Ron Burgundy, the legendary newsman played by Will Ferrell in the upcoming Anchorman sequel, was welcomed in character into an Emerson College theater Wednesday by the applause of more than 150 students and a few dozen professional journalists and news teams.
The faux celebrity journalist was there for a press conference, honoring him, in the words of Emerson President Lee Pelton, for “one day and not a minute more,” at a ceremony temporarily renaming of the college’s School of Communication as the Ron Burgundy School of Communication.
Pelton may have been but a measured fan of the school’s 24-hour name change, but the Massachusetts House of Representatives expressed its approval in a written message.
Massachusetts Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein (CQ), an Emerson alumna, congratulated the college for “always staying classy” and presented the college with the state’s official memento, signed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, congratulating Emerson for changing the school’ name.
Next came a commemorative plaque with a picture of Burgundy’s likeness and an inscription describing his achievements such as “playing the jazz flute” and “having good hair.”
Feigning tears and a muffled sob, Burgundy accepted the plaque, thanked Pelton and then turned to Interim Dean of Communication Phil Glenn.
Apparently confusing him (for just a day, of course) with astronaut and later Sen. John Glenn, Burgundy then proceeded to reminisce about covering Glenn’s lunar orbit, saying, “Around and around you went. No one thought you could do it. You’re a real American hero.”
Glenn played along, twirling a finger in the air.
In his acceptance speech, Burgundy also honored his late father’s memory – sort of -- by saying, “Dad, you can bite me… Because Ron Burgundy has his own school of communication.”
Burgundy was not yet done. He also took questions from professional journalists.
His biggest piece of advice to aspiring journalists, he said, is to “keep a $20 bill in your shoe. You never know. You’re on a field report. You’re in a jail in Peru… You need some cash to get you out of a situation, and you have that $20 sewed into the sole of your shoe.”
When asked what he would be doing with the remainder of his time in Boston, Burgundy said, among other things, he planned to deep fry and eat a piece of sod from Fenway Park and go clubbing with Big Papi.
NECN’s Jackie Bruno approached Burgundy onstage for an autograph and asked, “How do I become a great anchorwoman like you’re a great anchorman?”
To which Burgundy replied, “You’re already hogging the stage. You’re doing a really good job.” He added, “Maybe you should wear a shorter skirt.”
When asked how he, as a news anchor from the ‘70s, maintains his looks, Burgundy said, “I pamper myself and do a lot of yoga,” pronouncing it with a soft “g.”
Though his rein as head of the school was to be limited to a day, Burgundy promised to act swiftly to “make every grade pass fail,” with the stipulation that “if you fail and bring your teacher a nice steak sandwich, you get a pass.”
He also promised to install a swimming pool, bowling alley and a Jacuzzi that would be filled with baked beans once a week.
The press conference came to a close with Burgundy saying, “On behalf of President Pelton, this is the best decision he’s ever made in his career.”
Pelton answered diplomatically. “It’s a memorable decision,” he said.
This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.
Comedian Will Ferrell will hold what undoubtedly will be a tongue-in-cheek press conference on the Emerson College campus Wednesday.
It’s all part of a 24-hour spoof the college has unofficially endorsed by temporarily renaming its School of Communication the Ron Burgundy School of Communication to celebrate Ferrell’s alter-ego, the lead character in his new movie, Anchorman 2.
But while some on the School of Communication faculty believe the day, complete with a screening of the film, will all be in good fun, others are not amused by the decision, saying it undercuts the college’s and department’s reputation.
“I was opposed to it from the start,” says Assistant Professor of Journalism Mark Leccese. “I don’t see what the college gets out of it, other than having its name in the media for a day. I don’t see this Hollywood publicity stunt [enhancing] the reputation of Emerson’s School of Communication.”
Leccese’s discomfort was echoed by Journalism Professor Emmanuel Paraschos.
“We get calls from colleagues around the country asking if us if we lost our minds,” he said. “My college roommate called me and said, ‘What are you people smoking?’”
Paraschos has taken to wearing a specially made nametag reading, “Ron Burgundy Professor of Journalism.” Only he has flipped the words “Emerson College” on the nametag upside down.
Associate Department Chair Doug Struck took a show-me stance. “My students tell me Will Ferrell is funny,” he said. “They also tell me they have done their course work. I am skeptical on both accounts.”
