For the first time in its 118-year history, The Baylor Lariat it is producing a broadcast newscast. Twice each week, journalism and film and digital media students collaborate on a studio news production that they call “Lariat TV News Today.”
Bruce Gietzen, director of Student Publications, said he saw the need for the Lariat’s broadcast staff to expand on the stories they previously produced.
“Our number one goal is to help students find out what their passion is and then to help them get a job when they graduate, and there are jobs available in broadcast journalism,” he said.
The newscast is one avenue for students to discover a potential area of interest, he said. To pull off such a show, however, requires a group of people willing to commit to the idea.
“In a typical newscast at one of the TV stations here locally, there will be 50 employees in the newsroom, so it takes a lot of work behind the scenes,” Gietzen said.
Lariat TV News Today currently relies on 21 film and digital media students and a mix of 17 Lariat staff members and interns who perform a multitude of tasks necessary for the show, according to Rylee Seavers, executive producer for the newscast.
“There’s a lot that goes into producing a newscast,” she said. “Everything the anchors say, every graphic you see on screen, every video, every tease, all of the switching between cameras, there’s a lot behind that.”
While the film and digital media students work behind the scenes directing or operating cameras and audio, Seavers said, Lariat staff members have a mix of assignments including script-writing, editing videos and anchoring on camera.
Graduate student Logan Trent is an instructor in the film and digital media department. Trent teaches the studio section of Production Methods I, which partners with the Lariat for the newscast, and he said the opportunity benefits the film and digital media students as well.
“It’s a partnership that I was very surprised didn’t exist already, but now that it has happened, it’s opened up more avenues for both groups of students,” he said.
Trent said the newscast gives him an opportunity to teach film and digital media students the differences between working in a live studio environment and a traditional film set.
“The studio section previously didn’t have a true live feel to it, but with this live production we really only have one chance to get it right,” he said.
Gietzen said he felt similarly about the partnership.
“The opportunity to partner with FDM on a project was a goldmine for us,” Gietzen said.
Seavers said learning the anchoring and producing skills in a live environment greatly benefits the broadcast program as well.
“When you watch newscasts, local or national, they make it look very easy,” she said. “But you have to think about your posture, the way you’re saying things, and reading a teleprompter is surprisingly difficult.”
In addition to this, Seavers said anchors must be able to write well and apply all of the foundational journalism skills.
“What we’ve achieved so far has been so great, and there’s so much more for us to learn and improve,” she said.
The newscast, produced on Wednesdays and Fridays, is available at baylorlariat.com and can be found Tuesday and Thursday mornings in the Morning Buzz.