As I make my way through the classes in my resumed pursuit of higher education, I am really enjoying my classes and thinking that college just might be wasted on the young!
My recent media tech assignment: to write a short news story (approximately 1 minute) and deliver it on-camera... news anchor style. The location: the student TV production set on the college campus. Because I spent nearly 30 years in front of a television news camera, I knew that my fellow students would be closely watching me.
Pressure? You bet.
Luckily, they are a wonderful, supportive, engaging group of people. I not only had a great time in front of the camera, I had a blast behind it... as the instructors and the students allowed me to share with them "insider-information" that helped them shake off the nerves; use their posture, body language and vocal tone to engage the viewer; understand how to use conversational writing and script formatting to conquer the teleprompter; and to relax and have a good time!
We all took turns running camera, giving 'stand bys' and operating the teleprompter for our classmates. The camaraderie in the room reminded me of the 'old days' in television news, at WEAR-TV in Pensacola, Florida and WKRG-TV in Mobile, Alabama. The staff at WEAR and at WKRG was small back then, and we were more to each other than co-workers. We were family. In fact, some of us still are... thirty years later.
As I watched this group of students (ranging in age from 18 to 53... yes, '53' would be me) I found myself wishing for them a career in journalism that is as enduring and satisfying as the one with which I was so blessed for. And, even though the business of television news is more 'business' than anything else these days, I also wish for them the opportunity to meet colleagues who will become friends, or better yet 'family'; to travel to fun places; to interview unforgettable people; and to someday be able to look back over their years as a journalist and say "Wow! That was a lot of fun!"
Oh... you may be wondering how things went when I sat behind at the student anchor desk. Part of my grade includes sharing the experience with you. Here is the youtube link: http://youtu.be/8CcHzuosQwo No video, no graphics, just a straight read. Not gonna' lie. I had a good time. Be easy on me. The last time I was read a news story on camera was in 2007.