by Will Argeros
Experience is key in landing any job, especially in the competitive world of journalism. With record numbers enrolling in journalism schools, it becomes increasingly difficult to stand apart from the crowd.
However, just being different doesn’t cut it anymore. NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas said that there isn’t a whole lot of different to try, you just have to be better.
Students are gaining a competitive advantage now by starting in high school, being part of a morning announcement crew. While it’s a long way from Good Morning America, it’s a great place to start.
Students at high schools across the nation are getting involved in these types of broadcasts and are getting a taste of how sweet the broadcast profession is.
At Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Arizona, students are given real world experience. Their morning production, DV-TV, is run like a profession news show, said the school’s journalism teacher, Michelle Coro.
“We try to make it as close as possible to what the real world expect of them. The students have access to the same equipment and software the pros are using right now,” said Coro, who graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Coro said the students produce the show on a TriCaster, shoot video packages with equipment similar to that offered by the Cronkite School, and assemble those video packages on Final Cut Pro.
Each one of the students in her class has a specific role, as they would in a professional newsroom. They are responsible for everything from lighting to making sure the prompter is running correctly.
“What I try to do is give the students an experience where they’ll be able to take what they’re learning here and be able to use it in whatever they decide to do” Coro said.
Director Julia Bulin said she learned quickly how important it was to get everything right. She said it is a big responsibility to make everything run smooth.
““If you mess up, that’s the whole show right there, so it’s a lot of pressure,” said Bulin, a junior.
She added, despite the pressure, the crew enjoys the challenge and working together.
When the newscast isn’t running, the students are reporters, out gathering stories and cutting together video packages. Floor director Chase Boeke said he prefers that to his role during the show.
“I’m [floor directing] right now because I want to be a reporter on camera,” said Boeke, a sophomore.
He isn’t the only one in his class with a desire to be in front of the camera; however, he said he recognizes the need to be well rounding in broadcast knowledge.
“I try to learn as much as I can. There are a lot of jobs to learn in the studio. It’s better to learn to do a lot more, just so you’re experienced.”
Anchor Gabby Newell said that people were nervous at first, but eventually got comfortable with their roles. She said she enjoys the experience each time she reads the news.
Newell, a junior, said the best advice she received was to relax behind the desk and focus on reading the news.
“Don’t get too anxious when you’re reading it. Read it as if you were talking to somebody.”
Coro said that she has seen her students get that taste of the real world time and again, and she believes it will help them when they continue with broadcasting.
“Many pros have come in and said ‘Wow, I wish I had this experience in high school,’” Coro said.
While some of the students favor the behind the scenes work and others want the limelight, they agree that choosing to gain experience in high school was immensely beneficial.
They said it is easy to learn from a teacher who went through a journalism school. Even though the class is still largely undecided, a few students know the broadcast profession is where they belong.
The students want to do everything from operating the cameras to being the military correspondent. Bulin said she has no doubts in her mind about what she wants to do
“I want to go to Cronkite, and work in the newsroom. I have friends who go there right now and they say it is really great,” she said.
Gaining broadcast experience in high school is giving students the competitive advantage they need to stand out in the job market. They are learning how to use professional software and hardware before many college freshmen.
The skills they learn by producing a morning announcement show will carry over and help them do their job better than their peers. They are working their way through the ranks now, so when they graduate from a journalism school, they can start with the job they want, or one that is very similar.