Charley Reed, part-time facilitator for our Media Storytelling class, talked about his experience in the field of communication. He is also the Media Relations Coordinator for the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Reed graduated from UNO with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting – New Media in 2008 and a Master’s degree in communication in 2010. During his entire time at UNO, he never took a single public relations course. Reed said that he never thought he would be doing PR and has never done any PR outside of the university.
During most of his time as a student at UNO, Reed did work for the Gateway, UNO’s student-run newspaper, though. He said that now as the Media Relations Coordinator, he really benefits from the experience he gained at the Gateway. Reed said that working for the newspaper really helped him become familiar with the campus, as well as the overall culture of the campus.
As the Media Relations Coordinator for the university, Reed is in charge of UNO’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. He has had to monitor these feeds intensely and run crisis communication at certain times, including when UNO announced they were cutting their wrestling and football programs. He closely followed the university’s social media pages to make sure that there were not any death threats on Athletic Director Trev Alberts or Chancellor John Christensen.
He also writes press releases for the university to give to local media outlets. These are to provide information to Omaha and surrounding areas about events happening at UNO. Reed said that a single press release takes about a day and a half to put out. He produces usually five to six a week, averaging about one press release per day.
Mike Pacholski visited the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Media Storytelling class on Monday night. He works at UNO television and is the director of UNO News.
UNO News is a student-run broadcast that airs on Wednesday afternoons every week. He said that the responsibility really falls a lot on the students, mainly the reporters and anchors. They have to always know what’s going on and be able to be creative in an instant if something goes wrong and they have to cover the story instead of show a video clip.
Pacholski has also worked as a technical director. He said you have a lot of technology in front of you, but when you’re in a control you have to specialize in something and have a specific job. The technical director coordinates all those different jobs by using a script, provided by the producer, of what the show is supposed to look like.
He said that he always enjoyed working live sports programming because “nobody can stage this.” He said the key to live sports is that you have a second director who is in charge of re-plays, that way you don’t have to worry about re-plays on top of everything else that’s going on. He said everyone is on headsets and it’s extremely noisy.
However, Pacholski said that he loves is because it’s fast moving and it’s exciting. He said that UNO has given him a chance to get back into live sports. Pacholski said that he even does live sports for free lance work still.
Cathy Wyatt, host of “Consider This…” which is produced by UNO Television, visited UNO’s Media Storytelling class on Monday night.
Wyatt said that she is first and foremost a die-hard educator, so her show is the perfect forum for her. She wants to be able to use the media as a way to educate people on different things.
She gave some advice about developing news stories using any medium. She said you want to make sure you have all the facts first.
She also said that a good rule of thumb about including information in a story is: “when in doubt, leave it out.” You can always put at the end of the story that you will bring them more developments when you get them and then do a follow-up story.
Wyatt said that as a journalist, she still follows the guidelines of “it is bleeds, it leads.”
She also talked about her role as a producer though too. She discussed adding graphics to a story if video clips are not available yet. But she also cautioned that if graphics are not going to enhance you story at all, then don’t use them.
Wyatt asked what impacts the way we perceive a story. As an answer, she said: our experiences, culture, how the story is reported by different channels, camera angle and image used, leadership in organization, the reporters themselves (if you like a reporter, you will believe what they say no matter what), budget, technology, how well the team works together, how well they think outside the box all impact how a news story is perceived by its’ audience.
In closing, she said that media boils down to being unbiased, fair and accurate. If we can’t do it right, then we shouldn’t do it at all. She said as a journalist, you must also stick to your principles and what you believe in.
Wyatt also added that your questions can be about the topic and the person you’re interviewing, but your focus should always be on the audience.
I went to the UNO Hockey game against the Minnesota Duluth Gophers on 11/11/12. Clete Dewispelare, a UNO architectural engineering student, attends every home game, even admitting that he takes off work to go to some of the games. He heads up the O-Zone, a.k.a. the student section, leading them in most of the cheers and chants during the games. For example, when UNO clears the puck from their side of the rink and the Gophers have to skate after it, Dewispelare gets the student section to chant “fetch puppies fetch!” With the student section firmly behind them, the Mavs pulled out a 6-3 win and swept the Gophers.
Questions for Bill Stanton
1. Why did you choose politics as your beat?
2. What have you found most challenging about covering your beat?
3. What has been the most interesting thing you’ve experience while covering your beat?
4. What’s the most important thing you will take away from this experience?
5. What do you think is the best medium to use for covering politics?
Kyle Benecke visited UNO’s Media Storytelling class last Monday. Benecke graduated from UNO with a broadcasting degree.
He discussed his current job at WOWT Channel Six News as a tape runner. He said his job is very hectic and there is very little room for error. But he has really learned to work as a team to get things accomplished though.
Benecke’s jobs have also helped him understand how TV works. He worked for Fox 42 News for three years. While there, he learned to shoot, edit and do live shots.
He told of one story where he arrived at a house fire before the fire department because he hear about it before they did. He said that the fire was pretty close to his house even.
He worked for himself for a year as well. During that time, he did wedding video and shot local commercials.
He said that he doesn’t work with a reporter. He does what he calls “video documentaries.”
He also gave some great advice about shooting video. He said that the closer you are to the object you are filming, the better the video will be.
He went on to say that there is no such thing as a boring subject: anything can be exciting if you shoot it right.
He gave a helpful tip for people wanting to do video reporting as well. He said to get as close as you can to the scene until someone tells you to back away.
Matt and Ben Tompkins visited our Media Storytelling class last Monday. Matt is a production director and Ben is an imaging director for Clear Channel Radio Stations here in Omaha.
They work together and produce commercials for products, businesses and radio stations. They work on the image of the radio station, which is how that station is perceived and presented to their target audience.
They said that the only different between radio and other forms of media is that they are doing it through audio instead of video or print.
Each station has a target audience and some even narrow it down to a very specific type of person. Their target audience for advertising for contemporary music stations is 18-34 year old. Stations like Z 92 target mainly men, while channel 101.9 targets more of a female audience.
To create these clips, they get copy points from the company whose product they want advertised. For a 30 second clip, there are usually around five copy points. These copy points include the name of the company, their website, what the product is and any information about the product.
Matt and Ben said that these clips are usually really straight forward because they are pitching the product directly to a person, not to the whole audience.
They also said that a huge aspect of radio is setting the scene. It’s all about the “theater of the mind” and showing, not telling.
For example, one commercial they produced started off by saying, “If your taste buds could talk, they would say…” This helps the audience know how the product tastes, without actually telling them straight out.