Alumni Magazine

SPR-SUM 2017

The alumni magazine for Franklin Pierce University.

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48 PIERCE / SPRING 2017 EVOLVING WITH THE TIMES If Marlin Fitzwater inspired the mission behind his namesake Center, it's Dr. Kristen Nevious who's been the engine behind its evolution. The media landscape the Fitz encountered when it first opened in 2002 was much different than the one it navigates today. Not only has the way news is consumed changed, so has the way it's made, and along with it the expectations for what the end product should be. There's more allowance for rawer snippets to be the central part of the story. Television coverage isn't strictly the domain of big cameras anymore. Flip cameras came on the scene in the mid- 2000s; today, smartphone video populates newscasts. It's a climate that's required adaptability and Pierce has embraced it. In 2008, Nevious, who came to work at Fitzwater Center soon after it opened, secured a batch of flip cameras for her students, who promptly used them to cover the New Hampshire primary. That year, Pierce's YouTube channel was second only to WMUR's in popularity for its coverage of the election. More recently, the Fitz received a grant to purchase virtual reality equipment, sparking NHPTV's interest in utilizing the students and the technology to help enhance its own broadcasts. "We are a clearinghouse of opportunity," says Nevious. "We are providing our students with the skills, knowledge and confidence to pursue these opportunities that will help them emerge as leaders in the public discourse. It doesn't have to be that they get a press pass to cover Congress. It could be that they report on their local town meeting or become a staffer for a state rep. We're looking to build leaders of conscience and public communication." It also allows Pierce students to wear a number of different hats. During Steven Dodrill's time at the University, for example, he was news director of the radio station, news director of the Pierce Media Group, TV news anchor and founder of Politics Fitz U, which centralized its student-run political coverage. In addition he spearheaded the launch of the Center's Twitter and YouTube accounts. "The Fitzwater Center gave us the keys to the Lexus," says Dodrill, now a supervisor in loyalty support for Dunkin' Brands, a franchisor whose companies include Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins. "They gave us the keys to the Center and their brand and all of its resources. They trusted us. It was so valuable." Under Nevious' leadership, the Fitzwater Center has led and pushed students in other ways, too. In 2000, its student-assisted polling operation gained national prominence when it chronicled Senator John McCain's rise and eventual double-digit victory in New Hampshire's Republican presidential primary. It earned notoriety again in 2015 when it was the first to show Senator Bernie Sanders leading former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in the Democratic primary, 44-37. "We posted the results on our website and it started to make the rounds," says Nevious. "It became the lead story." She lets out a proud laugh. "All these media outlets from around the world were citing Pierce." More recently, Nevious led a group of 24 students, including 16 high schoolers, to Washington in January for President Trump's inauguration. The trip included press credentials for the participants and a round of interviews with Senators Jean Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, and Representative Carole Shea-Porter. For these up and coming journalists it was real access, real work, and real exposure. "They are way ahead of the curve in terms of the experience the kids get with the national stage of politics, press coverage and all the other hands-on activity they receive," says Deangelis. "If you come to Franklin Pierce and you're a high school student and you love politics, you can go as deep as you want. If you're more on the creative side, there's an opportunity for you as well. It's such a hidden jewel." All these media outlets from around the world were citing Pierce. — DR. KRISTEN NEVIOUS Clockwise from top left: Kristen Nevious with a student; working on the March panel; a student in the computer lab

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