11 November 2014

Celebration of the Life of Bill Raffel

Professor Bill Raffel

The life of Communication Professor Bill Raffel, our accomplished colleague in the Communication Department, will be celebrated and remembered this Friday, November 14th at 10:00 a.m. in the Campbell Student Union Assembly Hall.  Both music and food will be featured, along with shared memories by colleagues and friends.  All are welcome to contribute a story or share a memory.  Raffel lost a hard-fought battle with brain cancer on October 13, 2014.  He was 47 years old and is survived by his wife Eloisa.
Bill was an associate professor in the Communication Department specializing in journalism and law, and had been a member of the faculty at Buffalo State since 2001.  He was tremendously interested in the First Amendment, and focused many classes on issues surrounding freedom of speech.  Bill was also known as the host of several radio programs, most recently affiliated with WNED-FM, a classical station.   He was notably the host of a longtime Celtic program that preceded the national program Thistle and Shamrock each week on WBFO-FM.  He also worked in radio news at WEBR, WNED-AM and WBFO in Buffalo earlier in his career.  He was a lover of music and all things Celtic, and played the tin whistle with a local musical group.
A fund has been established in Bill's memory, and gifts may be made to the Buffalo State College Foundation with the notation "Communication Department Student Enrichment Fund in Honor of Bill Raffel." 

10 November 2014

15 to Life: Kenneth's Story : Beyond Boundaries

15 to Life: Kenneth's Story
15 to Life: Kenneth's Story  (2013, 52 min.) a documentary directed by Nadine Pequeneza,  will be featured this Thursday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, as the final screening for Fall 2014 of the BEYOND BOUNDARIES: DARE TO BE DIVERSE Documentary Screening & Discussion Series. The film follows Kenneth, a young African-American man who battles for release from prison after more than 10 years of incarceration, much of it spent in solitary confinement. 
A panel discussion led by Professor Ron Stewart from the Department of Sociology at Buffalo State will take place after the film.   Also on the panel: Teresa Miller (UB Law School, Advisor to the Lifer's Group at Attica State Prison, Vice Provost of Equity & Diversity, UB); Umar Adeyola, Founder & President of H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Empower At-Risk Teens); and Craig D. Hannah, City Court Judge, Buffalo.   
In June 2000, 14-year-old Kenneth Young was convinced by a 24-year-old neighborhood crack dealer — Kenneth's mother's supplier — to join him on a month-long spree of four armed robberies. Fortunately, no one was physically injured during the crimes, although the trauma that resulted was immeasurable.

When they were caught, Kenneth didn't deny his part. It was his first serious scrape with the law. But at 15, he was tried under Florida law as an adult. Astoundingly, he received four consecutive life sentences — guaranteeing that he would die in prison. 
Does sentencing a teenager to life without parole serve our society well? The United States is the only country in the world that routinely condemns children to die in prison.
Beyond Boundaries: Dare to be Diverse is curated and organized by Communication Professors Ruth Goldman, Meg Knowles, and Mike Niman along with Jason Parker of the Office of Equity and Campus Diversity.   It is co-sponsored by the Burchfield Penney Arts Center; Buffalo State Office of Equity & Campus Diversity; and Buffalo State's Department of Communication.

Learn more about the film and to view the trailer here.

The screening will be FREE for all Buffalo State Students, Staff and Faculty and members of Burchfield Penney Art Center, US & Canada military and families, and children under 10.

For all others, Adults: $10; Seniors (62 & over): $8; (Non Buffalo-State) Students (with ID): $5

31 October 2014

Comm Students Named Team Captains

Kara Goodwin
Olivia Luciani, on left

Two Public Communication students have been named team captains for both women's basketball and women's hockey.
   Olivia Luciani has been named team captain of Buffalo State's women's basketball team for the 2014-15 season. The senior has been a member of the team since she was a freshman.
   Last season, Luciani set a school record with 57 three-pointers. In her 79 games for Buffalo State, she has averaged 7.2 points per game.

   Kara Goodwin has been named hockey captain for the second consecutive year. She has 22 goals in 51 games during her two previous years at Buffalo State. A transfer student from Division I Lindenwood University, Goodwin has a total of 33 career points.

