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!

“OU Unplugged” Connects Students and Alumni

Meet the O Team—some of Oglethorpe’s most engaging students who share their stories about the Oglethorpe student experience at various alumni and campus events.

The O Team (l-r): Kai Street '14, Tirzah Brown '14, Stephanie Croston '13 and Weston Manders '12.

During Oglethorpe’s Fall Break on October 8-9, I had the incredible opportunity to accompany President Schall and Alumni Office staff to New York City as a member of the O Team to present “OU Unplugged,” a panel presentation about student life at Oglethorpe for New York area alumni.

Members of the O Team who traveled with me included Stephanie Crosten ’13, Kai Street ’14 and Weston Manders ’12. I had never been to New York City before so the whole experience was special from beginning to end. But, the star attraction of our trip was definitely the conversations we had with alumni gathered at the Charles Bank Gallery on the Lower East Side.

Before this trip, I was quite familiar with the passionate, interesting and all-together wonderful students at OU. However, I learned from my conversations at the event that alumni who graduated before I was even born share those same traits. Every person that I spoke with at the event is living a life of purpose.  

I had the opportunity to connect with a fellow Alpha Phi Omega brother, discuss economics with a software engineer originally from Cameroon, and meet a sweet elderly couple that spends part of each year in my hometown of Ft. Myers, Fla. I treasured every conversation with each graduate and I enjoyed observing people who had never met each other connecting over their shared Oglethorpe experiences and memories.

Following the alumni event, my fellow travelers and I toured all over the city seeing as many sites as we could fit in to our 40-hour visit to the Big Apple. From Ellis Island to Times Square and Central Park, I loved the sights and sounds of New York City and can’t wait to return for another visit. I also look forward to attending alumni events when I graduate and meeting OU students of the future.

2012 Symposium Spotlights Oglethorpe Students’ Academic Accomplishments

On Tuesday, the OU community gathered  for the 2012 Liberal Arts and Sciences Symposium to celebrate the academic achievements of our students. The annual event provides OU students with a platform to present their own work—and fellow students, faculty, parents, and staff take the opportunity to learn more about the various topics, support the presenters, and engage in passionate discussions. Nearly 200 students presented during more than 30 sessions about topics drawn from a wide variety of disciplines.

We asked students Joscelyn Stein, Dayana Diaz, and Weston Manders to give us their thoughts about the Symposium:

This year’s topics ranged from “The Homeric Hero: What Winston Churchill and Odysseus have in common…or not” to “Mosquito in the Room: America’s Cuban Obsession and the Need for a New Era of Cuban-American Relations,” to ”The Evolution of Fairies in Literature: From Oral Folk Tales to Peter Pan” and “The Benefits of Cooperative Interspecies Evolution: Why Would you have a Dog?”

A new addition to the day-long event was StoryCore, where students from the OU radio station video recorded students and faculty sharing ”OUr Core moments,” reflections on the Core Curriculum. Oglethorpe’s Core Program helps shape our academic community and is regularly the focus of shared stories. Many of us have our “Core moments”—when something we encounter reminds us of something we learned in a Core course, when ideas are suddenly are connected. The collection of 90-second videos will be posted on the StoryCore page over the next few weeks. Here’s the first StoryCore video in the series, by Chelsea Reed ’13, a Communications and Rhetoric major.

Also new to the Symposium this year was an “Homage To OUr CORE in Poetry and Creative Verse.” The poetry slam/creative word jam took place in the Lupton Auditorium and gave a stage to students and faculty to share their poetry, spoken word and freestyle compositions, penned in honor of our Core Curriculum. The friendly competition chose winners in a few categories:

Judges’ Choice: Kaci Palmore
Most Creative: Chou Thao
Connection to Core: Will Carter

The day-long celebration of student achievements ended in the Conant Performing Arts Center with the annual Honors and Awards Convocation, which recognized individuals who had excelled during the academic year. Congratulations to all of the honorees!

View photos from the 2012 Liberal Arts & Sciences Symposium!

The House of Blue Leaves

I was very excited about the OU Playmakers’ production of The House of Blue Leaves, which ran Feb. 11-Feb. 13 at the Conant Performing Arts Center.  The play tells a tale of the day that Pope Paul VI visited New York City.  It’s a black comedy play that features nuns, a political bombing, a GI headed for Vietnam, a zookeeper that has dreams of making it in Hollywood, and his schizophrenic wife.  It was a wild ride!

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