Lights, camera, action

Dr. Bob Jacobs coaches camp participants, from left to right, Richard Wilson, Tyler Milsap and Will Kelley before a taping.

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By Rachel Zolfo '14
June 22, 2012

The future of television lies in the hands of young broadcast journalists and that’s why Dr. Bob Jacobs, head of the Multicultural Broadcasting Workshop, recognizes the importance of his work with some of Illinois’ best and brightest young broadcasters.

The workshop, now in its 16th year, teaches students about every aspect of television production—from directing to lighting to audio work—and lets them apply what they’ve learned in real-world scenarios.

During the four-day program, students spend the morning listening to lectures by professionals in the field who share their expertise in the broadcasting experience. In the afternoon, the students learn the technical aspects of broadcasting, like how to properly set up a camera, how to light a set and how to conduct interviews in the field.

At the end of the workshop, the 24 students split into groups and produce their own 10-minute newscast that they write, direct, film and edit.

“My favorite part was the hands-on experience. I think what benefitted me the most was getting a realistic view of the communication field in my everyday life,” said participant Sarah Gutz, a recent high school graduate from Streator, Ill.

Though the camp staff teaches students that broadcasting is a fast-paced and demanding career choice, Dr. Jacobs also hopes students will walk away with a new appreciation for the “art of television.” This involves teaching students to create relevant and captivating stories for an audience. The camp’s focus on honest, unbiased storytelling is intended to give campers the right attitude to help them to become credible journalists.

“The news is meant to inform the population of events that are important for them to know,” Dr. Jacobs, a professor of communication, told the students. “You tell them the story, and then allow them to form their own opinions. There’s no place in journalism for your personal opinion.”

Dr. Jacobs hopes to impress upon his students the importance of accurate storytelling. In a world where many news stations show strong bias, he hopes the younger generation will change the way that the news is portrayed.

Elise Andert ’13, an electronic media major and one of the camp’s senior counselors, said it’s important for students to learn about every aspect of broadcasting, especially what happens behind the lens.

“Many of the students want to be on-camera at first, but they don’t realize that television is so much more than what you see on-air,” said Andert. “The kids get the opportunity to learn about and try all of the different positions. This shows them that, while you may like to be on-camera, it’s better to be a ‘jack of all trades’ when it comes to television.”

Andert herself has benefitted from Bradley’s broadcasting program, and is now looking forward to a summer internship with NBC to cover the upcoming Summer Olympics.