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MCN87 Rings in the New Year with Upgrade – The Highlander

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Michael Gombita, Reporter

The communications department is starting off the new year with a long-awaited technology upgrade.

   Dr. Melissa Sgroi, department chair, and Dan Kimbrough, assistant professor, led the way in upgrading the studio to a state-of-the-art Tricaster video control system with the help of engineers Carl Budrecki and Dan Matern from Fox 56.

   “We began on January 5 by pulling stuff out of the studio to finishing the setup and connections on January 8,” said Kimbrough. “We were basically starting from scratch because everything in the studio was in need of replacement.”

   The studio had been upgraded to and analog platform in 2005. Analog is the most basic form of a television studio, which involves tapes and a lengthy process of completing and exporting finalized work. With the upgrade complete, the communications department is able to work in a high-definition or HD. The studio no longer needs tapes to record and the Tricaster eliminates the worry about aging decks and tape storage an organization. Television staffers will now digitally record data and store it in files, similar to a desktop computer saving a Word document.

   “This is an entirely digital system that eliminates an awful lot of hardware because all of the software that takes care of the recording is included in the TriCaster,” said Sgroi. “All of the software and equipment is included in the machine so there is no need for multiple pieces of equipment. The TriCaster does it all.”

   Included in the TriCaster system is the TriCaster control board, two flat-screened monitors, and a new audio board.    

   Sgroi said the communications department is interested in purchasing HD cameras to go along with the rest of the equipment in the control room.

   One feature that students will most likely use in projects allows the creation of virtual sets. Talent featured in shows or projects can be set in a tropical paradise to even in outer space.

   Engineers removed old equipment to install the TriCaster system, and the only snag was stripped screws in the  old equipment that needed to be removed.

   “We were removing so many monitors and cables that were used for VCR and Beta Tapes, and in the digital age we are in now, we are no longer using any of those types of recording technologies. We do have a VCR and Beta Tape player, but it is not necessary to equip the new technology with those types of players.”

   Students will now have an opportunity to use equipment that many professional television stations are also upgrading to. Some professional studios in the area are using the same equipment.

   “We want the communications department and MCN87 to be something that Misericordia University faculty and student body is proud of,” said Kimbrough. “It is good to say that we have a state-of-the-art studio and mean it. Students graduating Misericordia University will be able to get jobs and move  forward in their skill and how marketable they will be applying for a job.”

   Taryn Talacka, junior communications major and producer of the MCN87’s college television show “Hey You, MU!,” looks forward to using the new technology.

   “Our field of communications is always changing, so being able to update our technology helps us transition to the college environment to the work environment, and it is really great to see this monumental change,” said Talacka. “We’re hoping to incorporate some shows for ‘Hey You, MU!’ in the studio because it is much easier to accomplish now.”

   The department always encourages students of all majors to take classes and participate in student media. One course open to all students is Video Production I.

   Students can also be involved with MCN 87’s “MU Sports Reporters,” which is recorded in the studio. This show consists of a three-person round-table discussion of current topics in the world of sports. This is no prerequisite for this activity so anyone who is interested in sports or video production and is willing to work is welcome to sign up with the communications department.

   Faculty and students who cannot make it to live shootings can view all of the studio action on Vimeo at vimeo.com/mucom. Facebook users can also keep up to date on social media by liking MCN87.

MLK Events A Success During Full Schedule – The Highlander

Full story here.

Michael Gombita, Reporter

Some students are questioning why the university did not have a compressed schedule on Martin Luther King Day, but officials say campus celebrations were a success without it.

   Officials had originally planned a compressed schedule to provide time for teach-ins and other activities, but officials nixed the plan and notified students about the change on Friday.

   “Not having a compressed schedule feels kind of wrong,” said freshman chemistry major Victoria Bednar. “It is a national holiday, and businesses such as the post office are closed and they should respect that.”

   Matthew Hinton, Coordinator of Writing in the Student Success Center and member of the planning committee, said many events were spread over time so they could be held within a regular class schedule.

   “The intent of having a compressed schedule was for teachers and faculty to be able to do teach-ins at this time. We did notice, however, that teachers were doing lessons for the celebration all week, so this allowed breathing room for other activities,” said Hinton.

   Hinton said no planned activities were impacted by the full class schedule. Events included faculty teach-ins, a United Nations anti-racism pledge, a multimedia performance, a film showing, an ecumenical prayer service, a soul food lunch and Babel Poetry.

   The UN pledge against racism was among the most popular events among students, faculty and staff.

   “We acquired well over 200 signatures to make the pledge,” said Hinton.

   Each person who signed the pledge received  a special pin that shows the face of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

   “We handed out many buttons to those who accepted the pledge after signing it,” said Hinton.

   The committee’s goal was to help students, faculty and staff appreciate the individuality of every person on campus, in the community and throughout the world.

   “Each activity touches a key part of our life here at Misericordia,” said Hinton. “Some are entertaining yet thoughtful, such as the movie ‘Dear White People.’” The film, which was included the day’s celebrations, is a satirical comedy that focuses on the lives of four black students at an Ivy League college.

   “I felt that the movie showed a different perspective of racism in American Universities,” said junior communications major Christa Porasky.

   The planning committee has already begun planning the 2016 celebration.

   “Whatever the results are from this year, you have to take from it and learn from it and develop for next year,” said Hinton. “It is only going to get more interesting and better every year. “I love it and looking forward to continuing it. I take it very seriously and I am very humble to have this responsibility,” said Hinton.

   Hinton said the events – as well as the tasks that went into organizing them – were a learning opportunity.

   “Being in the planning committee, you learn a lot of how to make activities like this happen on campus. Just being in the room with the other committee members, you learn a lot from just them.”

   In addition to Hinton, committee members include  Maria Cabrera, Sister Jean Mesaros, Darcy Brodmerkel, Dr. James Calderone.