Behind the Scenes: Students produce PBS broadcast

Co-anchors Dan Valladares ‘14 and Kelsey Gula ‘14 on Lehigh Valley PBS affiliate, WLVT

Photos courtesy of Lafayette College

Lafayette students appeared on PBS for the second time in two years in “Lafayette Lens,” a student-run production created in partnership with Lehigh Valley PBS affiliate, WLVT Channel 39.

Students of Professor Mark Crain’s Political Economy class managed the production. Together, they developed production strategies and learned to communicate through the media.

The fall broadcast focused on two themes: 3D printing as a technology that displaces earlier technology, and the distinguishing features of the millennial generation, which students called “First Globals.”

“In Professor Crain’s Political Economy class we have discussed a broad range of global events and major trends that are shaping the future,” one of two producers, Mac Ahsler ‘14 said. “We chose 3D printing as a class because we felt it is an extremely interesting technology that many people aren’t even aware of.”

3D printing is a revolutionary technology – sometimes called the third industrial revolution –that makes it possible to produce almost anything, anywhere.

“The idea that you can print anything from a computer file sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie,” Ahsler said. “Many students don’t know that we actually have 3D printers on campus in Acopian. The goal of our segment was to educate viewers on this technology and discuss how it is going to change the world as we know it.”

The “First Global” segment analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of Millennials, factors that shaped that generation, and ways to unleash their potential.

“Producing a broadcast that meets the quality and integrity standards of PBS39 is a daunting challenge,” Crain said. “The key is for students to accept responsibility for the success or failure of the broadcast enterprise.”

Students learned just this. In a previous interview, Ahsler spoke of the skills he learned from producing “Lafayette Lens.”

“It helps students develop certain skills that they will need after Lafayette, regardless of what profession they choose,” Ahsler said. “We are expected to meet deadlines, work together, talk with professionals in different industries, come up with new ideas and present them succinctly to a large group. To me, these are all things that can be helpful no matter what you choose as a career.”

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