Communication Arts Alumni

By: Patrick E. Phillips

Xavier University’s Department of Communication Arts has had a solid output of successful media careers. Recent Xavier University graduates with degrees in electronic media offered comments and advice about their experiences both during and after college.

Cory Cory Weeks: Class of 2013I currently work for Nielsen, a market research company providing global insights into what people watch and buy. I’m located in New York City for the Watch Emerging Leaders Program, a year-and-a-half rotational program on the media insights side of the business. My first rotation is on the Disney client services team, supporting media analytics and cross-platform strategy for the ABC, ABC Family, Disney Channel and ESPN network entities.
The electronic media program gave me the necessary background in mass communication as well as the insight into media production and the media industry, which is very applicable in my current role. Additionally, Xavier is a great place for making students well-rounded and adaptable, which is essential for today’s work force.
I’ve had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, from custom media viewership analyses, (to) tracking of the fall season’s programming, (to) supporting the development of a cross-platform media measurement strategy, (to) working on contract renewals and other miscellaneous requests.
The great thing about a degree in communication arts from Xavier is the well-rounded experience and knowledge it gives you. Definitely take advantage of the variety of opportunities while in school, and keep exploring new courses, clubs or other extracurriculars not just on campus, but (also) in the city of Cincinnati.
Katie Ryan Katie Ryan: Class of 2011 

I started a job at the Today Show last week as a graphic producer. (I approve every picture and text.) I work with producers to create clever and compelling content for the Today Show audience. Previously, I worked in cable news for MSNBC, and before that, I worked at Channel 5 WLWT Cincinnati as a production assistant and an associate producer.
Long film shoots disciplined me for what I do currently. I also learned how to produce a newscast at XU, pre-production and post-production, which gave me an advantage when I started an entry-level job in news.
I was part of producing and implementing a new graphics package for the Today Show, which premiered Sept. 16. Producing-wise, the Trayvon Martin trial this past summer was also a huge project I worked on. On July 13, the day of the verdict, I produced nine straight hours of live programming with my team.
Seeing your work come to life is one of the most rewarding experiences ever. I appreciate and value all that I learned from the XU communications program. Without it and the guidance of Blis Devault, I would not have the skills I have today to produce a successful news program.

David Mountain David Pergolini: Class of 2011 

I currently work as a freelance videographer. I film and edit client videos – documentaries, music videos, corporate work, etc.
I learned the basics for filming and editing at Xavier. The more I applied those skills in the field, the more adept I became in using them.
The biggest project I’ve worked on was “Mission Kilimanjaro.” It premiered on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and won Kyle Maynard an ESPY in 2012 for Best Male Athlete with a Disability. It also won the Gold World Medal at the 2013 New York Festivals.
I can only speak for myself as a freelancer – the work is hard, stressful and hard to come by. Expand your network. If you do a good job for one client, (he or she will) refer you to another, (and) then another. Soon you’ll find consistent work. Keep whatever goals you have for yourself in mind and practice every day. Don’t wait for things to come to you because they won’t.
I also advise getting a camera (Canon DSLR would be the best choice), getting editing software (I suggest creative cloud by Adobe) and building your portfolio. I can’t stress this enough. Set up a website with your work and a blog. THIS is your resume. Don’t wait until after college to build it.

Victoria C. Page Victoria Page: Class of 2010 

I’m currently working for CBS Television Studios as an assistant editor on a mid-season scripted drama, “Reckless.”
My time at Xavier as an electronic media major really brought to light what I really wanted to do in my life, and that was to work in post-production.
My current project (“Reckless”) is the biggest project I’m working on. It’s my first scripted show.
I would tell current communications students to explore (their) options; see what you like and don’t like. Once you decide, really sharpen your skills and reach out to potential Xavier alums or people in the business, in general, to gain insight and possibly a mentor.

Hilary Hilary Zalla: Class of 2011 

I work for WKEF/WRGT-TV in Dayton, Ohio. I am the morning traffic anchor and fill-in news anchor for ABC 22 Good Morning and Fox 45 in the morning. I also do special reports for the morning show.
I learned how to shoot and edit video at the Xavier Television Center, which has proven more helpful in the industry than I ever could have imagined.
I am currently working on two sweeps pieces for the November rating period. The first story I am working on investigates the most dangerous intersections in the Miami Valley. The second one looks at how students are affected when music or art classes are lessened or eliminated in schools.
If you are interested in TV news, get an internship. Then, get another one. That is by far the best way to learn the industry and make contacts for future jobs. You can also easily make your resume reel through your internship, which is what helped me get my first job.
If you need any advice, help with making your resume reel or just want to chat about the industry, email me at