Thursday, July 29

Broadcast Journalism for a Newspaper? Students freelance for local online newspaper

July 29, 2010 (story courtesy the Westminster College Communications Office)

NEW CASTLE, Pa.-- Westminster College students in the spring semester "Broadcast Journalism" course experienced the challenges and rewards of freelance video production.

The junior broadcast communications majors were in a class taught by Bradley Weaver, Westminster lecturer of broadcast communications. "This exercise gave students an opportunity to pitch a story and then deliver it to meet the expectations and promises negotiated with the editor," Weaver explained.

Students met with Tim Kolodziej, editor of the New Castle News, with proposals for video essays they researched, shot, produced, and submitted as freelancers for the paper's online edition. Their payment was 10% of their grade, if the video was accepted by the newspaper. No points were given if the video was rejected.

"That's how freelance journalists make it," Weaver said. "Payday only comes when someone buys your work. This project forced students to tap into their skills as journalists and their skills in presenting and selling their work to an employer."

Six of the nine videos were accepted by the New Castle News.

"We are planning several stories to coincide with the videos we've received from the Westminster students," Kolodziej said. "Our summer intern will review each video and build a more in-depth story by visiting the sites and interviewing the subjects further."

Weaver and Kolodziej have partnered on other projects-most notably, the music on the New Castle News' website during the holiday season and sharing news clips and videos from Westminster's The County Line show-but this is the first classroom assignment they have undertaken cooperatively.

"I enjoyed meeting with Brad and the students back in April," Kolodziej said. "I was impressed by their passion for their subjects and their confidence in pitching ideas. I like Brad's energy and his students are well-prepared for their tasks."

Houston, PA
Brittany Grego, a junior broadcast communications major, is a daughter of Timothy and Kimberly Grego and a graduate of Chartiers-Houston High School. Her video essay, "Diversify the Farm with Goats," can be viewed by clicking here. "My topic focused on goat farming and why people raise them. I loved this project! I learned how to make the topic interesting and entertaining through writing and how to bring out more natural sound of the goats. I loved going out, meeting my subjects, interviewing them, learning about their lives, and taking everything I learned to inform and entertain the public. I felt like a real reporter going out on the scene and getting that field experience that will greatly benefit me."

New Castle, PA
Katelyn Altman, a junior broadcast communications major, is a daughter of Weston and Laurie Altman and a graduate of Mohawk Area High School. Her video essay, "Golf Car Supply in New Castle," can be viewed by clicking here.

New Kensington, PA
Bradford Arick, a junior broadcast communications major, is a son of Scott and Janice Arick and a graduate of Kiski Area High School. His video essay, "Family History Detective Work at the New Castle Library," can be viewed by clicking here.

Pittsburgh, PA
Ashley Bishop, a junior broadcast communications major, is a daughter of Robert and Nancy Bishop and a graduate of Baldwin High School. Her video essay, "How Do You Say Volant?," can be viewed by clicking here. The video offers a brief history of the Lawrence County village that is nearly 200 years old. It begins and ends with trying to discover the correct pronunciation of the town's name. Volant resident and unofficial historian Betty Steve is the expert source.

Tionesta, PA
Angela Tucker, a junior broadcast communications major, is a daughter of Mary Tucker and the late John Tucker and a graduate of West Forest High School. Her video essay, "Bingo Night at the Scottish Rite Cathedral," can be viewed by clicking here.

Newark, OH
Drew Trifelos, a junior broadcast communications major, is a son of James and Melanie Trifelos and a graduate of Granville Christian Academy. His video essay, "Bluebird Farmers," can be viewed by clicking here. Blanche and Richard Kind have helped bring the bluebird back to their community by building and maintaining dozens of bluebird houses on their Grassy Crest Dairy Farm in Plain Grove Township. For more than a decade they have observed and recorded the bluebird activity, including how many nests have been built and the number of eggs hatched. "It was definitely a good project, as it was different than what we had been used to. Having it worth 10% of my grade didn't seem too bad until it was made known that we didn't get that if the video essay wasn't used. That kind of put me on edge as I did not know if my work would be good enough. What I took away from the assignment is knowing what can be expected from reporters, not only interviews and multiple shots, but also being able to put it all together so that it flows-which is not as easy as I had thought previously."

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