Visitor from Osaka Explains Media in Japan

   Communication students met with Dr. Hide (hee-day) Izukawa, who spoke about "Japanese Media, Music and Culture," comparing ways in which the U.S. and Japan both produce and consume media.
   Dr. Izukawa showed video clips of Japanese news, sports programming and TV talk shows. He also discussed the role of newspapers, comparing how news is reported in the the two countries.
   An expert in Japanese popular culture, h explained the role of entertainment media, including how public relations and advertising are used by the Japanese music industry.
   Dr. Izukawa was a guest speaker in Professor Ron Smith's section of COM 450 Communication and Society, which served as a the base for an assembly involving students from several other courses. Communication adjunct professor Dr. Joshua Smith, who received his doctorate in Osaka, served as interpreter for the presentation.

30 October 2014

Marren Wins Chancellor's Award for Service

Joe Marren, President Conway-Turner

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher recently awarded Communication Chair and Associate Professor Joe Marren  the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service.   Marren accepted the award from Buffalo State President Kate Conway-Turner at The Faculty and Staff Recognition Ceremony held in the Performing Arts Center in Rockwell Hall on October 16th, 2014.  

Marren was nominated by Professors Michael Niman and Deborah Silverman, in recognition of his extensive work on behalf of the Communication Department and also the School of Arts & Humanities, SUNY Buffalo State and the State University of New York system.  He serves as a SUNY Buffalo State representative to the SUNY Faculty Senate and has been the chair of the Senate's Comprehensive Colleges Sector.   He is a member of the Buffalo State Faculty Senate, and works on the Academic Plan Committee, which focuses on the integration of new learning and teaching technologies into academic programs.  Additionally Professor Marren is on the Arts & Humanities Teaching Enhancement Steering Committee and is the Chair of the Commencement Committee.   All this is in addition to Professor Marren's stellar leadership as the Chairman of the Communication Department.

26 September 2014

Buffalo State Ad Club Meets Sept. 30

Communication Professor Diane McFarland has announced an organizing meeting of the Ad Club of Buffalo State College on Tuesday, September 30th at 12:30 p.m.  in the Communication Department Conference Room on the first floor of Bishop Hall.  

Buffalo State's Ad Club will feature guest speakers and field trips to advertising agencies.  Copywriters and students interested in film, graphic and web based design, public relations and advertising are encouraged to attend.  The club will become a USG organization and apply for USG funding.

Buffalo State Ad Club members may want also to join the Advertising Club of Buffalo, which supports and connects communications professionals in Western New York, providing national industry involvement with a local focus.  Students are provided access to the resources (and people) they need to get in, and get ahead.  Monthly meetings like AdLab, advertised above, bring advertising professionals together to discuss trends and issues in the field.

See more about the Advertising Club of Buffalo here.

Come and join us on September 30!

20 September 2014

Mini Reunion!

Professor Deborah Silverman and Professor Joe Marren are shown with a group from the Communication Mini Reunion at Cole's on Friday night.   It was a great event, with more to come.

19 September 2014

Diversity Film Series Debuts with The Homestretch Sept 25

Production Still from The Homestretch

Communication Department Professors Ruth Goldman, Meg Knowles and Michael Niman are proud to present a three-film documentary series for this semester.  The first film screened will be The Homestretch, a 2014 documentary about homeless teens in Chicago.   The film will be presented at the Burchfield Penney Art Center on Thursday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m.   This 90-minute documentary was directed and produced by Anne De Mare and Kirsten Kelly.  The series, Beyond Boundaries: Dare to be Diverse, is co-sponsored by the Buffalo State Office of Equity and Campus Diversity, Buffalo State's Department of Communication, the Buffalo State Office of Student Life and the Burchfield Penney Arts Center.

The Homestretch (trailer) from spargel productions on Vimeo.

Filmmaker Kirsten Kelly partnered with award winning director Anne De Mare over the course of five years to produce The Homestretch.  De Mare and Kelly produced their first film together in 2009, titled Asparagus! Stalking the American Life.  While working in Chicago, Kelly learned of the multitude of homeless teens flocking to the city.   The women were granted access to Chicago Public Schools where they sought the backstories of kids who didn't fit the "homeless" stereotype.

Kasey, Anthony and Roque are smart, ambitious Chicago teens.  Like many their age, they struggle to keep their grades up so they can graduate from high school.  What sets them apart from other teens is that after the school day ends, they don't go home.   Instead, they spend their nights looking for a warm, safe place to sleep.  They're among the 19,000 homeless students in Chicago public schools, and like so many, they've fallen victim to issues of juvenile justice, immigration, foster care and LGBTQIA discrimination.   This powerful documentary follows their stories, and those of the heroes and heroines who support them, as they work to overcome the trauma of abandonment at a very young age.  They face overwhelming odds, but the courage and conviction of these three teens defies stereotypes in this story of struggle and triumph.

