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On the Air 2016: Media Careers for the Networked Generation

Tufts Career Center

Friday, March 4, 2016 from 2:00 PM to 6:30 PM (EST)

On the Air 2016: Media Careers for the Networked...

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On the Air 2016:

Media Careers for the Networked Generation

Friday, March 4, 2016 - 2:00pm-6:30pm

Cohen Auditorium

During this annual half-day event, Tufts alumni who have found success in these competitive and rapidly changing fields share their knowledge and advice with current students. Through panel discussions and informal networking, students gain real-world advice on careers in media and film and how to best to position themselves for internships and full-time employment.


Registration deadline extended to Friday, February 26th at 11:30pm:



2:00pm-3:00pm: "Breaking In": How Breaking Bad Came to TV and How it Became a Hit

(w/ cast and producers from Breaking Bad)

3:10pm-4:20pm: Breakout Session Presentations #1 (See options below)

4:30pm-5:30pm: Breakout Session Presentations #2 (See options below)

5:40pm-6:30: Meet the Alumni Presenters (with food and refreshments)


Keynote Panel:

"Breaking In": How Breaking Bad Came to TV and How it Became a Hit:

Widely regarded as one of the most successful television shows of all times, Breaking Bad was almost never aired. Remarkably, several networks (including HBO) passed on it. But Tufts alum Sharon Hall (J86) knew a great script when she saw one, and sold it to AMC. 16 primetime Emmys, 2 Golden Globes and many awards later, Breaking Bad ended its run as one of the most viewed cable television shows in history. David Costabile (A89) , who starred as Gale Boetticher, and Alex Marin (A92), who developed Metastisis (Breaking Bad for Columbian tv), along with Hall, will help us understand what was so special about this show and how its success tells us where television is going.


Breakout Sessions: Pick 2 sessions to attend, offered at 3:10pm and 4:30pm:

The Spin Zone:  Making and Shaping the News: In a world that demands 24/7 access to breaking news, along with constantly evolving and increasingly digital ways of delivering that news, how is the industry adapting?  Alums who work in print, broadcast and digital news will offer their perspectives and thoughts on what the future holds.

With Alumni: Neal Shapiro, Rosanna Xia, Marian Porges, and Mary Knowles


Trending in Digital:  Advertising and Marketing in the 21st Century: The world of advertising has moved a long way from the print and tv-dominated world. The business and creative scope of advertising, as well as its multi-platform and global reach, have transformed marketing and advertising as an industry and career in the 21st century.

With Alumni: Terrance Tran and Meg Siegal


Nothing sells like success:  How to develop a series for television: What does it take to get a tv pilot green-lighted? How is tv changing to meet the new demands – and new platforms -- of 21st century entertainment?

With Alumni: Nancy Glass, Todd Kessler, Sharon Hall, and Stephen Engel


From Pitch to Production: Movies and Features: What does it take to get a film made? How do feature filmmakers and documentarians get funding for their work and how do they get it screened? Do all of the new venues provided by YouTube, cable tv channels and other platforms mean that there are more opportunities for 21st century filmmakers?

With Alumni: Alex Marin and Alexandra Liveris


Alumni participants:


David Costabile, A89

Television and Film Actor

Costabile is known for his roles in Broadway theatre productions as well as his roles on television and film screens. Among his television credits, he is most notably known for Breaking Bad, Suits, The Wire, Damages, and Dig. He can currently be seen in the recently released film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. In 2014 he was a recipient of a P.T. Barnum Award for Excellence in Entertainment, presented to Tufts alumni who have distinguished themselves in the field of media and entertainment.



Alexander Marin, A92

Executive Vice President of International Distribution, Sony Pictures Television

Marin is the Executive Vice President of International Distribution at Sony Pictures Television where he established one of the most successful Spanish language content distribution businesses in the world. As part of his role there, he developed a remake of AMC's hit series Breaking Bad for a Columbian audience. While at Tufts, he majored in History as well as International Relations.



Stephen Engel, A83


Engel majored in Economics at Tufts. After attending N.Y.U. Law School, Engel -- in the words of his parents -- “flushed thousands of dollars of education down the toilet” to write for television and movies.

Engel has written several screenplays for producers such as Steven Spielberg, Tom Shadyac, Joel Silver and Leonard Goldberg. In 1991, Stephen moved to LA, where he has written and produced the HBO comedy Dream On, the NBC comedies Mad About You and Just Shoot Me, and the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory. Stephen also created CBS’s Work With Me, NBC’s Inside Schwartz, and ABC’s The Big House.”

