JACKSON, Tenn. – July 30, 2008 – A studio with new high-definition cameras and other equipment will be waiting for Union University broadcasting students when they return to campus for the fall semester.
“Almost everything is going to be new,” said Chris Blair, chairman of Union’s communication arts department. “Unless something has changed in the last six months, I think you can safely say that we are the first school in Tennessee to go high-def for the entire studio.”
Union is also one of the first universities in the Southeast to have high-definition capability.
The broadcasting studio was rendered unusable by the Feb. 5 tornado that hit the Union campus, as was all of Jennings Hall, where the studio is located. The tornado ripped off much of the roof of the building, leading to extensive water damage throughout. Repair and renovation work has been ongoing since then. Jennings Hall will reopen for the fall semester.
About the only equipment salvaged from the studio were pedestals and some of the lights, Blair said. The old analog, standard-definition cameras were destroyed.
Blair said the new equipment carried a higher cost, but that it will allow Union to be more effective in preparing broadcasting students for a career in the field.
“The freshmen coming in September will be graduating four years from now,” Blair said. “There’s going to be a rash of change in the next four years. If we wanted to prepare students for their future, we needed to do this.”
Broadcasting professor Steve Beverly said in addition to the new equipment, broadcasting students this fall will begin producing a daily 30-minute news and information program, “Jackson 24/7,” that will air on EPlus TV6 in Jackson.
“It will be the signature change in preparing students in this field for a future career,” Beverly said of the new program. “This is how they are really going to have the opportunity to get good.”
Beverly said he has wanted to produce this kind of program for 15 years, but didn’t have the technology to do so until now. The show will also appear on eplustv6.com, giving parents an chance to observe what students are learning.
“That’s an intangible that parents love,” Beverly said. “That means a lot to parents.”
Installation of the new equipment in the broadcasting studio began this week and is expected to be complete by mid-August.
“I’m about as energized as I’ve been in 10 years for the start of school,” Beverly said. “It’s like a new beginning.”