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Public Affairs

Radio/TV majors report weekly 'State of Events'

January 19, 2005

This article is the latest installment of a series that takes readers behind the scenes of student publications, programs, productions and lab experiences.

Photo of "State of the News" anchor Amy Carabba breaking into laughter during rehearsal as co-anchor Juliana Kim tries to maintain her composure It's 3:15 p.m., a half-hour before rehearsal for the latest edition of "State of Events." Reporter Jacqui Bailey is stressed.

She is having technical problems with her computer and still needs to write a script for her story on rising home prices in the Bay Area. On top of that, she'll need to stop by her campus apartment to change into business attire before interviewing a student live on Malcolm X Plaza for comments on housing costs.

"Take a deep breath," says Assistant Professor Dina Ibrahim, who then adds with a calm-under-pressure grin, "This is the best time to do work!"

Bailey manages to complete everything by deadline and nails the interview. She even had time to buy a smoothie.

It's just another deadline-driven week at "State of Events," a television news program produced by students in the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department.

"It's high stress, but we love it," senior Deepak Saini says.

"State of Events" is the final step for student broadcasters to hone their skills and complete their resume tape before graduating.

About 10 to 25 students form a news team with a passion for broadcast news.

"We're always thinking of stories. It has become a lifestyle," senior Veronica Fonseca says. "You start analyzing things in everyday life."

Saini adds, "You become a walking newscast. You always are thinking of frames and leads. It takes you over, but it's great."

Photo of "State of the News" director Eric Martinez in the control room with two other crew membersFellow news junkies who got their start on "State of Events" are employed on air and behind the scenes across the country. The Bay Area features such well-known personalities as KTVU's Fred Inglis and Frank Somerville. The most well-known face across America may be Mike Galanos, an anchor for CNN Headline News.

As the clock ticks toward rehearsal time, videotapes are edited and copied, scripts are edited, graphics are created, and camera angles are set up. Attention to detail and teamwork are critical.

Although the rehearsal and actual taping begin a few minutes late, it's OK because the show is not aired live. Ibrahim, a former reporter for BBC, National Public Radio and Arab News in Saudi Arabia, often reminds students that there are no rehearsals in the professional world.

Junior Eric Martinez, wearing a headset, begins the countdown for the show to start. As director, he communicates to fellow crew members in the control room and the camerapersons and floor director in the adjacent Studio 3, where the show is recorded.

"Ready to take tape," Martinez says, cueing the opening credits.

During the next 15 minutes, the reporters and anchors inform viewers about the "Amend for Arnold" campaign to give foreign-born citizens the right to run for president, the capture of an Al-Qaeda leader, a study that links alcohol use to brain damage, a festival featuring disabled artists, and a hotline that offers advice on cooking Thanksgiving turkey. Mistakes are made, but it's all part of the learning process. Ibrahim will conduct a critique at the next class meeting.

The three-unit "State of Events" course, also known as TV Center I (BECA 660), has several prerequisites. To help simulate a professional television news broadcast, each week one story is produced entirely on the day the newscast is filmed, and one story includes a live interview on campus.

Seventeen additional students, enrolled in Television News Crew (BECA 516), serve as the technical crew for the newscast.

"State of Events" airs during the semester on San Francisco Comcast cable Channel 27 at 6 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 10 and 10:30 p.m. Mondays.

-- Matt Itelson


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Last modified March 10, 2005 by University Communications