SUNews provides students valuable on-air experience
Bright lights, lots of cameras and last-minute scrambling. This might sound like behind the scenes of a major network program – and it’s not that far from it.
SUNews, Syracuse University’s news program, goes back on the air today, and a week of rehearsals have given the crew a chance to fix any last-minute problems before the real shows begin. They run Monday through Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at noon.
SUNews is just like any other news broadcast. There’s a mix of local, national and international news, along with weather, sports, entertainment and business segments. They even get their information from the same sources as other news programs. What sets SUNews apart from the rest is that all the show’s aspects are run by students. Unlike news programs that have two or three steady anchors, SUNews features different anchors every day.
Ann Marie Colucci, a freshman broadcast journalism major, does the entertainment segment Wednesdays and is a part of the camera crew Tuesdays. It is Colucci’s first time working on a news show. While she says she was a little nervous about working on the show, the chance to gain invaluable experience convinced her to pursue this opportunity.
‘I wanted to get some experience, and this gave me a great chance to meet some new people,’ Colucci said.
New people are always welcome. But be warned, the job is not all fun. There are long hours and hard work that need to be put in for the broadcast to be successful. Even though most newscasts seem smooth, the members of the SUNews crew would say that the short time before a broadcast can be hectic.
All members of the crew must be at the studio by 5:30 p.m. for a 6 p.m. live broadcast so last-minute preparations can be made. Writing of stories has gone until five minutes before the start of the newscast. At Wednesday’s rehearsal, that was the case. Colucci and co-anchor Kimberly Brown spent time going over some of the stories that would be put on the rehearsal broadcast.
Brown, a sophomore broadcast journalism and political science major, has been with the SUNews crew since the first semester of her freshman year. She can attest to the fact that there are plenty of long days that need to be put in so the broadcasts run as smoothly as possible.
‘Every Wednesday, I’m here at the studio from nine in the morning until seven at night,’ Brown said while going over her notes for the rehearsal broadcast.
On the Wednesday night shows, Brown anchors along with Chris Healey. Healey, a senior broadcast journalism major, is the sports anchor Mondays. Wednesdays he is the executive producer for sports and a co-anchor. Like Brown, Healey has been involved since the first semester of his freshman year. In addition to working with Brown on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., Healey is at the studio from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Mondays working on sports. While Healey is very enthusiastic about his job, he is quick to point out that there are some tough parts about the business.
‘It is really important to stay composed, because there are some very strong personalities in this business,’ Healey said.
On this night, though, there seem to be no such clashes of personalities as everyone works together to make sure everything runs well. Even though it is just a rehearsal, the cast seems to realize that a smooth run-through will only benefit them in preparing for the live broadcasts.
Much goes on behind the scenes right before the broadcast. Healey talks with a new crew member about how to edit raw footage. Colucci receives advice from Brown about the length of her segment and what she could do to practice in her dorm. Pre-show touches to the set and equipment are made. Even though it is a big time commitment to be a part of SUNews, it’s possible to gain the experience to make it to the next level, said sophomore Steve Flamisch.
Flamisch, a French LLC major, spends a lot of time working at SUNews. He is a co-anchor Mondays, news reporter and sports anchor Wednesdays and a reporter Fridays. S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Dean David Rubin told Flamisch of the opportunities at UUTV.
‘I had been involved with TV and radio during my high school years, and I felt being a part of UUTV and SUNews would provide me with even more experience,’ Flamisch said.
Flamisch’s experience at SUNews adds to his resume. In the past, he worked for 14 radio and three TV stations including Millennium radio in New Jersey, a 13-station network that is broadcast to 5 million people in three Eastern states. Flamisch was also involved in freelance media relations with ABC from 1997 to 2003. He says that while he is having a great time at UUTV, this is the first time he has worked with people his age in such a large media setting.
‘When I worked with ABC and Millennium radio, I was always the youngest person involved,’ Flamisch said.
Despite their relative inexperience, the cast and crew are fairly relaxed and everything seems to be ready to go, but then something goes wrong. It is just a microphone problem and is quickly fixed. Everything else goes smoothly from there. However, the staff understands that even though they may want to run their show like major network program, they are still students.
‘The whole experience is a learning process,’ said Adesina Koiki, a senior broadcast journalism major and second-year cast member. ‘Everyone makes mistakes, because it is part of the job.’
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