Boot Camp: The First Leg Of The Race

Boot Camp: The First Leg Of The Race

As I mentioned on a previous blog post, moving all the way from Puerto Rico to Syracuse was a whole new adventure for me. The change was huge, but I knew it had to be done if I wanted to fulfill my dream of becoming a broadcast journalist. Now it was time for the real challenge to begin: Boot Camp. Six weeks for me and my cohort to learn the basics of broadcast and dominate all the skills required to excel in radio broadcasting. 


The first day of class was extremely intimidating for me. My professors would go on and on about all the things we would be doing during those six weeks, everything we would be learning, and the importance of doing our work accurately. Needless to say, the stakes were raised pretty high and pretty quickly. Also, I basically still didn’t know anyone from the class except my housemate Daniel and Ray, whom I had talked to the day before on Orientation. Oh, and nobody else from the class spoke Spanish. So, yeah, a whole lot of emotions.


Believe me when I say those six weeks were INTENSE. It started out slow with us learning how to write for broadcast, how to conduct interviews and how to look for potential stories in Onondaga County–then the real fun began. We started going out into the community doing our stories. We would conduct an interview and then come back to the classroom to write our script, record our voice tracks, select which soundbites we wanted to use and edit the entire thing together. All of this under some strict deadlines. Something I learned rather quickly in Boot Camp was to work under stress; those deadlines are no joke! Also, you’ll realize that you’ll have great days, regular days and just plain bad days. It’s part of the journey, embrace it.


As the “semester” continued, we started putting together radio newscasts. We were divided into groups of three and we would all rotate between three different positions: producer, anchor, and reporter. I think everyone enjoyed being the anchor since it is so much fun. However, most of us dreaded being the producer because the show rests on your shoulders. And, of course, the position I got to do the most was producer.


After those six weeks ended I really felt like I had grown a lot as a radio journalist. I really have to thank my two amazing professors: Randy Wenner and Jennifer Sanders. If you can, take your summer classes with them. THEY ARE THE BEST! Professor Wenner has been teaching at Newhouse for many years and is the heart of the BDJ program, while Professor Sanders works as the morning anchor for News Channel 9. They really taught me the ropes of broadcast journalism in the best way possible and were always extremely helpful and kind even when I needed them to explain the same things to me over and over and over.


However, what I cherish the most from Boot Camp is the fact that here is when me and my classmates got to really know each other and become close. It is still surreal to me that I have friends from all over the country and even from other places around the world. Oh, and they are crazy talented as well! Believe me when I tell you that, hopefully and most likely, your classmates will become your family while you are out here. You will bond with some more than others, and you won’t always see eye to eye on everything, but you’ll all care for each other and help one another. It’s a beautiful thing to see in an industry that is known for being cutthroat and extremely competitive.


Now with Boot Camp out of the way, I was ready to face the next challenge: Fall Semester. And according to last year’s BDJ class, it was the hardest part of our tenure in Newhouse!

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Fernando Garcia-Franceschini