The cameras are set up, and the scripts are printed as the members of HBN (Hawk Broadcast Network) work on producing their next set of announcements. The HBN program kicked off the school year by bringing back their daily announcements to the MTHS community, airing them live every day at around 9 in the morning.
Last year, video announcements had been cut due to the end of HBN as a class. Previously, HBN had received funding from the Career and Technical Education (CTE) department, allowing them to produce video announcements on a regular basis. However, last year, HBN failed to meet the minimum requirement of 25 students for to be considered a CTE course. HBN as a club, however, continued to broadcast after-school events and provide news to the community.
“The major responsibility [of the network] is to be the hub of information for the school,” HBN adviser Angelo Comeaux said.
Comeaux has been advising HBN for more than a decade, teaching students how to run a broadcasting network and cross-training them to be familiar with various skills.
“I don’t want this system to be dependent on any one person; [it’s important that] everyone is cross-trained,” Comeaux said.
For both the club and the class, HBN has set up a system which checks in on the progress of students in learning a skill set. For example, one student who has been handling graphics would switch over to learning how to do camera work, or would work on learning how to handle audio. With this system, if one person with a specific skill set was ever absent, then another individual would take on that role, continuing the broadcasting workflow without any disruptions.
HBN makes productions in the news broadcast format. In this format, a combination of various roles are integrated to produce their works. For example, a production crew is constructed that includes a director, a teleprompter and an audio operator. In addition, there is studio crew, which consists of a floor director, cameramen and anchors. Once a script has been typed up, then all these people work together to produce their finished product: the MTHS daily announcements.
The second period HBN class repeats this process of working together to make their productions, airing them the next period. No retakes or do-overs can be made as it all goes into one take, or as Comeaux describes it, going from “live to record”. The HBN class constantly works with such time constraints to finish their work, often using the club aspect of the network to refine their methods for broadcasting and taking time to send reporters and cameraman to events.
In addition broadcasting, HBN also emulates the journalistic ethics that embody the club’s values. For example, in order to maintain the integrity of the broadcast network, the club ensures the information they receive from sources is accurate through having those sources email a detailed account of the announcement made. These emails are then kept as records for not only HBN to be held accountable for any information they air, but also to manage a ‘paper’ trail containing the recipients and time stamp of information sent.
“With the freedom [HBN has as a journalism platform] comes responsibility from [HBN’s] editors to keep things up to journalistic standards,” Comeaux said. The club’s heavy emphasis on delivering news ties in with their goals to connect with the MTHS community. As a result, HBN often covers a wide range of events for those unable to attend.
Despite HBN maintaining their traditional methods of broadcasting, the network this year implemented various new changes to their systems. For example, with funding provided from CTE, HBN was able to purchase a new computer. Their old computer system was out of date and the original power supply for the system was not functioning.
Therefore, Comeaux said, “it was time to replace the computer” in order to fit with the network’s utilization of high-definition in their productions. The new computer is an all-in-one set, having multiple features such as a main switcher, which is used to quickly cut between camera angles, graphics producer, which can place images in a box behind the broadcaster, chroma key, which allows the broadcasters to utilize a green screen, and the ability to record, playback, connect to the internet, stream and more.
“Except when it goes down, then the whole [production] goes down,” Comeaux said, referring to the potential issue that can arise from using one computer system. Regardless, HBN has functioned more effectively with this new system, taking the first month of the school year to learn how to handle the new equipment.
HBN continues to make their productions for the MTHS audience, and hopes to gain “more participation from the entire Terrace community” in spreading information and creating a more unified network of news delivery.