AIC students visit Western Mass News
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Check out the photo gallery above — Photos by Keiyon Johnson and Candy Lash
Students in Professor Carol de Carlo’s Intro to Broadcasting class were treated to a field trip across the city on Tuesday to visit Western Mass News.
WMN morning anchor Chris Pisano led the tour around the station. Students were able to get an inside look at the inner workings of the station, from the newsroom, to editing bays, as well as a behind the scenes perspective in-studio.
The group — comprised of Communication, Video/Digital Arts, New Media and even an Occupational Therapy major — had a first-hand look at the nature of the job today for multimedia journalists, anchors, photogs and much more.
Pisano told the group that most of these tours he conducts are for little kids, but seeing as this was a group of college students, he encouraged us to ask any questions that came to mind along the way.
The class arrived in a quiet part of the day, as the morning newscasts had wrapped up and the WMN newsroom was busy planning for the evening news.
Students were able to observe reporters and assignment editors hard at work, whether they were working the phones, researching, or cutting stories together for the news package.
Pisano described a whiteboard in the newsroom, filled with timeslots and the names of crews/reporters. Pisano said this whiteboard is basically the go-to for assignments, as everyone’s story is listed there.
The group also saw how editing is done at the station, and learned about news services such as iNews — a feed that outlets can subscribe to for news.
Of course, in the ever-changing media landscape that we’re in today, TV stations aren’t exempt from the shift from the mainstream to social media. Towards the back of the newsroom is WMN’s “Selfie Station” — a Mac computer that is used for the station’s social media outreach, such as Facebook Live sessions.
According to Pisano, he likes to tell people that WMN is a social media station that also does TV news, because you have to maintain a social media presence to stay on top today.
The group then followed Pisano to the back of the building, where he showed the class the various different tools and pieces of equipment a reporter must carry on them to go live from the scene.
The class was also taken behind the scenes to the studio area — where students got to check out the expensive cameras that bring us the news every day on WMN, mess around in front of the green screen with meteorologist Dan Brown, and gain Pisano’s perspective on what it’s like sitting behind the desk for a newscast in the studio.
After showing us all the in’s and out’s of the state-of-the-art facility, Pisano talked a little bit to the group of aspiring (mostly) Communication majors about the news industry.
“This is a small-market station, and if you’re really good, you could start out in Springfield,” Pisano said. “But in this industry, you’re going to start really small, in say North Dakota — hope you like the Midwest — and you come into a station and market you don’t really know, and you learn.” He added that you also have to be versatile and do it all nowadays, from writing to shooting and editing and so on.
Professor de Carlo agrees, as she reminded the class that nowadays “you are a one-man band” in news.
Overall, the tour at Western Mass News was a great experience for the class. Already working on a newscast for a project, visiting the station was a good way to see how the real news industry works, and what pressures those involved deal with.