Six West Liberty University Television crew members had a unique opportunity to work alongside WCHS TV in Charleston. The crew assisted with the production of a town hall style public forum at the Mary C. Snow Elementary School on the west side of Charleston on January 28th. The public forum, which included five panelists, a moderator, and social media reporter, was designed to raise awareness of the growing drug and crime problem in the west side region of Charleston, and for citizens to offer their concerns and suggestions.
Matt Snyder, a 1995 alum of West Liberty State College communications program, serves as news director for WCHS. Matt initially contacted Theresa Gretchen, WLU-TV Executive Producer about including his alma mater in coverage of the event. ” I am very proud of my time spent at West Liberty, and I was very excited about the opportunity to work with Theresa Gretchen and her team of students.
Together we produced a high quality event for our community that I was extremely proud to present as a product of Eyewitness News,” Snyder commented about the production.
Along with Snyder, assistant news director Chris Swope assisted in the down to the minute details of the day and also served as the director for the 90 minute production. Chris says he was very pleased with the caliber of students that West Liberty University provided for the event. “It was truly a pleasure working with young people passionate about learning the craft of television. Everyone was professional and hard working. We put on a great event that everyone should be proud of. I look forward to working with the West Liberty crew again.”
Along with Matt and Chris, several other WCHS employees were involved in the production, but six broadcasting students acted in many of the essential roles. Robert Hicks and Beau Keally both operated cameras, senior Carly Lucas technical directed, and Kevin Powell, Kelsey Kolinski, and Danielle Strasser assisted with in house audio.
Kolinksi, a senior, recalls that the event helped to force the students out of their comfort zone. “We got to experience how other producers and directors work and were forced out side of our element into working with a station instead of standing alone and producing and directing.”
Strasser, a freshman with the production crew, says she’s thankful for the opportunities that WLU-TV has provided her thus far, including this event. “ I have honestly never heard of a school doing something as fun and entertaining as this. It was really great to broadcast something that was not related to school or sports. All in all, I really enjoyed the experience and I hope to participate in something as fun as this project!”
The student crew, led by Theresa Gretchen (’96) and Jared Thompson (’09) provides students with the opportunity to take their skills out of the classroom and into the field. Gretchen, who began working at West Liberty in 2006 after ten years of directing news at WTOV-9, couldn’t be more grateful and proud of the opportunities that the students get to receive. “Everything we do is centered around student learning. Our goal is to provide them with real life experience so that when they leave here, they are a step ahead of their competition, and that in turn gets them hired right away. Getting to work with WCHS is another opportunity where the students get to network, see another side of the industry, and further their educational experience.”
Thompson, who started working at West Liberty in 2009, is grateful that he was a part of the student crew as well. “It truly is the only institution in this region, and possibly in the country, where any student can gain the experience that they do. It was my primary reason for coming here and the reason I am where I am today. I graduated from West Liberty with not only a degree, but a resume that could outshine any other graduate of another institution. Working on projects like this with the students also provides me with the opportunity to learn from others, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”
Kolinski reaffirms those same words. “The student crew kept me at this school because I realized that I would never get this experience at any other university.”