Engel has spent the last five years writing, directing and producing wholesome comedies for the Disney Channel, and developing, in his words, “foul-mouthed comedies for network and cable television”.


Nancy Glass, J77, A14P

Television Producer, Nancy Glass Productions

Glass is a six-time Emmy award–winning television host, writer, and producer. She has held a variety of high-profile, on-air positions in television and radio. She has also hosted HGTV on the radio, a satellite program that airs daily on a Sirius/XM women’s channel.

When not overseeing her thriving company, Glass is still a sought-after guest or guest-host, having appeared on: The Daily Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Larry King Live, Conan O’Brien, CBS Morning News, Hollywood Squares, Court TV, MSNBC, and as a host on WOR-radio in New York City. She has been featured in: People magazine, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Bazaar, Vogue, Fitness, Glamour, Time magazine, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and hundreds more publications.



Sharon Hall, J86

Television Producer, President, Endemol Shine Studios

Hall recently became president of Endemol Shine Studios, overseeing scripted operations. Prior to that post she served as President of the TV division of Alcon Entertainment where she produced the Syfy series The Expanse as well as the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary Sinatra: All or Nothing At All. Before Alcon, she headed drama development for Sony Pictures TV where she helped lead the growth and development of AMC’s Breaking Bad, Showtime’s Masters of Sex, FX/DirecTV’s Damages and FX’s Justified. She has also worked in development at MTM Productions, Viacom, and MGM as well in advertising at BBDO Worldwide.



Todd Ellis Kessler, A80

Television Writer/Producer

Kessler is a television writer-producer who has worked on such award-winning or nominated series as The Good Wife (CBS), Nashville (ABC), The Practice (ABC), The Unit (CBS) and Rome (HBO). He began his career as a news magazine producer for WCBS-TV in New York, working with host Bill O’Reilly. Kessler won four Emmy Awards, an International Emmy Award and a Columbia DuPont citation. He moved to Los Angeles with his wife Sharon Hall in 1991 where he pursued a career as a screenwriter.



Mary Knowles, J86, A17P

Senior Segment Producer, HBO

Knowles is the Senior Segment Producer on HBO’s weekly live political talk show, Real Time with Bill Maher.  She’s worked with Maher for 21 years, booking guests and producing conversations on Politically Incorrect (Comedy Central and ABC) and Real Time.  Earlier in her career, she worked in more traditional news and informational venues, including CBS News, WNET (local public affairs programming and Charlie Rose) and ABC News.  She has also served as a consultant for The Daily Show, The World Science Festival and other film and television projects.
Knowles' expertise is in politics and policy conversation. She’s covered every presidential race since 1988 in some capacity, including producing live spots from the convention floors with Al Franken and Arianna Huffington in 1996, and navigating the Democratic Convention with Maher in 2008.  
Knowles was an International Relations major at Tufts. Her husband is also a Tufts alum, and her oldest daughter is a Jumbo, class of 2017. She earned her masters degree in Political Science from Rutgers University in 2008.  Mary spends many weekends volunteering as Program Director for Emerge New Jersey, training progressive women to run for political office. (Emerge America was launched a decade ago by another Tufts alumna.)

She is a member of the International Radio and Television Society and former Fellow with that organization.



Alexandra Liveris, A07

Documentary Filmmaker

Liveris is a multidisciplinary filmmaker. Liveris’ work has world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and has screened in over 150 cities across the country and globe. Her passion for directing derives from producing shows of global, social and political concern at the Charlie Rose Show and by founding President Clinton's Young Leaders project. She is currently directing a documentary about world renowned futurist architect Santiago Calatrava, a music series about South Africa's top musicians, and a short documentary about the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University and a BA in International Relations.  



Marian Porges, J82

Vice President of News Standards and Practices, NBC

After graduating with a degree in Political Science, Porges started her career at ABC News in New York. There she started a long course of producing hard news, feature stories, breaking news and political coverage.

