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SOC Students Take Their Skills to the White House

By Michael Wargo

SOC Film student Matthew Carter takes a minute to pose with Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry.

SOC Film student Matthew Carter takes a minute to pose with Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry.

Members of American University’s ATV Club, including several School of Communication students, are now covering the White House from the Briefing Room.

School of Public Affairs student Geet Jeswani introduced the idea to Programming Director Josh Feldman to explore how to have ATV join the White House Correspondents Association, to have the opportunity for ATV reporters to cover the White House and related events in the future.

“I had this idea towards the end of last spring semester. I saw a daily briefing with Press Secretary Jay Carney on television regarding President Obama's thoughts on the Supreme Court Affordable Care Act decision,” he said. “This was definitely a historic moment worth covering and, being in such close proximity, I felt that ATV should be able to cover news like this.”

With the help of Student Activities Media Advisor Adell Crowe, a former reporter for Gannet and USA TODAY, ATV joined the email listserv for the White House press pool, who then indicated that they could send a reporter and camera person to press briefings and other events with a one business day-notice.

Public Communication student Douglas Bell is the General Manager of ATV. He said Jeswani and SOC Film student Matthew Carter recently attended their first press briefing. “We're hoping to make this a regular occurrence going forward, and to expand the opportunity to many of ATV's other reporters and camera operators as well,” said Bell.

Carter, who has been working at ATV since his freshman year, credits SOC with his technical skills in film and television production, including his audio-visual skills and post-production knowledge. “Because of SOC, I have learned proper technique for filming and editing a news package, which was essential to working on a project as large as this.”

Communication major Hoai-tran Bui says her first time covering the White House has been exhilarating. “Although this coverage is primarily meant for ATV News, I love that it's been a collaborative effort from everyone who works at ATV,” said Bui. “Our SOC media advisor Adell Crowe has also been incredibly supportive, and I don't think we would have been able to go ahead with this idea if we hadn't been so inspired by AU and SOC.”

Bui credits SOC for giving her skills to venture beyond her comfort zone. “I think I can say this for everyone at ATV as well, we can learn how to operate a camera or edit a package in class or on our own, but being able to live out our potential is something that can only be learned at the prompting of professors who encourage us to do so.”

Bell says they will be working to streamline their station's news publication efforts to highlight their White House coverage and to be prepared for the possibility of breaking news coverage. “We have a lot more work ahead so that we can make this opportunity as meaningful as possible for our members.”