After over a year’s worth of planning and anticipation, FAMU-TV 20 is ready to broadcast its first live newscast, which is set to hit airwaves on Monday.
The newscast will make FAMU just the second Historically Black College to air a live newscast.
The show will also join Hampton and Howard Universities as the only schools to have a live news show.
“This is a milestone for the university,” said Brittany Prince, a senior broadcast student.
Prince will join senior Jessica Larche as the two main anchors.
Senior Shari Loftley will anchor the sports desk while Driadonna Roland will handle the weather.
The newscast will be apart of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communications TV news and advanced TV news course. Students from both classes will be charged with producing the inaugural broadcast. While the four-team anchor desk is solidified until the years end, students from both classes will have rotate positions as producers, associate producers, videographer, editor, and reporter.
“It feels good to be the flagship class to take broadcast in the school of journalism to the next level,” Prince said. “It’s a testament to how much the university is really growing.”
Strenuous auditions for the anchor positions were held on August 27, where a panel of judges combed through applicants.
“It was very rigorous,” Larche said of the interviews process. Despite the meticulous selection process, Larche said the high level of competition helped garner a talented news team.
“This group is coming with the best of the best,” Larche said. “It felt great competing against such stellar broadcasting students. It was really an honor.”
Prince said she was surprised after learning that she was one of the four students chosen to anchor the newscast.
“I was shocked to be honest,” Prince said. “But it was also very exciting.”
The students said the newscast, which will air on Mondays and Wednesdays, would provide the school of journalism with the opportunity to flaunt its generous talent endowment.
“In this newscast you will really be able to see the talent from our journalism students,” Prince said.
Larche said the groundbreaking newscast would not only be a step forward for FAMU but for other African American students.
“It’s not just a milestone for all African American journalism students,” Larche said. “It adds to our credibility.”
The FAMU campus will be the nucleus of the programs coverage, but it will branch into the Tallahassee community as well.
“It’s not just focused on FAMU,” Prince said. “Because there is so much more news than what is on our campus.”
The newscast could also be a proving ground for a school looking to combat negative press.
“This allows the country to look at our program and for us to prove to them that our students are prepared to make an impact in the work force,” Prince said.
Larche said the show would display how far the school of journalism has come.
“It’s a testament to how advanced our program really is,” Larche said. “You can come here and be groomed.”
The program has been in the works for a year, and daily preparation has been required.
“The class is only on Mondays and Wednesdays, but we are always looking for news that matters,” Larche said. “We are 24 hour journalist.”
Professor William Jiles, who teaches the advanced TV news course, said that putting the show together has required both students and staff to put in a considerable amount of work.
“Everyone is hard at work trying to make sure this show is successful,” Jiles said. “They even come in on Saturdays just to dry run the show.”
With an effort to expand news coverage beyond the hills of FAMU, the newscast is faced with the dilemma of competing with local stations WCTV Eyewitness News and WTXL TV 27.
The broadcast will cover state, local, and national news. It will span across Tallahassee, Valdosta, and Thomasville.
Jiles said the advanced TV news class’s initial airing will set the tone for the newscast future.
“We want to come out of the gate looking good,” Jiles said. “Our subsequent shows ride on the strength of the first show. If that show isn’t good then the audience may not come back,”
The show is set to air Monday.