By Christie S. Peterson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tomorrow night, public access television viewers will get their first chance to see the UA through "The Cat's Eye," a new student-produced news show.
Beginning at 8 p.m., Tucson Cablevision Channel 62 will be airing the show's two 22-to-25-minute pilot episodes that were produced this semester with the hope of attracting the attention of a commercial station.
It worked, and producers have arranged with KVOA Channel 4, Tucson's NBC affiliate, to use their editing facilities and know-how when they produce two more episodes that will be aired on the station next semester.
Maria Karlsson, a media arts sophomore who served as assistant executive producer this semester and will be one of three executive producers in the fall, said the show is "something that will interest a lot of people on campus, and off campus for that matter."
Segments in the pilots will feature interviews with Phoenix-based band Phunk Junkeez, ASUA President T.J. Trujillo, as well as stories about the Arizona Icecats hockey team, Spring Fling, Title IX (which requires equality between male and female college athletic programs), and student internships.
Kimberly Nielsen, a news producer this semester and one of next semester's executive producers, said, "there's a lot of fun stuff (in the show), there's a lot of informative stuff; it's kind of a little collage."
The two pilot shows take different approaches to the same goal: to create a program which incorporates general news, mid
sports and entertainment in a way that focuses on UA students.
Associated Students media relations officer Rebecca Butler, who developed the show and served as its executive producer, said the first pilot has a formal, studio-based style while the second was filmed at four outside locations, and is "more exciting."
"We produced two pilots that look ... completely different," she said, " ... to show Channel 4 we could do both."
Although the executives at Channel 4 will have an influence on the look of the show, both Butler and Christopher North, who was a camera operator for the pilots and one of next year's executive producers, said the students who worked on the show preferred the non-traditional pilot.
"We decided we want to get a little younger with what we're doing, less stereotypical of a newscast," said North. He said this approach would involve more controversial issues and would be aimed more at college students.
The show serves more than just its viewers, however; it also provides those involved in its production a chance to gain experience and video clips to use in future résumés.
"This is the only way for a lot of students to get that experience," said Nielsen. "I don't know how else or where else I could have gotten the experience I got with 'The Cat's Eye.'"
Julia Bengis, a media arts senior, said that although she's had an internship at Channel 4 news as a writer, this was the first time she got to be on camera as a reporter, and that her "Cat's Eye" clips would be going on her résumé.
"Being an intern, you're told what to do and how to do it. Doing 'Cat's Eye,' ... we were responsible for everything," she said.
Butler said that although the picture and color quality of the show may not be perfect because of the tape and editing equipment used, it will improve when the show begins using KVOA equipment next semester.
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