By Marcus McDermott, Amanda LaRiviere, and Jensen Garcia
On Wednesday, February 18th and February 24th, three journalism students, Sophomores Marcus McDermott, Amanda LaRiviere, and Jensen Garcia, took a trip to see a taping of Better Connecticut. During the visit, students toured the newsroom and ate lunch with Better Connecticut hosts, Kara Sundlun and Scot Haney thanks to the generous donation of Clinton resident Lisa McDonald who purchased the opportunity at a fundraiser for the Mark Twain House.
Better Connecticut on Wednesday February 18th featured a segment on wedding bands by Becker’s Jewelry, a cooking segment with Chief Meteorologist Bruce DePrest, and an interview of the author of Orphan Train Christina Baker Kline and the author of Kate Manning My Notorious Life.
The three students returned to WFSB on February 24th to have the lunch with Scot and Kara. They were greeted by Scot Haney in the lobby. He took the time to learn the three students’ names and what they were interested in. He let them know that they should find a place they would be happy in and not worry about not having a clear idea of what they want to do in the future. Scot Haney didn’t get into the news until he was 28 years old.
After getting to know the trio, Scott proceeded to give the crew a tour of building. He explained that everything was on one floor in order for everyone to be able to communicate. Scot Haney was an excellent tour guide and introduced the students to some the some of the staff at WFSB. They met producer of Better Connecticut Jamie Calli Mascia, who told them that producing is a great job for someone who likes to be in control of everything and boss people around.
During our tour of the WFSB building, they watched a live recording of the Channel 3 news segment featuring Kara Sundlun. Students learned how the green screen was used to depict the weather, as well as how the teleprompter works. When the newscasters read off of the teleprompter, there is actually someone controlling the speed of how quickly the words keep moving. When the newscasters have trouble saying a sentence, the words will move slowly, to make it easier for them to read.
After Kara was done, they headed off to lunch at Pazzo Cafe. At the lunch, they had the opportunity to ask Kara and Scot questions about their careers. Scot gave the students insightful information on how anchors work their way up to the top markets. He began his career in Kansas, a station with a poor market ranking, meaning it does not have a large number of viewers. He told us that in the beginning of most news careers, people need to be willing to move to places with a smaller market to find work. Kara also started off in a higher market and worked her way up until she joined Mr. Haney at Better Connecticut. They told the students that being on the news takes a lot of commitment. They also explained how news stations heavily compete with each other for higher ratings.
Meeting Mr. Haney and Ms. Sundland was the perfect opportunity for these lucky journalism students to find out more about the professions involving journalism. Thank you to Mrs. McDonald for donating this opportunity and giving students this meaningful experience.