Right here, in the heart of the county, local news is being produced weekly by the students of Isothermal Community College's Broadcast and Production Technology program. "Every semester, a new group of broadcasting students get to learn the reality of television show production. It takes a lot of people and a lot of time working as a team to produce just a few minutes of television." said Carolyn Young, Video Broadcasting Instructor. "And, what better way to learn than to actually create a weekly show."
Isothermal offers a two-year Associates degree in Audio and Video production in their BPT program. According to their website, www.isothermal.edu, "Students have access to more than $1 million worth of audio and video equipment...the same equipment professionals use."
The news show, ICN, (Isothermal Community News) airs on the college's you tube channel, Isothermal TV, and it is also released each week on their Facebook page, Campus Connection. There, local news, directly affecting the residents of the county, is produced and aired for all to see. Of course the students cover stories about what's happening on Campus but they also branch out into the community as local events raise interests. Recently, the students covered stories about the repair work being done on the Thermal Belt Rail Trail and Fantastic Fridays at Kids Senses.
The show is actually produced on Friday afternoons in Studio A of the Communications Building but the preparations began well in advance. The week long process begins on Monday when the students sit down with their instructor, Carolyn Young, to talk about what's going on around campus and the community. That is when they decide what stories they are going to report in their newscast. "It's a great opportunity for the students to work against a hard deadline and it provides some much needed local news for the community." says Young. "Once the stories are decided upon, the work of writing, shooting and editing all the content for the show begins."
The newscast is just 5 minutes in length but Young says that preparations for that usually involves six to ten students putting in several hours worth of work. "Show day brings its own set of challenges for students. There are seven crew positions and each person has to do their job correctly or they have to start recording all over again. In the fall it's even more challenging for these students. They're new and that show requires two anchors, more cameras, more crew and more opportunities for mistakes, but, every Friday, I am surprised at how the students all work together as a team to create a professional program."
Providing the county's only outlet for broadcast local news, Isothermal's BPT students are both informing the public and refining their skills prior to entering the work force in the industry. Former graduates are currently producing for ABC's 13 WLOS, NBC's WYFF Channel 4, WHNS Fox Carolina Channel 21, WGGS Channel 16, and the Judge Mathis show which is produced in Chicago, Illinois. Other former students are winning DGA (Directors Guild of America) awards for their work on HBO's VEEP and, as a photojournalist, one former student's work has been featured in Rolling Stone, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal and NY Times.
"Although the news show is the only programming the students do on a weekly basis, in the past students have done documentaries about everything from Rutherford County's historic ties to Detroit to the history of Black Education in Rutherford County. (You can find many of those documentaries on their You Tube Channel.) The most exciting thing about being in television, is the process. As creators, we take just an idea and turn that into a script. Then, we take that script, add visuals and sound, and suddenly we've created something tangible... something that can inform, teach or even illicit emotion." says Young.
So tune in to www.facebook.com/ICCCampusConnection or www.youtube.com/user/isothermalteevee/videos to catch up on local and campus news. You just might learn something.