Political Communication Student Gains Experience in Mayor’s Office

Alyssa Panepinto
Manship student Alyssa Panepinto

When she’s not in class or studying, Manship School senior Alyssa Panepinto spends her time working on the communications team for East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. The political communication major from Belle Chasse, Louisiana, writes speeches, puts together media alerts for press conferences, takes photos and makes videos, attends events on days she’s in the office, and records the Mayor’s speeches for Facebook live.

“I think this experience helps because I get to use what I’m learning in class,” Panepinto said. “It’s also helpful because I’m getting more practice, so my grades in class are better too.”

Her professor, Bob Mann, connected her with the Mayor’s communications director after Panepinto returned from the Media & Politics in Europe program that Mann leads alongside for Manship School professional-in-residence and LSU Student Media director Bob Ritter.

“Bob [Mann] became my mentor on the Media & Politics in Europe trip, and now my friends and I from the trip go to his office every week during office hours and just chat with him, because he has a lot of advice and wisdom about the field because he’s worked in it so long,” Panepinto said.

Though Panepinto initially chose to attend LSU because of its reputation as a top school, it’s the family atmosphere that reassured her the Manship School was the right place for her.

“Here at the Manship School, it feels more welcoming. You know everyone and you make connections with your professors too. I feel like professors here at the Manship School care about you and how you do after graduation and are always helping you to find jobs and internships. There is a really good support system here at Manship,” Panepinto said. “If you’re at all considering Manship – I’d tell you to just go for it!”

Manship School Student Works on Gubernatorial Campaign

Parker Carey
Manship student Parker Carey

Parker Carey grew up in Massachusetts where he was exposed to politics at a very young age when a neighbor ran for office. Days spent walking through the neighborhood with his parents knocking on doors on behalf of their neighbor sparked his initial interest in politics.

When it came time to go to college, Carey knew he wanted to attend school in the SEC and landed at LSU. During his sophomore year, Carey learned about the Manship School and its political communication concentration, which he decided to pursue.

“I was considering going to law school, and I knew that having a background in communications would help me in my career if I decided at some point that I didn’t want to go to law school,” Carey said. “I’ve developed a lot of skills at the Manship School that have helped me succeed in my internships, like writing. Professor Roxanne Dill drilled AP Style into me and the ability to write well, which helped set me apart from other candidates and helped me land my internship last summer in Washington, D.C.”

Carey spent his summer in Washington DC working at FTI Consulting, a firm that specializes in media and public affairs. He spent time working alongside the team on issue management, coding and writing which built on the skills he’d learned at the Manship School and had previously honed working for Rep. Garret Graves.

“I found my internship with Garret Graves my sophomore year in the Manship School’s internship database and that position helped me secure my current position working for Eddie Rispone.”

As an intern working on businessman Rispone’s gubernatorial campaign, Carey works on the phone bank, write postcards, helps to identify volunteers, assists the digital media team and sometimes photographs Rispone at events.

“It’s a great experience working for a gubernatorial campaign,” Carey said. “I was able to be backstage at the first debate that the Manship School hosted – and that was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had, being behind the scenes and watching people prepare for the debate.”

Carey is confident that the skills he’s built and network he’s grown thanks to the help of the Manship School will help launch his career after graduation. He’s already fielding interview requests from national political organizations that he might work for when he graduates in December.

“These courses will teach you everything you need to be successful and give you the background and skills,” Carey said. “I’ll always be grateful for the connections I made through the Manship School.

Entertainment Industry Pro Now Teaching at Manship School

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Manship School professor David Stamps

The Manship School just added eight new people to their internationally – known faculty full of scholars and top professionals, and on that list is St. Louis native, Dr. David Stamps.

Stamps brings a dynamic background, working within the entertainment industry, as an actor and dancer, as a field publicist with NBC Universal, as well as a strong research portfolio. It was his professional dancing that initially led him into acting and eventually to NBC Universal.

“I really wanted to be a dancer for Janet Jackson, but I would go to auditions and see these huge guys and I did not look like that, so I told my manager that we needed to find something different,” Dr. Stamps said.

That “something else” turned into opportunities for Stamps to work as an actor/dancer in film, commercials, and on shows such as “Hannah Montana,” as well as introduce his very own line of fitness videos.

Stamps soon found his way to the world of entertainment public relations, where he worked for NBC Universal for about eight years. Along the way he found himself interacting with various stars like Rihanna and Blake Lively on the films BATTLESHIP and SAVAGES, respectively.

“My boss would call me Sunday night and tell me that he needed me to deliver a film to Oprah’s estate Monday morning that hasn’t been released yet, so I would have to travel, wait for her to watch it in her theater, and make sure the movie did not leave the estate because that was a multi- million dollar project that has not yet been released to the public,” Stamps said.

Stamps helped develop marketing and strategic communication plans for multi-million-dollar box office movies such as the Fast and Furious franchise and the tentpole blockbuster, Despicable Me.

“My team and I helped bring this set of minions from unknown characters in a movie that hadn’t launched yet to a household brand – now you see them everywhere,” Stamps said.

Stamps traveled across the country, sometimes spending time working in multiple cities during a week. “It was exhilarating and exhausting,” Stamps said.

