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Students Produce ETV Newscast from Home During Pandemic

Published on April 21, 2020

Students Produce ETV Newscast from Home During Pandemic

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Students in the ETV News club at Eastern Connecticut State University are putting their television production skills to the test by producing their weekly newscast remotely from home. With limited resources, club members are providing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic to the Eastern community every Thursday night on their YouTube channel, “ Eastern CT Television – ETV News.”

The April 23 episode concerns mental health during the pandemic and breaks down the top moments for Eastern athletics of the last for years. View it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQUT_mXuS5U&feature=youtu.be.

Led by junior Tyler Madden, the at-home newscast came about in the wake of Eastern’s move to online learning and the University’s stay-at-home policy, which went in effect following Spring Break on March 23.

Madden and his 50 colleagues in the ETV club decided to use Microsoft Teams to record their interviews. “We struggled at first to find a way to do it without access to the TV studio or editing lab,” said Madden, “but once we found Microsoft Teams, we started thinking of the people we should talk to, people who can provide an interesting perspective to everything going on.”

From his living room, Tyler Madden utilizes an arrangement of lamp lighting and a backdrop on his television monitor to give the ETV newscast an in-studio feel.
From his living room, Tyler Madden utilizes an arrangement of lamp lighting and a backdrop on his television monitor to give the ETV newscast an in-studio feel.  

The current newscast focuses on the global COVID-19 pandemic, offering viewers information, advice and thoughts from familiar Eastern faces. “Each week we think about a major angle of the coronavirus,” says Madden, “then we think about how that connects to the Eastern community and decide who to reach out to for interviews.”

The first guest was Eastern’s Director of Health Services Joseph Breton. Breton shared his knowledge of the virus and his thoughts on Eastern’s handling of the pandemic by moving all classes online: “It’s a very good move, it will protect the students and the faculty.”

The second guest was junior Samantha Honeywell, who was studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, when the virus reached parts of Europe. “I didn’t think the virus was going to leave China, but when it reached Europe, that’s when I started to become fearful.”

The guests this past week were Eastern’s Athletic Director Lori Runksmeier and ETV Sports Anchor Jarrett Soltis, who informed viewers on how the NCAA’s decision to cancel spring sports affects senior athletes. “If you’re a senior athlete who graduates this spring but wants to come back to play your sport,” says Runksmeier, “then you would have to come back either enrolled in a second major or as a graduate student.”

Not having the proper equipment such as a television studio with lights, cameras, microphones and desks, Madden has had to improvise. “Being at home, I have turned my living room into a makeshift studio. I take lamps and different lights to set up on tables near my television, which I use as a background. We’re also filming the entire show on laptops so that’s another challenge — making sure the audio is good and the wifi signal is strong.”

Madden then edits each interview and passes it on to ETV’s Technical Director Kyle Smith, who adds graphics. The final video, ranging from 5-20 minutes, is then uploaded to YouTube. Madden and his team will be following the regular semester schedule and ending the show on May 7.

Written by Bobbi Brown