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Frederick Eisenbiegler: UVMtv made me who I am today

May 13, 2020

By Frederick Eisenbiegler, UVMtv

FrederickAs cliché as it seems, I don’t think I’d be the person I am today without UVMTV.

When I first joined the club I was a scared sophomore who only came because of a show that grabbed me, but when I went to that first meeting I found so much more. I found likeminded people who were open and accepting of me. I found students from every walk of life who were just as scared, but equally as supportive, and most importantly I found people I’d like to call my family.

Over the past three years I’ve seen so many people come and go, so many wonderful and creative shows, but ultimately I still see that love and support I saw on my very first day. I have faith that the new executive board and the new members will continue to carry on this wonderful little club’s legacy into next year and years beyond.


Frederick Eisenbiegler, second from right, and the rest of the 2019-2020 UVMtv executive board.

Zack Isleib: Forming WRUV friendships with some of the coolest and strangest people Burlington has to offer

May 13, 2020

Zack 1

By Zack Isleib, WRUV

I can’t believe it’s already over. I have been a DJ since freshman year, waay back in 2016. Time flies.

I’d like to thank WRUV for providing me with a passionate community to express myself freely and form lifelong friendships with some of the coolest and strangest people Burlington has to offer! These past four years at WRUV have allowed me to creatively explore and learn more about the world through music, and I hope that whoever was listening felt inspired, relaxed, confused, or any thought-stimulating emotion.

90.1 will always be Preset 1 on the radio dash, and I will be forever grateful.

Zack 3



Bridget Higdon: Finding family at The Vermont Cynic

May 13, 2020

Higdon Cynic

By Bridget Higdon, The Vermont Cynic

On the second Wednesday of my first-year, I walked across campus to Waterman building for the first Cynic general meeting of the fall semester. Hannah Kearns was the editor-in-chief then. She stood at the front of the room radiating enthusiasm. She had a big laugh, and her dark curly hair bounced over her shoulder.

At that first meeting, I joined the Arts section. Molly Duff was the editor, and she held section meetings at her apartment on College Street. She usually had a plate of brownies on her coffee table, and we would spend the hour circled up in her living room tossing story ideas back and forth.

After President Trump’s inauguration in 2017, Editor-in-Chief Kelsey Neubauer assigned myself and another first-year Arts writer to write a full-page column on how the art world was reacting to the new president. I remember being flattered that I had been chosen for this assignment, and I immediately felt like a valued member of the organization.

I was lucky enough to work with several Cynic leaders who knew the importance of those “I see you” moments. They knew the power in recognizing people’s individual talents and trusting them to do good work. It was this encouragement from my peers that motivated me to work hard.

One of the things I’ve always loved best about the Cynic is that it places value in student-to-student, generational teaching. Almost everything I know about journalism I learned from my editors, who learned from their editors. And on, and on. How to edit a photo, design a page, craft a lede, ask a hard question, lead a team – all of this I learned from my peers.

As I committed myself further to the Cynic and moved up the leadership chain, I made both great friends and gained valuable experience. I had opportunities to go places and to meet people I would not have gotten to otherwise. I interviewed the band The Head and the Heart before they became a household name. I met the editor of The Paris Review at the College Media Convention on New York City. I attended a workshop led by journalist Gail Sheehy. I toured the New York Times bureau in Washington D.C.

My experience at the Cynic led to my internship with the Vermont Authors Project and to my stint of freelancing with Seven Days. The Cynic led to the full-time job I will start in this June, as a digital reporter at a group of newspapers in Vermont.

When I became editor-in-chief, and held my first general meeting in September 2019, I remember being conscious that the first-years in the room might remember me four years from now just as I remember Hannah Kearns. I stood at the front of the room knowing that I had the power to help make their time at the Cynic, and at UVM, enriching and memorable.

I am beyond grateful for my time at the Cynic. I am proud of all that I was able to accomplish as editor-in-chief and that I was able to live up to the potential my successors saw in me. I am proud to have continued that important tradition of not only teaching new skills, but supporting and valuing individual talents.

