“Above all, we want them to have fun, be creative.” Rick Settoon, Southeastern television station general manager
HAMMOND — Joseph Catalanello, a sophomore at Ponchatoula High School, wasn’t thinking of choosing a career in television production until he set foot on the set of the Southeastern Channel last week.
He now says it’s an option.
Catalanello and two other high school students explored the makings of television journalism by producing news story packages during Southeastern Louisiana University’s Zoom Into Television, Zoom Into Careers. The four-day workshop gave students a chance to see first-hand how newscasts are produced, said station General Manager Rick Settoon.
The students, led by members of an award-winning station, edited, reported, produced and anchored their own news casts, Settoon said.
The challenge, Settoon said, was to condense the information into four days.
While Catalanello said he would have preferred the workshop last more than four days, he now knows “what they do behind the scenes.”
Paige De Leo, 15, a student at Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville, said she is interested in directing movies but that this “would definitely be an option.”
“I learned how to talk in front of the camera, and also learned the process of doing a news story, and how much work goes into it,” De Leo said.
Luke Orlando, 13, said he enrolled in Zoom Into Television because “I might want to do this.”
The St. Thomas Aquinas freshman said he is interested in editing as a profession.
Each summer, junior high and high school students can explore the exciting fields of culinary arts, inventing, photography, television and theater at SLU through the Zoom into Careers workshops.
“Students can experience the taste of these different careers,” Settoon said.
New to this year’s Zoom lineup was criminal justice, digital innovations, and nursing, said Joan Gunter, assistant vice president for extended studies.
“Our workshops are designed to explore many exciting career fields. Participants attending Zoom workshops will be exposed to a real work environment by focusing on teamwork and project completion,” Gunter said.
On Thursday, students in Zoom into Television sat with their family members and friends as each of their newscasts played out on the big screen.
Each of the students took home a copy of the newscast they had anchored and produced, Settoon said.
“Above all, we want them to have fun, be creative,” Settoon said.
The Southeastern Channel has won more than 150 national, international and regional awards in the last eight years, Settoon said.
“Our students are trained well enough to get good jobs, and then succeed,” Settoon said about those graduating from the broadcast program at SLU.
“Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts graduated from SLU as did WDSU-TV in New Orleans anchor Randi Rousseau, Settoon said.
The Southeastern Channel is SLU’s television channel on Charter Cable Channel 18 in Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Tammany and St. Helena parishes, and on channel 17 in Washington Parish. The live webcast and archived Video On Demand of all programs and segments can be found at http://www.selu.edu/tv. The channel is also on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.