Journalism classes to produce content for WERS

by Jacqueline Menjivar / Beacon Correspondent • February 4, 2016

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Aidan Connelly

WERS, Emerson’s student radio station, is preparing to air audio packages produced by journalism students last fall, and will collaborate with more classes this semester.

Tim Riley, an assistant journalism professor, first came up with the idea for classes to produce content for WERS last September to allow more student-reported news to be aired on the station. His fall 2015 section of The Digital Journalist served as a pilot course for the partnership.

Only two student packages will be going to air from last semester, but the other work will be used as examples for classes this semester, according to Riley.

Aidan Connelly, WERS news coordinator, visited Douglas Struck’s The Digital Journalist class to speak with them about also contributing student-produced news packages to the station. Connelly said he plans to ultimately meet with every section of the course running this semester to talk about the partnership.

“No student packages have been broadcast as of yet,” Connelly said. “We’re just getting the ball rolling.”

Connelly said that the broadcasting of packages would depend on when the classes start to learn the skills necessary to create such content, like audio editing.

Riley said that his class is interviewing people on the street near campus for a compilation called “A View From the Common.”

“They’re doing [interviews] for class anyway [and then we’ll] get them up on the afternoon air time on WERS as just a small segment,” Riley said.

Selah Pomeranitz, a freshman journalism major, is in Struck’s section of the course. He said that his class is currently working on short audio projects.

“We’re just practicing all the elements that go into the radio package, like writing a script, conducting interviews, and contacting sources,” Pomeranitz said.

Pomeranitz said Struck let students pick any subjects to cover that were vaguely timely, so Pomeranitz chose to interview people about the recent Kanye West Twitter controversy, where West openly disparaged rapper Wiz Khalifa and West’s ex-girlfriend Amber Rose. He said the experience has been positive so far, and he signed up to report for WERS’ public affairs show, You Are Here.

Javier Rodriguez, a sophomore journalism major, was in Riley’s pilot class. He said that he was contacted by Connelly this semester to edit one of his packages to go on air, but he didn’t have time to do further work on it.

Rodriguez said he they didn’t discuss the collaboration with WERS much in class.

“I had no clue what was going on,” Rodriguez said. “[WERS] just took the packages.”

Connelly said that WERS has yet to decide when they will air student packages, but he said he hopes to begin in the next few weeks.

“The goal is to give students an outlet to have their projects heard,” Connelly said, “to be able to make cool journalism and put it out there.”

Deputy News Editor Katherine Burns and Assistant News Editor Nathanael King, who both are or were enrolled in this course, did not edit this article.