People are watching more video than ever in more places
than ever – at their desks, on the road and in every room of their homes.
With all that video watching going on, there’s also a lot
of video making going on. Bad video making. Vertical videos on iPhones,
“Breaking Bad” parodies and, of course, thousands upon thousands of “Harlem
Today almost anyone can take video, but it takes highly
developed skills to make video well, according to Jeff Guterman, associate
professor of broadcast communications and director of the program since he
started it 25 years ago.
“Most everyone thinks they’re an expert when it comes to
television because everyone watches television,” he said. “But if you’re
talking video content, broadcasters make the best.” Which is why he believes
that there’s more opportunity than ever for those who know their way around a
“It remains a very viable field,” he said. “Social media
needs more and more moving image content.”
Guterman has been teaching students to make video since
1986 (first at the State University of New York, Cortland, then at
Pitt-Bradford) long before the words “social” and “media” ever went together.
Emerging technology at the time included personal computers, compact discs and
the first VCRs and camcorders.
Although technology has changed immeasurably since the
program’s beginning, Guterman’s philosophy has remained the same – hours upon
hours of hands-on experience with every job students could ever want behind or
in front of a camera.
“The key is in the repetition,” he said.
That’s probably just one reason the program has been
successful in turning out students
go into a variety of fields. They go into broadcasting, of course, but many
also make a living in journalism, education, law, web design, public relations,
copy writing and more.
“I put them in leadership roles right from the beginning,”
Guterman said. It’s part of his intensely personalized teaching style.
Students have always called Guterman “Jeff.” He crowds as
many of them as he can into his small office for meetings with a real collegial
workplace feel. He gets them off campus as
as possible, where they have to tangle with real-world problems like dealing
freeze up in the Bradford cold and making cold calls on merchants for
Guterman lets students discover what part of the broadcast
business they love, then tracks down leads, works contacts and places them in internships
where they can get more practice in the areas they’re interested in. He gives
them assignments designed to test their boundaries and give them even more
practice in those areas.
It is almost as if each student has an individualized
Jennifer Lewke ’05 is probably the highest profile
on-camera reporter to come out of the Pitt-Bradford program, which tends toward
the technical side. An investigative reporter for WGRB, the CBS affiliate in Albany,
N.Y., she proudly announces her status as an alumna on her Twitter profile.
“Jeff saw what I wanted and did everything in his power
to help me get it. My most favorite classes were hands-on in the studio,” she
said, adding that much of what she learned behind the camera later helped with
her understanding of workflow in a newsroom. She made it clear to Guterman early
on that she wanted to be a reporter in front of the camera. “Whatever you’re
interested in, they find a way to make it work for you. They tailor the
curriculum for you.”
Guterman said, “We’re conscious of the fact that most of
the employment in the industry happens behind the camera, but when students are
interested in working in front of the camera, we work with them extensively.”
That’s just what he did with Lewke, tailoring her
projects and arranging a key contact through one of his earliest alumni,
Richard Jarrett ’94, who was at WSYR in Syracuse, N.Y., near where Lewke grew
What Guterman could not teach her, reporters she interned
with did. She wrote stories and researched for reporters. During commercial breaks
in the field, reporters would have her try
hand at reporting while the cameras rolled, then review the tape with her
“Once I was done with school, I was ready to go,” she
said. “I graduated May 1 and went to work May 2.”
While Lewke has stayed with reporting, other alumni have
moved their way through a variety of technical positions, each time building on
a kernel of knowledge first learned during their time in Blaisdell Hall.
After working at a smaller station, Erin Dixon Crentsil
’07 landed at KDKA, the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, a television station that
grew out of the very first commercial radio station in the country.
First hired in the operations department, where she had
to make sure everything went out over the air correctly, she was asked if she had
experience with cameras. Of course, she said, she had done all of that in her
capstone project her senior year at Pitt-Bradford.
“Jeff fueled my creativity by teaching me proper camera
techniques that gave me the start to running cameras for the news broadcasts at
KDKA. The hands-on experience he taught could only be given in a small-school
setting,” she said.
About seven months ago, she began working on “robotics,”
directing up to eight cameras and setting up shots in the studio. “I have to
stay one step ahead of the director,” she said. “It’s very fast-paced.
“One of the biggest thing that I learned from Jeff ’s
class was terminology. I used to give him a very hard time because he was so
particular about things like numbering every page in a rundown. I didn’t think
he was right. Then I got a 13-page rundown at KDKA and realized, ‘Oh, so he was
When she made the switch from operations to robotics,
Guterman was one of the first people she called. “My family has no idea what
I’m talking about,” she said of her excitement for her new job. “They have no
idea how hard it can be getting set up for the next shot.”
Ryan Emerson ’09 knows. He is the morning show producer
for JET-TV 24, the ABC affiliate in Erie, Pa. His days begin at 10:30 p.m. and
end 10 hours later at the end of the morning newscast.
Throughout the night, he and a photographer edit footage
and cull national news items to create the morning broadcast.
In editing, selecting and arranging stories for the
newscast, Emerson said he uses skills he learned with Dr. Flora Wei, associate
professor of broadcast communications, who taught communications theory,
advertising, journalism and social media.
Emerson said he started as a camera operator, then added
news photography and working the audio board. A year and a half ago, he became
“I required very little training because I knew a little
of everything already,” he said. “When it came to running the sound board and
cameras, I took to it like a fish to water.”
It’s not all work and no play. He especially likes the
fun vibe of the morning show, where he gets to visit Cookie Monster and Disney
on Ice characters when they’re in town for performances.
“We try to have as much fun on the morning show as
possible,” he said. “It’s pretty awesome. I like everything about it. Even
working third shift.”
Marina Wesner White ’08 also has a chance to incorporate
lessons learned from both her professors in her field as well as her minor in
public relations. After graduating, she worked for a postproduction house in
Atlanta, editing promotional spots for TLC and TBS television shows such as “Toddlers
A couple of years ago, she joined Lighthouse Marketing
and began working with DS services, a home and office beverage delivery service
company. She is now the account manager for the Athena® water brand, a national
bottled water brand that supports the breast cancer cause
Wesner White works with Athena celebrity brand endorsers
Amy Grant and Kellie Pickler. As part of the Athena marketing program, she produces
short video stories about the Warriors,as they are called, and their
experiences with breast cancer. “In almost every marketing program we develop,
video is a key component and an important part of bringing a campaign to
Most recently, Wesner White developed a series of videos
called the “Warrior Diaries.”
developed the concept, drafted content, attended video shoots, supervised the editing
of the final pieces and managed the media buy for promotional placement.
“I enjoy the big picture and then working on a variety of
projects and deliverables that fall within the same objective. Seeing how each
piece comes together to support the overall campaign is very rewarding. At
Pitt- Bradford, there were many, many circumstances
I feel like I was encouraged to think outside the box and take on multiple roles.”
Roles that she is still taking on as she develops the