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Telecom students get tour of TV station

Instructors, students and news anchor at news desk
Telecom students pose with Ashley Smith and their instructors on the set at Channel 13.
Photos by: Ray Price

Telecom students were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of one of the top local television stations at the end of November.

The field trip to the WVEC-TV 13 station in Norfolk allowed them to see how a professional news organization gathers, writes, edits and produces the news for TV.

Production Manager Greg Brauer, who has been with 13News Now for more than 40 years, conducted the tour.

The students had the opportunity to meet news staff, explore the sets for the daily news casts, and tour the control room. Brauer also showed them their old studio that is used as a backup studio now.

They spoke with several of the anchors, particularly Ashley Smith, who posed for photos at the news desk with them.

Best of all, the visitors were allowed to watch the 12:00 broadcast from inside the control room. During commercial breaks, the producer and director shared tips and information about what it takes to do their jobs and also about their career progression.

old TV production equipment
The students weren't sure what this old two-inch tape editor was.

Telecom students who attended the field trip were: Ta'Jion Jeanty of Heritage High, and Brandon Hedgepeth and Michael McClellan of Woodside High. All are seniors.

The students were accompanied by their TV Production instructor Carl Daniels, Jr. and Telecom Supervisor Ray Price.

The tour was a great way for the students to get an idea of the various jobs in the broadcasting industry and the equipment used. Viewing the newscast allowed the students to see the details and the teamwork involved in the production.

"We were able to go on the set of the newscast and see where the weatherman stood," said McClellan. "We shadowed the producer and director during the broadcast. We could watch the graphics and see how they communicated to cut something if they weren't using that part."

Hedgepeth took the opportunity to compare the Channel 13 broadcast to how the Telecom crew records their news magazine show, "A Look Inside." He was amused by some of the pre-broadcast stress and barking out of commands, which was very similar to the scene on the NNPS-TV set.

"We could relate to it," he said.

He also enjoyed how the professionals smooth over any mistakes and keep going. "You can't just cut and stop," he said.

McClellan enjoyed watching the broadcast, too, and how the team can cut quickly and change things, and the stress of getting it done, and "how the product comes together."

The Telecom students felt the studio equipment was familiar to them and they knew the general purpose of all the machines, although the professional equipment was more complex. They figured that with a little more training, they could use it.

When asked what the vintage reel-to-reel tape editor was, though, they were at a loss for the name.

"Mr. Price knows," they said. "He used it!"

All of the students want to continue their studies in the Communications field. Jeanty wants to pursue a doctoral degree in counseling after double-majoring in Communications and Psychology. He wants to be a counselor but also have a production company in the future. Hedgepeth and McClellan are interested in journalism in addition to TV production.

Visiting the station and watching the TV production first-hand re-enforced the lessons they have been learning in class, exposed them to the many job opportunities in the field, and helped them think about their future paths.

Channel 13 station tour: