UW News

February 4, 2010

UWTV’s student-created show, ‘The Daily’s Double Shot,’ debuts Friday night

UW News

It’s almost showtime for a new weekly, magazine-style television program co-produced by UWTV and The Daily, the UW’s student newspaper. The Daily’s Double Shot, wholly created by student journalists under UWTV’s mentorship, will debut at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, on Channel 27 and on the Web.

If it seems like a connection that might have been made long ago, Kristin Millis, publisher of The Daily and staff director of the Office of Student publications, doesn’t disagree. “When I came to the University five years ago I was surprised that there were no on-air opportunities for students on radio or TV stations owned by the University,” Millis said. “My degree is in broadcast journalism … so I felt it important that students know how to do storytelling in all media in order to compete.”

John Haslam, UWTV’s new general manager, held a similar view, and when the two met last fall they quickly decided to try the idea. “When we talked it was like — wow, let’s do it,” Haslam said. It also helped that he is an alumnus of both the UW and The Daily, having sold advertisements for the newspaper during his undergraduate days in the late 1980s.

Haslam said the aim of the show, from UWTV’s standpoint, is twofold: “One, to add to our audience by bringing in students, and the other part is the opportunity to work with the kids and show them how to produce news in a video format. They’re great storytellers right now and this is another way to tell stories.”

In fact, some of the 10 or so undergraduate students working on Double Shot already have some video experience — they’re among those who have been shooting and placing videos on The Daily’s Web site as a way to augment the newspaper’s print coverage.

Sophomore Andrew Mitrak managed those Webcasts and is now bringing similar talents to the new show, as well as serving as a sort of anchorman. “Most of the staff, thankfully, have some sort of background in journalism, either from a high school newspaper or they have written for The Daily before,” Mitrak said. One of the challenges in training the new staff, though, has been in post-production. “The most time-consuming thing has definitely been teaching them how to operate programs like Final Cut Pro — the technical aspects are the most difficult to teach.”

UWTV producers have acted as mentors to the Double Shot staff, ready to help when asked but leaving them room to make the show their own. “The reality is that this is very much student driven,” said Charlie Hinckley, a senior UWTV writer and producer. She said station personnel are there “to make sure the show gets on the air and that they have as much or as little help as they need.” She added, “I am not there to tell them how to do it — I’m there to assist them.”

She said the program will provide great experience for would-be multimedia journalists. “This is practice for their future, stuff they can use on a resume tape. It’s as good — or better in some ways — than an internship.”

Mitrak said the help from UWTV has been greatly appreciated. “They’ve been incredibly helpful. Already I’ve learned a lot about TV producing. They’ve seen our Webcasts — we make good stories but don’t have the technical know-how that they have. Our standards are higher for Double Shot segments than for our Webcast videos.”

Several recurring features are planned for the show in addition to straight news reporting. These include reviews of area restaurants and current movies and a panel discussion about social and campus trends called “The Good, the Bad and the Rad.” For their debut week, the students are planning a report on the Zombie Tag craze that has swept campus recently, and a profile of and performance by the local band Martingale.

Mitrak said, “My goal with this is to provide a different perspective on campus and campus events. Because we’re students we offer something different, not the usual programming you’d see elsewhere.”

Casey Smith, editor-in-chief of the print Daily, stressed that Double Shot remains very much a product of the newspaper and its people. “It’s an opportunity to work with great equipment, but every night we still meet in the newsroom. It still has that organic feel to it — it’s100 percent student programming.”

Still, a weekly show is lots of work. Have they got enough ideas and time?

“It was my biggest concern going into this,” said Hinckley, who has seen much in her many years at UWTV. “But after we talked about it … I believed them. I am counting on them having that commitment and trusting them to have that commitment.”

She added, “I’m treating them not exactly like professionals but as close as is appropriate. I’m expecting a lot but I think they can live up to those expectations. And I also realize that it’s not my show — it’s their show.”

Mitrak shares her commitment. He said, “My primary goal is to keep this going to the end of the school year.”

For UWTV director Haslam, who got the ball rolling, the chance to help the students create Double Shot is a great opportunity. “I have such fond memories around my time at The Daily, and it seems like these kids are building those same memories. If I could add to that experience for them, that just feeds my soul.”

The Daily’s Double Shot will continue percolating with stories and features every Friday at 7 p.m. on Channel 27, and the episodes will be repeated at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday and Monday. You can also watch it online at www.uwtv.org.