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SMU Students Get Sneak Peek at Real World TV Broadcasting

Public Relations Student Society of America Takes Trip to ABC Affiliate WFAA-TV

By Lauren Cook (B.A. CCPA and Psychology '12), Contributing Writer

Southern Methodist University does not hesitate to reach beyond its campus in order to educate students. SMU’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter took an off-campus trip Tuesday, April 6, to visit the station of local ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV in downtown Dallas.

Students were given the opportunity to sit in on the live 5 p.m. news broadcast with weatherman Pete Delkus and anchors Gloria Campos and Shelly Slater. Before going on air, all three professionals gave great advice about what to do before entering “the real world.”

Among the words of wisdom, the most emphasized suggestion was to get at least two or three internships before graduating from college.

Not too long after talking with the professionals, students heard the broadcast director cue Delkus, Campos, and Slater for “one minute till we’re on.” The room fell silent. Campos checked her computer for last minute changes to any news stories and Slater made sure her hair was in place. Delkus remained calm.

“I never realized how quick the anchors, producers and cameramen had to be. Everything is live and just one mess-up can look really bad,” noted SMU sophomore Stevie Farrell. “I was surprised by how small the studio was and how few crew members they had.”

SMU PRSSA President Cari Perez added, “Broadcasting is a very fast-paced, stressful job. It requires a level of oration that is extremely controlled.” Perez and other students were also fascinated with the technology used to announce weather forecasts. “I thought it was really cool how the weatherman used the teleprompter to follow images on the green screen,” Perez said. “It seems like that would be difficult, but he made it look easy.”

Trips such as these are only normal for students at SMU—especially for those in either PRSSA or the Corporate Communications & Public Affairs program. Last November, students were able to tour the Dallas headquarters for Texas Instruments. In addition, students travel to London, England, each summer to take communications classes and visit various agencies and public forums.

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