Cherie Messore '80 MC - part two
Saturday, February 02, 2008
This is an extended version of an interview with Cherie Messore '80 MC in the January 2008 edition of AlumNews.
Do you keep in touch with your classmates?
Plenty of them, yes. The Class of 1980 was unique in a lot of ways. It was a very close-knit class. The Media Derelicts are still legendary in some circles and the class of 1981 also became very close to the class of 1980 that was a point in time where after a few years, the program was starting to be redefined, so many of the students who graduated in 1981 graduated a semester early. There was a nice bond between many of the students in 1980 and 1981. One of my colleagues from 1980, I remember him . . . sitting at our Spring Week picnic and looking around the table and saying, “We’re going to all take care of each other, we’re going to get each other jobs.” And that has truly come to pass. So many of the class is still very, very close, working together, realizing, especially if you stay in Buffalo, that it is a very interdependent community, as far as professional networking is concerned. I’m very proud to have been part of that group. I’m very proud to have been part of that group. When I started college here, I was probably the prissiest girl you’ve ever met. I’m still fairly prissy as an adult, but learning to have fun with my colleagues and really enjoy the different types of people who were students at the time was a great blessing.
What do you think of how the media/communication program has transformed since you were here? I’m not that familiar with what it is now. I was the copy editor (of the Perspective) in my junior year. 27 years ago, digital media did not exist. There was no web site. It was direct communication. What do you do in your spare time? I’m a certified docent at the Darwin Martin House. I give tours as a volunteer. I had an interest in history. One of my jobs along the way was the public relations director for the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. Always had an interest in local history, I always had an interest in preservation and in architecture. And I went to a few lectures and things at the Martin House, learned a little bit about Frank Lloyd Wright and the legacy that he left to the city of Buffalo. And I went through the docent training program about five years ago. I’m a certified docent and give tours about once a month. And it’s a very fun way to use communication skills. It’s part-time being a teacher it’s part-time being a fundraiser because of course part of the conversation that we engage with the people on our tours is how we’re able to do this, how a volunteer organization that was brand new at the time, 501-c3, was about to raise in excess of $30 million for a preservation project. And there’s a little bit of fundraising that happens too, but being a good clear communicator, a lot of good skills that I learned as a student at Medaille, are well-used in that capacity.
Are you a native of Buffalo? I grew up in South Buffalo. I live in West Seneca, so 7/10ths of a mile away and within walking distance of Trocaire. So it all works. What sort of advice would you give to a communication major in the class of 2008? Learn how to write. Use real words, don’t abbreviate even if you are emailing a friend, if it is “to” them, it is *not* the numeral “2”. Learn how to write, learn to be articulate. I was very fortunate when I was a student here to have had outstanding instructors like Roberta Bothwell who was our first journalism instructor here. And (the late) Sister Joan Campania, who taught composition class oh so beautifully. Learning the basics, knowing them well, will serve you. And along the way don’t forget to have fun with your peers. Go to the mixers, go to the parties, enjoy yourself, because the friends that you make in college truly are friends for life.
What sort of advice would you give to students who are looking for an internship or to network locally? Take full advantage of the internship sand embrace them with an open mind. Just because you think you’re going to live your life as a print journalist doesn’t mean you should or that you’re cut out to. Let your internships really open your eyes to what else a good communications degree can mean to you as a professional. And also mean to you as a person, really enjoy your classes and enjoy the time here. But also take full advantage of any internship that comes your way. Embrace it with an open heart and an open mind and learn to make those decisions based on what you think is going to be good for you and take those risks for the things that “well I don’t see myself doing this,” but if the opportunity avails itself, take advantage of it, because it may lead you in a wonderful direction that you didn’t even dream possible.
Where were your internships? We had more than 2 internships. You were required to take two part time internships and one full semester practicum. It was a 40 hour a week placement. My very first internship was at what was then called the Buffalo Area Chamber of Commerce. I worked in the editorial office. I wrote news at the former WEBR news 70 when it was a 24-hour news operation. I had an internship at buffalo mercy hospital in the PR office, and I had a full-time practicum in the Advancement office at Medaille. And truly I wish there would have been more. I would have loved to have worked in the corporate sector. The thing that was appealing at the time too was many of the adjunct instructors were working professionals in the field. My first PR instructor was the PR director at Niagara Mohawk. My first advertising instructor owned an ad agency. My first television production class was the guy who was the program director at what was called Cablescope which is now Time Warner Cable. So Medaille was doing very smart things at the time, using working professionals in the field as adjunct professors. The academe is wonderful for a lot of things, but no one can teach you what it’s like to work but someone who is actually in the field.