Making His Mark Through the Lens
By Hannah Werthan
Senior Communications Major Ronnie Amato Found His Passion at Molloy
With graduation just around the corner, many seniors across the country are scrambling to find a job or internship. Senior Media Communications major Ronnie Amato doesn't have to worry. The Long Beach, New York, native recently landed a summer video editing operations internship with ABC News. Given Ronnie's long list of credentials, it's hard to believe the talented videographer had no formal experience behind a camera before starting at Molloy College nearly four years ago.
Finding His Academic Path
When Ronnie came to Molloy, he was undeclared. He attended a majors and minors fair as a freshman to get a better sense of what he wanted to do with his life. It was there that he met Professor Tom Kenny of the Communications department. Ronnie was intrigued by what the department had to offer. "I had looked at the Business program, and a few of the classes seemed appealing, but I wasn't interested in taking some of the mandatory courses. On the other hand, I found myself saying 'That looks cool' to every Communications class," Ronnie says.
Inspired by what he had learned at the fair, Ronnie decided to pursue Communications, but he still had some doubts about the major. Other people weren't so sure he was making the right decision, and they let their opinion be known. "I would tell people I was a Communications major and they would say, 'Are you sure you don't want to major in something else?'" he says.
When Ronnie was a sophomore, he took TV Studio Production with Tom. After that class, which ended up being his favorite class at Molloy, Ronnie knew he had made the right choice in deciding to major in Media Communications. He had found his passion.
After he declared his major, Ronnie was assigned an advisor, Professor Jamie Cohen. Jamie teaches in the New Media department, and he convinced Ronnie to add a minor in New Media. Ronnie says the minor sets him apart from other Communications students. "In Media Communications, you learn about TV and film, but you need to know how to create content for social media as well. Jamie opened my eyes to the fact that the world is bigger than you think it is, and he showed me the importance of diversifying your skills," Ronnie says.
Learning Outside of the Classroom
Ronnie joined MolloyLife, Molloy's student-run media organization, as a junior, and he was determined to make the most of the experience. In the beginning, he worked on News Now, which is a weekly video recap of campus events, but he felt he could do more and wanted to prove it.
When Ronnie found out that our Men's Rugby Club had made it to the championships, he saw an opportunity. He noticed that there wasn't much coverage of this achievement, and decided he wanted to create his own video. "I just grabbed the video equipment and went for it. I filmed them for three to four days, and then I was editing the content all day for a week or two," he says. Despite hesitation from others, especially after the club lost the championship game, he went forward with the piece.
After he was finished, Ronnie went to Jamie first. Ronnie thought the video was good; however, he was not expecting such a positive response from his advisor. Jamie insisted that Ronnie submit the video to the prestigious Telly Awards. Ronnie won the award, and, needless to say, proved that he could handle bigger assignments for MolloyLife.
Ronnie's favorite project for MolloyLife has been the video he made featuring senior basketball player Charlie Marquardt this year. "I really enjoyed having the opportunity to create a video for Charlie. He is an incredible athlete, and I have had the privilege to cover him for the last two years. I was really happy to see him accomplish [1,000 career points] and did my best to make [the video] like a piece you would see on ESPN," he says.
In addition to creating videos and taking photographs for MolloyLife, Ronnie interned in Molloy's Public Relations department last year. Having never worked in PR before, he wanted to make sure that he created videos that suited the department's needs. "I went on YouTube and looked at all the top 10 videos from the top 10 colleges in the U.S. and the top media colleges. I thought, 'I don't see why we can't do something similar.' I created a video called 'Molloy Is Home,' which was inspired by a video from Harvard," he says. "Molloy Is Home" features different students talking about their hometown and concluding that, regardless of where they came from, Molloy is home. The video is still used by the PR department on both the website and social media.
Getting the Internship
On May 22, just two days after he graduates from Molloy, Ronnie will be heading into Manhattan to start his new internship at ABC News. As the Editing Operations Intern, his job will be to edit, organize, and pare down everything they film so that the editor has what he or she needs to create a news segment.
Ronnie began the application process to ABC News about two months ago. After submitting an online application, he was able to advance to a phone interview. "I actually have a funny story about that," he says. "I signed up for an 11 o'clock interview. I'm all set up and ready to go, and I'm just waiting and waiting for the call. It's 11:20, and now I'm starting to get worried. Did I get the date wrong? I look again and see that I signed up for an 11 p.m. interview. I was 12 hours early!"
Despite that hiccup, Ronnie made it through another round and was invited to the ABC News offices. He was able to tour the building and meet with his soon-to-be supervisor who is the Director of Operations. He says his supervisor was impressed by the videos Ronnie had created - he mentioned "Molloy Is Home" in particular - and by the fact that, as a Communications major at Molloy, Ronnie learned how to use all three editing software programs: Avid, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut. Most colleges only teach their students one or two programs.
Ronnie's advice to incoming freshmen at Molloy - whether or not they have any experience in media - is to try a Communications or New Media class. "A lot of people think that Communications is easy, but it is not. It's difficult to create content. But it's also very rewarding," he says. For Ronnie, the decision to become a Communications major helped him discover his passion for creating and editing videos. His determination to succeed has led him to a successful undergraduate career, an internship with ABC News, and a future that looks very bright.