By Meagan O’Connell
SBU J-School student
The School of Journalism is welcoming students to its own broadcast center this fall.
Thanks to TV10/55, which donated the anchor set during a 2007 studio renovation, students will learn to produce newscasts in a professional environment. “If you put yourself in a more professional studio, you get a more professional product,” said Rick Ricioppo, assistant professor of electronic and video journalism.
The studio, located in Studio B of the university’s Educational Communications Center, is equipped with an interview desk; three cameras, each with a teleprompter; and a control room.
The station had used the set for TV10/55’s “News at Eleven” since 1987, said Jerry Diorio, vice president of operations, comparing it to an old car that still runs well. With the decision to renovate the studio, the company felt it would be best to put the set to use rather than throw it away.
A year ago, on a Friday night in October, teachers and students went to TV 10/55 in Melville to help the studio staff dismantle the brown-painted set immediately after the 11 p.m. broadcast.
“We were in there with hammers and screwdrivers,” Diorio said. The students loaded the dismantled set onto a rented truck. Over the next few months, they rebuilt the set and repainted it in shades of blue, which gave the set a more contemporary feel, said Associate Dean Marcy McGinnis.
Had the station not donated the set to the school, construction of a broadcast center would have taken much longer, as a decent set can cost tens of thousands of dollars,
Setting up the studio had some rough moments. Multimedia Coordinator Phil Altiere said it took a lot of work to get the tally lights—lights that tell the anchor which camera to look at—operational, McGinnis said.
The studio will emphasize editorial production more than the technicalities of shooting, McGinnis said. This semester, the first class held in the broadcast center is a workshop on voice and presentation, designed to help students develop a confident presence on- and off-camera.
“It was a big, long, creative wiring job to get all that to work,”Altiere said.
He said that the lights and teleprompters would help ease students’ nerves and make them much more comfortable when they are on the air.
Classes such as Reporting and Writing for Broadcast, which teaches students to shoot and edit video, will go to the studio so students can see how the control room integrates their edited videos into a broadcast.
As more students become proficient in broadcast news, the school hopes to have its own daily newscast. The school is raising funds to build a digital control room, which would allow for more advanced production.