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By Sara Gouda
ABU DHABI – Eight journalism undergraduates from American University of Sharjah participated in CNN’s Annual Journalism Day, along with other schools and universities Tuesday.
Besides AUS the event included students from New York University, Zayed University and American Community School.
Journalism Day consisted of producers and reporters who showed students how news is generated.
Producers of CNN
CNN producers Catherine Chomiak and Ruth Hetherington discussed newsgathering and organization strategies.
“A good show is a like good dinner party, everyone should talk about it,” said Chomiak.
Images and visuals play a big role in news telling, said Chomiak. “Pictures have the element of drama and really tap in to the emotions of the viewers,” she added.
Chomiak said organization in a news television story is imperative, because the same layout is followed across print and digital media. “For instance our top stories in the news go on the front page of newspapers,” she added.
To help with structure, Hetherington said she divided news into blocks.
“We have block A, B, C and D. They follow from most relevant and recent to old news and updates,” she said.
Reporters of CNN: Becky Anderson
British journalist Becky Anderson, best known as anchor of her show, Connect the World, guided students on how to become more skilled broadcast journalists.
“People often ask me, are you nervous? I’ve been doing this job for 25 years and I never had any sense of nerve looking into that camera,” she said.
Anderson and her team constantly worked together to provide the best kind of news, she said.
“My responsibility is to ensure that I am updated 24 hours with the work we are doing. A good anchor must never arrive to the show unprepared,” said Anderson.
She said the role of every individual in the newsroom is important. “It’s an interesting relationship between me and the prompter, probably the most important. It will ensure whether I execute my segment professionally or appear unprepared.”
Students in Journalism Day
Sixteen-year-old ACS student Berk Uzman said he previously worked with CNN for a project called Freedom Day.
Uzman said his school drafted a theatric performance on human trafficking that took weeks to prepare, and was screened on CNN’s website.
“Journalism is what I want to major in for college. I came today hoping to learn what it was like to operate inside of a studio, and I am glad I had this involvement,” he said.
ZU multimedia undergraduate Salima Al Mansour said she was impressed with CNN’s level of professionalism.
“I got on camera, and received constructive criticism from my idol, Anderson. I experienced what it feels like to be a professional anchor,” said Mansour.