The college-age mentors leading high school students on their first reporting assignments Wednesday morning worried about weather, confidence and technological failure.
Morning showers threatened to wash out plans for Moe Daniels’ group to record video of scientists demonstrating their research project at the outdoor campus rain garden.
Daniels, an NKU senior journalism major, made arrangements to move the shoot to a research lab in the science center. But she was disappointed. Would the footage be as good?
Taylor Upchurch could sense that the four members of her group were nervous about asking questions as they prepared to cover a string music camp in the Fine Arts Center.
She tried to build their confidence. “Remember that the people like to have stories written about them,” said Upchurch, a junior journalism major. “They’re enjoying this whole entire experience. If they’re enjoying it, you can, too.”
Initially, Andrea Carter, a junior journalism major leading a group reporting on a robotics camp for middle schoolers, wondered about her group’s nerves, as well. But as they talked with her about their plans, she felt better. “At least we’re going to try to smooth things out before we go,” she explained.
Based on experience, mentors Ashley Hempfling and Brittany Murphy, both electronic media and broadcast majors focused on preparing their students for the challenges of technology.
Hempfling feared camera malfunctions. “Things like that just make me nervous,” she said. “You’re in front of people trying to set stuff up and the equipment doesn’t work with you,” she said.
And Murphy hoped her group could learn from the mistakes she had made on her college video projects.
“Video is my thing,” she stated. She gave her students tips on framing their shots and improving the quality of the audio.
“If there’s something is a little noisy in the background, don’t think you can still get decent audio,” she said. “Some little noise in the back can definitely overpower the audio.”
An hour later, they’d return with stories of challenges – from tripod and camera malfunctions to adapting their shots to deal with the glare of glass surrounding the anthropology museums cases.
Despite such tribulations, their stories were a success.
“You could see the students gain confidence throughout the interview process,” said Derek Daley, who accompanied the anthropology museum group. “They would start out nervous. But by the end, they were speaking with authority.”
Here’s the story behind that transformation.