Being a communication major, one of my recent assignments was to schedule an information-gathering interview with someone who has a job within the field of communication. Not a terrible assignment by any means, especially when the person you interview may provide you with key bits of information about internships, career paths, etc. I managed to get in touch with one of the directors/producers at WPVI-TV and scheduled an interview right away. All I was expecting was to sit down with the director and ask him 10 minutes worth of questions; instead, I ended up with a nearly 30-minute tour in addition to the interview! Who would have thought?
WPVI-TV moved into a modernized, high tech, state-of-the art studio a couple of years ago, so imagine how much better that made the tour. Put it this way: I was impressed the minute I walked into the lobby. The first area of the studio that I was brought to was news, where 6abc personnel were “stacking” the content for the night’s news broadcasts. “Stacking” is the term for organizing the news in terms of importance and timeliness, as well as assigning each anchor stories to read throughout the broadcast. Following the quick stop to news, we passed by the creative department, video editing bays and then spent a few minutes in the control room. WPVI-TV is entirely in high definition and uses the Ignite integrated production system in their control room, which is a fairly new system. You can read more about the technology at 6abc here.
By and far, the best part of the tour was getting access to the actual studio itself, the studio every home viewer sees while watching the various news broadcasts throughout the day. There were the robotic cameras, the “Action News Big Board,” the infamous skyline of Philadelphia behind the news desk… the actual news desk. The list goes on and on. It was absolutely mesmerizing to be inside the room where anchors such as Matt O’Donnell and Jim Gardner spend so much of their time, hosting the morning and evening news, respectively. In the studio, we talked about the history of 6abc and even how the station plans to incorporate social media into their news broadcasts in the near future. You can bet that got me excited.
Overall, I am incredibly thankful that what began as a basic information-gatheringinterview turned into a tour of one of the major television stations in Philadelphia. Of course, Philadelphia is arguably one of the largest news markets in the country, so seeing WPVI-TV behind the scenes, even for only one afternoon, is something that I will never forget.