Four Years Later and I Think I Know What Media and Communication Studies Is

by Samantha Aurilia, Class of 2016

sam 3
Aurilia, right

I did not come to Catholic University as a Media and Communication Studies student. Technically at the time it didn’t even have the “Communication” part.  But, regardless, I enrolled at CUA as a History major. I found the then Media Studies Department while browsing online the summer before my freshman year. I thought I’d try to double major, get a job in communications if the whole law school thing didn’t work out. Looking back, freshmen-year-Sam was a little naïve. She thought a job in communications meant sending out emails and social media posts, and she certainly didn’t see any courses that would teach her how to do that. I had no idea what I was doing; I just knew that whatever I did, I was going to do it well.


Freshmen year finally rolls around and I’m signed up for Intro to Media Studies. That semester I went home for Thanksgiving break to tell my parents about the paper I wrote on Toy Story…cue crickets. The next semester I tried to explain to them how the player piano actually had a significant impact upon American domestic life. By the time I’m a sophomore my parents think my only postgraduate qualifications will be “excellent movie watcher.” As I finished my required intro courses sophomore year, I was determined to figure Media Studies out and change their minds and get at least a working definition in my own mind.

Sophomore year provided new insights. Media Studies wasn’t just about the messages and media themselves, but how they were packaged. Sophomore year I also learned the limits of definition itself…I could tell my quest to define Media Studies wasn’t going to go well and Kenneth Burke wasn’t going to help me out. Rhetoric was just becoming another bullet to add to my long descriptor of Media Studies at CUA. That next semester, I added a production and archival research course to the list. Was Media Studies method based?

I finally settled on telling my parents that “Media Studies is like English, except instead of books, we study everything and that sometimes also includes books.” Long winded definition through comparison…eloquent I know. Finally I made some progress as I began to talk with my professors in the department, keeping Marshall McLuhan’s phrase, “the medium is the message” in mind. I no longer cared about Media Studies; I cared about Media Studies at CUA. The department is comprised of faculty members with backgrounds in film, rhetoric, philosophy, and history. No wonder I was having trouble narrowing it down. Media Studies is not meant to be narrowed down.

sam 1I stopped caring about defining and defending my major. Because of what I’ve learned as a Media and Communication Studies major those same postgraduate qualifications my parents asked about are limitless. I developed my writing style to the point where I was actually able to work at the school’s Writing Center and even help graduate students clearly express their thoughts. I have presented at two conferences and the school’s Research Day because the course discussions gave me confidence in my abilities. I’ve researched at archives in DC, Maryland, and New York because my professor showed me how. I studied abroad in Rome and analyzed a church building using the same tools and asking the same questions that I would have used when approaching a film or commercial.

I’m not necessarily sure what the next steps are for me. But I know that my time in Media and Communication Studies has prepared me for a lifetime of opportunities. And to the people questioning my qualifications after the program here I some things I have and haven’t learned while here:

Things MCS has NOT taught me how to do:

1) Get my parents to understand what “Media Studies” is so they can explain it to their


2) Sit in class without saying anything.

3) Just “watch” commercials or movies.

4) Mindlessly operate software.


Things MCS HAS taught me how to do:

1) Ask questions to understand a problem fully.

2) Ruin every movie, television show, or commercial you’ve ever “enjoyed.”

3) Make you question what it means to “enjoy” media.

4) Actually know what it means when someone calls a politician a communist. (That

someone is probably wrong, by the way)

5) Throw some serious MCS shade— To those of you who said I “just” sat around and

watched Disney movies for my major, to paraphrase Rene Girard, you probably can’t

help it, but don’t hate me cuz you ain’t me.


