News: Broadcasters reel in Smoky Short Course
Story by Master Sgt. Michael Smith
MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - When Air National Guard broadcasters are not knocking out ancillary training or attending to readiness requirements, their weekend unit training assemblies occasionally call for them to develop news stories.
To help ensure they produce professional work, the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center recently offered the Smoky Short Course, with all kinds of hands-on assignments and peer-to-peer critiques aimed to get those award-winning broadcasts completed by weekend's end.
The Smoky Short Course is now on its second year here as a Professional and Continuing Education offering.
A dozen broadcasters from bases across the nation graduated Aug. 9. After five days of training, they had news broadcasts prepared for airing on the National Guard's "Minuteman Report."
"I want them to get the confidence to know that they can go back home and do this work too," said Master Sgt. Bill Conner, course instructor.
Conner said that the course is popular and that it fills a gap in the Air Force's technical training. He explained that the past merger of videographers and broadcasters fell a little short of providing the one-on-one instruction needed to develop quality broadcasts. The course addresses that shortfall and also provides an excellent "brush up" on the skills some may already have.
The course is useful to all experience levels, said Conner. It does not take long for the classroom to be strewn with a variety of student cameras, laptops, tripods, lighting, wiring and other accessories. That in itself leaves much to share and learn from.
The students received instruction on camera skills and journalism techniques in news events. They also met with a local broadcast news reporter who told them how to get the most out of their work.
In their final assignment, students were given roughly the same time as a busy drill weekend to produce a news story from a number of missions and personnel.
"For me, it's a lot of refresher and review, definitely worth coming for," said Airman 1st Class Aaron Brown, a broadcaster from the 150th Fighter Wing in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Brown serves on drill weekends and works fulltime as a floor director for a local news station. With the training from the Smoky Short Course, he said he hopes to develop news broadcasts on his state's "Red Horse" civil engineer squadron.
"I'll be getting more and more active, especially trying to find stories," said Brown.