Alumna gift opens doors for student video opportunities

student video projectA gift from SUNY Oswego alumna MJ Cavanagh will help students better meet increased demand for graduates with video skills.

A 1983 broadcasting and mass communications major and executive vice president of advertising sales at the Gospel Music Channel, Cavanagh asked that her monetary donation support a specific need outside the communication studies budget. When the college saw a need for more editing equipment, Fritz Messere, interim dean of the School of Communications, Media and the Arts, knew Cavanagh’s gift could benefit Oswego students in the present—and future.

Student response to previous renovations to Oswego’s broadcasting studio and the addition of a cinema and screen studies major “has been overwhelming,” Messere said. “Our editing facilities became overcrowded quickly, and students were unable to get enough time in the six workstations to complete their work.”

So Cavanagh’s donation funded six high-end Final Cut Pro Mac editing workstations in Lanigan Hall. The computers can run in parallel PC mode so journalism students can use the EZ News package for editing stories. The donation also enables Oswego to teach courses in dramatic video, provide more new media production opportunities and introduce more students to video courses, Messere added.

The addition makes for a better classroom experience, said Jane Winslow, who teaches video production courses. “The only way you learn these programs is to put your hands on them for a significant amount of time,” she said.

Professional use of video on the Internet has boomed, meaning not just students heading into film and TV will need these editing skills, Winslow said.

The ability to master all types of editing, and spend time perfecting their craft, appeals to Tim Nuthall, a senior broadcasting major from Ellicottville. Students “can specialize in not only video editing, but also text editing, graphics, and audio editing” on one computer, he said. “The programs run seamless between one another and you no longer have to use three labs to get a production done.”

John Henry, a sophomore broadcasting major from Saranac Lake, appreciates increased time to work on post-production. “The stations will allow students to do more hands-on work and learn skills that will transfer over to the job market after they graduate,” he said.

Frank Carmine, a junior broadcasting major from Middletown, said the ability to create a high-quality, high-definition demo tape is another advantage. “Upgraded editing software allows me to keep up with the latest in editing technology, giving me access to and experience with better effects, transitions and edit tools,” he noted.

When she started an internship in Rochester, Jen Blye saw the similarities in editing programs to her Oswego coursework. “I think that having state-of-the-art production software and opportunities really help students have that additional edge when they get out of school,” said the senior broadcasting major from Avon. “Employers are going to pay attention to an applicant who already has the skills they may have to otherwise teach a new employee.”

- END -

PHOTO CAPTION: Productive donation—A donation from SUNY Oswego alumna MJCavanagh, now executive vice president of advertising sales at the Gospel Music Channel, enabled the communication studies department to purchase six new Macs and editing software to better prepare students for success in the expanding video field. Here, members from an advanced video production class, from left, Frank Carmine, Megan Hilsop and Kyle Boeckman, do some work with editing software Final Cut Studio.

(Posted: Apr 16, 2009)

Tags: none