In 1995, Porges left ABC News to go to NBC News when she was brought in to produce their 1996 political year coverage. She remained at NBC News Specials for four full political year cycles covering not only politics but also big planned and unplanned events. Over her career at the two news divisions she covered such stories as the death of Princess Diana, Katrina, Royal Weddings, the deaths of Popes and former Presidents, Election Nights, Olympics, Anti-Terrorism Summits, Presidential trips, Inaugurations, two Iraq and one Afghanistan War, the trials of O.J. Simpson and the OKC bombers and even John Glenn’s Return to Space.  During her tenure, Porges has covered a total of 17 political conventions.

After 13 years bringing the news to the viewers, Porges decided to jump at an exciting opportunity, taking on the challenge of developing an NBC News-supported journalism program with a local college. Using NBC News personnel and resources, she developed a curriculum and taught about 150 students the basic foundations of journalism. After witnessing history for so many years, Porges found sharing those experiences and teaching the next generation to be greatly fulfilling.  

Porges is currently Vice President of News Standards and Practices at the NBC News Group. Her responsibilities include training journalists in the importance of fairness, accuracy, ethical reporting and the integrity of NBC News. She makes daily decisions about how the news division will report on sensitive and controversial stories. Porges just celebrated 20 years at the network.


In 2012 Tufts recognized Porges with P.T. Barnum Award for Excellence in Entertainment.




Neal Shapiro, A80

President and CEO of WNET/Channel 13

Shapiro is the president/CEO of the largest public media enterprise in the U.S. Reaching 4 million viewers per week, WNET presents the highest quality arts, education, history, and news and public affairs programming on three broadcast stations—Thirteen, WLIW21, and NJTV—as well as digital broadcast stations Create and World. Before joining WNET, Shapiro was president of NBC News, leading its top-rated programs Today, Nightly News, Meet the Press, and Dateline. Shapiro was executive producer of Dateline for nine years. He previously spent 13 years at ABC News, where he was a writer and producer for Nightline, Primetime Live, and World News Tonight. Shapiro has won numerous awards, including 32 Emmys, 31 Edward R. Murrow Awards and 3 Columbia DuPont awards. In 2008 he was recognized by Tufts with a P.T. Barnum award for Excellence in Entertainment.



Meg Siegal, J99

Executive Director, Public Radio Business Lab

Siegal is the Executive Director of Public Radio Business Lab at WBUR where she contributes to developing and testing ideas that will change the process of funding and innovating on behalf of public radio— and provide stations with new and creative business models to sustain their excellent journalism. 

Siegal previously worked at Arnold Worldwide where she served as a creative leader behind Truth Initiave, a youth-focused tobacco awareness campaign estimated to have prevented 450,000 youth from using tobacco, and credited with saving nearly $1.9 billion in medical care costs to society.

Siegal received her bachelor’s degree from Tufts in International Relations with a minor in Multimedia Arts.



Terence Tran, A12

Senior Analyst, Digitas LBi

Tran is a Senior Analyst at DigitasLBi where, as a member of the Strategy & Analysis team, his role involves working with social media and digital analytics. He has evolved a social media practice around several businesses for a major financial client, and revamped reporting formats and recommended cutting-edge creative media for an otherwise conservative brand. He has also developed and pitched complete B2B and B2C marketing programs for a teledermatology startup with a robust analytics plan. While at Tufts, Tran majored in sociology and minored in Communications and Media Studies. His interests include advertising/marketing, urban planning, and new tech.



Rosanna Xia, A11

Staff Reporter, Los Angeles Times

Xia is a staff reporter covering natural disasters for the Los Angeles Times. Recent topics include the California drought, El Niño and earthquake safety, with an emphasis on buildings at risk of collapse when a big one hits. She previously covered Chinese-speaking communities for the LA Times and has reported for the Business section. 

For three years, Xia – along with two other LA Times reporters – produced a project series on earthquake safety that prompted the most sweeping seismic policy changes in California history. The series in 2014 won the L.A. Times Editor’s prize and was a finalist for the Gerald Loeb Awards, the Scripps Howard Award in investigative reporting, and the Online News Association’s Knight Foundation award for public service. In May 2014, she was part of the breaking news team that covered the shooting rampage in Isla Vista, California. The team was recognized as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. 

Xia graduated with a double major in Quantitative Economics/International Relations and a minor in CMS. 



Have questions about On the Air 2016: Media Careers for the Networked Generation? Contact Tufts Career Center

When & Where

Cohen Auditorium/Aidekman Hall

Friday, March 4, 2016 from 2:00 PM to 6:30 PM (EST)

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