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UCPS internal TV show now offered to community at large

One of the early guests on Around the 'U' was Kerri Sofsian, the UCPS Teacher of the Year. She is pictured looking over the script with the show's host Rob Jackson. The photo shows the set as it actually appears without the virtual software. (Below) Virtual reality takes over, with the Around The U set being shown.

"Around the U," an internal news show produced by the Union County Public Schools Communications Office, is now available to be viewed by the general public via YouTube.

The show, now in its second season, offers weekly video news to the school system’s more than 5,000 employees. It was first broadcast during the 2012-2013 school year.

The show is the brainchild of UCPS Chief Communications Officer Rob Jackson, who had an idea to begin a weekly news show to help provide communications to UCPS employees and now to the families of its approximately 42,000 students. It airs each Monday.

"Union County Public Schools is a large district. It is also one of the most successful school districts in our state. Communication is a critical part of any successful organization. Using video to share the UCPS story is a natural fit," said Mr. Jackson. "I love sharing the virtual set with the incredible teachers, administrators, and employees of our school system."

The show, which just filmed its 26th episode, is filmed at the UCPS Communications and Broadcast Academy at Monroe High School.

The academy is built around the curriculum for broadcasting, which includes journalism, editing and production. Students use the equipment throughout the week for their coursework as they prepare for potential careers in communication.

The "Around the U" set and production design, camera work and editing are done by UCPS Visual Communications Coordinator Arthur Rogers. The beautiful virtual sets that the TV viewer sees are all an illusion, digitally created by the software that is part of the academy.

Scripts for the show are written by UCPS Communications Coordinator Deb Coates Bledsoe, who also takes photos and videos used in the production.

Each week the show, which is hosted by Jackson, features a different guest host, ranging from administrators and teachers, to technology services. The show has also had visits from State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson and current NC Principal of the Year Mr. Dale Cole.

The most recent episode of Around-the U features guest host Sun Valley Elementary School Principal Dr. Terri Cooper (Episode 25).

As the show draws to a close each week, Mr. Jackson smiles as he ends with his familiar, "Good day!" Paul Harvey, famed Radio Host, first used the closing on his radio programs. Mr. Jackson says that he heard Paul Harvey wishing him a good day daily in his grandmother's car while riding home from school and started using the phrase as a principal while sharing the daily announcements on the PA system. He continues using it to this day.

These days, the "good day" wish is now paired with a weekly promise, "we'll see you... Around the U!" 

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Feb 07, 2014 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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