NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts began a new tradition by awarding graduation stoles to seniors who participated with the NSU-TV News team. Graduating seniors are Madelyn Dupont of Washington, Travis Mitchell and Tamarraw Powell of Natchitoches and Sharissa Tanner of Lebeau.
Advised by Department Head Dr. Brian Gabrial, David Antilley, manager/executive director of NSU-TV, and Dr. Nick Taylor, assistant professor, participants in the student-led organization write, shoot and edit news stories covering NSU and the local community and mentor other students through a variety of multimedia productions. The stories are broadcast on NSU-TV, with select stories such as high school football highlights and community news airing on KTBS or KALB.
“The students involved worked long hours producing stories throughout the semester. They earned the stoles due to production work completed outside of normal coursework but under the umbrella of NSU-TV and NSU-TV News,” Taylor said.
NSU-TV News started as a response to reduced internship opportunities and COVID-19 precautions. Advisors, who wanted the students to think of themselves as local reporters and gain practical experience, said the team exceeded expectation.
“Dr. Gabrial noticed that several students who required an internship to graduate were unable to find companies willing to offer the opportunity. Rather than have the students, each in their final semester of coursework, place graduation on hold, he asked David Antilley and me to help develop a professional internship on the NSU campus,” Taylor said. “The result is NSU-TV News, where the students worked with professional producers developing professional level news stories. The organization already has students signed up for the 2021 spring semester. We hope that NSU-TV News will become a recognized student organization with a budget for student leadership, equipment and space on campus.”
The stoles are gray with purple trim and highlight the current NSU-TV News graphic to reflect NMJCA students’ hard work and future paths. Gray is the academic color representing those who’ve studied or majored in broadcast, purple represents NSU, and the graphic is the current symbol of NSU-TV News, Taylor said.
Students also participating but not graduating this semester are Hannah Angell of Shreveport, Sydney Bulot of Anckorage, Alaska; and Matthew Phillips of Iowa.