But others on the journalism faculty are more than happy to buy into the satire. One is Assistant Journalism Professor Tim Riley.
“It is a testament to Emerson’s creativity and innovation that we have the balls to name ourselves after one of the most honest journalists in the business,” Riley joked, referring to egocentric anchorman Ferrell plays. “I think the benefits of this far outweigh the pitfalls, and journalism is way too important to take too seriously.”
Another journalism professor of 30 years, who asked not to be identified, added, “The school being renamed is a terrific idea and a lot of fun. Life is too short to be taken so seriously. We cover so many serious events that it’s healthy to make fun of ourselves from time to time.”
Still other faculty seemed inclined to bridge the divide.
“I respect both sides, but it’s sort of silly,” said Journalist-in-Residence Marianna Edmunds. “ I would have picked someone more notable.”
Ultimately, suggested Journalist-in-Residence Cindy Rodriguez, it should be up to the students to decide.
“There’s a certain segment of society that may not get [Burgundy’s] jokes, but the people who like him tend to be younger,” she said. “We have to keep in mind his target audience.”
This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.
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Will Ferrell to visit Emerson College; school to be temporarily be renamed after 'Anchorman' movie character Ron Burgundy
Actor and comedian Will Ferrell plans to speak to students at Emerson College next month, and during his day-long visit the college’s School of Communication will temporarily be renamed after Ron Burgundy, the newscaster character that the actor plays in the popular “Anchorman” movie.
“I had to pinch myself really hard when I learned that Emerson College was naming its School of Communication for me. It’s kind of a big deal,” the fictional Burgundy said in a press release issued by the college. “I can’t wait to inspire students with my story of how I got to the top…the very top. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s a lot of work, especially if you don’t have good hair.”
Campus officials said Ferrell will visit the school on Wednesday, Dec. 4
“The KVWN Channel 4 Action News TV star who coined the phrase ‘You stay classy, San Diego,’ will share his path to journalism greatness with students during a day-long visit, which will include a morning press conference, the official naming ceremony, and an evening screening of ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,’” a movie that is scheduled to premiere Dec. 20, the press release said.
The college said it plans to at livestream the naming ceremony starting at 11 a.m. on this webpage, www.emerson.edu/ronburgundy.
“A visit from Ron Burgundy is a chance to engage with someone who understands the power of media, as well as hairspray, first-hand,” said college President Lee Pelton said in a statement.
Many college presidents across the country are negotiating huge exit packages when they step down. Schools and public records say:
Lawrence S. Bacow, president emeritus of Tufts, received $1.7 million in 2011 for “end of service compensation.” At Harvard, president Lawrence Summers kept his presidential salary of $580,000 for several years after he stepped down in 2006. And Wellesley College had two former presidents on its payroll in the last six years, including one who received $430,000 a year for two years after she retired and her duties ended.
Former Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz has received at least $1.2 million more from Brandeis since his 2010 retirement and is in line to receive hundreds of thousands more in coming years.
Globe subscribers can read the entire story here.
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At Emerson College in Boston, Comcast recently began trying out a new type of cable television service that is designed specifically for use on college campuses and does not require set-top boxes, technicians, wires or even a TV.
“Xfinity on Campus,” a trial program, delivers TV service to students’ devices – laptop and desktop computers and soon through a mobile app to tablets and smartphones – as long as the device is connected to the campus’ Internet network, through either a wireless or hard-wire connection.
The service, which runs on Internet Protocol television, or IPTV, technology, is included, at no additional cost, as part of the TV service provided to students living on campus, according to a Comcast website describing the trial program.
Students can use the service to watch “all of the network and cable channels that are part of the campus TV package” as well as Xfinity On Demand shows and movies, the site says.
An “interactive programming guide” is included in the service, and additional subscription options will soon be available for students who want to buy premium channels and other content.
Before they can access the service, students must complete an “easy” sign-up and authentication process online through comcast.com/xfinityoncampus, the website says.
Each student can register up to three devices for Xfinity on Campus at a time, but can only stream the service on one device at a time.
For now, the trial program is only operating at Emerson.
“We’re grateful to Emerson for being such an enthusiastic partner in this trial,” said Comcast spokeswoman Doreen Vigue.
In 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported Comcast planned to test out a similar service on MIT’s campus.
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