Spotify Killed the Radio Star

by Liz Hoffman, Class of 2016

Music is one of the things I’m most passionate about.  Whether it be making music, listening to music, going to shows, whatever: I’m all about it.  So when it came to figuring out what I’d make my senior thesis about, music seemed like the only topic worth working with.

hoffman 1
Mercury Girls performing at UMUC

Always the dreamer, every potential narrative I came up with was super far-fetched and nearly always included the participation of a famous band.  When I finally landed on the topic of college radio, it was because this was a realm of college life I knew very little about, plus I knew I would have a relatively easy in—I’m friends with someone on the UMD radio station’s executive board.  This connection, paired with the fact that I’d taken production classes in the past, lulled me into a false sense of security. I thought to myself, “Psh, this will be fine!  It’ll be no different than what I’ve done before, and a 10-minute film is nothing!”  Boy, was I wrong.

Ok, maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic—it wasn’t too different from the short films I’d made in previous classes: you come up with an original idea for a story and use visual storytelling to portray that idea.  However, my own expectations for the outcome of this film were much higher than they had been for previous projects and the stakes had been, understandably, raised—after all, this was my senior thesis we’re talking about!  I took a deep breath and jumped right into working on the film that would eventually be dubbed Spotify Killed the Radio Star.

hoffman 2I began researching, talking to radio experts at both CUA and UMD (including my aforementioned friend), getting the gist of what college radio is like now, and how it has changed from what it used to be.  This change in particular was interesting to me: how did it affect WMUC (UMD’s station)?  How did it affect artists?  How did it affect the live music aspect of college radio?  Looking for answers to these questions is what prompted me to focus my documentary on WMUC’s longest-running show, Third Rail Radio, where bands, local and otherwise, play on-air every Sunday night.

The first time I filmed I was a veritable nervous wreck.  I was filming a show at the station and despite fellow student James Wronski’s help filming that night, I felt totally out of my league: I’d only been to one other show at the station before and knew next to no one, but thankfully filming only got easier from there.  Interviews took me everywhere from CUA’s hoffman 3campus, to College Park, to Baltimore, and even up to Jersey City (shoutout to my sister for driving me there, by the way; sorry for leaving you out of the credits!).  My interviewees were incredible: they put up with my occasionally incessant emails and provided excellent information that would prove invaluable to the narrative of my film.

Last semester was perhaps the most difficult semester I’ve ever had, no thanks to this project—but it was simultaneously the most rewarding.  I produced a film, of which I am extremely proud, and was somehow able to do well in my other classes at the same time. While I don’t anticipate embarking on a project of the same scale as Spotify Killed the Radio Star this semester, I’m looking forward to whatever my next endeavor will be: after working on that film over the course of the entire semester, I think I’m pretty prepared for whatever life hands me next

Watch Liz Hoffman’s short film “Spotify Killed the Radio Star” here:



Saudi Arabia to Washington, DC: My Story at CUA

by Eman Alghamdi, Class of 2017

eman 1I first visited Catholic University late October of 2012.  I was very desperate to find a school that is both in the DC area and accepts late applications for the spring 2013 semester admission.  I opened the catalog and there I saw it, “Application deadline, November 1st.” I literally started jumping up and down like a five-year-old.

At that moment, I was the happiest person alive, not because I knew anything about Catholic or actually wanted to go to CUA, but because I would be able to finally start my college career.  To be honest, when I stepped into Catholic as a freshman in the Spring of 2013, I had intentions to transfer to a different school.  Now, Spring 2016, I am now even happier than when I was looking at that deadline in the catalog that screamed out in red, “The Catholic University of America.”

My name is Eman Alghamdi, I am 21 years old, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I am a Muslim at the Catholic University of America.  Ironic, right?

I came to the US on an F-1 visa.  This type of visa is for any international person from outside the US who wants to pursue any type of education in the U.S.  Since I am probablyeman 2 the most “Americanized” individual from all of my Saudi friends, I had an easy transfer from living in rainless Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, to what I refer to as the Seattle of the East Coast, the lovely Washington, DC. I was excited about the future and what a US education holds for me. Fast forward 3 years, I am still very much excited about my future, even more than when I first stepped out of the plane at Dulles airport.

