Students Enrolled in Independent Study Take On New York City

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Alumnus Jeff Grisamore is the President & CEO of EGR International and BlackLab Media, a New York City-based agency specializing in engagement and creative services. Faculty member, Charles Munro has been a journalist, manager, industry consultant and educator, for over 30 years. The two of them led an independent study course during Fall 2019 and took five students to New York City for the experience of a lifetime in December. 

Second year University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communication Student Bailey Cichon shares the details of their adventure in her own words below:

UI Journalism Students in NYC
Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw, Bailey Cichon, Katelyn Weisbrod, Aadit Tambe, Matthew Volker

The trip to New York was part of an independent study course, planned only about a month before going. We had been working on research to aid in a brand restructuring/update for the SJMC. The trip was meant to expand the horizons of what we believed was possible for our future careers and give us a taste of life in media outside of the Midwest. This was my first trip to New York, so it was a pretty incredible experience being able to talk with such accomplished people in journalism--in New York City. Most of our appointments with the professionals we scheduled ourselves, based on our interests.

My favorite part of the trip was going to the MSNBC/NBC newsroom. Our contact, Erin McGarry showed us around and senior correspondent Harry Smith also spoke with us. I overheard someone doing a mic check, turned around and saw Lawrence Jackson filming headlines for NBC's Snapchat show, Stay Tuned. I am interested in working on a show like this in the future, so it was wild for me to witness. I was starstruck! 

NBC Studios, New York City

When we went to Small Girls PR I met a woman named Gisele who works directly with Betsey Johnson on that account. She noticed my bag was a Betsey Johnson and we discussed her experiences working with her. Gisele is only a few years older than me and is working with an iconic fashion designer--directly!

We visited UI alum Brian Ross at Law and Crime TV and watched his show Brian Ross Investigates live from the control room. Executive Producer Rhonda Schwartz even gave me her headset at one point during the show to hear everything that was going on. After our visit, I emailed Brian to thank him and express my interest in working for Law and Crime TV. I'm applying for a summer internship there as a result of our visit. 


Time Magazine was equally inspiring. Our contact, Jonathan Woods, gave us a tour and an unfiltered look at what life is like in the industry. He was very personable and gave us a lot of career advice, such as adopting a "laser beam" approach when applying to jobs. He said when he wants something, he zeros in on that and focuses all his energy on that one thing he wants. 

UI students NYC
Aadit Tambe, Bailey Cichon, Charles Munro, Katelyn Weisbrod, Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw, Matthew Volker


Our last night in New York was spent at Times Square. Mikhayla had a friend who was finishing on Broadway in the Tina Turner musical, so we all went backstage on Broadway. It was so surreal, just stopping by to say hello backstage! We got to go on the stage, take pictures and see the props backstage. As a former theatre kid, I thought it was pretty cool. 

I felt very inspired after leaving New York, especially because at nearly every company we went to, the majority of the staff was under the age of 30! I felt like I could be another young face in those newsrooms in a few years. 

NBC Studios, New York City


I was the youngest student on the trip, so I have some time to fully utilize the advice given to us. It was the perfect trip at the perfect time, and I am already stepping up my game. Before going to New York I would not have even considered moving there after graduation, but I was able to talk with some employees about their decision to move to New York after college and how they manage to pay for everything.

Katelyn Weisbrod at NBC News

The trip helped me make connections with professionals I likely would not have been exposed to from Iowa. Now I have a better idea of what to expect after graduation. I was able to hear what people at the top of their field look for when hiring. We not only talked about hiring, but also parent companies and the transition journalism is in right now. They were important conversations for young ears who really care about the industry to be a part of...and I was so lucky to be there and listen.