I am sad to go, but I am excited to join the community of Cynic alumni. I know that I am in good company.

UVM Media Seniors Week: Kind words for our departing DJs, journalists & TV personalities

May 12, 2020

And now, some notes of thanks to our graduating seniors from our non-seniors ….

UVM Student Media is, as the name implies, media both by and for UVM students. In this post, the media leadership team for the 2020-2021 school year share their thoughts about the importance of our newly minted graduates to each of their organizations.



Katie Masterson
Station Manager


Here at WRUV we value creativity, community and dedication. With this class of graduating seniors I am celebrating all of the wonderful additions they made to our airwaves, our staff and our University. I have had the pleasure of befriending our seniors and in some cases working closely with them. I believe they will do amazing things for this world, and I cannot wait to hear about all of them.

I wish them all of the experiences they’ve wanted to have, the joy of finding work they love and the excitement of finding a new place to impact. Once a WRUV DJ always a WRUV DJ. Congratulations and thank you for your music, personality and kindness that you have given WRUV and its community.

SawyerSawyer Loftus
The Vermont Cynic

Dear Cynic seniors,

You made it! Although this semester is definitely not the semester you imagined for closure to your undergraduate experience, it’s safe to say Cynic seniors went out doing the things we do best. This past year, we had seniors in all different sections, from sports to layout and more.

Our seniors are some of the greatest assets the paper has. We often rely on their experiences that others weren’t around to see. Additionally, we have several four-year seniors, including our outgoing Editor in Chief Bridget Higdon. Bridget and all other seniors will be greatly missed, but we know that wherever you go you’ll take your Cynic experience with you! Congrats!

DaisyDaisy Powers
Station Manager

To Erick Eisenbiegler: Thank you for always being on top of everything going on in the club, and being one of the only people who truly cared and looked into how YouTube analytics worked to get our shows out there and seen. Your contribution to the club and your dedication and selfless attitude toward your club members will never be forgotten, and will be greatly missed. We know that you will do great things moving forward, and you should believe that yourself as well. Thank you Erick, and congratulations!

To Jordan Schiller: We want to tell you that you were an incredible station manager. You cared for the club, its members, and kept us all on track. You motivated us to accomplish great things, and you were so incredibly organized, I don’t know how you could keep track of so much. We are so thankful for all of the love and effort you put into this club, and we are going to miss you so much. You were an amazing leader, a great friend, and you are going to be an awesome teacher. Thank you so much for everything, and congratulations Jordan!

Starting tomorrow, our graduating seniors will begin sharing their experiences in their own words and with their own images. Personalities shall be experienced.

Thanks to UVM Student Media’s top leadership, 2019-2020

May 11, 2020
Bridget Katie Jordan Senior Plaque

From left: Cynic Editor-in-Chief Bridget Higdon, WRUV Station Manager Katie Masterson and UVMtv Station Manager Jordan Schiller.

At the end of every academic year—well, every year but this one—UVM Student Media folks gather in a Burlington restaurant to thank seniors for all they’ve done and to celebrate their accomplishments. We can’t gather this year, but we can celebrate.

All this week, we’ll use this space to thank our seniors for the work they’ve done. And we’ll do it by starting with the top leadership of each of the three organizations: WRUV-FM, UVMtv and The Vermont Cynic.

As adviser to each of the organizations, what I see first-hand in each of these leaders is commitment beyond compare. They represent their organizations to the outside world, demonstrate leadership on campus and beyond, and strive to create a sense of family within their organizations, which range in size from two dozen to more than 100. Depending on the week, each of these three leaders might work 10, 20 or 40 hours on behalf of their fellow students and the public that consumes their media. They might tire, but they do not stop.