I come from a family of nine.  Yes, you read that number correctly, nine.  I have four brothers and four sisters.  I am one of the younger kids in my family, succeeding me are my two younger brothers, Abdulrahman who turns 18 in March, and Sultan who turns 14 in May.  They both helped me move into Regan hall in January 2013.  I lied to be able to get a single instead of a double room in Regan because I was scared.  Yes, I was scared of how different things were in the dorm.  I went from living with my family my entire life in Saudi Arabia to being left at a dorm room with a bunch of eman 3people I did not know.  I also could not believe how tiny the dorm looked; I thought it was a jail cell straight out of a drama sequence.

I am the type of person that observes others from afar and then comes in closely to share what I have discovered about the environment I am in. That is exactly why I almost switched majors to become a Psychologist.  I changed my mind when I discovered psychology needed statistics (gross).  What I observed from my dorm experience is that no matter how hard I try to explain who I am and what I believe in, sadly, some people will never understand because they see life being merely black and white.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed explaining why I had to pray five times a day to a bunch of girls I never met before. I got to discover who I am as a person, what I like and what I dislike, where I go out, and who I choose to spend my time with when I am free from school work. It was truly an eye-opening, great experience and I am glad I did it.

I went into Catholic and I knew I wanted to pursue a degree that helped me change the world, which is why I chose Media and Communication.  However, I was oblivious as to how exactly I would be able to satisfy my dreams of making the world a better place.  The first two Media classes that I took were heavily dependent on general theories and the history of media… very important to know, yet somewhat boring to learn about. No offense to any of the lovely professors who teach it!   However, I did not know the importance of those two classes until now, when I am 21 and less than a year away from graduating.  Those two classes defined the jargon of media and also helped me see where the world used to be when it comes to communication, and how far we have come.  Without communication, cultures would never have dared to mix.

Two classes into my Media degree, and I still had no idea how I would change the world… until I came into the production media lab and held in my hand a camera that looked like a toy.   I learned very quickly that it was definitely no toy.   On our first video exercise using the cameras, instead of clicking the recording button, I was clicking the still photography button.  Needless to say, I came back to class with absolutely no footage and yes, it was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.  It was that day that I discovered that cameras were not toys, but powerful tools.  After I went back to my apartment that day,  I had a moment of pure epiphany.  I found the way I will change the world: CAMERAS!

eman 4Over the years at Catholic, I have met so many people that are now vital pieces of my life.
I was also introduced to the production field and fell madly in love with it.  I became the first female president of the Saudi Club on campus; I played tennis and twisted my foot; I cried in my car at the Pryz parking lot, many times; I hated our Starbucks but always came to say hi to the staff there because I love all of them; I hosted events and had people try Kabsa (Google it, it’s delicious!), and I grew up.  I came into Catholic a clueless 18 year-old fresh from Saudi Arabia, and I am soon leaving as a strong, independent woman who will use her camera to tell stories and change the world.

The Humanitarian Approach

by Tommy Avallone, Class of 2017

I often get asked the question, “Why did you choose Catholic University?”

avallone ventanaIn my years here, I have discovered the perfect answer.  I attend Catholic University to obtain a degree in Media and Communication Studies because of the university’s humanitarian approach and the great internship opportunities available in Washington D.C.

CUA doesn’t take the common technical training approach, but instead teaches its students to evaluate, analyze and consider.  This humanitarian approach has taught me to philosophically examine the messages sent in media and communications.  The humanitarian approach has helped me understand the impact of media and communications, how it developed, and the methods and philosophies behind it.  Now, when I am interning or working I understand what I am doing, why I am doing it in a particular way, and its effectiveness.

I have had the chance to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom at three different internships.  The internships have been totally different, but all incredible.

avallone product
designed by Avallone

The summer before my junior year I interned with Shaw Ross, a subsidiary of Southern Wine and Spirits, the leading alcohol distribution company in the U.S.  As a communications and marketing intern, I helped design advertisements, accolade sheets, point of sale items such as t-shirts, brand presentations, and I assisted in special events.  I had the opportunity to apply concepts such as the aesthetics of advertisements in a corporate setting. I will return to Shaw Ross in the summer of 2016.


