Choffin students create studio

Learn journalism, broadcast show

YOUNGSTOWN — If you combine editing, photography and audio acumen with being able to manage news broadcasts and interviews, you will have a complete list of Kevin Jusino’s main skills and desires.

“Most definitely I want to be part of this to show what I can prove as far as making videos and photos,” the Choffin Career Center senior said.

Jusino has numerous real-time opportunities to fulfill his wish list, thanks largely to a new production studio that took center stage for an open house Wednesday afternoon at the school on East Wood Street.

Students in the career center’s construction-technology program built the 28-foot-in-diameter bright-green, circular studio that has the capability to fuse the school’s photography and journalism programs with its broadcasting and video-production programs.

The new studio, which replaced an empty classroom, also may be a prelude for one of Jusino’s future aspirations: to work for a production company in Charlotte, N.C., and land a job in making and producing videos, he said.

The state-of-the-art, student-controlled studio gives those in media arts an opportunity to learn a plethora of skills that include newswriting, broadcasting, operating cameras, market writing, proper lighting, color theory, interviewing techniques, writing skits and producing short films, noted Cristen Manion, a Choffin photojournalism instructor.

“They can do news, but also everything that’s not news,” said Manion, who worked five years for 21 WFMJ-TV and has a background in animation and photography. “You want to write a (small) movie? Let’s write a movie. I’m totally cool with that.”

Next to the studio is a production room that features one station each for technical direction, production, graphics, audio capabilities and a Teleprompter.

The students who constructed the facility built and painted the three concave walls, then added the drywall, studs and supports for the lighting, she explained.

It didn’t take long between when the walls went up and the students’ skills did as well. Those include camera work, editing videos, directing, using a Teleprompter and conducting interviews — all in ways similar to local media outlets.

“They’re producing half-hour newscasts, which is incredible,” Manion said, adding that those who have been interviewed include Mayor Jamael Tito Brown; Justin Jennings, Youngstown City Schools’ chief executive officer; and William “Guy” Burney, the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence program’s coordinator.

One of the students persuaded Jennings to come in for an interview because she wanted him to further clarify the district’s policies regarding snow days, Manion said.

In addition, the students have chances to critique local news broadcasts.

Senior Ari Riggins’ ambition is to be a clinical psychologist, but being in the media-arts program has done a lot to boost her self-image.

“It’s something I want to do for fun because my passion is writing,” said Riggins, who is a script writer and director for the class.

Riggins added she began writing poems after her grandmother died, which morphed into an interest in penning stories and songs, she explained.

“Maybe I’ll be able to showcase my writing abilities with this,” Riggins said about the studio.

Beforehand, the school’s media-arts program had largely outdated equipment and low enrollment, so it was vital to “reinvent our capacities,” which also meant forming partnerships with Youngstown State University and local media outlets, Principal Mike Saville noted.

The project also fulfills the career center’s vision of creating a product that has multi-use abilities and offers a “holistic approach” toward offering students a variety of skills, regardless of the medium, he explained.

It also allows for staying on top of the direction of the media industry, as well as the latest technology, Saville added.



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