Quartet of Quinnipiac alumni sharing airwaves at WFSB
March 14, 2023
March 14, 2023
She went live from Torrington at 4 a.m. and finished her shift five hours later with an on-air snow angel — more effective for demonstrating the depth of the fresh powder than the traditional yardstick.
A little after 5 p.m., Dylan Fearon ’17, MS ’18, appeared on the evening edition of Eyewitness News to report on the sledding conditions at Elizabeth Park in Hartford, absorbing a few stray snowballs in his pursuit of the truth.
Minutes later, Ayah Galal ’17, the station’s Hartford bureau chief and occasional anchor, bundled up to give an update on a special election in Middletown. And before the broadcast was over, Eliza Kruczynski ’20 — who documented the driving conditions aboard the Early Warning Weather Tracker the night before — turned in a feel-good story about high schoolers in Southington who volunteered their shoveling services to some snowed-in neighbors.
That’s four recent graduates of the School of Communications at Quinnipiac, all playing prominent roles in WFSB’s wall-to-wall coverage of Winter Storm Anthony. Four more — producers Shannon Kane ’98, Melissa Scagliola ’05, Kelly Ledwith ’17 and Katie Coen MS ’23 — made important contributions from the control room in the station’s Rocky Hill headquarters.
A life in broadcast news can be nomadic and lonely, but a growing contingent of Bobcats have found a cozy professional home about 20 miles north of the leafy campus where they first learned the craft.
“We were doing the same things in college a few years ago and now we're doing it again in the newsroom here and I think all of us just have a great feeling about where we are,” said Fearon, a Tenafly, New Jersey native who captained the men’s cross country team as a senior in 2016.
Galal, of Prospect, was the first from the on-air quartet to join the network in the do-it-all, hybrid role of reporter/producer in 2018. She made history with her debut on the desk in 2021, becoming the first woman in hijab to anchor a newscast in Connecticut.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without what I did with Q30 and my classwork,” Galal told Quinnipiac Magazine in 2019. “Q30 helped me a lot, just in terms of giving me that hands-on TV experience. We dedicated a lot of time every week to a newscast. We always had meetings, and we did a lot of work. We would write stories. We would go out and cover stories on campus. We would build the rundown. All of that was excellent experience.”
Indeed, getting such meaningful on-the-job training through Quinnipiac’s renowned student-run media organizations can jumpstart a young broadcaster’s career. But the alums also cited the classroom experience as a crucial step in shaping them into camera-ready broadcast journalists. They found their voices using the state-of-the-art equipment and studio spaces within the Ed McMahon Communications Center and have watched with pride as the facilities have continually improved in the years since their respective graduations.
Now part of a robust alumni network with footholds in major media markets across the country, they’re still drawing on the multimedia skills they harnessed as Quinnipiac student-journalists. It’s what attracted them to Quinnipiac in the first place.
“First day freshman year, you have a camera in your hand. Knowing that I would get hands-on experience like that was why I chose Quinnipiac,” said Kruczynski, a Natick, Massachusetts native who joined WFSB last summer after a two-year stint at WFXG FOX54 in Augusta, Georgia.
Added Schueller: “You get a flexibility in picking classes that were tailored towards exactly what you wanted to do. I knew there were classes I wanted to take to be an on-air reporter versus classes I would maybe take if I wanted to be a print journalist. So it was nice to be able to tailor a schedule for what I wanted to do. It also helped being so close to my professors in the journalism department because they were such a guiding force, showing me and telling me what would be best for me. As much as I thought I knew myself, I think there were people in college who at times knew me better than I did.”
Fearon was sure of his path from a young age. In fact, he was still in high school when he decided to follow the professional footprints of his parents, who met on the set of the long-running news magazine show "Inside Edition."
A diehard Mets fan, he initially saw himself dispensing provocative takes as a morning show commentator in the bombastic style of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. But Fearon developed a taste for hard news after serving as Q30’s dedicated beat reporter for men’s basketball and men’s soccer.
He still employs the conversational tone he honed on Sports Paws and other Q30 sports shows, but he’s now reporting on priest shortages and public hearings instead of point guards and power forwards. After stints at FOX56 WOLF-TV in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, and WOAY-TV in Oak Hill, West Virginia, he jumped at the chance to return to Connecticut in June 2022 and rep the blue and gold — on and off camera.
“I talk about Quinnipiac nonstop to the sports guys at the station, to all my coworkers,” Fearon said. “I can't get enough of it, and I think they probably get sick of me over there talking about what it's like too much. But it's because I loved it. Everyone who knows me knows I had an unbelievable experience. So I always tell people that and I always recommend the school, especially if you’re trying to get into communications. Quinnipiac really lets students pursue whatever they’re passionate about and lets them take it and run with it. It really gives them a lot of opportunities from the jump.”
Kruczynski, another former athlete who considered a college tennis career before deciding to pursue her ideal communications program, was hired a week after Fearon. She, too, has tackled a wide array of topics as a reporter at WFSB and can find the humor in how far she’s come since her foray into broadcast journalism as a high school student: hard-hitting coverage of a pep rally.
“It was horrendous,” Kruczynski said. “It was so bad. Like, the funniest but worst thing ever. I look back and just laugh it.”
Schueller dreamed of becoming an entertainment reporter after watching awards shows with her mom growing up in New Jersey. Hired in January 2023, she left the warmth of her first career stop in Huntsville, Alabama, and arrived just in time to cover the state’s first significant snowfall from the front lines. Still, the chance to work in a top-30 market with some friendly faces made it an easy choice.
“Talking to Dylan and Eliza beforehand and having them tell me about their experiences at the station just solidified that I needed to come back here,” said Schueller, who interned at the Today Show in New York after graduation. “When you talk to people who you trust, who went to the same school as you and have that same upbringing — it definitely drew me to WFSB.”
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