Gaining Views for the News
Every Tuesday and Thursday, 25 eager students gather in Pepperdine’s Center for Communication and Business building and produce NewsWaves, a live television newscast covering stories from all that range from Los Angeles County to headliners that stem to all over the country. With changes, new faces, and with the season kicking off, producers are aiming toward a noticeably changed semester.
Pepperdine University has been producing television shows for more than 30 years. NewsWaves, a news program that is written, directed, and produced by Pepperdine students has been around for some time now, and with age comes change. Each semester, there are roughly 20-30 students running the show, depending on which night is being aired. The producers and assistant producers said they are now in a rebuilding period where they are looking at improving and expanding their viewership of the live show in Malibu and Calabasas.
“Honestly, I think a lot of our viewership comes from the playback after the show,” said Carly Hanna, producer of the Tuesday night show of NewsWaves. “They look on Facebook or YouTube (livestream) because that’s where we actually upload.” Hanna further explained that most viewers of the show aren’t necessarily home at 5 o’clock to watch news but that’s also true for a lot of local news channels.
However, the trying issue is constantly wanting the newscast to gain new viewers and supporters of the show, stated Monica and Carly. The producer and assistant producers of the show have already thought ahead and come up with some different ideas on how to advertise the show.
“We’re making posters and getting shirts. So we’re going to have a poster made with our anchors so that you can identify with who is telling the news,” states Tuesday night News Waves Assistant Producer Monica Case when asked about how they plan to improve their show from the past semester. “When our crews go out to cover, you see them wearing our t-shirts and then people can get curious about NewsWaves and maybe look it up,” continues Case while emphasizing that as a result, she is hopeful that becoming personable will lead to the community watching the broadcasts.
“We’ve done a lot of training. Like we did a whole week of training the week before school started,” Hanna said. Hanna also says they have intensive training days where they went through how to use a camera and the different types of parts of every member of the show. Although Ken Waters, a journalism professor at Pepperdine, proposed that to better the show there would need to be more funding, Carly Hanna and Monica Case see otherwise, and simply believe in utilizing their reporters and anchors and using their talent to better the show. Although Hanna and Case agreed that they don’t need the funding, the funds would be used to buy newer equipment and possibly new props
“So we just expect them to learn by doing, so we’re sending out two teams of general reporters each week and they’re turning packages within a day which is what reporters do in the real world,” states Hanna about utilizing the talent of her cast and crew members, “we’re giving them a lot to handle, but they’re pulling their weight and more.” Monica Case further explains that each reporter is assigned their beat and with the help of Dr. de los Santos, a Pepperdine University adviser for News Waves, the cast and crew are able to put together a show that features visual elements and natural sound.
The work of the news teams are assisting in yet another new concept for the show – bringing the news of the world today back home to Malibu.
“Viewers can expect to see a lot more content from the community,” Hanna explains, “we’re trying to cover local stories and community events while bringing national stories down to the local level.” These changes have been made evident through a recent story, where the reporters getting soundbites from a local priest and a Catholic student on campus when the Pope arrived. Monica further elaborates that they, the reporters, try to incorporate a visual or even a sound element to the Malibu and Calabasas stories.
Even though the show is faced with challenges this semester and is in a rebuilding period starting with the basics, the optimism of the producers has News Waves heading in the right direction with community outreach on its mind. With a “becoming one with the community” mentality, it’ll be interesting to observe just how much viewership the show gains.