Five new faculty members join the MPS Journalism team

Our fall faculty met for orientation on Aug. 25 to get ready for the new semester. (Credit: Stephanie Melson)

Our fall faculty met for orientation on Aug. 25 to get ready for the new semester. (A few folks are missing!) / Credit: Stephanie Melson


The Journalism program ​is pleased to welcome five new faculty members for the fall term: Jeremy Bowers, Adam Goldman, Zan Gillies, Julie Moos and Robyn Tomlin:

Alumna of the Month – August 2014

MPS Journalism alumna Lisa Esposito

MPS Journalism alumna Lisa Esposito

Lisa Esposito (G‘11)
Twitter: @lisaespo

“The high standards for reporting, writing and ethics in the Journalism program have motivated me to put that much more into stories; while the social media course taught me how to be more interactive with readers.”

We are proud to feature Lisa Esposito as our August Alumna of the Month. Lisa recently became a health reporter for U.S. News & World Report. Throughout her career, she has written about health on all levels, including recent stories about chronic paincollege health carenutrient struggles for children over the summer and much more.

MPS Journalism: Tell us how your degree from the Journalism program has helped you in your current job.
Lisa Esposito: The high standards for reporting, writing and ethics in the Journalism program have motivated me to put that much more into stories; while the social media course taught me how to be more interactive with readers (I’m still learning!). When I interviewed for my new job, having recently earned the degree showed that I was serious about journalism and updating my skills.

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Alumni Kudos — Summer 2014

  • Alumna Heather Brady (G’13) started a new job as a digital editorial specialist at National Geographic.
  • Alumna Jessica Weiss (G’11) recently launched a project on Beacon, a new independent platform for crowd-funding journalism. She will be investigating Colombia’s displaced people and exploring what life looks like when these people are forced to start anew in an unfamiliar place. Learn more about her project here. She has published two stories recently from Colombia on the coffee industry (for Fast Company) and women’s’ rights (for World Affairs).
  • Alumna Christina Cauterucci’s story “Back Alley Theatre” was published last week as a cover story in the Washington City Paper.
  • Alumna Anne Snyder recently published her Capstone project, “Let the Weak Say I am Strong,” on
  • Alumna Palmer Gibbs, reporter for the Sunlight Foundation’s “Political Party Time,” appeared on MSNBC to talk about one of Obama’s fundraising trips.
  • Alumna Valerie Bonk is now a news anchor for HMTV6 in Hagerstown, MD.
  • Alumna Lisa Esposito is now a health reporter at U.S. News & World Report.
  • Alumnus JP Finlay is now a senior producer of digital media at NBC Sports. 
  • Alumnus Sudip Bhattacharya is now a news reporter at The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, NY. Check out his recent article, “Re-enactors at Mabee Farm make history a living, breathing thing.” 
  • Alumna Sasha Horne accepted a position as an LA-based reporter for TomoNews, a new media start-up that combines animation with live footage and original reporting.
  • Check out alumna Jessica Weiss’s article, “The World Cup in an Album,” about a soccer sticker trading craze in Colombia, published in the New York Times Sunday sports section.
  • Alumnus Michael Clarke‘s company International Media Solutions is currently launching an open source, open technology mobile reporting tool, the MoJo Kit. Read more about it here. Clarke also published an article, “How to stay safe while reporting from hostile (and not so hostile) environments,” in PBS’s Idea Lab.

Student Work — Summer 2014

From the Intern Files: Ariel Yong at Northern Virginia Magazine

Yong NoVAMag

Ariel Yong holding a copy of Northern Virginia Magazine. Photo credit: Ariel Yong


Through a summer internship with Northern Virginia Magazine’s food section Gut Check, Ariel Yong is learning first-hand the ins and outs of magazine writing. The aspiring broadcast journalist is building her portfolio while learning how to interview a source, develop story ideas and find story angles. We recently talked with Yong about her internship.

MPS JO: Tell us about the publication you’re working for and its audience.

Ariel Yong: Northern Virginia Magazine is a monthly magazine with an online website that covers food, fashion, arts and entertainment exclusively in the northern suburbs of Virginia.

MPS JO: How did you find your internship?

AY: Northern Virginia Magazine tweeted, “Like to eat? Like to write? Intern with our food desk.” And I thought, I love eating. I love writing. This is the perfect internship. So I emailed my resume and cover letter to the dining editor that night and had a response requesting an interview the next morning.

MPS JO: What is a typical day like working for Northern Virginia Magazine? What are your responsibilities?

