Media Summit to let students know what it takes to break in

OSWEGO — Former national news anchor Garrick Utley and political analyst Edward Wyckoff Williams are among the headliners for the Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit on Oct. 24, at SUNY Oswego, as high-profile guests discuss what it takes to break into the media industry.

The summit, titled “A Star Is Born,” will take place at 3 p.m. in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. In its eighth year, the event is free and open to the public.

Garrick Utley
Garrick Utley

Utley, former NBC weekend news anchor, moderator of  “Meet The Press” and newly appointed SUNY Oswego senior fellow and professor, will moderate.

On the panel are Williams, a columnist, political analyst and former investment banker who regularly appears on MSNBC, CBS and nationally syndicated radio; Kevin Torres, SUNY Oswego class of 2006 and a regional Emmy award-winning backpack journalist at KUSA-TV in Denver; Joanna Shelmidine, class of 1989, a professional stuntwoman and coordinator; Denis Mueller, an award-winning documentary filmmaker; and Jackie Robinson, recently retired WSTM-TV news anchor.

Panelists will discuss today’s media landscape and the implications for anyone trying to break into the business.

After the summit, students will have a chance to meet one-on-one with the guests as well as a variety of Career Connectors — visiting professionals from around the area.

“We have a lot of people who are talented,” said summit director David Moody, a broadcast veteran and assistant professor of communication studies. “We wanted to look at people who are working on performance-type work in the industry, but then also the behind-the-scenes people, because there are stars in every area.”

Student involvement

Over the past few years, the summit has evolved into a largely student-run event.

In keeping with the college’s emphasis on hands-on learning, this gives students a chance to work in a professional environment with industry leaders.

Student volunteers handle several aspects, including logistics, public relations, advertising, off-stage operations and archiving.

“We put as much into it as students as we can,” said Chelsey Gorczyca, student event coordinator of the media summit. “We make sure we have everything squared away and ready to go.”

SUNY Oswego’s student-run media outlets WTOP-TV, WNYO-FM and the Oswegonian are set to cover the event and give those involved a chance to learn from a real-time, live broadcasting situation.

The Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit was founded in 2005 through the generosity of 1977 SUNY Oswego graduate Louis A. Borrelli Jr., chief marketing officer of nimbleTV.

In 2007, Al Roker, a 1976 SUNY Oswego graduate, weathercaster and co-host of NBC’s “Today” show, provided additional funding to rename the summit in memory of longtime professor O’Donnell, a seminal figure in the college experiences of Borrelli and Roker.

Borrelli and panelists will visit classes throughout the day to talk with students about their experiences and professions.

More information about SUNY Oswego’s 2012 Media Summit is available at and at the student organizers’ website,

A live webstream will be linked from those pages.