Last fall, Neumann University students piloted a program with the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) paving the way for other college students to learn about the TV industry. Neumann joined Bennett College in piloting this educational program, called Underneath the Magic (UTM).
UTM was created to increase diversity and inclusion across ABC Network Operations by concentrating on future talent. The program is an eight-week panel series in which students are exposed to niche areas of network television and educated on unique career opportunities. The workshop series exposes students to the production and operations side of television. UTM exists to empower students to enter the workforce and achieve their career aspirations.
Throughout the panel discussions, students learn the inner workings of network television from ABC employees representing various areas such as Sales, Entertainment Marketing, Programming, ESPN, Production, Network Operations, and News.
According to Director of Neumann Media Sean McDonald, approximately 20 NU students attended the UTM program, which ran from September to November 2020. The students ranged from freshmen to seniors and represented an array of majors. Neumann joined Bennett College in piloting this educational program.
The opportunity to participate in this program was strictly volunteer-based. The students did not receive any credits. Each Friday they would Zoom with ABC employees and executives for one hour.
“They’ve been exposed to the heads of the network. Our students asked great questions. They all enjoyed it immensely and made contacts,” McDonald said.
James McDonald, a sophomore who participated in the UTM program, took full advantage of everything offered by the series. James is a CDM major who has his own radio show and is an anchor for Neumann Update. His favorite panel discussion was “If News Warrants,” which was presented by news executives.
“It really gave me a new perspective on the network and how to maintain journalistic integrity. It was interesting to see how passionate they were about their jobs,” James said.
Through the live Zoom sessions, James and the other NU students were able to chat with the panel experts and submit questions prior to each session. During the final panel discussion, each student had the opportunity to tell the group a little bit about themselves.
Two Neumann University alums alerted Sean McDonald about the UTM program. Both Kat Sullivan and Koula Gregor, 2014 graduates, work for ABC and have remained in close contact with McDonald. He reviewed the program and saw it as an excellent opportunity for all NU students, not just CDM majors.