This past Fall semester, I worked for Ventana Productions, a company that helps produce show such as Religion and Ethics, which features Bob Abernethy, and This is America and the World, which features Dennis Wholey, an adjunct professor here at CUA.  Ventana also helps with the production of numerous shows for the Discovery Chanel, the History Chanel, HGTV, NBC, CNBC, and BBTV.  I was able to use the production and editing skills that I learned in my production classes while working at Ventana.  I was also able to meet show cast members, television correspondents, and freelancers in the local area. I learned a tremendous amount about what goes on in front and behind the television cameras.

This semester I am interning at The Voice of America, the official external broadcast institution of the United States.  I am currently working with Voice of America Africa, Voice of America World, and T. V. Marti.  So far I have edited online videos, created scripts, produced online website shows, and helped control their social media.

I can honestly say that Catholic University has provided me with a well-rounded education and fantastic opportunities for a Media and Communications student.

left to right: Jose Luis, owner of Spanish wine Marquez de Riscal;  Gladys, accountant at Southern Wine and Spirits;  Avallone at his internship

What the Odyssey Means to Me

by Claire Coleman, Class of 2018

Right after the second semester of my freshman year, I changed my major to Media Studiescoleman at ocean because I wanted a major that would allow me to write more and required critical thinking. Media and Communication Studies was a perfect major for me to do just that. While studying abroad last summer, I wrote a lot, and ended up having a portion of my travelogue published in the June edition “Oidheacht Chorca Dhuibhne” a monthly magazine based in County Kerry, Ireland. The magazine asked me and another visiting student to write a short article about our time in the Dingle Peninsula. We were responsible for incorporating Irish (Gaeilge) into our articles. At the time I didn’t realize, but it would serve as an important experience for me, and was influential in ensuring I was able to write for The Odyssey Online.


For those of you who don’t know about The Odyssey Online, it’s a social content platform specifically for the millennial generation. It’s designed to allow college age students to produce content that is engaging, entertaining, and thought provoking. The Odyssey Online is headquartered in New York and the editors and administrators are not affiliated with any university. This allows their staff writers to create content that isn’t politicized or censored by their university. I have the freedom to write about topics that may or may not be allowed in my school newspaper, and contributors at our branch have a platform to create amazing content without the fear of administration disapproval.


coleman at the capitolMy time writing for The Odyssey Online started on a whim. I saw my friend, and future editor, post a link to an application on her Facebook page. I had seen articles from The Odyssey Online on my news feed before, and enjoyed them.  As an aspiring journalist I jumped at the opportunity to write more and to be on a team of writers.  As they say, “any experience is good experience”.  I applied immediately, thinking it wouldn’t result in much, if anything. Then, after submitting my application, I was hired within the week, and I was thrilled. I called my parents, and told them about how exciting this opportunity was because as a 19-year old, there are not many opportunities where you get to write about whatever you want every week, and have it published. It’s very gratifying.


After that, I hit the ground running. I spent the beginning of my time working for The Odyssey Online writing lifestyle pieces and “listicles”, which is incredibly fun to write and share with friends and family. I wrote things like; “The 25 People you Meet in College” and “20 Books You Should Read Before turning 20.”  Articles like this are fun to write and generally very popular, but eventually I wanted to try my hand at more serious subjects. So I began to write about being a non-religious student on a Catholic campus, modern day slavery in America, and I was able to try my hand at my first breaking news piece about the lockdowns on campus. The Odyssey Online has provided me with varied journalistic opportunities.