The documentary has already been screened at Toronto's Hot Docs as well as Gene Siskel's Film Center in Chicago.   "Its intimacy is a reflection of its compassion…The Homestretch invites you to empathize with its subjects, to worry with them, to laugh with them, to worry about them.  It's engaging and compelling viewing," says Glenn Kenny of RogerEbert.com

After the film, a panel of local experts from the non-profit community will lead a discussion. Candice Fletcher-Pacheco, Development Director of Compass House; Marvin L. Henchbarger, Executive Director of Gay and Lesbian Youth Services (GLYS); and Jennifer Ditta, Program Manager, Second Chance Home at Homespace will be be featured at the panel discussion.

The next films in the series will be Bipolarized on Thursday, October 16th and 15 to Life on Thursday, November 13th.   For more information, visit the Beyond Boundaries Facebook page.

- by Lauren Cifra, '14 (Public Communication)

COM Reunion for Homecoming

The Communication Department Alumni Network presents an alumni mini-reunion at Cole's Restaurant and Bar --  Guests are welcome to enjoy light appetizers, beverages, and networking with fellow alumni on Friday, September 19 from 7-9:30.

You can attend for only $15 for alumnus/alumna and Communication Department staff, and $20 for non-alumni, significant others and colleagues.  Registration is available at the door.

Several Communication Department faculty will be in attendance, and are looking forward to socializing with both old friends and new!

BSC-TV Covers Homecoming and More

Ronnie O'Campo '15 (Media Production), current Vice-President of BSC-TV, posted this video of the Homecoming Pep Rally today on BSC-TV's YouTube page.   You can follow BSC-TV's programming on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/BSCTV3) or on Twitter (https://twitter.com/BSC_TV) and Instagram (@BSCTV3) to keep up to date on events, sports, and campus news.

Regular programming announced this fall includes:  "Pat's Food Review," "Bengal Sound," "The Light," "The Jungle," "The Game Show," and "BSC News".

22 August 2014

Brian Milbrand and Torn Space Spectacle at Silo City

Brian Milbrand
Communication Department Technical Director Brian Milbrand is collaborating for the 3rd year with Dan Shanahan from Torn Space Theater Company to produce Storehouse, a site specific spectacle near Canalside.   It will be a unique evening combining film, art and performance at Silo City on August 22-24, with shows on the half-hour from 6-9 p.m. each evening. Amanda Matthews '14 (Media Production) and Emil Goranov '16 are assisting with the production. Parts of the performance will be shot on Super-8 film, then developed and projected before the end of each half-hour as the audience moves with the performers through the former grain silos.

Scene from Storehouse

Tickets can be reserved online at Torn Space's website.   An article about Milbrand's work with Torn Space appeared here, written by Mary Durlak for Buffalo State's News and Events page.

21 August 2014

Welcome Communication Class of 2018!

Professor Joe Marren

Communication Chair, Professor Joe Marren welcomed more than 150 freshmen Communication majors to SUNY Buffalo State and the Communication Department at an Orientation session in the Student Union's Social Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

In a short presentation, Marren pointed out that Buffalo State has the largest and only accredited Communication Department in all of SUNY, and is amongst 6 accredited Communication programs in the state.   Furthermore, the Communication Department has grown to more than 900 students and is one of the largest departments on campus.  Professors from the department introduced themselves and gave advice to the incoming class.

Professors Karlis, McCray, Oyer and Bryski prepare to
welcome Communication freshmen.
Freshman then divided into 4 breakout sessions, meeting with professors from their chosen concentrations to learn more about the programs, extracurricular activities and opportunities available to  Communication students.

Media Production majors participate in a "Character Sketch"
exercise during a breakout session.

The Record is Back!

Jonny Moran '15 and Colleen Young '15

Record Managing Editor Colleen Young '15 and Executive Editor Jonny Moran '15 spoke about student clubs at the Communication  Department Freshman Orientation session today, and promoted student membership at the Record, WBNY, BSC-TV and PRSSA.  They presented freshmen in attendance with copies of the Summer Issue of the Record (hot off the presses), which features stories on Katherine Conway-Turner, the new President of Buffalo State, and construction projects underway on campus. There is also a compelling editorial on the mistreatment of journalists covering recent events in Ferguson, MO.  You can pick up a copy in most buildings on campus.

Young and Moran also promoted STRIPES MEDIA, the overarching name for the joined efforts of all four media clubs.  Stripes Media will soon have a website up and operating, as well as a Twitter Feed.  While each media organization will retain its autonomy, Young explained that there would be convergence across the groups to share stories and cross-platform outlets for news.

