September 15, 2010
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."