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One Class, One Day: TV Journalism

On deadline, cranking out a live half hour

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In the video above, a hectic morning in JO 451 transforms into a noontime newscast.

Class by class, lecture by lecture, question asked by question answered, an education is built. This is one of a series of visits to one class, on one day, in search of those building blocks at BU.

From the moment students pile into Susan Walker’s Wednesday morning television newsroom class between 8 and 9 a.m., the clock is ticking. Some are responsible for editing video clips, others will report and write news stories, a select few will appear on camera, but one thing they all share: come noon, they go live.

“Alums say this is the course that best prepared them for the daily grind of journalism,” says Walker, a College of Communication associate professor of journalism, who has been teaching the course for almost 10 years. “They are learning to work as a team, how to report live, produce local packages, turn around copy and video, all under crushing deadlines.”

Each week, students are assigned a different newsroom role. They are graded, according to Walker, based on how well they perform their specific jobs and contribute to a smooth-running show.

“Breakfast is key,” says Sopan Deb (COM’10), who recently covered President Obama’s speech on clean energy at MIT. “You certainly can’t do this without it.”

The late Jim Thistle (COM’64), course creator and a Boston television news pioneer, used to say, “Let the students make the mistakes with us and not on their jobs.” According to Walker, the mistakes are fewer each week.

Below is the full 30-minute news broadcast recorded the day BU Today visited the class.

This article originally appeared November 16, 2009.

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