St. Bonaventure University junior Lian Bunny has been able to hone her journalism skills in an impressive mix of internship sites across the Western New York region — television, newspaper, radio, PR, an NFL team.
Now she has the opportunity to expand those skills — and her byline — on a national platform. Lian is one of 22 college students chosen for the summer 2016 News21 fellowship, where she’ll have the opportunity to do professional-level investigative journalism in front of national audiences.
The fellowship program, Carnegie-Knight News21, is a national reporting initiative headquartered at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, which brings top journalism students from across the country to report and produce in-depth, multimedia projects for major media outlets. The topic for this summer’s fellowship is voter access and participation among growing demographics in a national election year.
Bunny has already begun learning about the voter access topic by participating in an online weekly seminar this semester. Then, for 10 weeks this summer, she’ll join the other student journalists full time to work out of a digital newsroom at the Cronkite School in Phoenix.
Dr. Pauline Hoffmann, dean of St. Bonaventure’s Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said Bunny recognizes the need to be a true “backpack” journalist by immersing herself into St. Bonaventure’s varied coursework like photojournalism, writing and broadcast reporting.
“Lian knows that to truly succeed as a journalist she needs to learn all of these skills — as well as capture them with an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Hoffmann.
Bunny just completed a photography internship with the Buffalo Bills. As photography editor, Bunny was stationed in the media room during the Bills home games and would download photos taken by official Bills photographer and St. Bonaventure adjunct professor Craig Melvin.
“I would pull out the 30 or so that I felt were the best and send them on to the person who handles (the team’s) social media,” said Bunny, who also serves as photo editor of Bona’s student-run newspaper The BonaVenture.
She doesn’t know her role yet on the News21 team, but is hopeful it will involve photography.
“It’s a multimedia project, so they’ll need people with creative license and people who can help do all means of journalism. I believe the experience I’ve gotten with photography helped me get this fellowship,” she said.
Complementing her photography and writing internships at the student newspaper, Bunny has also secured internships with TCT Television, The Hamburg Sun, St. Bonaventure’s Office of Marketing and Communications, and WBFO-FM, National Public Radio’s Buffalo affiliate.
“That was a different kind of newsroom experience for me. The experience was unparalleled,” said Bunny regarding her internship at WBFO-FM. “You would walk in and get an assignment, get 15 minutes for background, then head out on assignment.”
The breadth of those assignments varied — from man-on-the street opinion polls to press conferences with city and county leaders, to a feature on human rights.
“It was both exciting and nerve-wracking. You couldn’t get into a rut; it was different every day.”
In addition to her major in journalism, the junior from Kenmore is pursuing minors in Spanish, psychology and history. Bunny is also a writing workshop assistant in the university’s Teaching and Learning Center.
“Lian is an impressive young woman. She embraces assignments and works to achieve success. She recognizes that curiosity extends beyond J/MC and that allows her to wonder and ask questions in other areas — a skill that will serve her well as a journalist,” said Hoffmann.
The News21 journalism students were selected nationally from 16 institutions, including Syracuse, Kent State, University of Florida, University of Maryland and University of Oklahoma, as well as nine students from the program’s home institution, Arizona State University.
“Many of the other schools are huge state universities. I am excited to participate and want to represent St. Bonaventure well,” Bunny said. “I’m really exited to be able to work one-on-one with so many seasoned professionals. It’s going to be amazing. I love news and I love writing.”
The Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation joined forces in 2005 to launch News21 as a cornerstone of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.
Nearly 500 top journalism students in the U.S. have participated in the landmark national initiative, exploring topics such as gun rights, veterans’ issues, and food safety. Work produced by News21 has appeared in major media outlets including The Washington Post, NBC News and USA Today.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
Application forms, procedures and additional information
There are many ways to experience
St. Bonaventure for yourself
Learn more about the programs that interest you