By Holly Michele Naylor
Lights. Camera. Action. These things might be what one thinks when television is mentioned, and the studio in Jennings Hall experiences that on a regular basis.
Jackson 24/7 is a daily 30-minute news show produced live by Union students at noon on EplusTV6. The newscast consists of news headlines, weather and three interview segments with subject matter that is important to the community. It has been on the air since Oct. 27, 2008.
The target audience for Jackson 24/7 is older than the students themselves. Stay-at-home moms, retired people and shift workers are the primary viewers of the newscast, so topics discussed are health, finance, politics, family, travel and tourism. The Union broadcast show is currently the only news show available locally at noon. However, beginning in February the live edition will move to 4 p.m. to allow more time to cover stories during daytime hours.
Segments that might be interesting to Union students air often as well.
“I really enjoy the cooking segments we do because a lot of Union students are out on their own for the first time, and they’re learning how to cook,” said Juliana Robbins, senior broadcast journalism major. “We have our chef come in from the Old Country Store, Juanita Shaw, and she teaches you step by step how to make a great dish.”
Prominent figures in the community are also guests on Jackson 24/7, including Jackson County Mayor Jerry Gist, School Superintendent Nancy Zambito, Governor Phil Bredesen and various other city officials. Even Tony Dow, who starred as Wally Cleaver on the sitcom “Leave it to Beaver,” has given a phone interview.
Information for stories is gathered in various ways. Some ideas for stories are pitched by students, while several are obtained through press releases. People in the community are often interviewed, and events are captured through film. Special-interest stories are found in beats within the community, consisting of current events and activities.
There are many students with jobs who collaborate to create Jackson 24/7, including a director, anchors and operators for the prompter, cameras and audio board. Video is filmed and then edited. Scripts are written. Graphics and clips are prepared. Voiceovers are made, and the segment is ready to be reported on the air.
“Each job, no matter how big or small, is a vital part to the success of each day’s show,” Robbins said. Collectively, an average of six to seven hours of preparation is involved when creating every show.
“Seeing students getting curious about their community and, from a production standpoint, seeing students being able to literally direct a complex broadcast every day” are the most rewarding aspects of Jackson 24/7, said Executive Producer Steve Beverly.
Crew members of the newscast are also grateful for the opportunity to participate in Jackson 24/7.
“Not many colleges let you work on an actual TV show by going out and doing your own reporting and editing,” said Kara Dukes, junior broadcast journalism major. “Getting to work with other people and learning to work as a team is important.”
Jackson 24/7 airs live at noon every day and replays at 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and then 7 a.m. the next morning.