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By Teresa Hansen
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 27, 1998

TV show gives media arts students a 'Cat's Eye' view

TV cameras will focus on the UA May 9 when a student-produced show presents the news from a "Cat's Eye" view.

A group of 17 media arts students is using funding from the Associated Students and the resources of KVOA Channel 4 to produce the "Cat's Eye" news magazine, which will air May 9 at 3:30 p.m.

The show will cover university related topics the class thinks college students are interested in, said reporter Jessica Armistead, a media arts junior.

"They all have a focus and something that pertains to the university and its surrounding areas," Armistead said.

Some of the topics the class is covering are the production of fake IDs by college students, KAMP Student Radio's plans to get a stronger signal and students' involvement in the University of Arizona's theater program, Armistead said.

The students, through their Reporting for Broadcast News class, are working together on the semester-long project. They are in the process of editing the tapes and deciding what they will keep to broadcast during the public service time.

KVOA is giving "Cat's Eye" free air time as well as a place to work. ASUA budgeted $3,500 for the show this year, and the Media Arts Department also has provided equipment and support.

"The tape has to be a certain quality since it will be going on Channel 4, and it needs to be good," said Executive Producer Janet Liht, a media arts senior.

The class, which meets for 2 1/2 hours once a week, gives the students time to discuss and critique their stories. But the interviews, filming and editing are all done on their own time, Liht said.

The students enrolled in the class said the long hours are worth it and that they are getting good experience in broadcasting that will help them in the future.

"This is real world experience. I can use the tape with my résumé and show that I have had a part in the production of a TV show," said photographer and editor David Wagner, an interdisciplinary studies senior.

Students previously involved with the production of "Cat's Eye" have been able to get jobs in the field of broadcasting right out of college.

"For media arts students, the competition is very harsh. They may have the education, but no experience," said UA media arts and political science graduate Maria Kasson Gillespie. "'Cat's Eye' got me into the news industry. I will be writing the news as assistant producer with KUAT."

According to media arts instructor Ted Robbins, who teaches the broadcast class, the course is a unique program because it is of interest to both journalism and media arts students.

"They get real hands-on experience in producing a news show. They do everything themselves," he said.

Robbins teaches the students how to do reporting, shooting and editing for the film, but the students put together the newsmagazine themselves.

"A lot of people come into the class interested in reporting in front of the camera, but they get interested in being behind the camera," Armistead said.

This is the third year the class has been offered.

UA graduates Rebecca Butler and Kasson Gillespie developed the concept of "Cat's Eye" in 1994. Butler now works at the NBC affiliate in Phoenix and Gillespie just started a job with KUAT. They first produced "Cat's Eye" as an ASUA program.

"There was no real opportunity for students on campus to produce their own TV [show]," Gillespie said. "They needed a way to broadcast their individuality and needed a way to express their thoughts."

According to Robbins, students who help produce "Cat's Eye" learn practical skills needed in the broadcasting field.

"They learn critical thinking, photography and editing skills and this will lead them to careers," Robbins said. "There are people who have worked with 'Cat's Eye' that are now at every TV station in Tucson."

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