Archive for Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Covering the Wildcats

Tonganoxie grad co-host of K-State student sports show

October 19, 2005

Shane Howard wasn't sure what career path he wanted to stroll down about four years ago.

At that time, Howard was a junior in high school. He had thoughts of pursuing a degree in education, but nothing concrete entered his mind.

During that academic year, though, a new class Howard enrolled in helped solidify those college and career plans.

Howard took media classes from Tonganoxie High school instructor David Walker during his junior and senior years.

It was then that Howard discovered his passion for broadcast journalism.

Now a sophomore at Kansas State University, Howard is a co-host for the nationally recognized Purple Power Hour, a weekly television show produced through K-State's A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

"I just realized that I really enjoyed doing this and that I was halfway decent at it, so I thought I'd try it," Howard said. "And I just saw the opportunity here at K-State."

The show, produced through KST8-TV, K-State's student channel, is broadcast on a public access channel that can be seen in Riley, Geary and Pottawatomie counties.

Howard said the show is in just its second year of existence.

"We're working hard on promoting the show," Howard said. "We're trying to get our name out there as a crew."

National attention

Although Purple Power Hour officials are working to reach more viewers in the Manhattan area, the show has captured some national attention.

Last year, the show was named runner-up in the best sports program category in the collegiate division by the National Broadcasting Society.

The K-State show competed against shows from across the country. From large universities to small colleges, shows from across the country competed for the top spot.

The K-State show didn't bring home the top award, but the Purple Power Hour did beat out Marshall University, the University of Michigan and the University of Tennessee, to name a few. Howard said Marshall is famous for its sports programs."

Later this month, Purple Power Hour will be vying for another award at a broadcasting convention in Kansas City.

In addition, Howard said the show again would compete for the NBS award for 2005-06 school year.

"Our main goal is to win nationals," Howard said. "That's one of our main goals."

Howard also earned state honors at the Kansas Association of Broadcasters student award competition in April. Howard's 30-second commercial for Purple Power Hour Jumbotron Productions won first place at the state level.

Getting started

As a freshman last year, Howard plunged into the sports show scene with limited experience from his media classes at THS.

"I went to producers of our show and let them know I was interested," Howard said.

One of those producers was Chris Olsen of Lenexa, a fellow K-State student.

"Now he's the host and now I'm the co-host," Howard said.

As co-host, Howard organizes interviews through K-State's sports information department, reports and shoots footage of games, practices and press conferences. The footage is known as b-roll and is shown during various segments.

For most colleges, media members cannot speak with athletes without first clearing the interview with the sports information department.

"I've formed relationships with the people who work here and have learned from them. I've learned a lot in the past year," Howard said.

Howard's week usually starts with gathering data on Monday and writing scripts for the show. The actual show is recorded on Tuesdays and then is shown on television on Thursday and Friday.

"We probably spend 40 hours a week, from writing to editing to getting interviews to shooting b-roll," Howard said. "It's a never-ending process, if you want it to be good.

"If you want mediocrity, you realize you don't have to put in as much work."

As co-host for the show, Howard has credentials to home events for K-State athletics. The show also sends personnel to occasional road games, but Howard said that obtaining road credentials involves "a longer process."

"Game days are probably one of the most enjoyable things about the job," Howard said.

Covering the Wildcats

The Purple Power Hour is a student program, but Howard stressed that the program provides an objective look at Wildcat athletics.

"The main thing is we're not an opinionated show," Howard said. "We're colleges students, so we state the facts. We just try to tell people what's going on in K-State sports.

"If they're struggling, we let people know they're struggling."

Obviously, K-State doesn't win every time it steps on the football field or on the volleyball court.

That can make interviews difficult after a tough loss, Howard said.

"Some of the toughest interviews I've done were with Coach Fritz," Howard said, referring to KSU volleyball coach Susie Fritz.

"Earlier this year I had to cover the volleyball team after they were swept at Missouri," Howard said. "I knew coach wasn't going to be too excited to talk about it."

But with the tough interviews come the interesting features.

Howard is working on a football piece about K-State's offensive linemen and all the knee injuries they've endured this season.

Howard wants his feature to focus on why so many linemen are suffering knee injuries.

The feature is just another story Howard is working on in just his second year at K-State.

"The best way to learn in this job is to get thrown into the fire," Howard said. "I've made mistakes and learned from them, but I've gotten a lot better."

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