CSU journalism student Zeya Highley works at CTV. (Photo by Tri Duong, Rocky Mountain Student Media)
New this year, Colorado State University students beginning their journeys with The Rocky Mountain Collegian, the campus television station CTV and College Avenue magazine will participate in a five-week training program.
The idea was first pioneered a few years ago by KCSU, student media’s radio station. Hannah Copeland, the station’s general manager, spent the summer helping student media organize the program.
“The training programs are designed to get students trained a bit more efficiently, rather than our old training method,” said Student Media Adviser Jake Sherlock. “Get them working, get them started. The experiential learning part of student media is what makes it great.”
The first block of training kicked off last week, involving two weeks of instruction on what’s referred to as “all tracks,” or what everyone in a given department needs to know. At KCSU, for instance, that could be what words to never say on air to which artists to avoid playing.
From there, students participate in two weeks of specialty training for their chosen role, followed by one week of shadowing. Once the program is complete, participants can either begin a paid position in student media or take on a volunteer role until something opens up.
“Previously, getting involved put the onus on the student coming in to integrate themselves into the company, and get to know other students on their own and pick up from them,” Sherlock said. “This way I feel like we’re giving a guided tour before helping students figure out what they want to do.”
‘Experiential learning at its best’
So far, 68 students have signed up for training programs at the Collegian, College Avenue and CTV. Another program will begin six weeks into the semester.
The Collegian is looking for writers, and there are also positions available for copyeditors and writers for College Avenue. CTV has positions open for studio crew, producers and on-air talent.
KCSU, meanwhile, is looking for volunteers to work as DJs and podcasters. Students who complete the training program can host their own two-hour shows, as well as volunteer in news, video production and more.
“It’s experiential learning at its best,” Sherlock said. “Journalism is one of the few majors on campus where you can go someplace, get some experience and make a little bit of money on the side.”
With that being said, a majority of the people involved in Rocky Mountain Student Media aren’t journalism majors. Sherlock said 60% of the students are from other fields of study, ranging from business to animal sciences.
“Media touches on so many different industries, so the people who work in these industries need media skills to tell the world what they do,” Sherlock said. “One of our executive producers for CTV last year — he was a business major, and he got involved because it sounded fun. Then he got involved in management and got some great experience along the way.”
KCSU in particular tends to attract all kinds of different students, according to Sherlock.
“Who doesn’t want to spit tunes to the entire campus for two hours or make a podcast that everyone can hear?” he said.
For a list of available student media positions or to sign up for the training program, visit col.st/OM5AK.
Rocky Mountain Student Media is funded by student fees as well as from advertising, marketing and production sales. It is managed by a board of directors and has a contractual relationship with Colorado State University.
A vast majority of the employees are CSU students, but there are five full-time and two part-time professional staff members.