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WVUA-TV helps put students ahead of game

Claire Woodring

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The University’s television station, WVUA, provides hands-on experience for students interested in broadcast media. It also sets UA students apart from others in their field by providing them with working knowledge before entering the job market.

In a field that is becoming more and more competitive in today’s market, students who work at the station are part of an elite group, said WVUA’s Assistant News Director and anchor Terri Brewer.

“(WVUA) is commercially owned by the University of Alabama, and that is extremely unique,” she said. “It is one of three in the nation.”

Students are not thrown into working at the station. Rather, a core of professional staff serves as a team of coaches for the interns.

“For our students, the sky is the limit,” Brewer said. “We offer them the tools to learn the business, and we need our students in order to produce our work. The students need to perform well in order to sufficiently serve the 3.1 million people across middle Alabama who watch our channel.”

There are about 250 interns, Brewer said, and they are hired on a merit-based basis.

Matt McCoy, a senior majoring in broadcast news, said he got involved with WVUA two years ago.

“I had an internship in Birmingham, but I wasn’t getting much hands-on experience,” he said. “When I got a call about WVUA, however, I took it, and it has been quite the ride. You come in, you learn and you definitely get out what you put in.

“At first, I was so overwhelmed with how it really is a professional station, but then I started learning to edit, going out with reporters to learn the camera and soon enough, producing newscasts,” McCoy said.

Filling in for a professional at a TV station is an option McCoy said he already has because of the skills he obtained at WVUA, and Brewer said students who seek jobs in the broadcast market after leaving the station are nearly guaranteed a job.

“We are really proud to say that we have a 100 percent job-placement rate of students who decide to leave our program (and go) straight into the job market,” Brewer said. “Of our graduating seniors last year, most were turning down jobs, which is quite incredible with the economic downturn, as well as the competitive nature of this field.”

Opportunities to work at the station are available for all students, and applications are available on its website, wvua.ua.edu.

“Our most experienced interns perform the same duties as our professional reporters and producers,” the website states. “Skill level and dedication determines each individual’s rate of progress.”

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Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894
WVUA-TV helps put students ahead of game