AY: I am responsible for the magazine’s online food blog called, Gut Check. We have weekly editorial meetings where I have to pitch at least three story ideas for the blog to all the editors. The stories can be anything from an introductory post on a new restaurant to a Q&A with a new chef to a fun listicle of World Cup-inspired drinks. Last week, I wrote about a chimpanzee-themed brewery’s Kickstarter. The other intern and I have to make sure that new content goes up on the blog every day so we’re constantly looking for new story ideas – whether it’s a unique dish we ate on the weekend (for me, it was an “Urban Native American Taco”) or a new restaurant that we noticed opened in our area (like Cloud Lounge in Arlington). I also pitch ideas for print and work on projects for the food section of the magazine.

MPS JO: What is the office environment like?

AY: The office environment is laid back but also very professional at the same time. The main form of communication is via instant messenger so we interns are very independent. We are treated like any other writers because we enter our own stories into WordPress, manage the keywords and tags and find photos with proper credit for our blog posts. Weekly meetings with the editors help keep us on track, and the editors encourage us to meet with them individually if we have questions about their edits or our stories in general.

MPS JO: What do you wish you had known going into the internship?

I wish I had known how hard it is to find stories sometimes. Some stories fall into your lap, but often it takes a lot of research, picking up the phone and paying attention when you’re out and about. With a magazine, we are always working at least three months ahead of schedule. Even though it’s July right now, I’m working on stories for October and November. Finding story ideas can be trickier because you have to think, “What do I want to be reading about in the fall?”

MPS JO: How does the internship relate to or supplement the class you’ve taken with the MPS Journalism program?

The reason I got this internship was because of the portfolio of work I’ve been building from my classes at Georgetown. In Jeff Sonderman’s Digital Essentials class, I wrote about happy hours in Clarendon for my final group project. In Ryan Beckwith’s Reporting & News Writing class, I wrote almost half of my stories on local businesses in Arlington. And in Ben de la Cruz’s Video Journalism class, I shot my final video on a local doughnut cart at the Arlington Farmer’s Market (that I published on Gut Check for National Doughnut Day last month). I had already built contacts in northern Virginia and practiced covering the food and drink scene in the area, so I felt comfortable managing the magazine’s online blog.


Alumnus of the Month: July 2014

Liam Boylan-Pett

Liam Boylan-Pett

Liam Boylan-Pett (G‘10)
Twitter: @Liam B-P

The first thing is getting a foot in the door. I have emailed hundreds of pitches to editors, many of which go unanswered. But eventually someone will bite — even if they don’t particularly like that pitch, they’ll at least start a dialogue with you.

We are proud to feature Liam Boylan-Pett as our July Alumnus of the Month. Liam works for Running Times magazine as an associate editor. Liam has paired his journalism skills with his running talent as the 315th American to run a sub-four-minute mile and his run in the finals for the 1500 in 2014 USA National Track & Field championship. Read more about Liam’s advice to young journalists and some of his most memorable stories.

MPS Journalism: Why did you choose to attend Georgetown’s Journalism program? How did you hear about us?
Liam Boylan-Pett: I originally planned to go Georgetown’s communication program, but then happened to see a link to the Journalism program on the continuing ed site. It was such a better fit. I was a creative writing major in undergrad at Columbia and wanted to continue writing in any way possible. Thank goodness I saw that link. My writing improved dramatically.

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Alumna of the Month: June 2014


Christina Cauterucci (G‘13)
Twitter: @portmantina

“I use skills from j-school every day! … My Georgetown professors set high standards for ethical reporting and taught me much about what makes good writing, both of which are indispensable lessons for an editor.”

We are proud to feature Christina Cauterucci as our June alumna of the month. Christina is the arts editor at Washington City Paper. She is also the winner of the 2014 Journalism Outstanding Student award winner, which was presented at the recent Tropaia Awards ceremony. Read more about Christina’s favorite journalist and her role in the Washington City Paper’s second annual gay issue, due out this Thursday.

MPS Journalism: Why did you choose to attend Georgetown’s Journalism program? How did you hear about us?
Christina Cauterucci: I graduated from Georgetown’s undergraduate American Studies program in 2010 and stayed on campus to work as a writer and editor for the university’s websites and alumni publications. When I learned that Georgetown offered tuition benefits for its employees, I started poking around online and found the journalism program. To be honest, I didn’t even know that Georgetown offered a journalism degree; there wasn’t an undergraduate program when I was in school, and I didn’t pay much attention to the world of graduate school. I knew I eventually wanted to end up in journalism, and Georgetown’s program seemed like a perfect step in that direction: an academic degree grounded in real-world skills. I loved that most of the professors worked as journalists during the day, and taught classes at night.

