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University TV overhaul

GCTV has a new name, new director, new vision plus a new level of seriousness

Former CNN staffer James Schiffman, assistant professor of mass communication, is revamping the Georgia College news station.

“GC360,” a half-hour news program, airs Thursdays at 5 p.m., on public-access channel 4 for most cable providers.

Schiffman and the senior producers decided to take a more serious approach than last year’s program.

“I thought that students would benefit most if they did a serious news show that included community and not just college news,” Schiffman said. “The goal is for them to produce material for their portfolios that will impress people in the industry.“

During his 21 years at CNN,  James said he worked mostly on international news as a writer and copy-editor.

“My last job was chief copy editor of CNNI,” Schiffman said. “Before that I was a reporter in Atlanta for The Wall Street Journal, and before that I was a correspondent in China, South Korea, and Hong Kong for The Asian Wall Street Journal.”

At GC, Schiffman hopes his experience will help students, but he doesn’t want to be an overbearing presence.

“I want to be the person who is making sure the train is running on time. The students will be the ones actually doing the driving,” Schiffman said. “Of course there’s a big learning curve, and I will step in and guide things as needed.”

At the station’s first organized meeting, students created small groups for field reporting to build tight-knit chemistry. Each of these groups consists of a camera operator, writer, field producer and a reporter.

Schiffman decided to establish these units so that the students could find a comfort zone with one another and learn how to work together on quality news segments.

Each field group will put together two- to three-minute packages that will run on a program with two anchors similar to a traditional news show.

The first week’s show will cover stories such as the new school president, an update on the Chick-fil-A petition, the national presidential election, the upcoming 9/11 anniversary, Student Government Association election winners, GC sports updates, local Milledgeville schools,  the “First Friday” and Taste of Milledgeville event, and the opening of the new LongHorn Steakhouse.

Senior mass communication major Jeff Sterling serves as the lead writer, who proofreads and approves the scripts of the field reporters.

Students were given the choice to “pick up what he had done before or … to start something else,” Sterling said. “The staff elected to go with something new.”

The staff looks to become a main source of news for students around campus with both the weekly show and online content.

“This year we plan to cover more serious stories than the more lighthearted stories of last year,” Sterling said.

Schiffman hopes to move to a live show with pre-recorded field reports.

For more information find them on facebook and twitter at – GC360News.

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