Students in the Greenlee School produced their first episode of the brand-new show “EverGreenlee News” Nov. 7.
All semester, students in assistant teaching professor Tony Moton’s Broadcast Media Production course learned and practiced with the production equipment in the Student Innovation Center’s digital media studio in preparation for creating the TV news show. In November, they began filming their first full episodes, each around 30 minutes and digging into a different subject that’s important to Iowa State.
“The idea for the show started with looking at what I thought might be a cool way to give students practical experience,” Moton said.
The Greenlee Broadcast Media Production course hadn’t been held since before the COVID-19 pandemic, so Moton had the opportunity to build the course from scratch and work with the new technology in the digital media studio.
Cael Sleezer, a senior in journalism and mass communication, is in the broadcasting course and has taken on the roles of a director and anchor for “EverGreenlee News.” He said he’d been wanting to take part in an opportunity like this for quite a while.
“I participated in my TV news program when I was in high school and absolutely loved it. I wanted more,” Sleezer said. “COVID slowed things down here at ISU, but [JL MC] 306 came back just in time for my senior year.”
Greenlee students in Moton’s digital storytelling course have also been working to build the show. They learned how to develop stories for TV news and are producing the news packages that the broadcasting students then air in their class.
Moton said one of the main things students in both courses are learning about is teamwork.
“You cannot produce a show without everyone being on the same page,” Moton said.
Earlier in the semester, students in the two courses went on a field trip to WOI where they got to see a real TV production and meet a variety of people from talent to producers to directors. Moton said students created relationships with the station and got to see how important teamwork was to a production.
Maris Cameron, a junior in journalism and mass communication, is in the broadcasting course and is a director and anchor for “EverGreenlee News.”
Cameron said she’s been learning how to create and run a show from start to finish. Her role includes working with programs Caspar CG and Rundown Creator to review scripts and cue up news packages to play on the recording track as they shoot their show live.
“My favorite part of the show is when we finish and I leave the control room to yell, ‘That’s a wrap!’ to everyone,” said Cameron. “It makes me feel like a celebrity TV director.”
Sleezer said a big takeaway for him has been learning how to work through challenges.
“In producing a news show, and in life, things don’t always go according to plan. You have to learn to adjust and not dwell on the tiny mistakes that may happen,” he said.
The first episode of “EverGreenlee News” covers agriculture and includes several stories related to harvest time.
“Agriculture is central to the existence of Iowa State,” Moton said. “We want to shine a light on just how important ag is to the university and to Iowa, so that’s why we picked it for the first show.”
Cameron said producing the first episode was incredible.
“I love my little desk where I can use my computer to run things. I’ve enjoyed learning from my classmate’s skills and developing my own throughout this process. Our shows can only get better from here,” she said.
Moton said one of the best parts of the whole process has been seeing the talent of the students come together as they learned how to produce a TV show in the new studio.
“We’re trying to take full advantage of the setup, but the students have done the hard work, learning how to work a camera, a switcher, the new equipment,” Moton said. “And it’s happened fast. Within week nine, we were ready to shoot a show.”
In addition to helping students be better prepared to work in the real world, Moton said one of the goals for “EverGreenlee News” is to become involved in awards and competitions. The plan is to submit the show to major regional and national competitions. He also said “EverGreenlee News” will ideally be produced every semester and could evolve into a sports anthology show.
Moton said that getting to develop the course and new show is like a dream come true.
“It’s my first year here at Iowa State, and I’m very happy they’ve given me the opportunity to be creative,” Moton said. “And students should also feel that they have the freedom to be different, to come up with new things.”
Episodes of “EverGreenlee News” will be posted on the “EverGreenlee News” YouTube channel.