Newscene crew in need of new production resources

Shannon Kuhfuss

Shannon Kuhfuss
City Times

Students involved in Newscene at City College have been facing difficulties in terms of equipment, or lack thereof, for the production of their television news show in the past few semesters.

Newscene is a class provided by City College for Radio/Television Communication (RTVC) majors, which gives students hands-on experience in television production. The class, which has been part of the curriculum for about 30 years, provides the student body with campus, district, city, national and international news, as well as sports and entertainment.

The past few semesters, however, have been a struggle for Newscene for many reasons. First, the cameras are beginning to malfunction. The cameras used in the Newscene television studio were donated by KPBS-TV around 30 years ago and have slowly but surely begun to break down. The cameras are very expensive, therefore not easily replaced. Field cameras are now being used in place of the old cameras, which means the students are not provided with a teleprompter. This limits the number of cameras that can be used out in the field.

Remaining optimistic, the students make do without the studio’s usual necessities.

“Working without a teleprompter can be both a disadvantage and an advantage. I always tell my students if you can do your job without one and do it well, the day your prompter goes dead in the real world, you will be able to deal with it professionally and smooth as silk,” said Laura Castañeda, Assistant Professor of Radio TV.

Newscene will have more challenges ahead: high-definition turnover. The Federal Government requires the turnover from analog TV next year. A plan is in the works for Newscene to convert to HD technology and replace its old equipment simultaneously.

Though Newscene students do a lot of the preparation work for the show, they also have help from Castañeda on the editorial side, Mike Kaye in the technical areas such as directing, audio, and cameras, Craig Chatfield who helps tie up the loose ends of the production that are vital to airing a newscast and former Newscene student, Chris Acedo, who now works as videotape editor at NBC 7/39, and helps the students with the technical aspects of their work.

Newscene, or RTVC 145 Television and News Production class, gives students a chance to learn what their future careers could entail while providing an experience that many other universities and colleges do not. Though the situation with the broken equipment is not ideal, the students and staff said they still find ways to produce the show every week.

“Our students get hands on experience everyday dealing with news from pitching stories, writing stories, to producing, to shooting, interviewing, editing, and then delivering the news on air. We tape as though it was live and sometimes the mistakes get on the air-waves, In the real world, they only get one shot at it, so our philosophy is it’s okay to make mistakes; it’s how you recover,” Castañeda said.

Newscene airs every Friday on channel 16 at 6:30 p.m.