So here then are this year’s student leaders:

JordanJordan Schiller, the station manager at UVMtv, has been with the station for all four years of his college career, appearing both on camera and behind the lens, with all of his work culminating in his taking on the top leadership role in his senior year. The UVMtv studio serves as the anchor to the video-focused residential learning community in Sichel Hall on UVM’s Trinity Campus. During his tenure, Jordan has worked to raise the station’s profile, solidify finances and grow the leadership team.

bridgetBridget Higdon, editor-in-chief of The Vermont Cynic, has focused on creating a real sense of family in the newsroom and to make it a place where staffers know just how much they matter. As a result, staff retention this year has been among the best ever: People stay because they feel they belong. Along the way, Bridget has shown a stellar commitment to both hard-hitting news and engaging features, aiming to tell the story of the University of Vermont.

Both Jordan and Bridget are graduating this year, and their absence will be felt.

katieKatie Masterson, the station manager at WRUV-FM, is a junior, and she’s just been elected to a second one-year term. This is so good for the station broadcasting out of the Davis Center. Among Katie’s many accomplishments are shepherding WRUV through the complex process of getting the station into line with federal code and while simultaneously stoking her DJs’ enthusiasm for all things radio, from music shows to a greater sense of community. She and her executive board even got people excited about spending time restoring vinyl. They’re just that good.

Leading organizations with the diverse cast of characters belonging to The Cynic, WRUV and UVMtv is not for the faint of heart. These three have done it impressively, and each has created a path for their successors to follow.

Watch this space for senior greatness!

May 8, 2020


With the end of the school year upon us but students unable to gather for the annual seniors awards dinner, we’re going to use this blog this week to celebrate our new grads all the way through UVM seniors week, May 11 to 15, so watch this space!

All sorts of fun celebration-style things are on the way …

Thanks to our conference volunteers

April 26, 2020

As you might have seen via our social media channels, COVID-19 did, in fact, prevent the first Vermont College Media Conference from taking place last week. We’d like to thank everyone who helped to put this event together. The folks involved with UVM student media still hope to make it happen next year, so please do stay tuned.



Prepare yourself for the Vermont College Media Conference!

March 7, 2020

VCMC collage 1-2

UVM Student Media will host the first-ever Vermont College Media Conference on April 18 at the University of Vermont.

The event promises to be a who’s who of media talent both in and from Vermont, with a dozen local media outlets represented and another dozen young media leaders who got their education in the state and then went on to do great things at the likes of WGBH-Boston TV/radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post and more.

Registration is open, and we’re expecting attendees from every Vermont institution of higher ed, as well as college students from beyond the state’s borders. Check out the website via the link above, or register here. Cost is just $20 for everyone who registers by April 5.

My gentle join-Peace-Corps pitch

October 15, 2019

After years of encouraging my students to create their own multimedia portfolios—whether by gently cajoling or by requiring this singular act on the syllabus—I decided finally to do it myself.

Mostly the site is devoted to my work as the University of Vermont’s student media adviser, though I do include examples of my fiction writing and journalism as well. It’s still a work in progress.

A single post, however, centers on my Peace Corps service. That’s what I’m posting here today.

I’m tempted to tell you up front why I’m singling out this piece to cross-post—that’s the journalist in me—but the fiction writer wants you to float along gently from beginning of the mini-memoir to its end.

(The fiction writer is the one who has let me write this particular post in the first place. He’s more indulgent than the journalist but gets only one UVM media blog category to himself—OSO, or Overly Solipsistic Offerings—which he’s used just five times since 2009.) (His fraternal twin the journalist says he should stop referring to himself in the third person now because it’s creepy. (And he’s cringing at all these parentheses.))

So I’ll keep this introduction brief—the journalist said—and thank you for reading.

The cast of "The Face on the Barroom Floor," closing night.

The cast of “The Face on the Barroom Floor,” closing night.


I was a China 5: part of the fifth cohort of Peace Corps volunteers allowed into China—and only the fourth since the events at Tiananmen Square.

It might go without saying that our students at the small teachers college in the urban farmers crossroads of Zigong had never heard the full story of the 1989 massacre in that Beijing square, where—according to them—a mere handful of malcontents had occupied China’s sacred gathering place, always under Chairman Mao’s gaze, for the sole purpose of disrupting social order, until authorities calmly ushered them out. When we showed our students a photo of one brave Chinese youth staring down a tank, they refused to recognize the tank as Chinese, though without question it was.

