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Feature: Suffolk to WGBH to Emmy Gold

Back in September I published a quick article talking about the Emmy victory of Pam Gaudiano and Lauren Noyes, both employees at WGBH and both Alum of Suffolk University, classes of 1997 and 2010 respectively, who understood the sole responsibility of a Suffolk Student and ran with it to amazing distances. I was lucky enough to speak with both of these rising journalists about their experience.

Upon graduating from Suffolk Grad School in ’97 Pam Gaudiano, who had already began working in the Media Dept. at Suffolk, left to begin freelancing and eventually landed a small entry level position with WGBH, “I got the job from great timing and good luck”, says Gaudiano, “I was at NECN [who partners with Suffolk in the use of the Boston campus’ Studio 73] at the time and I just said to myself “let’s do it, let’s see what happens”.” And what happened over those next few years would change her life forever.

“I had been working on a number of documentaries with American Experience [PBS’ award-winning documentary series], but left to pursue an opportunity on an independent project.” explained Gaudiano, “However I came back to WGBH for [their new project] American Experience: JFK when the associate producer dropped out.”

But Pamela wasn’t the only Suffolk grad who struck gold in the mines of WGBH. Lauren Noyes, BA ’10, begins looking for an internship after her studies, around the same time that Gaudiano began looking for an intern. “As I was approaching my last semester at Suffolk, I began looking for an internship and Jason [Carter, faculty of the Media Dept. who also worked with Gaudiano] asked me if I would be interested in interning for a PBS series. And it wasn’t just any PBS series, it was American Experience, of which I was a big fan. Jason and Jerry [Glendye, Studio 73 manager] put me in touch with [Pam], who at the time was the unit manager for the series, and she hired me as an intern for the fall of 2009.”

“After I graduated in December [of 2009], I was hired as a research assistant and worked my way up to production coordinator in four years. During this time, the series decided to produce a film in-house, giving the series staff supporting roles. Usually, we co-produce films with outside production companies and the final film is delivered to us. We then package the film for air on PBS and promote the premiere. As a production coordinator, I’m involved in both efforts. But to actually perform archival research for a 4-hour film and clear the rights for our use was something completely new to me.”, Noyes explained before briefly praising Gaudiano’s work on the project, “Pam was hired as another associate producer to help with the archival research and rights clearances in the final months of production. Without her, we never would have met our deadline to finish the film.”

But the film was finished they submitted it for awards consideration to the Primetime Emmy Awards as most productions are, but this time it was going to be different, it was going to be special. “We had got nominated back in 2006 for the Creative Arts Emmy’s News & Docs category for a research project on Fidel Castro that I had been involved with,” said Gaudiano, “but we never really talk about the Emmy’s so when the nominations for this past year were announced we didn’t even check. [Another staff member] came up to us the day the nominations were announced and asked “Did you check?” and we thought “Oh, we should probably do that.” When I saw [Lauren and I] were nominated I thought to myself the writer’s had a better chance than the program itself so I didn’t raise my expectations.”

“When we received the nominations from the Primetime Emmys, we were elated,” said Noyes,”The fact that the entire team was able to attend the ceremony made the moment when we won the Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special all the more special. We were up against The Square [Egyptian-American documentary film by Jehane Noujaim, which depicts the ongoing Egyptian Revolution of 2011 from its roots in Tahrir Square; info from Wikipedia.com], which had won in every other category they had been nominated in, so we didn’t expect the win. It was incredible.”

“We immediately turned to each other and jumped right up. It was a huge surprise, as we were in such a tough category. One of our producers that we stationed at the end of the row, just in case we did win, went right up. We were all just shocked and excited we stood for so long then we thought “we should sit down we look like idiots.”” As for the glitz and the glamour of it all, Gaudiano did not end the night disappointed. “[The afterparty] was like a rave for grown ups. Open bar and an excellent dinner!”

Now that their golden summer is over, Gaudiano is already looking forward. “We are currently in pre-production for an anniversary series on WWI, set to be released in 2017 for the 100th year; I will also be teaching at Suffolk [in the spring 2015 semester] for the first time. The working title for my class is “Archival Research for Documentary Production”. I have it all laid out already. It’s a great niche for me and it’s kind of funny going back. Suffolk has changed a lot since I studied there.” However Gaudiano ended with one more note, “[You are] sort of around Suffolk even when you’re not there.”

As for Noyes, she has some advice for any budding journalists at Suffolk, “My advice to students in communication and journalism programs is to seek out internships at places where they can see themselves working post-college, whether it’s a news or radio station or a local production company, and really make themselves available to any opportunities to do more than what is expected of the typical intern. That is when people will take notice of your talents and will find a need for you within their organization.” Take it from a decorated working professional, we are here for two reasons: to learn and to go somewhere once we leave, make these four years count.

So there you have it. A local success story if there ever was one. Both Gaudiano and Noyes continue to work in their respective roles at WGBH; the next episode of American Experience “Cold War Roadshow” can be seen on PBS (channel 2) on Nov. 18th; you can purchase your copy of American Experience: JFK at shoppbs.org.

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