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Communications students meet executive producers of 60 Minutes, The View



Students pose for a picture at ABC studio in NYC.
April 15, 2009

Students from the Misericordia University Communications Department toured ABC and CBS networks, the Paley Center for Media, and met with the executive producers of “The View” and “60 Minutes” during a field trip to New York City.

The 21 Misericordia students who participated in the tour also work with campus media, including The Highlander, the university’s bi-weekly student newspaper; Cougar Radio, the student-run radio station; and “CougarCast,” a monthly campus video magazine, according to Melissa Sgroi, assistant professor of communications.

“Our Communications Department faculty felt students who do not get academic credit for their campus media work deserved some recognition,” said Sgroi. “The university agreed and funded the one-day trip. We hoped that our students would see that powerful people in media are people just like them — all were once beginners in the industry. We wanted our students to visualize themselves on the set of a network television show or in the office of a ‘60 Minutes’ journalist. They were not disappointed.”

The students were divided into two groups once they arrived in New York City. Some students watched the live ABC daytime talk show, “The View,” from the front row of the audience. The show’s production manager then took them backstage where they met with Executive Producer Bill Geddie and technical personnel explained how the show’s high definition control room works.

“I was amazed at the amount of work that went into the production of a talk show like ‘The View,’ ” said Meaghan Rivet, a junior communications major from New Bedford, Mass. “There are long hours and days of preparation that go into each broadcast.”

The second group toured the CBS “60 Minutes” production offices and met with Executive Producer Jeff Fager. The students learned how the feature reports for each show are researched and produced. During their visit, Fager and his staff learned that one of last year’s “60 Minutes” features had earned a Peabody Award, which is considered the most prestigious achievement in electronic media, while another received the coveted George Polk Award for Television Reporting.

Fagler screened the Polk Award segment, “The Wasteland,” with Misericordia students. The investigative report showed how some American companies that were paid to recycle electronic waste dumped it in China instead and created environmental hazards and health risks in the country. “It was a big day for CBS News – and we were thrilled to be there to share in the excitement,” Sgroi added.

Communications senior Elizabeth Guarnieri, of Pittston, Pa., added, “When we met Mr. Fagler we found a very down to earth guy who was passionate about the quality of his program.”

Misericordia students were surprised to learn that Richard Crew, Ph.D., Communications Department chiar, worked with the executive producers of both television shows. “Jeff Fager of ‘60 Minutes’ and Bill Geddie at ‘The View’ are successful professionals who graciously agreed to share stories about their own careers and offer our students some honest advice,” Dr. Crew said. “Fager revealed that he wrote radio news stories for free each day before he started his night job on the TV crew at WBZ in Boston. He hoped it would lead to a job in news someday.

“Geddie started as a cameraman at a local television station before he was able to move to larger markets and become a producer,” Dr. Crew added.

In the afternoon, the students came together at the Paley Center for Media, formerly known as The Museum of Television & Radio on 52nd Street in Manhattan. The Paley Center is recognized as the world’s foremost institution for the preservation of radio, television and new media history, housing more than 140,000 television and radio programs and advertisements at locations in New York and Los Angeles. According to Sgroi, Misericordia students learned how to access the center’s many resources in preparation for doing future research projects on media history.

For more information about Misericordia University or the Communications Department, please log on to www.misericordia.edu or call (570) 674-6400.

Photo Caption:

Misericordia University communication majors had the opportunity to meet with Bill Geddie, the executive producer of ABC’s ‘The View’ during a media tour of New York City. Shown from left are: Matthew Grant of Allentown, Pa., Margaret Young of Pittstown, N.Y., Rachel Roa, of New Britain, Conn., Elizabeth Guarnieri of Pittston, Pa., Geddie, Shana Weinstock of Dallas, Pa., Deborah Higgins of Chase, Pa., and Michael Terleski of Shavertown, Pa.

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