If you are interested in joining the Record, there are meetings at Bengal Pause on Tuesday and Thursdays on the 4th floor of the Student Union in the Record offices.

22 July 2014

Recent Grad's Guide to the Job Search

Calvin Gwinner '13 at work at WETM-TV
Recent Communication Grad and Outstanding Senior in Media Production Award Recipient Calvin Gwinner '13 (Media Production) offers some advice to other grads tackling the job market!

As a May 2013 graduate of Buffalo State College, I was worried. I had no idea HOW I was going to find a job in an industry that is highly competitive, has been under stress from recent technological shifts, and that is located, for the most part, in cities. Somehow, I beat the odds and found a job. An entry-level job, in a small market, but a job nonetheless. As somebody who has entered the real world, and has come out (relatively) victorious, this is my field guide for all you Buff-State Comm. majors.

            Before we begin... a brief little run-down of my job.
            I work at WETM-TV in Elmira. WETM is an NBC affiliate in a small market, which covers a few small cities in the Twin Tiers area of New York and Pennsylvania. We share the market with an ABC/CBS affiliate, a FOX affiliate, and the local PBS station. WETM is the local news leader in the market, as evidenced by our new "Your Local News Leader" slogan. Although the station itself has been in HD for a while, the news has recently switched over to HD as well, resulting in a new logo, new graphics, and tons of the promo spots. That is where I come in.
            Although I was hired as a "production assistant," I am, in practice, a full-fledged member of creative services at the station. My job consists of performing all video-shooting duties for commercials, shooting non-studio video for promotions, and editing  about a third of said promos/spots. In addition, I shoot and edit a weekly show, entitled "Friends & Neighbors," where a well-off magazine owner goes around the area interviewing businesses. Sometimes the job is very boring, sometimes it is very hectic, and the pay is not that great.... but it is a real job. It's a full-time, unionized, big-boy job, and I love it.

            Now for the guide itself.

            Seriously. Anything. Most people get an internship, which is excellent. Others sign up for clubs, which is great too, though you really should join one that is relevant to your career. Playing inter-collegiate sports is an okay option too, as it shows that you can dedicate yourself to something. What you should NOT do is nothing. I know college is fun. I like to party as much as the next guy, but you have to show potential employers that you CARE about your career. How do you show them that? Extra-curricular activity.
            Personally, I joined BSC-TV. As many of you know, BSC-TV has its share of drawbacks... but it has its benefits too. The BEST benefit is that it is easy to rise through the ranks. It is always nice for your resume to have some leadership skills, in your career path, on it. I went from Secretary to President within one semester, and actually DID something while I was there. Getting the station through a transitional period like I did can be a pretty useful skill in an industry where stations are always changing. If anything, joining the station and becoming President shows employers that I CARE about my career, and that is what they really want. They need caring people, not some slouch who goes through the motions. Whether you join BSC-TV (please do, they always need members,) intern at WBEN, or play men's hockey (go Bengals,) just make sure you do SOMETHING while you still have a chance.

            2. PRACTICE YOUR CRAFT
            This is something that I wish I could change about myself. I honestly went into the job hunt with little practical experience. I am competent with shooting video, and audio production, and basic editing, but I fell far short in effects work. If you can't take the actual After Effects class at Buff State, do your best to familiarize yourself with the program. The same goes for Photoshop. I lucked out and found a job that allowed me to come in with zero AE experience, and I have been learning every day, but it pays to know about this stuff from the get-go. Maybe you know how to use AE, but you have barely touched a camera. Learn about cameras. Practice. Any skills you gain before you look for your first job will help a TON.

            I think some people are intimidated by creating a resume, but it really isn't hard. If you have trouble, go to the CDC, but it really is not as complicated as it looks. Make it simple, to the point, and make it promote you with hard facts. List any accomplishments that make you seem more employable in your field. My resume includes my time at BSC-TV, my "Most Outstanding Student in Media Production" award, and any and all skills I learned in class (audio mixer, Final Cut 7, studio cameras, etc. etc. etc..) Good things to stress are technical skills and leadership skills. I think those are very helpful in this career path. Also, make the resume look nice, but don't get too crazy. You can add some lines to divide sections, but leave the emojis and flowers off.

            When I write a cover letter, I basically write my resume, but with a lot more eloquence. First and foremost, get the information out there. From there I think it is good to put a little emotion and pride in the cover letter. You want to show that you care about your career. Make sure, however, that you do not sound desperate. You do not want it to sound like you NEED this job, even if you do.

