MACOMM Faculty Member Featured on MSNBC’s “Caught on Camera: Revolution”

Joe Alicastro

News Story: April 2, 2013

Joe Alicastro, a Sacred Heart University instructor in the master’s in communication (MACOMM) program and a 30-year plus veteran producer of NBC News, was featured on MSNBC’s “Caught on Camera: Revolution” on March 17. While currently working as senior producer for NBC News Education Nation and Vision Project (www.visionproject.org), Alicastro has also been an adjunct communication and media studies professor for several years. In the fall 2013 semester, he will begin as a full-time faculty member in the MACOMM program and will oversee its broadcasting and live-event production curriculum.

“Joe has an international reputation as an accomplished news producer,” said James Castonguay, MACOMM program director. “But he is also a master teacher who goes above and beyond to ensure that students learn the skills necessary to thrive as professional communicators in the digital era.”
As NBC’s Rome bureau chief, Alicastro traveled extensively around the globe covering breaking news, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the breakup of the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, the Gulf War and the liberation of Kuwait. MSNBC’s segment focused on broadcaster Tom Brokaw and NBC News field producer Alicastro’s presence and reporting during the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
The program brought viewers back to the Soviet turmoil at that time and showed footage of Brokaw in Berlin. After Brokaw says that he realized that the “Iron Curtain” was finally going to come down, the camera cuts to Alicastro. “We knew right then and there, we were sitting on probably the biggest story in the latter half of the 20th century,” he said.

Alicastro discussed the dialogue that went on that finally resulted in the decision to go live from the Brandenburg Gate. As crowds gathered and people cheered, the team at NBC News was not sure what to expect. “We didn’t know if they would shoot them with bullets. That had been the history of that wall. Instead, they shot them with water cannons, and people came over the wall drenched, wet with water cannon fire. They came over the wall with champagne bottles and West Germans were meeting East Germans,” he said.

In describing the historical day, Alicastro noted that their group reported live for over five hours. Brokaw did not use a script and spoke from memory using his expertise as a broadcast journalist. “What we were seeing was the destruction of what we had all grown up with in the 20th century. We had all grown up with the Soviet threat. We had all grown up with democracy versus communism,” Alicastro said.

Brokaw told viewers that someone had handed him a chunk of the Berlin Wall as it was about to come down. As he held up the piece to the camera, he said, “I think it represents the shattering of the divisions between people. You can build a wall, but people will take it down.”

Alicastro teaches history of broadcasting, history of journalism and multimedia news production at Sacred Heart. He is a three-time Emmy winner in the News & Documentary category and has been nominated seven times.