WDSU Channel 6 News broadcasts live from Southern University
New Orleans NBC affiliate prepares to weather future storms from Southern's news studio
Published: Friday, August 24, 2007
Updated: Saturday, August 16, 2008 11:08
Severe tropical weather might occur and cancel school but news never stops.
WDSU Channel 6, an affiliate of NBC for New Orleans, aired a "test show" at five and six, to see how a remote news broadcast from the newsroom of the mass communication department at Southern University would actually work. WDSU officials are considering a return to Southern early next week if emergency precautions should call for relocation.
WDSU composed a project two months ago to use Southern University as a designated alternate broadcast site for the next emergency that might come to New Orleans.
"We have developed several different options that will benefit us and SU," said news director Jonathan Shelley.
Though the threat of an emergency situation taking place is unwanted, it may be unavoidable.
In recent reports by the Associated Press, Hurricane Dean swept into the east Caribbean on Friday and continues to strengthen. Forecasters have stated they expect the storm to threaten the United States by Wednesday. In a press release, Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco has declared a state of emergency as Hurricane Dean continues its progress across the Caribbean Sea.
By having SU as another designated place for news coverage, WDSU will be able to broadcast the news efficiently at anytime, while Southern will have the benefits of using the studio equipment and having a major upgrade for its mass communication department.
"It is a wonderful opportunity for the students," said professor and the main engineer behind the mass communication department Darrell Roberson. "Now the students will be able to see how an actual news station operates, especially how everyone works behind the scenes."
The main upgrade for the department included the donation of WDSU's previous news set, a duratran (which is a semi-transparent screen in the background), improved technical work in the control room and new lighting to the news studio.
Joel Vilmenay, president and general manger of WDSU, said the upgrade improved a lot and more improvements are soon to follow.
"We looked at the needs and the allocated funds to determine what needed to be done such as the set, lighting, and the control room. In the end several thousands of dollars were spent and more work will continue."
Roberson said not only will the students benefit greatly from the partnership with WDSU; he is hoping the mass communication department will take full advantage of it as well.
"Hopefully, we can start to develop workshops with the news station so that they can speak to the students by giving advice and input and by working with the engineers for the news stations," Roberson said.
"In my opinion SU students will be able to benefit a lot."
The Mass Communication department was already looking into upgrades to the newsroom for a later date, but like Southern alumnus and mass communication graduate Goldie Davenport said, "it was a blessing in disguise."
"I really feel like we are blessed and that it's going to be essential to the production of our students learning their future careers."
Dr. Brauma, the dean of the Mass Communication department, said that "utter excitement" should be the sentiments expressed by both parties.
He also feels that this will now afford the department two things: one, to expose SU students to new operations so that they will be prepared to go out to the field with the keen sense of more knowledge with updated equipment and two, for SU and the WDSU to service our communities with information during the worse weather conditions.
Adam Powell, a junior and mass communication major from Indiana was pleased at what he called a "beautiful update" to the department.
"I will take advantage of every opportunity that is given to me. A lot of campuses do not have nice studios as we do now so I feel that I am obligated to use this resource."
Not just mass communication majors are welcome to enjoy this improvement, all majors are also able to benefit.
"We hope to see all students from different majors to participate as well," said Shelley, "Due to the fact that we have many different positions that help out on the set such as engineers and marketing majors."
In the past, WDSU has offered internships for different positions to students all over, and now SU will have the first pick. All internships positions that are available will be posted on their website http://www.wdsu.com.