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Communications, Broadcasting Academy at MHS off to great start

Kerri Sofsian, the 2013-14 UCPS Teacher of the Year, is the guest host on a recent episode of Around the 'U.' The shows, hosted by UCPS Chief Communications Officer Rob Jackson, are filmed weekly at the Communications and Broadcasting Academy that started at Monroe High School this school year. Below is a photo of Sofsian and Jackson without the magic of digital enhancements that create the virtual set shown above.

UCPS has a new and exciting educational opportunity for students who hope to have a career in journalism -- a virtual television broadcast studio at Monroe High School.

The studio is part of the Communications and Broadcasting Academy that started at Monroe High School this school year.

“It’s a newsroom, a production studio,” said Monroe High School principal Brad Breedlove.

“We’ll be looking at developing story ideas, shooting and editing sequences, writing to video, speed reporting, live shots, building a newscast, news promotion interviews and rewriting TV scripts for the web. Ultimately we want to be THE production studio for Union County Public Schools.”

The studio is currently being used to film Around the 'U', a news program produced by the UCPS Communications Office, hosted by Rob Jackson, the UCPS Chief Communications Officer.

Each week the show features a different guest host, ranging from UCPS administrators and teachers, to technology services. The set and production design, camera work and editing are done by UCPS Graphics Communications Coordinator Arthur Rogers. Scripts for the show are written by UCPS Communications Coordinator Deb Bledsoe, who also takes photos used in the production.

The studio, which was also designed by Rogers, is state of the art. The beautiful sets that the viewer sees are all an illusion, however, digitally created by the software that is part of the academy.

Around the 'U,' which has been is produced weekly, is viewed on Mondays by the school system's more than 5,000 employees.

Breedlove said the academy is built around the curriculum for broadcasting, which includes journalism, editing and production.

One future goal Breedlove said he would like to see implemented is a monthly sports and entertainment program filmed and produced by students.

“This would highlight athletes from around the county,” Breedlove said. “That would be outstanding. That’s something the studio is very capable of doing. I know our students and the students from around the county would like to see that in action.”

Jackson said the programs filmed by the academy students may also be viewed on the county's cable television channel, which would allow parents to see the work being produced by their students.

“Then parents could tune into U-TV and see a production that was written and filmed by high school students about students engaged in athletics, academics or the arts," Jackson said. "I think this is an incredible value to our school system, not only to the curriculum at the high school level throughout UCPS, but also to Union County itself.”

Breedlove stressed that the academy would encompass all UCPS schools, from kindergarten to 12th grade.

To see all espisodes, go to the UCPS UTV channel.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Dec 02, 2013 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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