TUTV: Lights, camera, experience

Keeping up with the latest news and headlines might not be a priority for some students on campus, but the TUTV media lab, a student-led media group, has a goal to keep the student body informed. Based in Kendall Hall, the organization allows its members to produce their own segments and packages for their weekly show.

“The student’s job is to look at events both around campus and the world, in news, sports and entertainment and to create a cohesive show from week-to-week,” said Justin Rawlins, the faculty advisor and executive producer for TUTV Media Lab. “As any TUTV member can tell you, the media lab is a space where you can ask to learn anything related to media making, and TUTV ensures that you not only learn that skill but put it to use in real world settings,” he explained.

Two TU alumni have taken their skills and experiences from TUTV media lab and are now working at News on 6 in Tulsa.

A diverse skillset

Boulden during a series of interviews with graduating TUTV Media Lab members.
Boulden during a series of interviews with graduating TUTV Media Lab members.

It was no surprise when TU alumna Lindsey Boulden (BA ‘18) found a home at TUTV. Her mother and TU alumna Stephanie Boulden (BA ‘94) was once a part of the TUTV crew. Media was in her blood. Boulden is now a graphics operator at News on 6. “I check graphics before a show, make sure everything is in order and animate the graphics during the live shows.”

Tackling two roles, she is also a production assistant, who operates cameras during the live shows, assist in floor directing, operating our jib camera and generally keeping the studio in order. “TUTV has helped greatly in preparing me for my career,” Boulden stated. Students can learn different roles to gain experience in multiple jobs. “I worked primarily as a camera operator and floor director, and in my last semester, I took over as director of TUTV.”

The diversity TUTV offered enhanced Boulden’s confidence to work in studio positions such as operating cameras, floor directing as well as a basic understanding of how to read a rundown and the day-to-day operations of working in a TV studio. Although News on 6 operates at a faster pace, “the experience I received at TUTV was essential to preparing me for where I am today,” she added.

Practice makes perfect

Alex Isaak (BA ‘19) is an associate producer for the evening newscasts at Channel 6. By producing news segments during her sophomore year, she learned how a news studio operates. “It made me familiar with how a group of people produce a live show, the different roles people play and how those roles interact,” she explained.

A moment that stood out to Isaak was during the 2018 three-hour midterm election live stream. It was the first time TUTV streamed their show live on Facebook. The broadcast was six times longer than the typical newscast. “It took a lot of prep work, and I had to learn several skills on the fly, but calling the show from the booth was exhilarating,” Isaak shared.

The broadcast featured both serious and fun segments. “The group really stepped up and helped produce the show. By the end of it, we were all exhausted, but proud we did it. It brought us all together and made us a tight-knit group.”

Media production requires experts to be both creative and strategic. “I have two different parts of my brain. One part is super organized, has a planner, on top of it and likes to coordinate things,” Isaak said. “The other part is creative. I’ve been writing fiction for years and love to tell stories, and media production is a combination of both.”

The Future of TUTV

The TUTV Media Lab has been a part of the TU community for more than 40 years. Twenty members strong, the lab continues today to produce multimedia projects that include podcasts, short films, weekly shows and preparing students for a career in TV.