June 08, 2011

SIUC to host TV News Camp for fifth year

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- As the TV News Camp at Southern Illinois University Carbondale celebrates its fifth anniversary later this month, the objective remains the same: nurturing the interests of high school students who are considering a career in broadcast journalism.
The College of Mass Communication and Media Arts will host the camp June 19-25. The program gives students a basic look into television and radio news operations, including field reporting, news writing, shooting and editing video, and then presenting their stories during live-to-tape newscasts.
The camp will host 15 students from throughout the state, including Alton, Countryside, Johnston City, Joliet, Lincoln, Makanda, Metropolis, Palatine, and Colorado Springs, Colo.
Media Advisory
Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the students and their camp experiences. For more information and to arrange times, contact Rachel Gartner at 618-453-5282, or by email at rgartner@siu.edu.
The camp experience has encouraged several former participants to enroll in SIUC’s nationally recognized radio-television program. Chris Slaby, who will be a senior in radio-television from Edwardsville, attended the 2008 camp. The camp experience gave Slaby, an executive producer, news anchor, and reporter with WSIU-TV’s River Region Evening Edition, the desire to switch majors from print journalism. He began an internship at KSDK-TV in St. Louis in late May that will run until Slaby returns to school for fall classes in August.
As a high school senior he was part of the high school newspaper staff. Coming to the camp, however, he fell in love with video editing, prompting his decision.
The camp “offers really good insight into SIUC itself,” said Slaby, the son of Roger and Mary Slaby. “They give you a camera, have a story set up, and you go out and do the interview.”
While condensed, the hands-on opportunity is similar to what students will experience when they work at the television station, said Slaby, recalling that he was shooting his own stories for use on the air his second week there.
Rachel Gartner, the River Region Evening Edition news director, 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.
Students will spend the first two days primarily in the classroom learning the aspects of newsgathering, writing and production. They will also receive hands-on experience with the video camera and practicing editing video.
The students spend the third day shooting pre-arranged stories, which are primarily on campus. Split into five teams, each team of three students will work with one another on the same story. On the fourth day, students will create their own one-and-one-half to two-minute story package, and individually write and edit their own story.
On Friday, students will participate in news broadcasts. Students will later receive a DVD of their individual stories, the news broadcast, and photos taken during camp. While on campus students will stay in residence halls and participate in a variety of activities.
The camp is “an important way for kids to test the water and become familiar with the equipment, technology, and the industry,” Gartner said. “They will realize there is a wide variety of jobs they can be involved with in the news industry.”
And because the media “doesn’t revolve around TV news,” Gartner is working with a local radio station for students to tour and learn what is available in the medium.
Gartner participated in the news camp while working as a senior reporter and fill-in anchor at WSIL-TV Channel 3, the ABC affiliate in Southern Illinois, southeast Missouri, and northwest Kentucky. She became news director for the River Region Evening Edition in September.
“It was a lot of fun to see how the kids react to being behind the camera and doing the work,” she said. “With a year of River Region under my belt it’s exciting to be involved with a group of students who are even younger because you get all kinds of new ideas and you see the excitement. It renews your own passion for the industry, and you also think it will be terrific if we can get these kids in here” for college.
“Our TV News Camps have provided dozens of young, high school students the chance to learn how to write, edit, and produce a nightly news program,” said Gary P. Kolb, dean of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. “All the challenges and successes they have in this endeavor help them decide whether this is something they would like to pursue for a career. Several of the campers have ended up coming back to study with us. These camps are a terrific means for us to reach out to the community and give kids the inspiration they need to develop the drive that will make them successful in their chosen field.”
The non-profit Illinois Broadcasters Foundation sponsors the camp. For Dennis Lyle, the IBA president and CEO, the camp provides an opportunity to not only introduce young men and women to career possibilities in broadcast news, but also “to a University responsible for graduating many of the best broadcast journalists in the workplace today.”
“We live in a world of 24-7 news coverage and thanks to broadcasters embracing new media opportunities, the expectations for jobs in the broadcast field remain great,” Lyle said.
Students have an opportunity to see that a career in TV news goes beyond being a news anchor and reporter, Lyle said.
“It’s a hands-on opportunity that can jump-start any one of these students down the path of a phenomenal career,” he said.