Then near the end of the semester, my editor contacted me and asked if I would be willing tocoleman at cherry blossoms serve as Interim-Editor-In-Chief (EIC) for this semester, work as contributing editor till she graduates, and then assume the EIC position after her graduation. I jumped at the opportunity and I have spent this semester doing just that. Currently as EIC, my job primarily revolves around editing and building up the branch. I am responsible for managing just under 20 students who write for the CUA Odyssey branch, communicating with The Odyssey Online headquarters in New York, editing my team’s articles, and working to expand our online reach. I still create weekly articles and love writing.


Over this semester my major ambition is to grow the CUA Odyssey branch. Currently I have been working to expand our social media presence. We’re on Facebook and Twitter, where we post all the articles we publish each week, and of course you can find us on The Odyssey Online website. Because one of my primary ambitions is growing the branch I am always looking for more writers, and have all of my friends recruiting for me.


The Odyssey Online has been an awesome experience for me so far. With every week come new challenges and experiences. But the best part is everything I do will benefit me in the future. By the time I graduate I will have an extensive portfolio of published work; I will have been editing articles for 6 semesters, and will have extensive experience with social media outreach.

coleman icecreamIf you are a current CUA student and interested in writing for The Odyssey Online here is the link to an application:

Interview with an Alumna!


Lauren Maffeo, Class of 2011, speaks about her career path and her experiences at CUA and beyond!

  1. Can you tell me about your career path? How did you get started?  Where are you now?


I graduated from CUA with my Media Studies BA in May 2011. In September 2011, I moved maffeo 1to London to start my MSc studies at The London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2012 — the same year that I earned my degree — I went to an event at General Assembly’s London campus. That had a snowball effect where I got networked into London’s small but rapidly growing tech industry.

I worked as a media consultant for several London-based tech and digital startups after completing my LSE coursework. I also worked as a freelance reporter on these topics for several online news sites, including The Next Web and The Guardian. I wrote feature stories on topics ranging from self-drive cars and the digital divide to data ownership after death and the role of apps in aid relief.

This experience made me realize that in today’s digital media world, you succeed by having a niche (the modern form of a news beat). My niche was technology. And eventually, I realized that rather than writing stories about several startups, I wanted to write the story of one thriving startup.

That led to my current role overseeing content strategy at Aha! — one of America’s fastest growing SaaS companies based in Silicon Valley, CA. I authored our brand’s first editorial guidelines; grew thought leadership to #1 in Management & Culture on LinkedIn in 2015; directed our first launch on Product Hunt; and initiated editorial partnerships. I also write about topics including product management and remote work.


  1. How did Catholic University prepare you for your graduate work and/or current career?

During winter break 2008, CUA sent me a letter that changed the course of my adulthood. It was an invitation to apply for a new study abroad program at the University of Oxford. I knew instantly that I had to apply and go if I got in. I was fortunate to be accepted, and in January 2010, I boarded a plane for London.

Over the next four months, I went from having never set foot outside the U.S. to visiting six European countries. I also had one-on-one lessons with Oxford professors (called Maffeo 3“tutors”) where I had to write and defend two papers per week. This was a completely different style of learning — and in my experience, it more closely mimics what the working world is like. If you want a bigger project budget or promotion, you’d better be able to defend your logic to your boss! I realized quickly what a privilege it was to study at Oxford. It made me consider doing a master’s — and I knew that if I pursued this idea, I wanted to earn it in the UK.

After I finished studying at Oxford, I got another letter from CUA inviting me to apply for a Fulbright scholarship. I spent a full semester working on my application, which I wanted to use towards a master’s degree in Media from a UK university. I didn’t get the scholarship — but spending so much time on my application had made me realize that I wanted to get the master’s regardless. I also had my application for graduate courses essentially done already. So, I narrowed my list down to 3 UK schools. And when I was accepted to the LSE, I knew I had to go.

If CUA had not invited me to apply for the Oxford Program, I would not have studied abroad. If I had not studied abroad, then I would not have been inspired to apply to the LSE. If I had not studied at the LSE, I would not have started my career working in London’s tech industry. And if I hadn’t gotten networked into the tech industry, I would not be working in it today. This is what I mean when I say that CUA’s invitation to apply for the Oxford Program had the biggest impact on my adulthood.



