April 21, 2008
Class debuts student-produced newscast
By Kim Urquhart
The two students poised behind the news desk in a Georgia Public Broadcasting studio don’t look nervous. But, confides “Emory News Now” anchor Dane Cohen, “The scary part is, we’re live.”
“This is the first time most of these students have ever been on camera,” said senior lecturer Kris Wilson of Emory’s first student-produced television newscast that debuted this semester. “But the important part of the whole process is not just to be on camera, but to see what goes on behind the scenes.”
Cohen and co-anchor Allison Archer resume practicing their lines. The script is slightly adjusted. The sound engineer conducts a microphone check. From the control room comes the cue: “Roll it,” and now, after several run-throughs, the students are on the air.
In a corner of the set Jessie Pounds stands by for her live broadcast, the first time a live shot will be incorporated into the newscast.
“Every week we add a new element to up their skills,” said Wilson, an experienced news director, executive producer, anchor and reporter.
Producing the show is a new element of the journalism program’s News Video class. Using the Georgia Public Broadcasting studio is a first-time experiment for Emory, which does not have studio space on campus.
“This was the missing piece in the News Video course, the ability to take the news packages the students produce in the class and combine them into a show,” said Sheila Tefft, journalism program director.
The course provides students with a well-rounded skill set in a digital age as well as multimedia portfolio material.
“As the news media evolved, it became clear to me that the traditional distinction between tracks in journalism education was blurring, and skills were starting to merge,” said Tefft, who worked with Emory College Dean Bobby Paul to launch the augmented course.
Broadcast on Emory Vision and at www.journalism.emory.edu, “Emory News Now” is written and produced entirely by the students, who rotate roles each week as anchor, producer, floor manager and other positions.
Producing the 12-minute news magazine is truly a team effort — and a time commitment. Armed with cameras and notepads, the students spend the week before filming interviews and B-roll on campus and around the city. Tuesday nights often bleed into Wednesday, when the students head to the studio to produce each week’s show. “Wednesdays are the best part of the class. That’s when you see all your hard work pay off,” said Caitlin Yuhas.
After production of each live newcast, the students critique the show. Producer Angela Hong was pleased with the episode, the sixth newscast of the semester. “It’s not a perfect show but it came out well,” Hong observed. “By the time you do the second run-through you are holding your breath until the anchor says ‘Until next time...’.”