Zoom in on Broadcast Journalism


Panelist Mr. Andrew Freirich speaking to the audience. Courtesy of Ms. Rachel Zurheide

Convent of the Sacred Heart students and faculty held a panel November 10 titled “Inside the Broadcast Journalism Studio” to highlight the successes of the award-winning Broadcast Journalism program. 
The event opened at 8:15 a.m. with student-guided tours of the studio and editing rooms.  Guests then gathered in the Lennie and John de Csepel Theater to hear students, alumnae, and professional panelists speak about their involvement with the program.  
First, the keynote presenter, Ms. Melanie Bloom, parent of Christine Bloom ’12, Nicole Bloom ’12, and junior Ava Bloom, shared the story behind the origin of the Broadcast Journalism program. Ms. Bloom is the widow of former National Broadcasting Company (NBC) News Correspondent Mr. David J. Bloom, who passed away while covering the war in Iraq in 2003.  
Ms. Bloom shared that as a Sacred Heart parent, Mr. Bloom had started to develop plans for a Broadcast Journalism program. After Mr. Bloom’s death, NBC News worked with Sacred Heart community members to create the broadcast studio and donated equipment such as cameras, editing boards, and the set from The Today Show.  

Keynote speaker Ms. Melanie Bloom speaks to the audience. Courtesy of Ms. Rachel Zurheide
Keynote speaker Ms. Melanie Bloom addresses the audience.
Courtesy of Ms. Rachel Zurheide

After Ms. Bloom spoke, Studio Director and Broadcast Journalism teacher Ms. Ellyn Stewart proposed questions to the panelists.
Fourth-grader Kathleen Denvir shared her experience in the after-school Claymation program and then freshman Jackie Prata spoke about her involvement in the program throughout Middle School.
“In sixth grade, I completed a documentary on Wreaths Across America, which is a not-for-profit organization which puts wreaths on the graves of veterans at Arlington National Cemetery,” Jackie said.
Executive Producer of “Today from the Heart” senior Ellen Pucel spoke about the opportunities within the Advanced Broadcast Journalism class. As a leader in the class, Ellen is in charge of organizing segments and compiling pieces. The Broadcast Journalism program gives Ellen the opportunity to gain valuable skills, such as staying organized and meeting deadlines.  
“You have the opportunity to create a show that everybody in the community is going to really enjoy,” Ellen said, regarding the Upper School student-produced show Today from the Heart
Then, Creative Director and Film Festival Co-Chair senior Juliette Guice shared her experiences with the annual Sacred Heart Film Festival.
After the four students presented, alumna Miss Jackie Batrus ‘13 spoke about how her involvement in the Broadcast Journalism program has helped her at college and in the workforce. Miss Batrus is currently a senior at Boston College and is majoring in Communications. Miss Batrus has interned for Fox News and was previously a media intern for both the World Wildlife Fund-Australia and the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS). After graduation, Miss Batrus hopes to make documentaries for OPS. Miss Batrus maintained the skills she learned while at Sacred Heart, which gave her the confidence to apply for these internships.   
“This Broadcast Journalism Program is so invaluable in the things I’ve done since graduating, I really couldn’t have done that without this program. It gave me a phenomenal foundation for my major,” Miss Batrus said.   
NBC Anchor and Sacred Heart Film Festival judge Ms. Kate Rayner Leary ‘05 recognized the strength of Sacred Heart students’ work and gave advice to students interested in pursuing Broadcast Journalism. As a Sacred Heart Film Festival judge, Ms. Leary saw the same level of professionalism in the students’ pieces as she sees at work.  
Sophomore Lily Brown gives a tour of the studio to Mrs. Janine Larkin, parent of junior Jillian Larkin. Courtesy of Ms. Rachel Zurheide
Sophomore Lily Brown gives a tour of the studio to Mrs. Janine Larkin, parent of junior Jillian Larkin.
Courtesy of Ms. Rachel Zurheide

“To see that these girls, who are in this Broadcast program now, are able to create these films, these stories, and these documentaries and put these together in high school and have this opportunity to get such a head start is really incredible,” Ms. Leary said.  
Ms. Leary advises students to take advantage of the resources that Sacred Heart offers.  She credits her Sacred Heart education with giving her the ability to report on a variety of topics, and usually without a script.  
Next, Miss Erica Jorgensen ‘04 and her mother Ms. Peggy Jorgensen, also parent of Grace Jorgensen ’13, shared how the Broadcast Journalism program influenced their family. Erica Jorgensen won a National Student Emmy Award for her documentary “A Chocolate Chip Cookie” while she was a student at Sacred Heart. Winning the Emmy helped set Miss Jorgensen apart from other applicants when she applied for jobs. Miss Jorgensen is now an Investigative Producer for NBC.
Second Grade teacher and parent of alumna Lindsey Festa ’09, Ms. Suzanne Festa, spoke about the Broadcast Journalism program from the point of view of a teacher and parent.
Panelist Mr. Andrew Freirich speaking to the audience. Courtesy of Ms. Rachel Zurheide
Panelist Mr. Andrew Freirich speaks to the audience. Courtesy of Ms. Rachel Zurheide

“I really feel that the Broadcast program really embodies a means through which our girls can explore, cultivate, and demonstrate great creativity and talent,” Ms. Festa said.
Finally, Mr. Andrew Freirich, parent of fifth-grader Libby Rattner, Television Producer and Sacred Heart Film Festival judge, spoke about his role as a mentor to the Broadcast Journalism students. Mr. Freirich worked with the Broadcast Journalism class throughout 2015 and 2016. Mr. Freirich also recognized the quality of Sacred Heart students’ work.   
“It’s the same thing that you are going to do as a producer, or director, or writer in the real-world,” Mr. Freirich said.
– Jackie Shannon, Staff Writer