Television and programming are more than just entertainment. During my time as a University Honors Summer Scholar I will create a NIU-centric, student produced television program. While the Communications Department offers a news show for journalism students to create and produce, there are numerous benefits in having a separate, alternative type of programming. This program will hopefully be able to delve into different types of stories than those that are pursued by traditional news sources.
My research will have a few different steps in creating this television program. I will go from the very beginning (conceptualizing the show) to ideally producing at least a pilot episode by the end of the 2014-2015 school year. This process is fairly extensive gives me the opportunity to look critically at each step of producing a television program. First, after realizing the need for this programming for both students and the community, I set the goal for myself to watch at least ten shows that are already being produced by other universities around the country. This is the component of my research that I am just finishing up. I am looking at many different types of programming, from a video game review program to a dating show, to see what might work for the NIU community. I hope that by using one of the formats from these programs I will be able to illustrate the NIU culture in an interesting and enlightening way. In addition to these shows, I plan to also look at the general viewership of the college-age demographic to see what college students find appealing to watch. I would like to use these shows and the information I find on viewership in general as a model for a program that could be either a class or extra-curricular opportunity for NIU students wishing to get more professional production experience. After these two steps are complete I will put together an outline for a show that I have found will suit the NIU environment, both in terms of show structure and available talent. The outline will include my ideas for segments as well as the overall vision for the show. I will also begin looking for crew members and hosts for the show, as well as begin to pursue possibly opportunities for broadcasting. I also hope to complete a script for the first episode before the end of the summer. Ultimately, my hope for this show is to enrich the NIU community and allow for students to learn about campus opportunities in a new and exciting way. The end goal for this project is for this show to be a weekly production by Communications students starting in the fall of 2015.