From black ink to broadcast

I applied to cherubs for one reason: to improve my print journalism skills. I’d read about the infamous trend story and other assignments and was eager to learn from some of the best journalists in the country.

So when I saw the words “Broadcast Lab” on my second week schedule, my heart stopped. I’d never been in front of a camera and had no plans to start at the program.

“Wasn’t this camp supposed to be all about writing?” I thought to myself.

But throughout the four required broadcasts labs, I was pleasantly surprised. We wrote scripts for the anchors, learned how to do voice overs, used teleprompters and got to be in front of the camera. I even signed up for the optional “Show Off” broadcast club every week.

Still, being on screen was nerve-wracking. At the beginning of the fourth week, cherubs partnered up, wrote a script about “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!” and shot it in the Northwestern News Network studio.

Before we began, our stage director, Taylor Schmitt of La Grange, Illinois, handed me a clip-on microphone, assuming I knew what to do. I immediately fumbled it, not even knowing the mic had to be pointed toward my mouth.

Eventually, though, I got the hang of it, and when the teleprompter started rolling, I felt comfortable. The 60-second broadcast breezed by, and afterward, I just wanted to get back in front of the camera.

Then came the last Sunday, when I was set to anchor a weekly news broadcast shown to the entire camp. I didn’t even know how to sit.

“What am I supposed to do with my arms?” I asked myself.

Under the bright lights, I read the words, quickly rolling off the teleprompter. And while watching a six-foot version of my face was uncomfortable, it made me feel like a broadcaster.

In retrospect, being in the broadcast studio may be the most rewarding part of the program. It hasn’t changed my dream job—being a newspaper reporter, but I know I’ll need these skills to be successful. And now, thanks to cherubs, I know I’ll actually enjoy using them.