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DEMAN Weekend Helps Students Launch a Creative Career

An annual arts and media weekend on campus Nov. 3-4 will help Duke students navigate paths to creative careers.

For Blayne Alexander '08, studying English at Duke was the perfect training ground for launching a career in journalism—something she wishes more Duke students interested in media careers knew.

Alexander, now a correspondent for NBC News in Washington, D.C., is returning to Duke Nov. 3-4 to talk about her journey into journalism, as part of Duke Entertatinment, Media and the Arts Network Weekend (DEMAN). Each year the weekend brings together hundreds of students and alumni interested in the creative industries—such as journalism, film and the arts—to learn from one another through workshops, portfolio reviews and networking sessions.

That's important, Alexander says, because careers in the arts can sometimes be seen as "a nontraditional path." But at Duke, "there are so many different avenues for students to be successful," she says. 

Alexander will participate in a reporting and producing workshop for attendees and moderate an alumni panel featuring Peter Friedlander ‘96, a Netflix vice president in charge of original series; Lisa Katz ‘95, the executive vice president of drama development for NBC; and John Solomon ‘03, the head of digital marketing for Beats By Dr. Dre.

Other workshops will address topics such as getting ready for a Broadway audition, finding a job in magazine publishing, documenting real-life stories through film and print, marketing big brands, launching a graphic design career, breaking into comedy—and more.

Not only will students learn from alumni who have gone before them and get real-life advice for taking their next steps in careers in the arts, but they’ll also have the opportunity to begin forming relationships with expert insiders for the future. 

"Often, you don’t get a chance to hear the process behind success. You just see success," Alexander says. "It’s so powerful to be able to hear and understand people’s stories—and use that as your own motivation."