  1. Can you recall any specific courses or experiences at CUA that influenced you?

The Rhetoric of Advertising — a grad-level course taught by Dr. McKenna — sticks out as my favorite from CUA. It reviewed the history of advertising from the start of the 20th century through to the present day. And it reinforced my belief that media literacy is a crucial tool that should be taught in education as early as possible. If the general public knew how to decipher faux problems that marketing can create, consumer power would shift drastically.



  1. How did your graduate work relate to your Media Studies education? Can you describe your master’s program and what brought you to that course of study?


I saw my MSc program as a direct continuation of my Media Studies education. As someone who majored in Media Studies with a Sociology minor at CUA, my coursework discussed the role of media in shaping social discourse. It also addressed the psychology of marketing — especially gender-specific marketing (it’s no accident that products like razors cost more when marketed at women). So, when I was researching MSc courses at the LSE, its Gender, Media and Culture course seemed like the ideal next step academically.

maffeo 4
Maffeo visited the house in Oxford where she lived during CUA’s program after graduating from LSE.

It took my media literacy education at CUA to the next level by inviting me to question how the media critiques — or contributes to — gendered social norms. The course addressed topics including commercialization of feminist discourses (such as post-feminist media that became popular in the 90s/2000s); how media monopolies impact which news gets reported; voyeurism in media; and the concept of Internet democracy (if just 44% of the global population is online, then is the Internet still a tool for elites?).

The impact of my Media Studies coursework at CUA was felt as soon as I began studying at the LSE. I read an article by Richard Dyer during my first term that I had studied at length in a CUA Media Studies course. And I think Dr. McKenna would like the fact that one of my exam questions for an LSE course was, “The medium is the message. Discuss.” 🙂

The fact that I studied Roland Barthes in my first semester as a CUA freshman shows what expectations the department sets. The level of critical thought that I learned at CUA has always given me a strong framework for how to pursue graduate studies and a career in modern media.


  1. What is a typical day at work like for you?

My work is very self-directed. I work from home in the Friendship Heights neighborhood of DC; our team at Aha! is spread out across the country. That means I don’t have to commute, and I use tools like Slack/GoToMeeting to keep in touch with my team throughout the day.

My role involves managing our weekly editorial calendars. I work with our Senior Director of Marketing to write, edit, and ship all content that we publish as an organization. This ranges from success stories that customers send us and tweets on social media to blog posts from guest authors and contributed articles from our CEO.

We manage each editorial calendar like a product release. That means we “ship” each calendar at the end of every Friday, once all work in the calendar has been published. Each piece of content has its own placeholder within the weekly calendar. It is my job to make sure these pieces of content are published on time and that all calendars for the forthcoming month are planned out.

maffeo 2

A sign for breakout sessions at the 2015 Women Leading the Future Conference, where Maffeo was a speaker


  1. What advice would you give to current seniors graduating this May?

When I was studying at CUA, I could not have predicted that I’d have this career. Content marketing as we know it today didn’t really exist. Yet the skill set that I use in this role — writing, editing, critical thinking — is similar to journalism, which I pursued throughout my CUA studies. The core difference is that my work at Aha! has a bottom-line business impact. And in some ways, that is more fulfilling — to know that writing well can grow a thriving brand.

So, my advice to graduating seniors — and current students — is to be confident in what you do well, but adaptable about how you do it. Be creative when thinking about how you might apply what you excel at to your post-college career. The precise role that you’ll have matters less than the experience you’ll gain — but don’t be surprised if you hate your first job out of school. Sometimes your 20s are more about learning what you don’t want from your career. I’ve already been there, and it’s a valuable lesson. It teaches you how to look for the right roles moving forward.



