Oh The Places You’ll Go

Earlier this month I got to cover one of the most fun stories I’ve ever done!

The Pike County Farm-City Committee exists to increase awareness and bridge the gap between rural farm life and urban life in the community. One of the committee’s annual events is a Farm-City Swap where someone from the agricultural industry switches occupations with someone in a more urban career.

This year’s swap, the subject of my story, was between local farmer Mary DuBose and Troy University head women’s basketball coach Chanda Rigby.

DuBose coached the women’s basketball team during their exhibition game in Trojan Arena against Uninassau; after that, it was Rigby’s turn to head to the farm.

On the morning of Rigby’s part of the swap, Jahmal (my photog for the day) and I weren’t the only media personnel there. Professional reporters from Montgomery and Dothan were sent to cover the Swap as well as reporters for the local newspaper.

Members of the media piled into a pickup truck when it was time for everyone to leave the barn (our meeting place) to go check on the cows. There wasn’t enough room for Jahmal and I to ride inside the truck and we had to get to the cows somehow, so he and I tossed (and by tossed I mean gently placed) our equipment into the back of the truck and spent the morning riding down dirt roads in a truck bed.

We rode from the barn to the cow pasture, back toward the tractors, and then a few miles down the road to an open field; just two reporters and some pretty expensive equipment adapting to their environment to go get the story.

Trying new things in new places with new people is one of the best parts of my job. My experience on the farm was a blast, and I can’t wait to see where future stories will take me!

World Renowned Artist + Troy, Alabama Native

The work I have done with TROY TrojanVision News has allowed me to meet and interview individuals I probably would have never met or spoken to if I was not a reporter.

Most recently, I had the opportunity to attend a press conference and speak with Nall, a world renowned artist who got his start in Troy, Alabama.

His art is now on display in a permanent art gallery named in his honor. The gallery is a part of Troy’s International Arts Center located on the university’s campus.

The art center, which was once a student dining facility, is a product of contributions made by local and international artists.

I met and interviewed the local, student artists earlier this semester when the center was not yet completed, but this week was my first time meeting one of the international contributors.

Being able to meet and speak with Nall really brought the project full circle for me. I had seen the empty gallery space, but I did not know anything about the man who created the art.

I was most impressed not only by his passion for art, but also his passion for Troy. During the press conference, he touched on the fact that he grew up an artist in Alabama during the 1950s and how that made him feel different from the people around him.

Instead of resenting the place that at times clashed with his personality, Nall has chosen to give back to the community he grew up in.

If you cannot visit the Nall Gallery for yourself, check out the video below to see a few pieces of his work!

The Hardest Thing About Editing May Not Be the Editing Software

For the past few weeks, I have spent much of my time at TrojanVision teaching and training newcomers on how to create a news package from start to finish.

The first step is gathering content. Students who are new to reporting get hands-on experience in obtaining audio and video for their news package. Learning to use the camera, microphones, light, and tripod are a part of this process; proper shot composition and interview techniques are taught as well.

Steps two and beyond are all a part of the editing process: reducing several minutes of audio and video to a roughly one minute and thirty second final project.

I have found that before the editing process begins, most new reporters think that learning how to use the editing software is going to be the hardest part of the process. However, once they get started, they quickly realize that writing their script is one of the more difficult aspects of editing.

Choosing the correct words and phrases that will connect a series of soundbites to create a seamless story can be a tough task, especially if you get hit with writer’s block.

To make the writer’s block even worse, reporters are often working on deadline. If I have less than an hour to put together  a story, I do not have time to have writer’s block!

Follow the link below to hear an example script I recorded for a previous news package.

College Students Should Get Involved on Campus

One of the best things a college student can do during her time as an undergraduate student is to get involved on her campus.

Through organizations like Freshman Forum, TROY TrojanVision News, Student Government Association and Trojan Ambassadors, I have made friends, experienced new things and developed leadership skills.

By getting involved in on-campus clubs and organizations, students benefit psychologically, academically, and socially.

In “Effects of Involvement in Clubs and Organizations on the Psychological Development of First-Year and Senior College Students,” John D. Foubert and Lauren U. Grainger find that students who are more involved during their first years of college are ultimately more developed by the end of their last year.

The article defines this psychological development as establishing and clarifying purpose, educational involvement, career planning, life management and cultural participation.

In addition to mental and emotional benefits, getting involved on-campus also increases academic success.

Research done by Amy L. Hawkins in “Relationship between Undergraduate Student Activity and Academic Performance” reveals that students in leadership roles within on-campus organizations have a higher GPA than general members of the organization.

The study also shows that general members of an organization have a higher GPA than the generic student population.

A third benefit of student involvement is the social aspect.

