SBC Grant to Improve Instruction in Broadcast Production at Wayland

PLAINVIEW – Since Steve Long joined the Wayland Baptist University faculty in 1990, he’s taught numerous students the ins and outs of broadcast journalism. A recent gift from SBC/AT&T will change the way that happens from this point forward.

Wayland received a $45,000 grant from the telecommunications company to purchase a state-of-the-art editing system for the mass communications department, a move that Long said will dramatically improve instruction and improve students’ chances of finding employment in the field after college.

“When I came here, I told folks that what we really need if students are going to see what they’ll see in the real world is an Avid system,” he said. “That was 1990 and it probably did four percent of what it will do now.”

Long said the Avid editing system is used commonly by most TV stations and production companies working on TV shows and movies, as well as at many colleges and universities and seminaries. Lubbock school district also uses the system with their LISD-TV, he said.

“The difference in Hollywood is that there may be four professionals working on four different Avid systems at one time,” he said. “We’re not going to try to be Hollywood here, but can be a good learning center.”

Long said the experience on Avid systems will benefit students greatly as they seek employment.

“If a student can put on their resume that they’ve worked with the Avid system, it’s a big hiring plus,” he said, relating how one WBU graduate earned a job at an Austin TV station because of Avid experience that he learned on another job, not at Wayland.

But that will all change as the editing suite is set to be installed in the coming months. Avid experts install the entire setup and provide training to Long and others on using it. Along with the hardware editing suite, the grant also covered a laptop installed with the Avid Express software, allowing Long to take the editing program into the classroom or on a remote location and demonstrate the process.

The grant money also purchased a switch unit that allows Avid productions to be directly relayed into Wayland’s TV station, which serves as the Family Net affiliate for Plainview cable customers. Long said the local programming will improve with the new system in place as well.

The production studio at Wayland currently uses a computer-based editing system, so Long predicts current students won’t have a tough transition into the Avid world. He hopes the increased ease of the Avid system will encourage students to pursue producing a weekly news show as they did the previous academic year. The new system, he said, will make producing video packages for news stories much easier.

AT&T Inc. is one of the world's largest telecommunications holding companies and is the largest in the United States. Operating globally under the AT&T brand, AT&T companies are recognized as the leading worldwide providers of IP-based communications services to business and as leading U.S. providers of high-speed DSL Internet, local and long-distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. AT&T Inc. also holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which is the No. 1 U.S. wireless services provider with more than 52 million wireless customers.