Nervous giggles and last-minute preparations fill the studio.
The anchors sit in their chairs while scripts and camera angles are discussed. Three cameras are pointed directly at them while they wait to share their story.
A voice from behind the curtain counts down as the anchors wrap up small talk and fix their hair at the last minute.
“Five … Four … Three … Two …”
There is silence, and then the show begins.
“From the campus of Dixie State University — this is Dixie Sun News.”
The DSN show is a live news broadcast made by students for the DSU community. After being pre-taped, the DSN show has finally gone live.
The DSN show is broadcast live every Thursday at 12:15 p.m. Students and community members can watch the newscast on the flat-screen TVs around campus, on the basic cable channel 22, online at Southernutahlive.com, and live on the radio at 91.3 The Storm.
The broadcast is written and produced by DSU students. With the help of Dave Harris, a communication instructor and DSN adviser, students are able to get real-world experience behind and in front of the camera.
“As the adviser, I try to have the students do everything,” Harris said. “I kind of just stand in the back of the room and watch and direct.”
Harris said the DSN show puts students in a situation much like what they will experience after they graduate and get a job. Benjamin Wright, a freshman communication major from Howell and DSN anchor, said the process is very professional.
“It really gives me an opportunity to feel what it’s like to be in front of a camera in a professional view,” he said. “It’s set up extremely well.”
The most important thing about the show is that it informs students about things happening on campus, said Ashley Freer, a senior communication major from Santa Clara and technical director for the DSN show.
“It’s easy access for [students],” Freer said. “It’s right there, (and) it’s on demand.”
With any show that’s broadcast live, some degree of fear comes along with it. Harris said going live scared the death out of him.
“I was obviously concerned there would be errors made because there are errors made in the professional arena,” he said. “I was concerned about how the students would handle that. So far, it’s been absolutely fantastic (and) beyond my wildest expectations.”
Harris said one mistake was made during a newscast when he had to step in and perform two tasks by running the video switcher and also running the teleprompter. When the anchors read the story, the prompter wouldn’t scroll because he was neglecting it. Harris said it happens all the time in the profession.
“[The anchors] went right down onto the paper script, found their place, and started reading off the paper script,” he said. “I was very, very pleased with how they handled it.”
Although some errors are made, Keshara Bjorkman, a senior communication major from Ventura, Calif., and videographer, said the experience is worth it.
“I hear about people at other universities in the state … who don’t have experience in what they’re learning about until their last year in school, which is insane to me because this is my second semester [in the communication department], and I’m already doing exactly what I want to do for a career,” Bjorkman said.
Some students involved in the DSN show agree that the most important part about the show is informing students about events and issues on campus.
“It really unifies the campus,” Wright said.
Harris said there are about 45 students who are involved behind the scenes who work to provide helpful information to the campus and community.
“It’s well-produced, they do a fantastic job, and it’s providing useful information that helps students know what’s going on,” he said.
Bjorkman said students should watch the DSN show because a lot of work gets put into it for the students’ benefit.
“I feel like … you should watch it just because it’s there,” she said. “ It’s something free to the public that’s an asset to what’s going on at a school that you pay to go to.”
Harris said even students who aren’t communication majors should think about taking the class, COMM 3370R, as an elective if they are interested in participating behind television cameras. Students who want to get involved should contact Harris at email@example.com. For students who want to get involved the print version of DSN with writing news stories, taking photographs, and putting together video packages, they can contact Rhiannon Bent at firstname.lastname@example.org.