“Student Participation in Collegiate Organizations – Expanding the Boundaries” by Christine M. Hegedus and Dr. James Knight concludes that students who get involved in on-campus organizations do so to become better communicators and to network with others.

As a junior in college who is heavily involved on her campus, I have experienced the psychological, academic, and social advantages of getting involved firsthand.

I would encourage all college students, whether it is your first semester or your last, to get involved on your campus. Student involvement has impacted my college experience for the better. The opportunities and benefits are endless!

Student + Teacher

TROY TrojanVision News produces 15 live newscasts per week, all of them anchored and produced by students. With that many shows going on-air each week, we need a strong crew of students who are eager to learn and reliable.

One way TrojanVision builds up its staff is through peer education. New students who come down to the station looking to get involved often learn the basics from more experienced students.

I had a mentor during my first semester working at the station. She took me under her wing and taught me how to use the equipment and how to shoot and edit news packages. She was also my co-anchor on my very first nightly newscast.

I gained so much from being taught by a student, so when the opportunity arose for me to invest in one of my peers who was ready to learn I jumped on it!

Lynsey has gone out on stories with me only a few times this semester, and she is an incredibly quick learner. She anchored our global newscast and had her first news package on-air all in the same day!

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She moves things around in her schedule to make time to observe reporters in the field, asks questions during the editing process to make sure she understands, and is dedicated to doing her very best on-air.

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It is so much fun to get to teach my friends and see them improve. The peer education system TrojanVision has developed has become one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

Lynsey’s first news package can be viewed here.

Welcome Back

One thing I’ve learned during my four semesters of college is that no two semesters are exactly the same. Each semester brings new professors, classes, friends, and opportunities. I consider it one of the biggest pros of being in college; as soon as things get boring, the semester ends, I have time to rest, and then I get to start fresh.

An area of my college experience that has remained fairly consistent throughout my two years at Troy University is TROY TrojanVision News. With the exception of learning a few new things about equipment I was already familiar with, TrojanVision has never really thrown a major curve ball at me. That changed this semester.

I knew change was coming. I was able to spend my summer in Troy, and during the few visits I made to the station, I heard bits and pieces of information regarding changes being made to the show. I’m a visual learner, so I knew hearing about the changes wouldn’t make sense until I actually saw them.

I walked into the newsroom on the second day of school to prepare for the first show of the semester. When I pulled up the rundown, I finally understood the changes I had heard about over the summer. The show I had become so familiar with over the past two years had been flipped upside down, and I was so excited!

Two weeks later, the changes in the show have all been a success. We’ve had some time to work out the kinks and adapt to the new normal. I don’t think we would’ve been able to pull off any of these changes without working together as a team.

Teamwork has certainly made the dream work, and I can’t wait to see what this semester will hold for TROY TrojanVision News!

More Than Nightly

When writing posts for this blog, I usually write about my experiences as a nightly news anchor and reporter. What some people don’t know is that our five o’clock newscast is just one of the 30 minute shows produced by TROY TrojanVision News.

Midday: airs at 11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday

The midday show is known as our “starter show.” Anyone, and I mean anyone, can audition to anchor midday. Students interested in anchoring the news, sports, weather, or global segments on the midday show must complete a quick anchor audition with my boss, Aaron Taylor, and he will rotate students into the schedule.

This show gets its content from the nightly newscast that aired the night before. Reporting is not required for midday anchors. I got my start on the midday show before moving to nightly.

Global: airs at 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday

Two things that set the global show apart from both midday and nightly is that it only has one anchor and it does not contain any local news. The content for the global show is gathered from CNN Newsource. TROY TrojanVision News is a student affiliate of CNN, which is how we are able to air coverage from across the globe at our on-campus news station in Troy, AL. The global show is also considered a “starter show,” especially for students who have class during the midday show. Reporting is not required.

Trojan Sports Now: airs at 6:00 p.m. Friday

Trojan Sports Now, or TSN, is a weekly sports talk show hosted by TrojanVision anchors Jahmal Kennedy and Khadijah Torbert. This show differs from midday, global, and nightly because it is pre-recorded.

During the week, TrojanVision sports anchors and reporters cover sporting events happening around campus. This content goes into the sports segments of nightly newscasts throughout the week, and is seen again on TSN. In addition to sports coverage, TSN also includes a 10 minute interview segment where Ryan Renfrow interviews student athletes.

On Thursday, Jahmal and Khadijah film the beginning and end of the show, Ryan’s interview is inserted in the middle, and the final product is aired on TROY TrojanVision the next day.

The variety of our shows is one of my favorite things about TrojanVision. Although I am primarily involved with nightly show, I have learned so much from observing and working behind the scenes of all of our shows.