We need to salute the long-running Uptown class even though it is going away when semesters start next year.
E-Media's Uptown class has something for everyone. It is one of the rare classes that gives students a taste of what it is like to be in front of and behind the camera.
In Uptown, the classroom becomes the TV Studio where students are responsible for writing, directing, videotaping, reporting, and editing their own news feature stories that will air on UC's campus channel.
For the past two decades, Professor Marjorie Fox taught the class. Alumni such as Channel 9 anchor, Tonya O'Rourke, reporters Valerie Miller (now in corporate communications) and Shannon Kettler, and Channel 5 news videographer, Dan Roark got their first television news experience in Uptown. Channel 12 news executive producer Dave McMullen and former executive producer, now public relations executive, Jen Biddinger, are also among the Uptown alumni. There are many others, including Katie Jeffries, a TV reporter and anchor in Greenville, North Carolina and Emily Wen who is a newscast director in Seattle.
Most recently, Sydney Benter, landed a TV anchor job in Terre Haute, Indiana, just two months after her June 2011 graduation. She too learned the ropes in Uptown.
For many years, the Uptown students produced up to six twenty-minute programs each quarter in the E-Media studios.
“For a couple of years we produced six Uptowns and two CCM-oriented talk shows each quarter, said Professor Fox. “There weren’t very many competing elective courses so our enrollment was high enough to do that.” In more recent years, Uptown usually produced four programs per quarter.”
Uptown always had technical support from the E-Media production manager, currently John Hebbeler, and engineer Dave Colussi.
This year Professor Fox handed over the role as Uptown teacher to former news anchor and current E-Media adjunct professor, Norma Rashid. During Fall 2011, Uptown students did two multifaceted video reports. They explored local culture with segments covering everything from events like Midpoint Music Festival to Clifton shopping.
While the course was in progress junior Brian Raess, said he was eager to "use some of the techniques about film and video in other classes to produce something bigger with a group of people." Brian's role in the class is geared towards filming and editing but the class tries to apply students' talents in ways they aren't always comfortable with.
"Realistic experience!", is the key that Professor Rashid wants to stress. She puts her students under a deadline where results and teamwork are expected just as they are in actual studios.
During spring 2012, Professor Raul Barcelona will teach Uptown. This time the students will learn the background and techniques of documentary production.
When Semester conversion takes effect next year Uptown as a course will disappear. But the realistic experience will be there in the course entitled News Writing and Production. Professor Rashid will be teaching the new course.
Written by Casey Welling, posted March 2012