After nearly a decade in public relations, Stamps decided to go into teaching, specifically at the college level. Stamps wanted to teach students the same lessons he learned in the classroom, with his bachelor’s degree in media management, as well as his lessons in the industry. David earned his master’s at California State University in Northridge and doctoral degree at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB).

During his time as a graduate student, Stamps was awarded the Kennedy/Graves Research Fellowship in 2017 and 2018, was named the Pearl S. Simmons Scholar and Graduate Equity Fellow, and his research has been supported by the Congressional Black Caucus and the University of California, Santa Barbara Center for Black Studies. He also won the Mass Communication Graduate Portfolio Award from the CSU Mike Curb College of Media and Communication and was named a finalist of the CSU Trustee Award in 2015.

Stamps has bridged his work in media to his research program. He examines race-related media effects and stereotyping of marginalized groups within mass media. He’s authored numerous publications on media, including “The social construct of the African American family on broadcast television: A comparative content analysis of The Cosby Show and Blackish” in the Howard Journal of Communications and “Is it Really Representation? A Qualitative Analysis of Asian and Latino Characterizations in Broadcast Television” in The American Communication Journal.

Now that he’s at LSU, Stamps is eager to continue his important work and to mentor graduate and undergraduate students who want to conduct research and work in public relations or the academia.

“It’s cool that I walk past a tiger every day. The Manship School has a lot of great resources and potential and if we work together collectively, we can tap into a unique and culturally rich space,” Stamps said.

Written by Brianna Jones-Williams

WAFB – TV Morning Show Executive Producer is Manship Alumna

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Manship School alumna Farrah Reed

The Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs offers an incredible opportunity for students to learn from practicing mass communication professionals at their four Lunch & Learn events each semester. Recently, Farrah Reed, the executive producer at WAFB TV and a Manship School graduate, stopped by to offer her insights on careers in broadcast and digital media.

Reed is a New Orleans native, who graduated from the Manship School in 2013 with a concentration in broadcast journalism. Growing up in New Orleans, the news was a large part of her life and she always knew that she wanted to be a part of it.

“I thought that I wanted to be involved with the reporting side of news but I liked producing better,” Reed said, “I love being behind the scenes, having an idea and getting to produce it and watch it come to life.”

Producing a newscast entails working closely with an entire newsroom team to gather information, assign reporters to various projects, handle breaking news, organize the flow of a show and all the information it will contain – from reporter stories to weather updates and traffic information to graphics to where the anchors will stand or sit during each part of the newscast.

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Reed working at WXIA-TV in Atlanta, GA

 

Reed said the Manship School provided her with the tools that she needed to be successful in her career. When she first got to LSU, the Manship School felt personal to her, like a family. Reed shared that the Manship School cultivated her knowledge of communication and ethics. During her time at the Manship School, Reed was one of the producers for Tiger TV.

“I am thankful for Tiger TV because it resembles a real newsroom and allowed me to practice and build confidence while also providing a safety net for me to learn and make mistakes. When I graduated, I was prepared for the work force,” Reed said.

After graduating from the Manship School, Reed knew that she wanted to work in a top ten television market and made her way to San Antonio and Atlanta but missed the community feel of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. This led her to come home to Louisiana and return to WAFB – TV.

A typically workday for Reed starts with her coming to work at 1 a.m. to prepare the morning show that begins airing at 4:30 a.m. Her team usually arrives at 11 pm to monitor current events that have happened in the community and around the world that night. Reed plays a supervisory role and reviews the material that airs on WAFB’s morning show.

“I love doing what I do, I feel fulfilled, it feels like I’m doing a service to my community,” Reed Said.

Written by Brianna Jones-Williams

The Manship Grad that’s behind the phrase ‘If there are two things we’ll never run out of in Louisiana – it’s gumbo and gumption’

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Manship School alumna Lauren Leist

Lauren Leist is a Mississippi native who received her bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Manship School. After graduating from the Manship School with her master’s degree in 2015, she became Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ speechwriter.

“My first speech for Gov. Edwards was his inaugural address. There was a line I wrote in the speech that said, “If there are two things we’ll never run out of in Louisiana – it’s gumbo and gumption’ and I believe the phrase still rings true today,” Leist said.

Leist is from Laurel, Mississippi and worked for her hometown newspaper while she was in high school. She chose LSU because the Manship School is one of the top journalism programs in the country and one of the few schools to offer a political communication concentration.

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Leist decided to continue her education at the Manship School and pursue a master’s degree.

The most influential class that Leist took while at the Manship School was a political communication writing class with Professor Robert Mann. The class heavily focused on political speech writing and she was able to hone her craft.

The next summer, Leist took the opportunity to do a study abroad program with the Manship School, and Mann was one of the professors on that trip. Leist remembers sitting at a restaurant their first night in Istanbul and telling Mann that she might want to pursue speech writing professionally.

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Lauren Leist (right) with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and wife Donna Edwards

“About a year later when John Bel Edwards won the governor’s election, Robert Mann recommended me to the transition team, I interviewed and ended up getting the job,” Leist said.

Leist is grateful for the opportunities that the Manship School has provided and the places that it has taken her.

“Don’t be afraid of going to your professor’s office hours because the better that they know you and your goals, the better they can help you and give you advice that just might land you your dream job,” Leist said.

 

Written by Brianna Jones-Williams