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Students? work on CTV

by admin March 30, 2010

A construction worker’s unfortunate mistake turned into journalistic opportunity for a few Concordia students who saw their video footage used by CTV news.
Construction workers at the corner of Sherbrooke St. West and West Broadway St. cut through a natural gas pipeline last Friday, causing a leak that disrupted most classes on the Loyola campus, including one of the journalism program’s intermediate television classes. While all students were forced to evacuate the building, the TV students jumped at the opportunity to shoot the news unfolding at their doorstep.
“I encouraged them to film it because we were going to talk about and practice live reporting and suddenly a story breaks on us,” professor Caroline van Vlaardingen said. “Plus it was the perfect example of a story where you might be sent down to do a live with little information on what was going on and just a lot of confusion.”
The situation offered the students a real-time test of their skills, a lesson that could not have been created in a class. “In fact one of my students jokingly asked me if I’d broken the gas pipe just to see how they’d react,” van Vlaardingen joked, adding “I promise you – I didn’t!”

Journalism student Kevyn MacGraw said that while the footage wasn’t necessarily easy to get, they were able to capture some quality visuals. “We interviewed a security guard, went out and filmed the fire trucks arriving, all we could get really. We even had to jump a fence,” he said. For a while they were the only journalists filming.
Van Vlaardingen is a CTV news reporter, and emailed the station to notify them about the gas leak. While the station did end up sending their own camera, the majority of the visual footage used was that of the students.
“At around 4, Arndell Leblanc and I get a call from our teacher telling us to call Todd,” McGraw said, referring to CTV news anchor Todd van der Heyden.
For her part van Vlaardingen was extremely satisfied with the class. “They had to react quickly to a real-time changing situation,” she said. “No pre-interviews, no research, just shooting, asking questions on the fly and turning around and having to get it on the air that same day.”
The professor couldn’t help but be happy for her students, noting that everyone remembers the first time they see their work on air. “It was CTV Montreal’s second story in the line-up that day just behind the lead on the new [Université de Montréal] superhospital. So all in all, a lot to be proud of,” she said.

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