June 13, 2008

Radio-TV department to host summer news camps

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Approximately 30 high school students from across the state will receive an early introduction into the daily demands broadcast journalists face at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Students from Chicago, East St. Louis and Peoria with an interest in broadcast journalism are among those attending one of two weeklong television summer news camps hosted by SIUC’s Department of Radio-Television. The program gives students a basic look into the intricacies of television and broadcast news operations, including reporting, news writing, shooting and editing video, and then presenting stories during live-to-tape newscasts.

The free camps are June 23 to 27, and July 7 to 11.

Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to cover the students’ efforts during the week. For more information and to arrange times, contact Jim Gee at 217/369-8755.

Jim Gee, news director for WSIU-TV’s nationally recognized River Region Evening Edition, and faculty members Joey Helleny and Eileen Waldron are camp instructors. The students will receive studio experience from Mark Wetstein, television production coordinator with WSIU Public Broadcasting, and current SIUC students.

The College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, the Department of Radio-Television, and WSIU are sponsoring the camp, which is expanding this year from one to two weeks. The Illinois Broadcasters Association Foundation contributed $10,000 to the project, Gee said.

“I can think of no better way to introduce today’s youth to the tremendous opportunities that await them with a career in media tomorrow than SIU’s summer camp project. As an alum of SIU, I'm proud to see our IBA Foundation support this exciting SIU effort,” said Dennis Lyle, president and CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Association.

“Our support of these unique summer camps allowing SIU to introduce the exciting world of media and the career opportunities that exist within that world speaks directly to the IBA Foundation mission statement,” said Russ Withers, IBA Foundation Chairman of the Board. “We're honored to be associated with the project.”

The students will spend two days in the classroom learning all aspects of newsgathering, writing and production. The students then participate in fieldwork, culminating in producing live-to-tape newscasts in WSIU’s studios, Gee said.

Last year’s inaugural one-week camp attracted 10 high school students -- primarily sophomores and juniors -- from East St. Louis, Gee said. That group was “exceptional,” and the students came away with a realistic view of the industry, he said. It is something that this year’s students will also learn.

“Many people see the glamour of television news or being a TV host, but we want to give them a dose a realism that this is a career and profession that requires hard work,” Gee said.

Organizers approached high schools that have communications curriculum within their course offerings. Faculty members from participating high schools will also be attending the camp.

“That not only helps with the learning experience during the week, but they can reinforce what the kids learn next year in class,” Gee said.

Because of the accessibility of video production equipment and the Internet, consumer electronics makes it easier to become a filmmaker or journalist, he said.

“The Internet gives everyone an outlet now,” he said. “It’s great to get them exposed at an earlier age to the ideas behind responsible broadcast journalism. Not only should they come away with good skill sets, but also a good idea that what they do as a broadcast journalist really does have an impact.”

The students will stay on campus through University Housing, and will participate in a variety of activities nightly, Gee said.

Contact SIUC’s Department of Radio-Television at 618/536-7555 for more information about the camps.