The news writing course sets the journalism path for this NBC news producer
Cynthia Silva ’19 used the classroom experience and the campus newspaper to pave her way.
Written by: Heather Mayer Irvine
Monday, December 6, 2021 10:21 am
Photo submitted by Cynthia Silva.
It wasn’t until the fall of her senior year when Cynthia Silva ’19 realized she was destined for news journalism. Despite being a media and communication major since the first day of her time at Muhlenberg, it was David Erdmann, Assistant Professor of Media and Communication, and the Writing for Media course that set Silva on her path.
Today, Silva is an associate producer for NBC News Now, and says she wouldn’t be out of place without the enthusiasm and guidance from Erdmann.
“I love the news and wanted to be more involved in it,” Silva says. “I thought this news writing course would be a great experience, and it ended up becoming a course that would change my life.”
Silva was instantly addicted to the basics of news journalism, particularly the first rule: accuracy.
“It’s a very interesting time to work in the media. There is a lot of talk about ‘fake news,'” she says. “News is very important and fundamental to American democracy.”
After she got her feet wet in Erdmann’s cycle, he urged her to write Muhlenberg Weekly. While her experience in class taught Silva the basics of journalism, it was her student paper work that taught lessons from the real world, including always-on deadlines.
Silva trained with NBC News while in college, but upon graduation, she accepted a position as co-producer at dodo. Silva realized she was headed for the news and returned to NBC News as an assistant desk reporter. Last fall I became a co-producer for the video team.
When asked about her dream job, Silva said, “It’s this one. I’m really lucky. I struggled for so long to be where I am now. I grew up in a family that had no connections, and if I wanted to make it, I had to really fight for it.”
During her junior and senior years, Silva commuted six hours a day, three days a week from Allentown to New York City for internships.
“I was ready to take these trips. I told my boss how I felt when I got in the elevator and closed the doors and you could see the NBC logo — I’m so grateful to be here,” she says.
The media landscape is constantly changing, and journalists are constantly forced to adapt. Silva wants to show undergraduates the same passion for industry that Erdmann showed her, perhaps inspiring them along the way.
“Getting the facts right is very important,” she says. “When the American public is informed that is very powerful.”
Students are encouraged to take advantage of the courses offered by the college and to write for them Muhlenberg WeeklyVisit the Career Center and make contact with the alumni.
“Some days are harder than others, but I would never change my career,” Silva says. “There is a sense of satisfaction in doing this work for the American public.”