Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media (SCM) is releasing #FocusDisruption, a collaborative student project which over the last two semesters has pinpointed the struggles and changes society has endured two years after the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Part of the project is a newscast on Thursday, May 5, which will highlight the solutions that have come out of the pandemic’s “disruption” to everyday life and how people have adapted.
Bernice Ndegwa, a junior journalism and digital media major, and Louis Biondolillo, a senior television and digital media major, are set to be anchors for the project. Ndegwa discussed how it feels to share this project with the Montclair State community.
“I’m very excited about this,” Ndegwa said. “[Biondolillo] and I anchored the kickoff live Focus project in the fall, and now it’s good to spend time with the team before a majority of our seniors leave.”
Biondolillo said #FocusDisruption is one of the most important projects he’s been a part of.
“I think this entire project is so important right now because everything changed two years ago,” Biondolillo said. “While we’re ‘going back to normal,’ I don’t think [that it’s] back to before [COVID-19]. However, being an anchor on this project with [Ndegwa] yet again is always an exciting time. It allows us to showcase our skills in journalism as well as with public speaking.”
Biondolillo emphasized how being a part of his last Focus is somewhat saddening, but he is still more than happy to be a part of it.
“It’s a little bittersweet for me, being my last Focus,” Biondolillo said. “I’ve hosted three of them and produced two of them. I’ve been with Focus since [#FocusImmigration] and I would say it’s fitting because #FocusDisruption is moving forward, and that’s what I’m doing myself.”
Ndegwa also gave a glimpse of what goes on in the creation of #FocusDisruption and what it will bring to the Montclair State community.
“It’s going to be a whole day event [on April 27] and there will be a colloquium in the morning, and round tables will be shot there as well,” Ndegwa said. “We are the last big thing that’s happening, recording all the ins-and-outs for the anchors. It’s going to be a very exciting day.”
Beyond the positions of anchoring, Gabby Taylor, a senior television and digital media major and one of the senior producers of #FocusDisruption, shared what it has been like to be a part of it.
“It’s the best to be a part of all of the Focus projects at the [SCM],” Taylor said. “Being a part of the first real big project after the pandemic is everything I could have asked for [since] coming to Montclair [State].”
Taylor also shared what students, faculty and families can expect from the release of the #FocusDisruption newscast.
“It’s going to be a lot different from our last show,” Taylor said. “We have similar elements in looking at the ways in which the pandemic disrupted our lives, but in this project, we’re really focusing on moving forward and the solutions people have come up with to live with the disruption we have experienced.”