Agora staff strives for connection through TV production training

(From left) Lauren Werlinger and Emma Marion practice calibrating white balance, focus and zoom on the studio cameras. (Photo by Elisabeth Brockman)

I never imagined I’d ever have the opportunity to be on TV, let alone have access to a broadcasting production studio. 

Yet,  on Tuesday, Sept. 7,  the Agora staff visited the Monroe Public Access Cable Television studio, a local cable channel that provides programming to the city of Monroe. We were getting to know the studio in preparation for creating a short series that we will be broadcasting in the future.

“I was surprised at how easy the setup at MPACT made producing a show or podcast,” said assistant editor Elisabeth Brockman. “Young as I am, I can now envision myself in all the TV producing roles.” 

Agora advisor Matt Bird-Meyer showed us how to operate the cameras, soundboard and TriCaster. 

(from left) Emma Marion, Elisabeth Brockman and Claire Bacarella practice using the TriCaster in the control room to switch from camera to camera.

“Getting to use the studio cameras was definitely my favorite part of training at MPACT,” said Agora staff member Marie Underwood. “Our first visit only made me more eager to get started on our segment.”

For me, it was a team building exercise. The people working on the cameras had to coordinate with the people working in the control room. 

Theoretically, we should be on top of communication to make the production flow as smoothly as possible. In reality, we had some issues with figuring out how the headsets worked and making sure we notified the other staff members when we would be switching cameras. 

“I loved seeing the entire news process play out and seeing how we all had to come together and function as a team,” said Agora staff member Emma Marion. 

Almost everyone on staff is new to the Agora. Training together on this project allowed me to gain an understanding of the group dynamic. 

“It was so interesting to get a behind the scenes look at the MPACT Studio,” said Agora staff member Claire Bacarella. “I had such a great time and am looking forward to utilizing that space in the future.”

As the staff and I discuss how to use our time slot at the MPACT studio, I can already see that having access to this space has changed the way we’re thinking about our news production. 

“When I was operating the cameras and TriCaster I realized how powerful it is to have a voice,” said Brockman. “The local news of MCCC deserves a place to be heard.” 

(From left) Claire Bacarella, Lauren Werlinger, Elisabeth Brockman, Emma Marion and Marie Underwood (Photo by Matt Bird-Meyer)

Being able to use an entirely new medium gives us the freedom to experiment with new ways to reach community members. By having both the visuals and the audio, it will emphasize the people behind the articles we’re writing and encourage our audience to put the names to our faces.

Having access to the MPACT studio furthers my goal of fostering connection. Connection to my staff members, connection to MCCC students and faculty, connection to the Monroe community.

We’re reaching out to you, our audience, with hope that you’re reaching back.