Stephanie Wrobel

A new student organization focused on offering students a better chance at broadcasting experience is in the process of forming this year.

The Miami Television News Network will officially begin to broadcast in the 2007-08 academic year.

Senior David Spunt, a journalism major at Miami University, is one of the founders of the group, along with Angela Severance and Whitney Gibb.

“When I came here as a freshman, I was frustrated to see the television studios in Williams Hall not being used by anyone but seniors,” Spunt said. “I wondered why younger students – freshmen, sophomores, and juniors – weren’t able to use it as well.”

He took his idea to Associated Student Government (ASG) in the fall and received funding for the club, which will meet in Williams Hall.

Spunt says about 30 students have shown interest in the club so far and he has high hopes for the success and value of the organization.

“When you’re a freshman at Miami, you can write for The Student, so why can’t you also report on TV?” Spunt said. “I hope to eventually have the camera in The Student newsroom – we need convergence between the newspaper and television reporting.”

After Spunt graduates this spring, he will hand the club over to four new leaders: Severance, Gibb, Lauren Pulte and Lindsay Milhoan.

The Miami Television News Network will run three times a week next year, most likely Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Spunt described the broadcasts as “five to 10 minute mini-newscasts” that will cover feature stories, the weather, commentary and analysis. The reports will be broadcast on channel 15, Miami’s educational access channel.

Equipment such as digital video cameras, professional lighting and sound tools and an Apple computer will be used by the club.

The group’s faculty adviser, Howard Kleiman, professor of communication, expressed his idea of what the club will mean for Miami.

“The idea is to give the students a chance to get involved in TV news before or even alongside taking courses about it,” Kleiman said. “The club will also create the payoff of additional programming for local television. Right now, no one – Cincinnati, Dayton, etc. – is covering Oxford news. This club will enhance the amount of news product and will ultimately be great for the community.”

Kleiman doesn’t anticipate any financial issues in spite of competition with the multiple print outlets already in existence.

“Students organizations have a predictable amount of money set aside that comes out of student fees and is constant,” Kleiman said. “Also, most of the studio equipment is already here and because there’s no extra cost in using the studio, the group’s expenses should be fairly cheap.”

Kleiman believes as words get out about the group, more people will continue to join.

“A group is only as good as its leaders,” Kleiman said. “To get the best exposure, the club members should rotate positions between producing, anchoring, etc.”

The first Miami Television News Network meeting will take place at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 17 in the television studio in Williams Hall. The group’s founders will discuss possible ideas for the direction they want to take MTNN next semester.