Thursday, November 8, 2012

JDM shows strength on election night

More than 40 Ashland University Journalism and Digital Media students worked for the department's three media outlets Tuesday night, reporting up-to-the-minute election returns and putting out a newspaper full of election-themed material.

The students were joined by all five JDM faculty members — Dr. Gretchen DworznikTim McCartyDr. David McCoy, Steve Suess and Matt Tullis — and operations manager John Skrada.

The evening was highlighted by the fact that AUTV-20 produced its first live programming since being launched last year. It was also the first live programming produced on campus since 2008. TV election coverage consisted of live hits at the top and bottom of the hour, starting at 9 p.m. and running through 11 p.m.

Junior Elizabeth Bucheit anchored the 9 and 10 p.m. hits, and co-anchored the 11 p.m. hit with senior Hilary Neal. Each hit included updated election totals for Ashland County school tax levy issues, including the passage of Ashland City Schools' bond issue to build a new middle school, and updated, statewide vote totals in state congressional races, the Ohio senate race and the Presidential race.

"I thought the election night coverage was a great opportunity for our department," Bucheit said. "Not every university has the opportunity to produce live television, and the fact that as a student I can say that I was part of the live media coverage for such a big election night is incredible."

Bucheit said she was excited to see so many other students get excited about the programming.

"Freshmen were able to put together small packages and increase their skills, while upperclassmen were able to direct, T.D. and get a good feeling of what we're going to be doing after graduation," she said. "Everyone pulled together to create a great show, which made me even more proud of our department than I already was."

The studio crew for the night consisted of Dr. Gretchen Dworznik's studio production class.

"Our election night coverage was the first time we had done live programming since 2008," Dworznik said. "We had stayed away from it as we concentrated on rebuilding the program, but this time we felt confident in our students and our equipment, so we went for it."

Dworznik said the students performed better than anyone could have hoped.

"The content was interesting, up-to-date, and we really felt like we offered the Ashland community something different and valuable," she said. "We are really excited to continue to do more live programming in the future. The experience was invaluable. The students had a great time and they learned, not only from us, but from each other as well."

In the WRDL 88.9 FM studio, several students were also working, broadcasting updated election totals from many of the same races. Many of those students were freshmen.

And in The Collegian office, the newspaper staff was busy finishing up its election issue. Sophomore reporter Teresa Williams and freshman photographer Halee Heironimus canvassed the AU campus looking for election results watch parties. They found the biggest in the Ashbrook Center. The two completed a package, on deadline, that resulted in campus-focused election news.

Senior design editor Tyler Remmel in the meantime worked his magic with the front page of the the newspaper. Remmel changed The Collegian's masthead to a red, white and blue, star-spangled design while also creating his own electoral map of the United States.

"Even though the premise was the same in that we were putting together an issue, it seemed much different than just a normal issue," Remmel said. "When a story is changing as potentially quickly as an election story is, I was making sure to always keep my eyes open to make sure that the visuals I'd planned for were the most effective way of telling the story."

Tullis, the Collegian adviser, he couldn't be happier with the election issue, or with any of the issues this semester.

"The staff is really doing an amazing job," he said. "There's not a college newspaper in Ohio that looks as good as ours, and our content is top notch too."

You can read the entire issue of The Collegian, in PDF form, here.

AUTV-20 LIVE Segment:

JDM gets a new set

JDM senior and WRDL General Manager Tim Hawk stands
infront of a few of the set pieces that were donated from
WEWSChannel 5 to Ashland University.

The Journalism and Digital Media department received about 100 set pieces from WEWS Channel 5 last week. 

Channel 5 operations manager and Ashland University alum Gary Weiss contacted JDM and a K12 program in Stark County over the summer. After being stored in Stark County for several months, JDM  TV instructor Tim McCarty rented a truck, filled it up and delivered it to the TV studio. About 15 JDM students helped unload the truck and store the set pieces in one corner of the TV studio.

"Our plan is to adapt the usable pieces into a secondary set in our TV studio that we can use for our growing stable of local talk shows, for TV interviews and for special coverage events," said McCarty, who is also the AUTV-20 adviser. "JDM is thrilled to have strong existing relationships with the professional media industry that garner these gifts."