A group of Journalism students from WVU Parkersburg and their instructor, traveled to Charleston to visit the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Station, and Ashton Marra.
The group started with a tour of the building. They talked with their guide about the different areas, where they produce radio shows, T.V. shows, and even talked about Downton Abbey. “A really cool part about the trip was the fact that I got to take home a Downton Abbey souvenir cup for mother. She loves Downton Abbey so I’m really happy that I was able to get something involving that show,” Rachael Gant, Journalism student at WVU Parkersburg, said.
After the tour they sat in on a live taping of The Legislature Today with host Ashton Marra. During the taping the students were able to learn a little about how a show was produced. They learned how Marra took her cues to start and stop talking, how she knew which camera to look at, how the teleprompter worked and just how much goes into producing a show.
When the taping of the Show was done, Marra took the time to sit and talk to the students about their experience. “It opened my eyes to see the steps that it takes to produce a show,” Leah Carpenter, journalism student, said.They also talked about different shows that were produced there. One show produced is “Inside Appalachia”, it is an hour long, weekly show that they ship out to other stations throughout Appalachia for free. The only thing they get out of it is namesake.
Besides news shows they also produce music shows. One major program that comes from The West Virginia Public Broadcasting Station is called “Mountain Stage” Marra told the group that these shows are live shows, they travel to do shows and bring in musicians. Some are groups or people that have been in the industry for a while, others are up and coming artists. This show is sent to other stations as well but for a fee. “It is more expensive to produce music shows than it is to produce news shows”, Marra said.
Marra told the students that broadcasting is a great field to be in. She went on telling them that in order to do at a T.V. station or radio station, even in public radio, that an internship was the way to start that journey. “Everything I learned, I learned through an internship. It is difficult to find them and difficult to find time to do them, but they are the biggest influence on what I am able to do with this job.”
When their visit at the station was over, Marra left the students with these words of encouragement, “If you’re really interested in doing a certain type of journalism, ask to job shadow for a couple days, it doesn’t have to be a full internship, you don’t have to commit a lot of your time to it. Just showing up and putting your name on someone’s radar will make a huge difference.”
by Amber Deeter