Community television grants hands-on opportunities to students

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For students pursuing endeavors in broadcasting, the only thing more plentiful than the opportunities they can take advantage of on campus is the new slate of Community Education Channel programming this semester.

Full-time employees and faculty and student contributors ushered in CEC’s fall 2014 shows Thursday with “Storm Stack Up,”  a program all about Dixie State University athletics. CEC’s bolstered content, compounded with larger production roles available, have progressed its goals of giving students more hands-on experience. 

Dave Harris, a communication instructor and executive producer for CEC, said he works with producers of the channel’s shows to ensure they’re meeting their potential. Creating quality content builds up to one ultimate milestone, he said: giving DSU students major production roles.

“My goal is that each one of our shows has a producer who is a student or at least was a student to make it so they have a portfolio and not just a degree,” Harris said.

In the past, students’ main duties at CEC consisted of operating cameras, he said. Now, though, they write scripts, aid with set design and collaborate in ways that increase their presence in the studio.

Lauren Cummings, a senior communication major from Stansbury Park and student producer of “Storm Stack Up,” said she completes major tasks that go into the program each week. At “Storm Stack Up’s” first recording Thursday, she worked with interns and relayed messages to the crew on set.

Despite TV production’s hectic nature — CEC staffers bustling to and from the set between takes—the show’s initial installment set a positive tone, she said.

“As always with a TV show, it was very chaotic at first, but once everyone figured out what they were doing we just buckled down and got in a groove, and it was smooth from there on out,” Cummings said.

Ryan Huskins, a sophomore communication major from Las Vegas, said he edits film and shoots footage for “Storm Stack Up.” The experiences he acquires each week emphasize Harris’ idea of students both expanding their potentials and portfolio, he said. And working with fellow students like Cummings makes for a close-knit staff.

“I want to work for ESPN one day, so this gives me a great opportunity to learn the basics of how it all runs,” Huskins said. 

Harris said new shows like the “Storm Stack Up” are just the start. He hosts CEC’s “Southern Utah Chef,” and communication assistant professor Eric Young and communication instructor Jennifer Kohler host “Talking Points.”

He said the channel’s mission to connect the southern Utah community with DSU students consistently improves. By both appealing to St. George residents and not forgetting CEC’s roots — Dixie State athletics and high school sports — production roles for students will only grow.

“The opportunity is through the roof,” he said.

“Storm Stack Up” is typically available Friday and Saturday nights at 5 p.m. But for home football games, the program is taped live from the tailgate party. You can catch it at 4 p.m. on CEC, Baja channel 22, on Saturday.