The Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit proves invaluable for students

Breakout Session with Jenna Wehn

By: Morgan Rumpf

OSWEGO, N.Y. — The 12th Annual Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit has a mission each year to connect current students of the School of Communication Media and the Arts (SCMA) with professionals in their industry. Besides the Media Summit panel discussion, there are breakout sessions that occur throughout the day with Career Connectors. Career Connectors are alumni who have graduated from SUNY Oswego, and have been asked to return to connect with students and discuss their life and career path with the hopes of inspiring current students.

Jenna Wehn graduated from SUNY Oswego in December of 2009, and has been employed with ESPN since January of 2010. She started her career with ESPN as a production assistant, moved up to an assistant producer, associate producer and now she is currently one of the highlight producers for “SportsCenter” and other shows as well as being the production assistant supervisor. She attributes most of her success so far in her career to luck, but is proud that the path she has taken to continuously move up within her dream company is unique in the way that she’s not following a specific path but making her own.

In a breakout session Thursday morning, students asked questions about her time at Oswego. Wehn credits her success to being involved with extracurricular activities on campus. As a freshman, Wehn was on the women’s basketball team; she was a member of the student media organizations, WTOP-10 and WNYO; as well as being on the women’s tennis team her senior semester.

When students asked how she obtained her first position with ESPN, even before graduating, Wehn stressed the importance of networking.

“Just being at the Media Summit is the first step in utilizing SUNY Oswego’s networking opportunity,” Wehn said. “Not limiting yourself is the best way to give yourself more opportunities in this business.”

Jenna Wehn speaks with students on networking opportunities during breakout session.

Wehn said moving to a new city after graduation was tough, but the aspects of being around people the same age who are new to the same company made the transition to Bristol, Connecticuteasier. With 2,000 people working on the ESPN campus, for Wehn, the transition was almost like transferring to another college.

“It’s the people around you that make it feel like home,” Wehn said.

Jenna Wehn speaks about relocating for work.

Wehn’s last piece of advice for students before ending the session was for students to make an effort to stand out, make your name known and to make an impression.

Behind the Scenes with the Red Carpet Crew

By: Ryan Berger

The annual “Red Carpet Show” put on by the broadcasting majors of SUNY Oswego did not go according to plan at this years Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit. A fire alarm went off in Tyler Hall where the event was being held for unconfirmed reasons. In the scramble, the broadcast meant to take place before the panel was seen by nobody. Due to a rushed routing job because of the time restraint, the show was not recorded, nor was it streamed. Months of planning and hours of resources unfortunately down the drain.

The media summit is the crown jewel of specialty broadcasts for SUNY Oswego’s student media organizations.  For public relations majors, it’s their Super Bowl.  Here, broadcasting majors cut their teeth and test their might, holding red carpet events for high profile Oswego alumni  and maintaining a live feed for viewers to watch the summits’ panels from the comfort of their own home or take it on the go on other streaming devices.  It’s a very tall order, but year after year, students at WTOP continue to tackle it head on.

The panel discussion begins at 3 p.m, but for broadcasting majors the day begins much earlier. Students begin wheeling massive portable servers across campus from their studio to the summit as early as 8 a.m.

With this portable server called the mobile cart, students have a portable  production unit that allows them to put on a show just about anywhere. Today, their production control room happens to be a coat closet.

WTOP’s Justin Penman is in charge of the “Red Carpet Show” before the summit’s panel. Here, past alumni meet to discuss the panel and how their post-graduation journey relate to the topic at hand.

“The summit really gives us the best of both worlds because it’s the best way to reconnect with old friends who have graduated while also providing a great networking opportunity for college kids,” Penman said.

The organization prides itself on it’s “Pro’s with GPAs” mantra. These kids shoulder a lot of responsibility, but the fact remains that they are still young adults as prone to mistakes as all of us.

A valuable lesson in show business was learned by students, though not in the way they had originally intended.

12th Annual Media Summit

By: Lucy Bergemann

This year’s 12th annual Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit, held Thursday in SUNY Oswego’s Waterman Theatre, focused on the emerging technologies of social media and how students, as both media producers and consumers use social media technology in their everyday lives. The theme, “Digital, Social, Mobile: How Media Trends Impact Theater, Art and Music” brought together all aspects of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts (SCMA) at SUNY Oswego. The four panelists included: Mya Brown, a theater professor at Oswego, Nick Gianopolous (‘07), a composer, Diana Preisler (‘96), star of Lifetime’s “Pitch slapped,” and Michael Yoon (‘00) communications manager at Princeton University. The panel was moderated by Sean McAllister (‘05), host of Fox5’s “More” and “More Access” entertainment programs Fox affiliate KVVU-TV in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The panelists discussed how much of an adjustment it has been for them to learn ways to use social media, and reward their fans and viewers instantaneously. For Brown, one of the biggest challenges has been getting audiences off their phones during live theater productions. Instead, her theater company decided to ask audience members to use their phones during the performances.

“We want [audience members] to engage, and this is a way to reach them at that level,” Brown said.

All of the panelists said it has been challenging to separate their personal and professional lives on social media.

“[Social media] has made me censor myself greatly,” said panelist Diana Preisler.

Even though she has two separate accounts, fans are still able to find her personal pages, Preisler said.

One of the biggest takeaways from the panel was how important it is for users of social media, especially students, to monitor what they put on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram,etc.. “I go to social media first to tell me things that aren’t on a resume,” Yoon said.

All the of panelists and the moderator agreed that social media is an extremely important method for maintaining an image and branding yourself.

The Media Summit in 1 minute.

Summit Photo Gallery