January 1st, 2016, Times Square, New York, New York.

by Alycia Monaco, Class of 2018

12:01 AM January 1st, 2016, Times Square, New York, New York.


I do not typically enjoy being in Times Square, but there was something beautiful amongst unlimited descending confetti, Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” and an abnormally quiet New York City.

DICK CLARK’S NEW YEAR’S ROCKIN’ EVE WITH RYAN SEACREST 2016 – 12/31/15 – America’s biggest celebration of the year takes place live from Times Square in New York City, airing on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/ Alycia Monaco) TIMES SQUARE FIREWORKS


Just moments before, the world stood still, the streets were clean, and the people were jittering with excitement. The people of Times Square were scattered along the city blocks for hours, and they were not allowed leave until the New Year arrived. Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy built anticipation for the coming year on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve

DICK CLARK’S NEW YEAR’S ROCKIN’ EVE WITH RYAN SEACREST 2016 – 12/31/15 – America’s biggest celebration of the year takes place live from Times Square in New York City, airing on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/ Alycia Monaco) TIMES SQUARE

with Ryan Seacrest through audience participation, and hourly countdowns.  Finally the clock struck midnight, photos were taken, and the world was unified through the Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball. The evening was surreal, and I enjoyed every minute of it.


Turning back the clock to 9 AM on December 30, I had the opportunity to shadow a photographer, Lou, at One Times Square, and see the Waterford Crystal Ball up close. Lou and I took an elevator into a lobby, climbed very narrow stairs, and arrived atop of One 

IMG_7410Times Square, where Jenny McCarthy posed for photos in front of the ball, equipped with a light switch prop. These photos were in preparation for the New Year’s Eve celebration to come one day later. After the photos were taken, I also had the opportunity to stand next to the ball, and had my photo taken by Lou.  Seeing the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball up close, and overlooking Times Square is something so special; I am never going to forget it.


On December 31st, 2015, I arrived in Manhattan at 2 PM to prepare for the day ahead.  Many of the streets were closed for security purposes, but I was able to enter 44th and 8th to meet the rest of the photography department at ABC Studios in Times Square.  After checking in IMG_7502twice with the NYPD, I was able to reach the stage door to ABC Studios.  I arrived, and received instructions, expectations, and a set of media access passes to move freely around Times Square. Along with another two other members of the photography department, Ida and Wendy, I familiarized myself with a very different Times Square.  People were gathered in fenced-off areas, and the middle of the street was open, and free.  Every so often, camera crews, and lights dusted the crowd for coverage, and both Jenny McCarthy and Ryan Seacrest flashed in and out of these aisles as well.


Time moved more quickly following 6 PM as the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball was raised and lit, and the Philips Lighting Company Giant switch was flipped. Fireworks, andIMG_7516 exciting graphics led the first of the celebrations of the New Year to come. Every hour starting at 8 PM fireworks were set off to anticipate the New Year.  I shot some photos of the fireworks at street level, and attempted to shoot them on the 7th floor of ABC Studios.  On this rooftop, I took crowd shots, and consumed the view of people lining the streets.  Once I took enough photos, I returned to the office  and gave my boss Ida my SD card.  To minimize the amount of waiting time, Ida uploaded photos to the press site as the photos were taken.  Once Ida returned my SD card, Wendy and I returned to street level to get into place for the midnight festivities, and Ida found her respective place on the stage.


IMG_7492On the street, I held two cameras, one being my own, and one that Ida allowed me to borrow.  Ida helped me find the appropriate place to stand to take photos of descending confetti, and fireworks. She gave me a wide-angle lens, and instructed me to include the exterior of ABC Studios, the confetti, and the Times Square New Years Eve Ball.  Once the clock struck midnight, and the festivities began, I snapped away.  Everyone rejoiced in the New Year, and Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World bellowed throughout.  Being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve was definitely an experience that I will never forget, and am truly thankful that ABC’s Photography Department included me in such an incredible and fun event. It was definitely an unforgettable way to ring in the New Year.