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Lawrence Herbert School of Communication

In Focus

Olivia Stanchina

Olivia Stanchina ‘07


1) What are you doing now?

I am currently working as a Graphics Producer for the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC in addition to being part of the MSNBC Breaking News team which is responsible for getting the network on-air with critical breaking news.

2) What were some of your learning experiences outside the classroom that prepared you for where you are today?

WRHU definitely served as one of my best training grounds outside the classroom. Hofstra’s radio station gave me invaluable hands on experience which I think is the only way to learn and become good at your trade. It forced me to dig in, put myself out there and get my hands a little dirty. I worked with both Ed Ingles and Assistant Dean Susan Murphy to hone my writing and on-air voice. Additionally I was a news reader and commentator on Hofstra’s Morning Wake-up Call and Newsline and also covered different events on campus and around Long Island.

In addition to WRHU, I interned at WTAE-TV, the ABC Affiliate in Pittsburgh, PA. At the very beginning of my internship I quickly learned that I was going to get as much out of it as I was willing to put in, so I hit the ground running. In addition to the typical intern responsibilities of logging tapes and making phone calls for the assignment desk, I began shadowing reporters on a daily basis. After awhile the desk even began sending me out alone with a cameraman to gather interviews and elements for segments or anchor packages that I would come back and write myself, or assist the anchor with. When out in the field with reporters, they allowed me to gather my own interviews, and shoot a stand-up with their instruction and guidance. When we’d get back to the station, they too would have me write my own package and track it. It was here, with their help, that I was able to put together a professional demo reel.

I was also a member of Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and New York Woman In Communications, Inc. (NYWICI) during my time at Hofstra and as a result attended the 2007 RTNDA Convention in Las Vegas and shadowed Campbell Brown for a day on Weekend TODAY.

3) How crucial do you think your internship experiences and those connections you made were once you graduated?

I am a firm believer that establishing and maintaining good connections is the key to success in this business. It was in fact my ties to Hofstra and Assistant Dean Murphy that helped me land my first job as an NBC Page. I have gotten every job since as a result of hard work, networking and gaining the respect of those around me.

4) How did Hofstra prepare you for where you are today?

Hofstra definitely taught me a lot about myself and helped me grow and mature in a way that has helped me succeed in my career. Once I arrived at Hofstra from southern California, I knew right away that I wanted to be as involved on campus as possible with hopes of one day making it in the broadcasting world. So, I tried to take on as many classes, shows at WRHU, and other outside experiences as possible to make me well-rounded. As a result of doing all of this in addition to working at the Dean of Students Office on campus, there were many nights where I did not get more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep but still managed to get everything done.

Since beginning my career at NBC, I have worked just about every shift possible from coming in at 3 a.m. a year ago to now not starting work until 4 p.m. and getting off at 1 a.m. I have also had time periods where I have worked 30 days straight without a day off or consecutive days that are 15 hours long. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for my experience at Hofstra, there is no way that I would be able to juggle the ever changing often grueling schedule that this business oftentimes forces you to live by. Hofstra taught me a lot about life, and how much I can push myself.

5) Where do you see yourself in five years?

That’s a tough question since this business is constantly evolving and there are so many different things I see myself doing. I definitely envision myself still working in the business in some capacity in five years. I can see myself field producing for a while. I’ve become very interested in directing and have actually spent a lot of time shadowing one of the director’s at MSNBC so I can see myself possibly trying my hand at that as well. I can also see myself going to grad. school and taking on more of a business rather than production role in the media. For me, one thing has always led to another. So I just try to open as many doors for myself as possible, keep an open mind, and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. That’s exactly what I plan to keep on doing.