Professional cameras and teleprompters face the news desk, and in classic news broadcast fashion, TU students sit poised to present this week’s news. The TUTV Media Lab is a student-run media collaborative with a weekly studio program, podcasts and opportunities for students to create their own project ideas using media.
Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Film Studies Justin Rawlins is the faculty advisor for TUTV Media Lab, which was formerly named TUTV.
“When we think of a lab we think of an experimental creative space.” Rawlins said. “This is a space for students to make things with media.”
The studio program covers campus news, national and international news, sports, popular culture and features an interview segment. With two backdrops, a green screen, impressive audio equipment and cameras, it is similar to a professional news station. Miles Fisher, a film studies junior runs the sound booth; “I think I could fit in easily at any of the news internships in town,” Fisher said.
The TUTV Media lab is open to all students. Every Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., students are welcome to attend the filming in Kendall Hall. From script writing to graphic design overlays, the Lab members work together on productions and pursue their individual creative interests. Their camaraderie establishes a welcoming vibe. “We have a lot of people from different areas of TU, and that is a real strength,” Rawlins said. “They are really bright, creative and good at thinking on their feet because production demands that.”
Alex Isaak, a media studies and creative writing junior, is the director of TUTV. From lighting to camera cues, Isaak ensures their product is high quality. “If you think of a stage manager for theatre, that is kind of what the director is for video production,” Isaak explained. Donning a headset while prepping for the start of the show, she speedily marked up her script with the cues. “It’s fun! I think what drew me in initially was the people here, and it’s awesome if you are looking for something to build up your portfolio,” Isaak said.
Students with or without a background in media production have opportunities both behind and in front of the camera and microphone. “We have a fantastic track record of placing students in media production and other aspects of the larger creative industries,” Rawlins said.
This year, the Media Lab opens Studio 151 in Kendall Hall. This podcast and audio production workspace is already home to two podcasts for current events and pop culture. The establishment of Studio 151—and the evolution of TUTV into the Media Lab, reflects Rawlins’s focus on transforming students’ imaginative media ideas into reality. “My co-executive producer [Steven Buchele] and I are there for logistical support and provide editorial feedback, but the responsibility and the hard work are really with the students,” Rawlins said.
The TUTV Media Lab is flexible, also assisting students with other kinds of work such as short documentaries and art films. Striving to prepare students for the professional arena as creative and innovative media makers, the Media Lab learn to be “accountable to their peers, do creative things, get feedback and talk through ideas,” Rawlins said. “It is a microcosm of what you would be expected to do in any kind of professional media production job.”
Chandler Berrett (BA ’16) is a history graduate student, but even during his TU undergraduate years, TUTV was his passion. This semester, he is the floor manager with a thorough knowledge of all the individual aspects of video production. “I’ve done it for I think three and a half years,” Barrett said. “It’s been one of the constant joys at TU for me.”
Learn more about the TUTV Media Lab here.