“That’s Russian,” one student said. “That tank must be Russian.”

We did some things that probably we shouldn’t have while we were in China.

At one point, the four volunteers at our site—two women in their 20s, my wife and then me—misread a string of cultural subtleties intended to forbid us from taking about 20 of our students on a field trip to another college some two hours away. This was at a time when our students had been told that they couldn’t gather in groups of more than three without a permit. Communist Party bosses were alerted to our misdeeds. They tracked us down in this other town, and our foreign-affairs liaison looked weary as he explained that the words “It might be difficult to take such a trip” really meant “Taking such a trip is likely to cause an international incident.” That liaison, Lu Fei, expended what I’m sure was a significant amount of social capital, guanxi, protecting us volunteers—and potentially averting an international incident. Lu Fei spoke no English, and my Chinese was never more than passable, so we’ve lost track of one another since my Peace Corps service ended at the beginning of the millennium. But I love that guy.

Peace Corps, if you’re lucky, equals love—or at least relationships of a kind you couldn’t conceive before. Our former students, now in their 30s, aren’t allowed to use Facebook, so we keep in touch through WeChat, an app that you might or might not have heard of but which dominates in China. Last year, one of the students visited the United States and took the two extra flights necessary in order to visit us in Vermont, where her 3-year-old girl danced with my daughters. I’d directed Didi Gong in an English-language stage play at Zigong Teachers College, but mostly she had studied with my wife, Beth. In English that Didi had developed in Beth’s classes and office hours, she thanked my wife for being the best teacher she had ever had. As she spoke, Didi broke into tears. That’s how grateful she was. Beth cried, too.

Peace Corps, if you’re lucky, opens the world to you and helps you discover a part of yourself to offer the world. In my position as a media adviser at the University of Vermont, I make sure my students know about my service so that they have someone they can approach if they’re curious. So far, I’ve watched two of them make the journey overseas: One of my newspaper advertising managers today teaches English in Armenia, and one of my radio station managers just returned from the Mbunza village of Mupini in Namibia, where she worked daily as a health educator.

I’m thrilled to see my American students experience the toughest job they’ll ever love. You can experience it, too. If you’re thinking about beginning the adventure, do it. If you don’t take the chance when you can, you’ll always wonder whether you should have. And if you do take the chance, you’re unlikely to regret your decision. Or forget your experience.

Note: This story originally appeared at

UVM front and center at summer’s largest college student media event

July 12, 2019


UVM Student Media took center stage in Minneapolis this week at the College Media Mega-Workshop, the summer’s largest gathering of college media students in the country.



UVM media adviser Chris Evans, who helped to produce the event as president of College Media Association—one of four college media organizations sponsoring the event—taught about 50 collegiate journalists the ins and outs of reporting and storytelling.

“So much of what I’m able to teach at these national events comes from what I’ve learned about student media at the University of Vermont,” Evans said. “This is a good chance to pay it forward.”

CMA produced the event with Associated Collegiate Press, College Media Business and Advertising Managers and Collegiate Broadcasters, Inc., Evans said.



His co-presenter, Theta Pavis—CMA vice president and student media adviser at New Jersey City University—said the goal was to ground students in a variety of forms of storytelling.

“We’re not talking just about writing,” Pavis said. “This is photo, social, even a bit of video. Today’s journalist needs all of the above in the toolkit.”

Caleigh Knight, a sports writer from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, said she learned a great deal during photo training on the second day of the workshop.

She said she learned that, in shooting photos, it was important to get to the right angle for the shot.

“The weirder you look taking it, the better it works,” she said.

This is the fourth year that the four organizations have worked together to produce the workshop, which this summer brought more than 350 students to the University of Minnesota for four days of intensive training.

IMG_5556Workshops included sessions on student leadership, college radio, ad sales, photography, diversity in the media, self-care for journalists and more, Evans said.

“This event is getting bigger and better every year,” he said. “It’s an honor to be a part of it.”