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From the Intern Files: Michael Rooney at Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press


Through a recent internship with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Journalism student Michael Rooney bridged the gap between his past experience as a lawyer and his future career goal of being a journalist. At RCFP, Rooney wrote stories about First Amendment issues and journalism and access-related court cases around the country. We talked to Rooney in April about what it was like to work for RCFP during the spring semester.

MPS JO: What are your responsibilities as an intern for RCFP?

Michael Rooney: Besides having tons of resources and guidelines for journalists about the law, RCFP also has a news stream on its website. I write a lot of short stories that are important to First Amendment issues, privacy issues and court access issues.

[Check out some of Rooney’s articles: “Lethal Secrecy: State secrecy statutes keep execution information from the public,” published as the Spring 2014 cover story, “Filling in the background: Public bodies move to requiring background checks for press credentials when safety is an issue” and “Ninth Circuit begins live video streaming en banc proceedings.”]

MPS JO: What is the office environment like at RCFP?

MR: Very friendly. It’s a small staff. Including myself, it’s 10 people. As for the atmosphere, it’s very friendly, very cordial. There are three legal fellows. That’s who I generally work with, so people coming into the program are going to be around people your own age. It makes it a little less daunting. You feel a bit more camaraderie.

MPS JO: What is your favorite thing about the internship?

MR: Just the availability or the opportunity to write long enterprise pieces for the magazine. At a lot of other internships, you’re not tasked with that large of a project. I was able to do two large enterprise pieces for the last issue of RCFP’s magazine. The staff definitely trusts their interns to do serious work, but they also push interns to do their best. I’ve been writing upwards of 2,000 words for stories, and at other internships you might not get that opportunity.

MPS JO: How does the internship relate to or supplement the classes you’ve taken with the Journalism program?

MR: You definitely get the chance to write much longer stories in a newsroom situation. The course that has helped me the most was Dina Cappiello’s Reporting and News Writing, where I got a really tough but really good exposure to writing correctly. Coming from a legal background, we write in a very different way. Even though at RCFP the subject matter is the law, all the subject matter is targeted toward non-attorney journalists. Taking Dina’s class, I learned how to write in a more journalistic way than a legal way, which helped me when I hit the ground at RCFP. I credit that class with most of the background I needed to do well at this internship.

Another class that really helped me in a different way was Business Reporting with Alan Bjerga. One of our exercises was to write a story on deadline, meaning in about 30 minutes. Most of the stories that I write for RCFP’s website are very time sensitive, so the exercise we did with Alan was great practice for writing stories with a really quick turnaround.

MPS JO: How does having legal background contribute to your experience at RCFP?

MR: It’s very valuable, although you definitely don’t need a law degree to do the writing I do. It helps me understand the issues that I write about in a more detailed way. Although there are three legal fellows, so if you’re ever caught on what a story means for the law, they’re there to help with all legal questions.

MPS JO: Do you have any advice for students looking for internships?

MR: Taking an internship in addition to your classes is a great thing to do because, not only is it a great experience in writing, it exposes you to the editorial side of turning things around, writing multiple drafts of pieces. An internship is really going to push you to do your absolute best. It puts us in a working setting where people are going to help hone your skills. Taking an internship in addition to taking your classes in invaluable.

MPS JO: Why Georgetown?

MR: I had been a lawyer for three years, and I realized that it wasn’t for me. Still being relatively young, I wanted to make a change before it was too late. I decided that if I wanted to make a change in career, I should get a master’s degree. I felt a pull toward journalism; I was essentially a news junkie. When I started at Georgetown, I was still working as a lawyer, so I needed a program that was for working professionals. Once I found Georgetown, it was kind of a no-brainer. Georgetown has such a prestigious name, and the faculty is comprised of great thinkers in the D.C. news world.

Keith Jenkins is named National Geographic Digital’s executive editor

Congratulations to faculty member Keith Jenkins for his promotion to executive editor for National Geographic Digital. He joined the National Geographic staff last year as the director of photography.

Jenkins previously served as supervising senior producer for multimedia at NPR, and, prior to that, spent 13 years at the Washington Post, where he was a staff photographer, photography editor and deputy assistant managing editor for photo.

Jenkins teaches Multimedia Storytelling in the Journalism program.