University of Louisiana at Lafayette broadcasting students posted their first newscast video on Twitter and Facebook on Sept. 13. In the video, students served as news anchors, field reporters, camera operators, light and sound technicians and directors. According to Maniko Barthelemy, the broadcasting professor who teaches the CMCN 455 class, students filmed and appeared in the video to gain a feel for what being in a live television news broadcast is like.
“While we are not live, we do tape the show ‘as live,’ meaning the way its recorded is the way we upload it. We don’t go back and fix anything,” Barthelemy said.
Barthelemy said she selected broadcasting seniors Shayla Lange and Kamri Sylve as the news anchors because they produced the best stories in the class for their summer assignment.
“The students were given a summer assignment and they had to produce and come up with two news stories between April and August and the students with the best stories— that’s who were selected as anchors,” Barthelemy said, adding roles will rotate during the semester, including anchor positions.
Lange said while the class is challenging and being an anchor can be nerve-wracking, she has already gained a lot from the first few weeks of the CMCN 455 class.
“The nerves never go away, I’ve learned that…I use the nerves to motivate me to stay more focused,” Lange said, “The first newscast was nerve-wracking because a lot of our classmates have never worked together before.”
Lange said she sees Barthelemy, who is referred to as “Mrs. B” by the class, as a great professor who dedicates herself to her students.
“You can just tell that she cares,” Lange said. “She goes above and beyond for her students. She treats us like her kids, like family. I know that if I ever had anything going on in my life…she would be there for me.”
Sylve said that although she also was nervous about the first newscast, she has gotten positive feedback on the video.
“People were saying it was about time that UL had a continuous news program,” Sylve said. “I had some people tell me that it was really good, they thought we did things (professionally)…we did get some questions about technical difficulties and stuff like that.”
Sylve added some of the feedback came from local news stations such as KLFY, KATC and News 15.
“Last week our professors in the department had a meeting with local media members and they were shown our broadcast,” Sylve said. “They enjoyed it; they were shocked about the talent we have at UL.”
While anchors such as Sylve and Lange wrote major stories in the newscast and appeared on camera, students also work behind the scenes in the studio. Behind the bright lights and cameras, the rest of the CMCN 455 class tried to get the first newscast to run as smooth as possible.
“We have 11 students who work behind the scenes. We have three camera operators. We have an audio technician, a script supervisor, a producer, a technical director and a floor director,” Barthelemy said. “We also have an assistant producer and that person manages our onset guests when they come on the show.”
Donovan Aubert, a senior majoring in broadcasting, served as the director and producer of the first newscast.
“My roles as the producer and director (include) to make sure that each anchor and the floor director have the show’s rundown and the scripts to follow along with and to make sure each anchor knows which camera to look at and when they’re cued and not cued,” Aubert said.
Aubert said the first newscast was a different experience for him because he isn’t used to working in a director or producer role.
“Surprisingly, I did enjoy it because I get to experience both sides of the camera,” Aubert said. “Whether I’m behind the camera letting the talent know when to talk or when I’m in front of the camera and I am the talent…It gives me the insight to be more technical.”
The class will put out an online newscast every Thursday for the rest of the semester, including a series of investigative stories and a holiday special focused on inspirational stories, according to Barthelemy.