Boston Herald starts a Party at Suffolk University

Looking out from his Ridgeway Building office, Dr. Bob Rosenthal discussed a new project for Suffolk University in collaboration with the Boston Herald. Rosenthal, the chair of Suffolk’s Communication and Journalism Department, is happier than ever to begin a new chapter at Suffolk that will bring the school some great publicity and interesting discussions each week.

Press Party, a weekly show created by the Boston Herald in conjunction with Suffolk University’s Studio 73, started on Friday, Mar. 22. Alongside the host each week are a handful of panelists from various backgrounds in the news media, the political scene around Beacon Hill and Boston, and as well as a person from Suffolk. The show can probably be compared to a local version of NBC’s Meet the Press. Rosenthal explained that “the Herald contacted Suffolk through members of the administration saying that they would be interested in developing a partnership with us” to create more opportunities for internships and that they were contemplating a TV program.” In his words, Rosenthal said that the idea of Press Party is “we analyze the media on a weekly basis and how the media has done things.”

Last week, the show’s second episode, the panel included Boston City Councilor Michael Ross, Dr. Bob, and the Boston Herald’s chief political reporter, Hillary Chabot. The discussions varied on topics ranging from a controversial Twitter account at University of New Hampshire, the media’s response to Mayor Tom Menino’s announcement that he will not be running for re-election, the battle over gay marriage and whether or not the news media has a bias or slant when reporting on it, and the possibility of CNN considering a new show co-hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin.

The interaction and connection between the panelists has gone really well so far. After only previously meeting once, Rosenthal said the panel “really gelled. Groups develop a personality, and I think, right off the bat, we sort of all hit it off because at the end of the program we were following up on each other’s answers and we were discussing more than just answering the questions.”

The show gives many opportunities to students here at Suffolk – anything from producing the one-minute intro videos for each episode to interning with the Herald and making the packages that lead into all of the stories. As they move farther into developing Press Party and moving it out of its beginning stages, they plan to make a virtual studio and have communication with the Herald newsroom for Suffolk’s journalism students.

When asked how he hopes Suffolk students will respond to the show, Rosenthal said “I hope some…will actually view the show because it’s pretty hip. The way it’s posted on the website is it’s posted in four sections, so if you click a segment you get five minutes…rather than a half hour program which is what it’ll be when it shows up on television.” He added that there are also places for people to respond with their opinions in a comment section on the page below the videos for each of the weekly episodes.

In an article that appeared on the Suffolk University website last month, Patrick J. Purcell, President and Publisher of the Boston Herald, explained that “Press Party is a natural next step as we continue to extend the Boston Herald brand.”

The show is filmed during Friday afternoons and is published online, every week, a few hours later in the day. Once each episode is finished, Battenfeld writes a type of follow-up blog post each week known as “After Party.”