May 19, 2010

SIUC to host fourth annual TV News Camp

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- High school students who aspire to be broadcast journalists can get a glimpse into the profession with a weeklong news camp at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The College of Mass Communication and Media Arts will host the fourth annual TV News Camp, June 20-25. The program gives students a basic look into television and broadcast news operations, including field reporting, news writing, shooting and editing video, and then presenting their stories during live-to-tape newscasts.

The camp is open to high school students in grades nine through 12. Registration is limited to 15 students. Registration is $50 before May 30, and $60 after May 30.

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. Mark Wetstein, television production coordinator with WSIU Public Broadcasting, along with current radio-television students, will provide campers with studio experience.

The camp is not limited to students who already have mass communication curriculum at their high school, Gee said. The students spend the first two days primarily in the classroom learning the aspects of newsgathering, writing and production. There are more positions in television news than just reporters who stand behind a microphone or anchor broadcasts, including assignment editors, producers and studio camera operators. The campers receive hands-on experience with the video camera and practice editing.

On the third day, students begin shooting pre-arranged stories, primarily on campus. Two or three students will work as a team on the same story. Students will create their own one-and-one-half to two-minute story package with the duplicate video, while individually writing and editing their story.

On the camp’s final day, students participate in news broadcasts. Students will later receive a DVD of their individual stories, the news broadcast, and photos taken during the camp. While on campus students stay in residence halls through University Housing and participate in a variety of activities.

The camp will try to customize the students’ abilities with their interests, Gee said.

“I look forward to it every year,” Gee said. “These kids come in with a lot of energy. It’s an exhausting experience but a very rewarding one. When the students because engaged in the material and they are interested, it’s really enjoyable to see what I call those ‘a-ha’ moments where you see students understand what they hear.”

The camp is a great recruiting tool for the program, Gee said. Several students who attended a prior camp are now majors in the radio-television program.

The Department of Radio-Television, WSIU, the college and the Illinois Broadcasters Association sponsor the camp.

More information on the camp is available by contacting Jason Hartz, an academic advisor with the college at 618/ 453-4303 or by email at For registration or more information, contact the Division of Continuing Education at 618/536-7751 or visit the website at