BGSU, WBGU-TV making headlines

Partnership creates new local daily newscast

Collaboration among community newspapers and Bowling Green State University students, faculty and staff is the driving force behind News90 – a new daily newscast airing weekdays on BGSU’s WBGU-TV, Bowling Green’s PBS affiliate.

The newscast gives BGSU students valuable television production experience while creating local programming for WBGU-TV. It also promotes several area newspapers and informs viewers about what’s happening in their area.

The idea for the newscast came after several brainstorming sessions focusing on ways that the School of Media and Communications and WBGU-TV could work together. A newscast seemed like a natural fit. The plan was to start simple – produce a daily, 90-second broadcast featuring a handful of local news stories using students both behind and in front of the camera. Seven local newspapers in WBGU-TV’s viewer coverage area agreed to provide content.

News90 began airing in February 2017 and has been airing on WBGU-TV twice daily, Monday through Friday. News90 is shown at 6:28 a.m. and repeated at 1:28 p.m. Each episode also appears on the WBGU-TV YouTube channel and Facebook page.

“This is the first time WBGU-TV has aired local news since the 1970s or '80s, and the first time that we’ve ever used students as the featured on-air talent in a series,” said Anthony Short, WBGU-TV co-general manager. “We are able to utilize the skills and talents of students in various majors, teaching them skills that should easily transfer into careers.”

Currently, eight students are working as news broadcasters with three on the production side.

BGSU faculty members Kelly Taylor, Ken Garland and Lori Liggett serve as News90 advisers, editing the day’s stories and critiquing the students’ writing and on-air performances. WBGU-TV staff members Joe Goodman, Steve Kendall, Lori Wilt, Tina Simon and Short oversee the television production end, including news gathering, timing, scheduling and promotion.

“This has been a great pilot program for how integration might work among our departments and WBGU,” Taylor said. “We have a better sense of what can be accomplished and the resources required to make that happen.”

Initially, students from the Department of Journalism and Public Relations /content/bgsu/en/arts-and-sciences/media-and-communication/journalism-and-public-relations.html volunteered for News90 as a way to gain actual on-air experience while earning independent study credit. This fall, a special topics journalism course will be dedicated to News90. Five students are returning as seasoned veterans of the newscast, and, as of now, four new students have enrolled in the course.

“It’s almost like I’ve been able to develop a career before I’ve had an actual career,” said Molly Wells, a broadcast major from Toledo. “I’ve gotten used to deadlines, writing scripts in correct broadcast style and being on camera. I know what a day in the life of a broadcaster will look like.”

Camera operator Taylor Yetzer agrees. Yetzer is a graduating film production major and media production minor from Shelby, Ohio, who basically “runs the show.” Yetzer is responsible for video, lighting, audio, directing, running the teleprompter and editing the newscast. She also is training other production students to take over once she departs later this month for a job with the Toledo Mud Hens.

“I like that this is a one-person production,” Yetzer said. “I know that this is my project and I need to run it just like a full-on professional news production, only on a smaller scale.”

Short is hoping that as News90 continues, students such as Wells and Yetzer will be able to work on both sides of the camera. In today’s world of 24/7 news and reduced staff sizes, broadcasters are required to have more abilities than ever. Short noted that employers are more apt to hire people who are multi-skilled and willing to do both.

“This is true experiential learning,” Taylor said. “We can train, observe and evaluate. We have the opportunity to reflect on what we’ve produced and come up with ways to improve and grow.”

Future newscasts could grow to include on-air interviews, more in-depth stories and the addition of coordinating on-screen graphics or video.

News90 students during the spring 2017 semester included Nick Dombi, Brooke Ebersole, Alan Hunt, Danielle Kane, Brendan Moore, Claudia Seibert, Amy Steigerwald and Wells from the Department of Journalism and Public Relations; and Yetzer, Nick Biere and Rowyn Schneider from WBGU-TV.

Partner newspapers include The Courier (Findlay), The Crescent-News (Defiance), The Lima News (Lima), The News-Messenger (Fremont), The Northwest Signal (Napoleon), The Review Times (Fostoria) and The Sentinel-Tribune (Bowling Green).