SFA Radio/TV Majors Work on Campus Productions

SFA Radio/TV Majors Work on Campus Productions 

May 5, 2017

By:Lena Martinec

McKenna Robertson (left) and LaShirine Howard anchor for Nac Edition.

McKenna Robertson (left) and LaShirine Howard anchor for Nac Edition.

The Mass communication department at Stephen F. Austin offers students a chance to work in a production environment. There can be advantages and disadvantages to the job. Bethany Wells, a senior studying Radio/TV and production assistant for the show Nac Edition at SFA can tell us exactly what it means to work in a production atmosphere.

Taking Part in Practicum

Bethany Wells reports for SFA’s Nac Edition.

Bethany Wells reports for SFA’s Nac Edition.

The Mass Communication department at SFA offers a Broadcast Practicum class to throw students into a production setting. According to Wells, they are split into two groups and are expected to work together to put on an exceptional news program for SFA TV. There are around six productions each team is supposed to produce for an entire semester.

Every student within a group has at least one job to complete for each production. Some jobs within this production team include reporter, anchor, technical director, producer, etc. Wells is the production assistant. She said, “We have to find news stories, and we have to produce them.”

Production Process

A production consists of pre-production, production, and post-production. Most work should be done during the pre-production period. This is where stories are chosen, written, recorded, and script written for the entire production. There are anywhere between 10 to 15 stories in each production. Team work is essential to delivering a good production. “Our group is probably really good at being a cohesive unit,” said Wells.  They have meeting a week before each production to brainstorm story ideas for the show.

The production time is when the show is recorded. The control room is lined with the prompter operator, producer, director, technical director, graphics operator, and finally the audio director. The computer for playing back videos is in the back room and is controlled by the playback person. Wells and the rest of the class record for the show Nac Edition, a program about local news. The show is expected to run anywhere between 24 to 26 minutes, with a couple breaks in between. Once the show starts, the atmosphere is more serious. “We do a lot of goofing around, but once we start rolling we buckle down and get our productions done,” said Wells.

Derrienne Schultz (Right), Amanda Barker, Bethany Wells, and Katie Woods work in control room during production.

Derrienne Schultz (Right), Amanda Barker, Bethany Wells, and Katie Woods work in control room during production.

Post production is where slight editing is done such as names being added with lower-thirds graphics, credits, and maybe a swift edit of time. If the show was actually live, there would be no post-production stage. Wells said there were some difficulties throughout the production. In the beginning, the students were expected to record three live shows, but couldn’t due to some equipment issues. She said, even with the difficulties, her production team was able to put on some great shows for SFA.

Segment Breakdown

Each production has four segments. First two have news story from around Nacogdoches. Wells said the third segment is a lifestyle segment where each production team chooses an exciting subject to fill a five-minute spot in the show. After the Lifestyle segment there is usually sports, but Wells’ team had to get creative since her team lacked sports specialists. Her team came up with another segment called Nac It Up that involves an activity in Nacogdoches for citizens to engage in. For approval of the team’s idea, the professor said Nac It Up must include an in-depth interview and a multi-camera set up. After the Nac It Up segment, is what you call a kicker. This should be a fun story to end the show with. Then finally the credits start rolling and everyone lets out a sigh of relief, Wells said.

Applying Practicum to Life

Broadcast Practicum lets student experience a real-life production environment. They get to learn what it’s like working with other members of a news team and see all the ups and downs that come with the job. “It shows you how to run a production, and I didn’t really know how it worked until this class,” Wells said.

For more information about Broadcast Practicum and other Mass Communication classes you can visit their website.