It’s a 14-hour journey to Syracuse University from the small town outside of Charleston, South Carolina, where Daniel J. Wood ’22 grew up dreaming of becoming an international news correspondent. As a broadcast and digital journalism major at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Wood has resolutely continued his journey pursuing that dream. “Newhouse is really what led me here. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with a billion different things about Syracuse, but Newhouse is definitely my pride and joy,” he says. “Syracuse has given me—and it gives everyone here—the perfect college experience. You have school spirit. You have strong academic programs and professors from all around the world.”
Wood has set his sights on reporting from far-flung destinations around the globe. International trips with his family inspired an interest in life overseas, and he further fueled that passion by studying at Syracuse Abroad’s London Center in summer 2019. He also added a dual major in international relations with the College of Arts and Sciences and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs to complement his journalism work. Beyond that, he likes connecting with people and sharing their stories. “Journalism is where you get to have intimate conversations with people and tell stories that otherwise wouldn’t be told,” he says. “As a journalist, I want to establish a genuine connection with people and report the truth in hopes that it can better society in the long run.”
Syracuse has given me—and it gives everyone here—the perfect college experience. You have school spirit. You have strong academic programs and professors from all around the world.—Daniel Wood '22
Engaged in the Orange Community
At Syracuse, Wood has tried to strike a balance between developing his journalism skills and participating in a range of extracurricular activities. “I take my academics seriously and put all of my broadcasting efforts into the classroom,” says the Dean’s List student. “I allow my extracurriculars to be more of a social place where I’m exposed to people in different majors. On campus, I’ve tried to become involved in things I know will be good for me outside of my career.”
Wood’s enthusiasm for campus activities has led to friendships and a wealth of beneficial experiences, including putting his communication skills to work for several organizations. “I was definitely that first-year student who was signing his name on every Involvement Fair table,” he says. He’s shared his Orange spirit with others as a University 100 campus tour guide and an orientation leader. He’s also represented Newhouse on the Student Association, served on the Student Advisory Committee and the University’s Residence Hall Association, and held positions with Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, including being a video production intern. He is currently co-president of the Forever Orange Student Alumni Council, which fosters philanthropy and stewardship among members; and is chair of dancer engagement for OttoTHON, the dance marathon that raises funds for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. “OttoTHON has turned out to be another defining part of my Syracuse experience,” he says. “It’s where I’ve found some of my strongest friends, and it’s been one of my central ways to give back to the community.”
Newhouse is really what led me here. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with a billion different things about Syracuse, but Newhouse is definitely my pride and joy.—Daniel Wood '22
At Newhouse, Wood appreciates the mentoring he’s received from faculty—especially his advisor, Professor Shelvia Dancy G’99, and Newhouse NYC director Cheryl Brody Franklin ’04—as well as how they bring their industry experience into the classroom. “Everything has been hands-on since day one,” he says. “Hearing from my professors about the different routes they have all gone has helped me envision my unique path.”
Overcoming Challenges with Determination
Wood’s journey has not been an easy one, but his persistence and determination have carried him through challenging times. A couple of weeks into the Fall 2020 semester, his mom shared with him that she had lung cancer. Wood, who lost his father in 2017, was devastated. “That call changed my life, and I knew instantly I would have to return home,” he says. “Because of the pandemic, there was the option to switch all your classes to online. In a way, it was very weird timing for how the world worked, but it allowed me to quickly and easily transition to being there for my mom when she needed me most.”
While acting as the primary caregiver for his mom as she underwent treatment, Wood spent his junior year juggling online classes and remote internships. In particular, he embraced the Newhouse NYC program. Thankfully, his mother is now in remission, and he is forever grateful to Franklin, who supported him personally and professionally throughout the semester. “The Newhouse NYC program has been the defining experience of my entire Newhouse journey,” he says. “I think that comes with a lot of weight given the fact that I did the program completely remotely and still feel the rewards to such a magnitude. It’s where I established connections that got me to my current internship and opened so many doors. It’s been extremely valuable to me.”
Hearing from my professors about the different routes they have all gone has helped me envision my unique path.—Daniel Wood '22
Building Experience Through Internships
Wood has actively sought networking opportunities and internships, remotely building experiences from one to the next. Last fall, he was a global communications intern with the Council of Europe, where he worked on a marketing campaign for an international drug policy initiative. During his Newhouse NYC semester, he served as a production intern for Peter Greenberg Worldwide, the multimedia platform for the Emmy-winning travel news journalist. Wood researched current events, pitched, wrote and edited travel news stories, and optimized search engine results for digital stories. “It was interesting content to work with,” he says. “I was able to combine my interests in international relations and traveling with journalism.”
Today, Wood is an NBCUniversal intern assigned to NBC News and MSNBC, where he works with Andrea Mitchell Reports. For the lifelong NBC News aficionado, it’s a dream position. When he started this summer, Wood prepared information packets on foreign leaders and other guests for Mitchell’s broadcast from the G-7 summit in Cornwall, England. “I hit the ground running, and it was like, ‘Wow, this is great. Both of my interests are colliding at the perfect intersection,’” he says.
As a journalist, I want to establish a genuine connection with people and report the truth in hopes that it can better society in the long run.—Daniel Wood '22
One of his main responsibilities is monitoring live camera feeds of press conferences and other events for breaking news, sound bites and footage, and he also assists in writing the broadcast scripts. When the Surfside condo collapsed in Florida, Wood was the team’s point person assigned to watching press conferences and sharing notes for screen updates. He is also deeply appreciative of Mitchell, the network’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, who set aside time for a phone conversation with him, giving advice and reminding him that “everyone’s path in journalism is often very different,” he says.
Through his efforts, Wood has stayed the course on his path and created a strong foundation to ready himself for what’s yet to come—and he’s looking forward to it. “With the role of a journalist comes so much knowledge, drive and ambition to find more information, to tell stories and to find the unique parts about human society,” he says. “It’s such an intriguing job—and that’s what keeps me motivated to keep chasing after it, day after day.”
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