            5. GET SOME REFERENCES
            By get references, I mean get references that matter. Your art professor and frat bro are not good references. Every student should try to cultivate relationships with your professors. Believe it or not, they do care about you. I am thankful to have had the now retired Paul Dewald as a mini-mentor at BSC, as well as having the help of Meg Knowles in preparing for my job search. Not only did they give me help as non-official advisors, but having them as references goes a long way as well. Even if your potential employer doesn't call, just having good references can certainly help.

            6. APPLY ALL OVER
            As someone who happened to get a job within driving distance of where I have lived for 15 years, it is weird to say this, but apply all over. I did. I applied to news stations as far south as Virginia and as far west as Ohio. I also tried to apply to ESPN in Vermont, and to Fox Sports in LA. Although I happened to get a job close by, do not expect to. Being open to where you live will raise your ability to find a job exponentially.

            I don't make a ton of money. I'm entry-level, in a small market. I'm okay with it though, and you should be to. Expect to "pay some dues." It's normal to be in the trenches for a while before you can be the top dog. It's better that way too. Those people who pay their dues always get more respect than those who somehow go right to the top. I have seen it myself. In the end, I make a livable wage. I'm fine with that. I have fun, I have a second job at Best Buy that I work a couple of 4-hour shifts a week, and I do my best to improve myself so that I can raise my pay-grade. The one thing I do NOT do, is dwell on how much I make.

            8. BE PATIENT
            This is a big one. Do not think you will get a job a week after graduating. You MIGHT, but you probably won't. It took me almost exactly a year to find my job. I submitted an easy 50 applications, and made inquiries for dozens more. Finding a job in this market is honestly tough. You have to bring something to the table, at the right time, to the right place. I think it takes luck. I happened to see my station was hiring at a time when they needed someone THEN. They had an HD conversion on the way, an employee leaving that week, and the need for someone that could step in immediately. I lucked out. I fit the bill. Sometimes, you just need to be in the right place at the right time.

            9. BE PROFESSIONAL
            This is simple. In your emails, on the phone, during your interview, you need to act professional. Have some gravitas. Dress nice, in a suit that fits. Go to the thrift store if you have too. You should look the part of a GQ cover model, and have the professionalism of a GQ editor in chief, to the best of your ability. If you look like you don't care about the interview, then you look like you don't care about the job. This is an OBVIOUS for those of you who want to be a reporter, or anchor. You have to look and act the part, whether you are mentally ready or not.

            And finally....

            10. BE ENTHUSIASTIC
            You spent at least two years of your life learning about this career, so act like you enjoy it! Television is a lot of fun, even when it is boring. I would not want to be in any other career in the world. Whether you prefer radio, newspaper journalism, film making, or television, enjoy it. Love it. It really is rewarding, fun, exciting, and it makes me proud every day.

            There it is. Everything I could think of from my experiences that could help YOU get a job. I really hope it helps, and maybe I will see your spot, or story, or segment someday soon.

Calvin Gwinner- WETM-TV

20 July 2014

Evans Wins 2014 SPJ Scholarship

Autumn Evans '15
The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) recently announced that it has awarded Autumn Evans '15 (Journalism)  a 2014 scholarship from the College Scholarship Fund of their Greater Buffalo Chapter.  Autumn, who hails from Sanborn, NY, will be a senior at Buffalo State this year.  She is currently the Associate News Editor of the campus newspaper, The Record, and has also written for The Lewiston Looking Glass, a blog covering businesses on Center Street in Lewiston, NY. 

Monica Disare, a senior at Yale University and editor of the Yale Daily News, was also awarded a scholarship this year.

SPJ Scholarship awardees are chosen from amongst WNY college journalism majors who are judged based upon their writing and journalistic skills.

17 July 2014

Brennan named Station Manager at WNYB

Sean Brennan, a part-time lecturer in the Communication Department, has recently been promoted to Station Manager at WNYB-TV.   He has been a Production Manager at that station since 2000, specializing in directing live television programs broadcast to both local and global markets.  Previous to that, Brennan was the Senior Promotions Producer at WNYO WB49 in Buffalo.  Brennan teaches Media Literacy (COM 100) courses at Buffalo State College.

WNYB, UHF Digital Channel 26 (Time Warner Cable Channel 23 in Buffalo),  is owned by Tri-State Christian Television, and is a religious television station with studios located in Orchard Park.  Brennan has an MS in Television/Radio/Film from  Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Communications.