Guiding The Future: Instructor Champions Student TV News
Nov. 16, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Campbell Atkins
Professor Ron Marasco, who anchored and reported television news for nearly two decades, teaches a number of broadcasting classes and oversees content production for Channel 7. He also orchestrates and assists every aspect of the student newscast, serving as director, producer, technical director, cameraman, news director, floor director and audio man.
“We mimic real life here,” Marasco said. “We mimic the real newsroom environment. What these students do here is exactly what they will be expected to do at their first job.”
With numerous students earning their first news-related jobs immediately after their time at SHSU in recent years, Marasco’s tutelage has proved extremely effective for all those involved. He admits that wearing so many hats during the newscast can become chaotic at times, but the work all goes towards creating an environment in which his students can thrive after college. His job has been even more chaotic this semester as he has had to manage the production side of things.
“I make sure the students come up with their own story ideas and that they go out and shoot, edit and write their own stuff,” Marasco said. “That is exactly like what they are going to do most of the time when they get their first job in this business. I also make sure they do all of those things correctly and meet deadlines.”
Marasco took over managing Channel 7 in the fall semester of 2021 and helped bring the student newscasts back to prominence under the guidance of former department head Wojciech Lorenc, who helped create a practicum program for the students and raise the quality and quantity of the station’s content.
“He really wanted to get Channel 7 back to where it used to be, which is visible to the Huntsville community,” Marasco said. “He started getting with all of the professors in the department and having them pump out content.”
The station’s content goes much deeper than the cable newscast. The cable station broadcasts mass communication students’ work and original programming produced by faculty and staff of the department. The projects offer SHSU students freedom in terms of the content they submit and all goes through Marasco.
“What I especially love to see is students who have no idea what they're doing at the beginning of a class or a semester, and then by the end are putting out work that wows me,” Marasco said. “I want to make sure that they are seen by the community here.”
Each newscast offers students mass exposure to local audiences and will air roughly 40-50 times during the week. Marasco chooses the talent he feels will represent the station and university best, but the selections are not always limited to mass communication majors.
“They are all getting about three or four reps per semester to anchor news, sports, weather or whatever the case may be,” Marasco said. “In the past, I’ve held tryouts and bring people in to audition. I would usually have eight or nine students I’d cycle through the four positions.”
Student content can be found on Channel 7 as well as Bearkat Student Media and their YouTube and Facebook pages.
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