Ain’t nothing like the real thing

Broadcast News majors in UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications spend one semester during their last year on campus putting their studies into practice as the editorial staff of Athens’ only locally produced television newscast, NewSource 15.

“These aren’t pretend newscasts,” David Hazinski, head of the broadcast news program said. “Students cover automobile accidents, city council meetings and protests the same as their professional counterparts.” The show airs live on cable four times a week across three counties, and the students work on a daily schedule to cover local news and weather, sports and national and international news downlinked from closed-circuit CNN and CBS satellites.

“Every aspect of the shows is produced by students. They own the on-air product,” Hazinski added. “There are supervising faculty members, but all we do is guide a bit and critique. They learn by doing.” Hazinski does have some help, though. Through what’s called a “professional shadow” program, professional broadcasters from Atlanta regularly work with students in Grady’s broadcast newsroom. “We have upwards of two dozen professionals who come out and spend the day working with students during the semester, many of them from CNN,” Hazinski said. “We find a lot of the top folks volunteer to help train the next generation of broadcast journalists.”

Students work in an experimental newsroom using the latest technology. The program has its own uplink and uses digital editing and video equipment still rare in many professional newsrooms.

Alison Alexander, head of the department of telecommunications, said, “We no longer train students for only the lowest level of broadcast news. We have tremendously intelligent students who have to know a great deal about technology as well as the implications of what they are reporting on to succeed. This program combines both in a hands-on way.”

The broadcast can be seen Monday through Thursday at 5:30 p.m. on University Cable’s Channel 15. It is also broadcast live on the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s web site.