UNO class partners with Nebraska Broadcasters Association to preserve history of broadcasters in the state

Photo courtesy of Michael Pacholski
Students in Michael Pacholski’s class film an interview for the Nebraska Broadcasters Association’s Broadcast History Project.

Cassie Wade

University of Nebraska at Omaha students in Michael Pacholski’s video field production class are gaining real-world experience by working with the Nebraska Broadcasters Association (NBA) on the Broadcast History Project.

The Broadcast History Project was started by the NBA in order to preserve the history of broadcasting in Nebraska by conducting interviews with those involved in the industry, Neil Nelkin, the broadcaster conducting the interviews, said.

“As years go by, a lot of these people are starting to get older and older,” Nelkin said. “We want to make sure that we have, in fact, recorded the history firsthand from the people that were there when it happened.”

Nelkin said the NBA approached UNO about working on the project together since the NBA and UNO’s journalism department have a close working relationship. UNO agreed to work on the project since it provides students with real-world experience.

“It worked out great for them, and worked out great for us,” Nelkin said. “I think students are benefiting from it as well.”

Pacholski, producer and director of UNO Television, said the project is providing students in his video field production class with valuable experience because the Broadcast History Project is “an actual working project” with concrete requirements.

“A lot of times, we’ll tell the students how to use the equipment and say ‘go do something you want to do,’” he said. “There’s a lot of loose boundaries as far as topics, who they want to talk to [and] video length. This is confined by a client.”

Pacholski said that since the project is confined by a client, students have to learn how to meet a project’s requirements, even if it means sacrificing their individual creativity.

“You don’t have to be creative, but you have to be competent,” Pacholski said. “That’s something I’d like them take away. Just make sure you record good video, record good audio and let the client take it for their purposes.”

The class meets on Wednesday nights. During class time, the NBA’s interviewer and interviewee head to UNO’s TV studio. Students in Pacholski’s class set up the studio and record.

Pacholski has 12 students in his class. Half of the class works two to a camera to record the NBA’s interviews while the other half works on their own projects. The groups switch off every week.

Pacholski said he then takes the video from all three cameras, edits it and hands it off to Nelkin.

Journalism and media communications major Olivia Straub said the project “has been really good.”

“It fits with my career goals,” Straub said. “I think it just helps me understand how to set up the interview properly and get in touch with people.”

Straub said her favorite part of the project has been meeting famous broadcasters in Nebraska.

Pacholski said the class has interviewed broadcasters, such as Lyle Nelson, a long-time radio broadcaster and Rose Ann Shannon, retired KETV news director.

Nelkin said it’s important to preserve the history of broadcasters in Nebraska because “history, in general, isn’t recognized as important until it’s long past.”

“We think it’s important to try to get that information, get that testimony, get those facts while people still have it fresh in their minds,” Nelkin said. “Future generations can look back and see how we got to where we are.”