CNN News Editor & OU Alumnus Welcomes ‘Pegasus Creative’ Behind the Scenes

Joe Sutton '09

Last semester, I made one of the best decisions of my undergraduate career: I became a part of Pegasus Creative, Oglethorpe’s student communications agency, launched in the fall by the University Communications department. Thanks to Pegasus, I’ve gained hands-on experience, internship credit, and the confidence that can only come from a supportive, skillful team. (For those students out there, with summer internship orientation around the corner, why not consider applying to Pegasus?)

One of the (numerous!) great things about Pegasus is that we are offered field studies—we’re required to complete at least one—to enhance our skills and learn about other real world communications careers. Recently, my co-workers and I ventured on one such trip: a behind-the-scenes tour of CNN, courtesy of Joe Sutton ’09 (an alumnus of Oglethorpe’s program for adult students), who generously took time out of his busy schedule to show us around his workplace. Joe has quickly climbed the so-called ladder of success, earning numerous promotions, and is now a news editor and journalist for CNN. He oversees the editorial direction and news gathering for 13 states and serves as the liaison between the Washington, D.C. bureau and CNN headquarters. He credits much of his early success to Oglethorpe.

“The least I can do is stay in contact with the institution that has made me who I am and the education that has allowed me to take on any damn thing I put my mind to,” said Joe. “Being at school late at night and taking some weekend classes helped me fully prepare to take on more complex, time-devoting career positions. I understand how to manage time effectively and juggle multiple projects simultaneously, and I love being under pressure and deadlines… What I set my eyes and mind on, I usually get! That’s the stormy petrel in me.”

“It was a great opportunity to see things up close and in person,” said Zach Kevorkian ’13, Pegasus’s graphic designer. “The exclusivity of it made us feel like we were part of the excitement. The fact that our tour was personalized by an alum made it all the better, and I was grateful for the fun afternoon with my friends at Pegasus!”

Caitlyn Mitchell '13 in CNN's Command Center.

Joe showed us numerous offices including International Headquarters, the Command Center, and his own workspace, which he called “the heart of CNN.” We were given the opportunity to sit across from an anchor as she delivered her news report (live!), and to ask questions about Joe’s daily life at CNN. Between that, watching the process of a breaking news report, and posing with the majestic Lady Rainicorn (of the Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time” series), I can’t decide what I most enjoyed!

“My favorite part of the trip was seeing the control room,” said Chandler Anderson ’13, web content developer at Pegasus. “The director analyzed the various camera shots to determine which one was the most effective, and relayed that information to his crew. It was incredible seeing all of this important behind-the-scenes work done before my eyes.”

“I was impressed at how fast it all is,” added Caitlyn Mitchell ’13, former magazine features writer for Pegasus. “You know that news is speed, and that the turnaround time has to be near instantaneous, but you don’t realize until you’re seeing it that there are stations across the United States…ready to leap at a moment’s notice. My favorite part of the trip was definitely sitting in the command chair in the “Command Center”—yes, they really called it that! I was doing my best…not [to] touch any of those incredibly tempting buttons.”

“Joe Sutton gave us a tour that was unlike any tour I’ve ever gotten,” added Rebecca Williams ’13, editor of the adult degree program’s newsletter The Nightcap and friend of Pegasus. “We were able to see important procedures—like filming the news—that we would otherwise never see. (Joe) is widely respected by everyone there. It’s undeniable that he will continue to do great and amazing things for CNN!”

This opportunity would not have been possible without Pegasus—and would not have been possible if I had not pursued an internship at Pegasus. It is not enough to be supplied with opportunities, but to take them as they come. Pegasus showed me an exciting career choice that I had not previously considered, and internships like Pegasus can make all the difference in paving the path to your future.

“Internships are essential to determining who you are as a person,” said Joe. “In media, there are plentiful internships in various departments. Be flexible, be savvy, be astute in global news, (and) be committed. Generally, I find that saying ‘yes’ is a good thing…it opens many doors of opportunities in the business.”

Attention Oglethorpe students! For me, Pegasus opened the door, and it can provide many opportunities for you as well. If I’ve persuaded you to join our team, or if another internship opportunity calls to you, contact Debbie Aiken in University Communications.  Opportunity is knocking, and you only have to answer!

First Annual Fall Festival Brings OU Community Together

Hundreds of students, parents and community members came out to celebrate Oglethorpe’s First Annual Fall Festival on a beautiful autumn weekend, making the event a rousing success!

The Fall Festival festivities included Night of the Arts, a historical tour of campus by alumnus Paul Hudson ’72, “A Taste of Oglethorpe” featuring local restaurants, artisans, and children’s activities, and then hot air balloon rides in the evening, sponsored by the Oglethorpe Student Government Association.

“The idea was to transform Parents’ Weekend into a festival atmosphere so that parents and their families could spend some quality time together,” said Robin Brandt, Oglethorpe’s Director of Experiential Learning.

The new tradition will continue next fall!

Career Services Expands Resources, Opportunities

Do you know about all the career resources offered at Oglethorpe’s Career Center? The Center helps both students and alumni with career development and planning through self-evaluation, the exploration  and pursuit of career interests, and by offering opportunities like one-on-one appointments, job seminars, educational programs and recruitment events.  Now, Career Services has its sights set on expanding internships opportunities for current students.

Director of Career Services Caroline Weimar was recently joined by Robin Brandt, who assumed the brand new position of Director of Experiential Learning. Robin is focusing on developing and expanding opportunities for OU students to participate in internships, with the goal to significantly increase the overall number of students who benefit from the practical, hands-on experience that internships offer. She recently convened a steering committee of OU students who will help support and advise the Career Center in its ongoing efforts to increase OU students’ participating in internships.

“Internships can be a beneficial experience for students of any major,” said Brandt. “They help formulate career goals, gain valuable work experience and enhance marketable skills. Internships also help establish reference and networking contacts and can possibly open doors to full-time employment. Some positions even qualify for academic credit.”

When it comes to finding internship positions, Brandt advises students to do research on their own, along with using the resources available through the Career Center, such as Career Connect. Center staff offer professional advice on writing resumes and cover letters and holds mock practice interviews. OU students also are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to meet face-to-face with potential employers during on-campus Career Fairs.  The recent Nonprofit Career Fair brought more than 35 potential nonprofit employers to campus. View photos from the event here.  Throughout the year, students also can look forward to guest speakers and panel discussion series with professionals from various fields, as well as another career fair scheduled for spring 2012.

For more information about Career Services or internship opportunities visit the Career Center office in Emerson Student Center or email careerservices@oglethorpe.edu.

Photos: (top) Robin Brandt meets with an OU student in the Career Center; (middle) Caroline Weimar consults on career planning; (bottom) Snapshots from the recent Nonprofit Career Fair.