GW students will help write, report and produce a weekly public affairs show on the local WB affiliate beginning in January.
Some episodes of WB NOW, a local news and talk show on WBDC, will be produced and staffed by GW students. Other shows will be produced by Montgomery College, a community college in Rockville, Md., and possibly Howard University.
GW shows will most likely be produced in the School of Media and Public Affairs building. Vice President of Communications Michael Freedman said he would like to see as many shows as possible made at GW.
“We’d like to be as actively involved in the total process as possible,” Freedman said.
The show, which will run Sundays at 8:30 a.m. on channel 50, will focus on local problems and issues that concern young people. Jim Byrne, creative services director for WBDC, said possible topics include challenges facing foreign students, housing, teenage driving fatalities and teenage pregnancy. Issues such as local elections and D.C. baseball are also possible topics.
The WB will handle the artistic touches of the show, such as the opening sequence, because the channel wants a consistent look and feel, Byrne said. Students will write each show and decide which topics to discuss.
The WB has decided on a basic format where every show will revolve around one topic. There will be two segments of roundtable discussion and an editorial wrap-up. The show will end with a “man-on-the-street vignette,” in which a reporter asks people what they think about the issue.
Byrne said the WB is auditioning prospective hosts. They are interviewing GW undergraduates as well as alumni. The host will be chosen within the next three weeks.
While the host will be chosen by the network; the application process for producers, cameramen and writers will go through the SMPA. No students have been chosen yet and it is not known how many will be hired. Decisions will be made by winter break.
Freedman said the project will enhance the University’s reputation because it will give it another broadcasting partner, which is unique for any college. He said that one of the University’s goals is to be more involved in television production and that producing CNN’s “Crossfire” from the Jack Morton Auditorium has earned GW national and international recognition. The University also produces broadcasts of “The Kalb Report.”
“This is another one of those perfect-fit ideas for the students of GW,” he said, noting that more than 160 students have participated in the production of “Crossfire.”
Freedman also said the WB show would be a great opportunity for college students to get more involved in the D.C. community.
“With the WB, we’ll be able to articulate within the Washington community all that our students bring to Washington and all that they have to offer,” he said.
Media Relations Director Tracy Schario said prospective students will also be attracted to the project.
“It’s a great way to get the GW brand out to future Colonials,” she said. She added that GW is still in negotiations with the WB over a production schedule and over the number of students to be hired. GW is also waiting for a contract from the WB.