Today’s Friday Favorites is all about a college program that’s shaping the best and brightest communication professionals around. When I was in high school, the top journalism and communication schools were Emerson and Syracuse. Fast forward twenty years and Western New England University’s Communications Department has made a name for itself.

I attribute a large part of its success to one of their educators, my mentor and friend Brenda Garton. A former news anchor for WWLP, Brenda started at WNE in the communications department and quickly found her new calling…a teacher. She has taken twenty years of broadcast journalism experience and is sharing it with her students.

You can go to school for years, but if you aren’t in the trenches – I don’t believe that you can have a true understanding of how things really happen. Brenda lived and breathed news, and what better person to teach future journalists the ins and outs of an intense and amazing business.

Brenda’s yearly project, the Student Media Festival allows students to produce and submit news reports, PSA’s, TV commercials, short films and music videos. Last night, they held their 13th annual event. Students love this event and take it very seriously. And let me tell you, there is a lot of talent there. Click here to see the music video award winner. It’s hilarious!! We’ll be posting some of the winners in the next couple of days. You can check out their Facebook page here.

Speaking of talent, I have personally worked with some of WNE’s finest. Two of my husband’s videographers and editors from JPod Films are WNE alums. Mia Major and Chris Morgan, only in their early 20’s are beyond talented and professional.

Accomplished reporters Brittany Decker and Matt Caron are delivering the news at WWLP and Western Mass News.

A WNE graduate in just 16 days, Sarah Rueli is one of the most lovely women I’ve ever met. Sarah interns for The Silent Partner Marketing and has done an amazing job. She is going to be very successful….I guarantee it!

We hear from some people that this generation are not motivated.  Not these WNE alums!

The school has all the bells and whistles from editing equipment and studio space like any communication department has, but it’s the educators who help set WNE apart.

When you have a teacher who not only has the experience, but truly loves what she does, you’ll have motivated students. Students who now have the knowledge to go out and work their butts off in journalism, public relations or marketing. An industry that demands a thick skin, hard work and determination.

So congrats to all the WNE Communication grads and thank you Brenda for teaching your students how to be the best in the industry.

Have a great weekend!