NU broadcasting goes digital

Network equipment gives students real world experience

By Destiny Lauren
J Alumni News staff

The NU broadcasting department has updated its equipment with a new software package called EaZy News that gives students a work environment similar to that of the real world.

Students who work with EaZy News on campus will be prepared to work at any newsroom in the nation said Jerry Renaud, chairman of the broadcasting department.

“We wanted to give students a chance to work with equipment similar to what they’ll see on the job,” Renaud said. “Students have been pleased and recognized that it has been both nicer and easier to do a number of new things.”

EaZy News provides everything that is needed to produce a news story. It is a Windows-based program and gives instant access to the Internet. That makes it easier to work with than the old BASYS system that the broadcasting department used for about eight years.

“This past summer it was so chaotic in the newsroom,” senior broadcasting major, Lesley Owusu said. “Now we have new printers and quality paper. Everything is so organized and in perfect order. Things are so much faster and more economical with the new program.”

In the past, students had to record every story on a cassette tape and then dub the interview into a cartridge. The cartridge would then be inserted into the computer in order to retrieve the interview.

The new system, however, is all digital. EaZy News allows students to hook telephones up to the computers so that their interviews will be recorded as audio. All networks are recorded to the hard drive on the computer, allowing students to go back into the same computer system to edit and play the story back.

“It (the old system) was like the stone ages compared to what we have now,” senior broadcasting major Joakim Larsson said. “The new system is so easy and effective and saves so much time. I also think we will be more prepared when we graduate and more confident that we can work anywhere.”

The EaZy News program, which was purchased with money from student fees, cuts the work and time needed to produce a show. On the television side, the computer operates as a cueing device. The entire script and all the stories are written on computer. The computer then figures out how long each story is and how long it will take to read.

“A newscast is 27 minutes long, and writing our stories on the computer saves us (the students) a lot of time since it will tell us exactly how long each story will take to read,” Larsson said.

The program is also designed to help students organize AP wire stories and to write their own stories.

“Before, we used to have tons and tons of paper printed out, and students would have to go through them all to find what they were looking for,” said Rick Alloway, general manager for KRNU and lecturer in broadcasting. “Now the computer sorts news stories by different categories so that all weather information will be together, all sports and so on. This saves the students a lot of time.”

The newsroom also has more work stations now — seven instead of five — which allows for faster, smoother production.

“There are still some things we need to update,” Renaud said, “and we are also in the process of working out some of the bugs. But networking all our audio has been wonderful. It was a good investment and a good purchase.”