Harrington students benefit from experiential learning opportunities at CBS

Students get professional advice from distinguished Harrington alum, become part of live studio audience in New York City

By Mariah deFreitas

Students from the Harrington School of Communication and Media made their way down to New York City last month to meet CBS News Correspondent and Anchor and URI alumnus Vladimir Duthiers ‘91 (pictured below) and participate in the studio audience of the TV show “Harry.”  Students were able to gain valuable insight on how Duthiers landed his job at CBS headquarters and watched first-hand how a TV show is produced. This experience was a rare opportunity to experience television production firsthand and to learn tips on how to break into the industry.

Vladimir DuthiersBefore the show started, URI students had the incredible opportunity to hear and learn from URI alumnus Vladimir Duthiers. Since 2014, Duthiers has served as a CBS News correspondent and anchor. He is a Peabody and Emmy award-winning American TV journalist. Before working for CBS, he spent five years as a reporter for CNN, which enabled him to be on the team that covered the Haiti earthquake in 2010 as an interpreter and production assistant. The team won two Emmy Awards for its reporting on the disaster.

Duthiers graduated in 1991 from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in political science and a minor in journalism. After graduation, he moved to New York City where he worked on Wall Street in the financial services industry. After working for 18 years, he went back to school to study journalism and earned a Master of Science degree in journalism from  Columbia University. This past May, Duthiers delivered the commencement address at URI, and received an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa.

Duthiers had great insight and advice for Harrington School students. He explained that sometimes you need to go down a path you are not necessarily comfortable with in order to get to the next step of your career goal. He stressed you must have passion for what you are doing and the drive to accomplish your goals.

“If you really care about being a journalist, you must remind yourself how important this profession is to our democracy,” Duthiers said.

After speaking with Duthiers, students entered  the CBS Broadcast Center and took part in the studio audience of the “Harry” show, starring Harry Connick Jr.. Equipped with VIP passes to “Harry,” students saw what happens behind the scenes of a talk show, both before the production and during its run.

In this particular episode of “Harry”, there were three guest stars that appeared on the show. The first was Gene Simmons, also known as his stage name, The Demon, from the rock band KISS. Simmons shared his pledge of hand-delivering over 50 years’ worth of never-released soundtracks that are stored away in his capsule that he calls “The Vault”. His “vault” holds over 150 recordings that feature his bandmates from KISS and legendary rock and roll artists. Luckily before Simmons left, we were able to see him perform with Connick and his band, and we all got a free copy of his latest book.

The next guest star was a young adult actress from Gotham, Camren Bicondova. With her bubbly and sweet personality, Bicondova expressed her passion for dance and her experience growing up in Hawaii. She explained that she is immensely grateful to be the first actress to ever play a “young Catwoman.” She ended her segment by teaching Connick how to do a popular dance.

The last guest star was 13-year-old, Marsai Martin, who plays Diane Johnson on the television show “Blackish”. Martin explained that when she was a toddler, she always made people laugh and loved acting. She said the process of auditioning for her role as Diane Johnson entailed six auditions and an hour-long commute to the production company.

This trip was a transformational experience. It gave students real-world exposure to news casting and TV production. Also, this trip was a great networking opportunity. Students were able to ask questions and speak with professionals before and after the show.