The Blazer News channel has been spending this semester ramping up its technology usage to create a broadcast that is more and more involved and advanced each week. The team broadcasts live to each of the school’s ATRs each Friday to inform students and staff of student accomplishments or upcoming events.
The new technology includes two conjoined rooms in the school’s basement.
The first contains two broadcast booths, each backed by a green screen. It also contains cameras and computer screens that show student broadcasters which screens are being broadcast live and which screens are set to come on next, so that they do not miss their cues. Another computer screen has a rapidly moving teleprompter, which is the student’s script for the entire stream.
The second room, or the back room, is where all of the unseen work occurs behind the scenes. A larger group of students runs the cameras, panning from shot to shot, mans all of the microphone and sound systems, cuts in and out with pre recorded interviews, manually scrolls through the teleprompter at the correct pace, adjusts the lighting, and signals to the student broadcasters when they need to come in and out. They also improvise all technical issues on the spot.
With the new technology, the news channel ensured that they involved underclassmen to keep the robust channel running strong for years to come.
“I think they’re actually very cool, the things that we use, and we’re getting a lot of improvement,” said freshman Anjali Acosta, who is one of the channel’s tech gurus. “It’s going to be very cool to learn to use and it’s going to be helpful for the future,” she said.
She said that she participates in many of the weekly technological tasks despite lacking previous knowledge of how to do these things.
“I do a lot of the tech, so I start the livestream, I put all the videos together, I put the format correctly, I just do a bunch. I learned within about two weeks,” she said.
AT staff members Robert Scjader and Alex Holod are responsible for the implementation of the advanced improvement and ideas.
The channel was always so advanced. Originally a zoom platform consisting entirely of pre-recorded announcements and recorded virtual interviews with teachers and students, the channel began as a small way to keep people informed during the pandemic each week. The seniors involved in Blazer News reminisced about its founding and admired the way they have been able to grow the channel.
“I’ll tell you this. AT news started in 2020 in a zoom call with the YES program. Everything was via zoom. We recorded our announcements, we interviewed teachers, we did all these amazing things and it was great. That’s how everything started,” said senior Mateo Gomez, who helped start the channel as a part of the school’s Youth Equity and Stewardship (YES) program. “To see the progress and everything that we have accomplished in two years is just amazing. It’s crazy. It’s fantastic. I really wanna thank every single person that has helped us,” he said.
Senior Roohana Amin was also a part of the channel’s beginnings with Gomez.
“The AT news is a very welcoming family environment considering how we went from doing it by ourselves and doing everything at home by ourselves to how it is now. I think it’s a really nice thing to experience,” she said. “I can’t believe it’s almost over for us,” she added.
The channel has received a variety of praises and criticisms as it has sought to improve its services, but the overall response from those involved has been positive.
“I thought it was great. I love it here,” said guidance counselor Shane Cole after his first ever live guest appearance on the channel. “I’m truly amazed.”
As they finish out the school year, the channel is looking to add new ideas to the channel, such as a sports and weather segment.