Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012

In fall 2012, SMU students are attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of a political communication studies program in Meadows School of the Arts. They are attending with Professor Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, and Dan Schill, assistant professor of communication studies, who are conducting “Dial Test” research for CNN.

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The practiced journalist

An update from Marc at the Republican National Convention:

Putting an event like the Republican National Convention on the air is eerily similar to putting a play on stage. Dozens of tech people sprinkled throughout the forum tinker with lights and equipment, the talent sits patiently backstage waiting for their cues, and a few producers make sure every single second stays true to their vision. The news does not just happen. It is planned, rehearsed, and executed. I know this because I was a part of that rehearsal.

At first, I was sent down to the floor to hold a place so that the cameramen knew where to look. However, the anchor I was standing in for was behind schedule, and sound check needed to happen. They hooked me up to a mic and gave me direction through an earpiece. I was told where to walk and what to say just as if we were running live. Other reporters “tossed” the shot to me, and I back to them. In order to ensure each reporter’s shot would be perfectly timed and performed, we rehearsed several times. The entire process took at least half an hour. The live shot would take maybe two minutes.

So, if you’re watching the RNC tonight, be aware that every minute you see on air translates into hours of work from dozens of professionals (and newbies like me) on the other side of the camera. Now you know what our journalism students learn in their morning news show.

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