistant Athletic Director for External Affairs Andy Alongi as being invaluable. In addition, “Senior Professional Lecturer of Media Arts Jeff Bass’ editing class gave me confidence in my ability to edit videos – something that I needed to learn because I had no prior experience before Marist.” His involvement with the Center for Sports Communication also had a major impact on Raum’s development. He observes, “Before coming to Marist, I had never used a camera, never produced a video, and never edited a video.  I now have the privilege of doing all three for Sports Illustrated, which is such a prestigious company, so I’d say the classes and clubs at Marist prepared me pretty well!”

Steve Raum, class of 2015

Raum enjoys the work he’s doing at Sports Illustrated. “As a Feature Producer, I pitch a story, go out and produce it (which also usually includes shooting it with help from another cameraman), then I bring back the footage we shot and edit it for SITV,” he explains. Through his job, he’s also had the opportunity to meet childhood heroes and those he admires greatly. Last year, Raum interviewed the inspirational Shaquem Griffin, the disabled linebacker who plays for the Seattle Seahawks. He also produced a video on New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, following his development through the years. Raum enjoys the ability to delve into a story and hopes to do more of that: “In five years, I hope to still be producing great features on athletes and other sports stories, but on a much bigger scale. Most of the projects I work on are videos between 8-18 minutes. I’d like to work on bigger films that would allow me to dive deeper into these compelling stories.”

In terms of advice for current Marist undergraduates, Raum advises students interested in media or production to get involved and be open to diverse possibilities: “I went to college wanting to be an anchor on ESPN, but I gave other opportunities a try and fell in love with everything that goes on behind the camera. So, never say no, try everything, and don’t be content with what you learn in the classroom.” No matter what kind of career a student hopes to have, a resume will be strengthened by seeking opportunities outside the classroom, and at Marist they abound. Gaining hands-on experience builds confidence, a feeling that serves students well when applying for an internship or job.

Brooke DiPalma ’18, Yahoo! Finance

Brooke DiPalma ’18, who majored in journalism and PR and minored in political science, understands the value of college internships better than most people. In fact, she completed four internships during her career as a Marist undergraduate: Late Night With Seth Myers, News 12 Long Island, Yahoo! Finance, and WABC-TV. She cites those experiences, along with the strong support of Marist faculty and staff members, for her current success as an Associate Producer at Yahoo! Finance, a position she started one week after graduation. She adds, “Through my internships, I found out that I love the fast pace of the news industry.”

DiPalma gets up every morning at 4 a.m. at her home in Long Island and commutes into Manhattan for her job as an Associate Producer for Market Movers, which airs at 9 a.m. and brings viewers all the news influencing capital markets. She says, “I never expected to end up in financial journalism, but I’m taking the opportunity to learn everything I can. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where my team cares deeply about my success and journey.” Indeed, DiPalma had already interned for Yahoo! Finance before starting there full-time so her work ethic was already well known. After studying abroad in Florence, she found the internship at Yahoo! Finance through a friend’s cousin and worked there the summer after her junior year. DiPalma started as an editorial intern, but wanted to learn the production side as well, so she took on extra projects and made herself known. She recalls, “I wrote articles on influencers and helped with ‘man in the street’ interviews in Times Square, and it was such a great experience because they let me be really hands-on. I knew that this was what I wanted to do and that they had a culture I wanted to be a part of.” In fact, celebrity sightings at the office – including Serena Williams and Karlie Kloss – are a fun perk of the job.

Brooke DiPalma, class of 2018

If it all seems easy, it wasn’t, but DiPalma had great support along the way. Explains DiPalma, “When I got back from studying abroad, I felt a bit lost because I didn’t get an internship I had applied for and was at loose ends.” She credits Mary Jones, Executive Director of the Center for Career Services, for spending time with her at a career fair and connecting her with professionals in the field. The mentoring paid off, and DiPalma became a firm believer in the power of networking: “I always say that my network is my net worth.” She credits Affiliate Lecturer Sara Nowlin’s public presentation course with helping her learn to project confidence and sparking the desire to empower and educate others. She also got to know Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts Lyn Lepre through the Deans’ Circle, and is grateful to her for taking her under her wing and making sure she kept on track. Finally, DiPalma cites Professional Lecturer of Public Relations LoriBeth Greenan, MIPO Director Lee Miringoff, Director of the Marist Poll Barbara Carvalho, and the whole MIPO team for being so instrumental in her college career.

DiPalma says that she feels extremely lucky to be where she is right now, but she continues looking ahead.  “In the future, I would love to be on air. I think that learning what happens behind the scenes is just as important as being in front. It’s not all glamour – it’s running to get guests, it’s cold calls, it’s hours of research.  Most important, in five years, I hope to continue to be with a team that challenges me to achieve what I once thought was the unthinkable.” Additionally, being an on-air personality offers the opportunity for a platform to drive change. Mental health awareness is a cause close to DiPalma’s heart, and she hopes to be in a position to advocate publicly for it. Asked how she would advise current Marist students, she encourages them to take advantage of the College’s proximity to New York City for internships and capitalize on the connections they make. She notes, “I networked like crazy and was really involved on campus.  I put community first, and it has really paid off.”

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