Central Michigan University's only student-run television news show has reeled in a regional honor as for the first time, "News Central 34" has taken first place in the Philo T. Farnsworth Video Festival. The show received the top prize in the School, Non-Professional Newscast category during the Alliance for Community Media's Central States Regional Conference in November in East Lansing.
Named for "the father of modern television," the competition celebrates excellence in noncommercial cable programming. The Mid-Michigan Area Cable Consortium, which airs "News Central 34" twice daily, sponsored the show's entry, which was one of 296 in the competition.
School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts faculty member Rick Sykes, the show's adviser, said "News Central 34" is the only student-produced, live nightly newscast in Michigan.
"I'm certainly very pleased with the award because of the quality of work the students put out on a nightly basis," he said. "It was even more significant after I was able to see the quality of the programs from the other award winners."
"News Central 34" airs from 5 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Fridays. In the Mount Pleasant area, the show can be seen on channel 34 on CMU's campus and Charter Communications channel 23 off campus. The newscast also is shown at noon and 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on Charter Communications channel 3.
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Kevin Corbett isn't crazy. Sure, he owns more than 100 watches, almost as many pairs of shoes, and enough cufflinks and cocktail shakers to outfit a very classy army of bartenders, but the Central Michigan University broadcast and cinematic arts professor never gave his growing collections a second thought - until the bike ride.
When Corbett hopped on his bicycle for two to three hours per day after work to train for a 100-mile ride, he raised a few eyebrows. Though 100 miles actually isn't a lot for those who ride in certain circles, people (namely his wife) started calling Corbett crazy.
So he sought out the testimony of others who display even more unusual behavior to confirm his sanity. He enlisted the help of a few students, and the result was a documentary, "Crazy or What?"
"It's about people who have these passions that they love, but that other people just don't understand," said Corbett. "The ultimate conclusion is that these people are not crazy."
His subjects included Diane Krider, interim assistant dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, whose office resembles a top-secret Coca-Cola corporate historical archive. From the huge old-time Coke sign beaming brightly above a bookshelf, to the rows and rows of bottles, to a dizzying number of tchotchkes - Coke stapler, Coke telephone, Coke charm bracelet - everything is Coke-related. When students walk into Krider's office and take a seat on her Coke bench, they often get distracted and forget why they came in. Others have contributed to her collection. She said it belongs to everyone.
"I hate to think that this is some sort of problem," she said. "I just can't throw away sentimental things."
For his documentary, Corbett talked with psychologists about the normality of the behaviors exhibited by his subjects. He found that there is no real clinical definition of "obsession" outside of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which he said is very different from the sort of obsession that drives a person to collect an office full of Coke memorabilia.
Another of Corbett's colleagues, broadcast and cinematic arts professor Ken Jurkiewicz, has hoarded more than 10,000 films over the years - most of which are unopened and unviewed - since beginning a love affair with the movies as a young child.
Corbett said he hopes viewers will watch his documentary and reflect on the people they know who have a misunderstood hobby or collection.
"One of the psychologists I interviewed says that for some people, being obsessive can result in good things," he said. "It can be therapeutic, a good release. And think about it - what would they do if they didn't have this thing to obsess about?"
The film, which features a soundtrack composed by CMU alumnus Phil Moore, has been shipped to competitions and festivals. "Crazy or What?" will be shown at CMU during the Central Michigan International Film Festival this spring, with screenings scheduled for 7 p.m. March 27 and 31 in the Charles V. Park Library Auditorium. For ticket information, visit www.cmfilmfestival.com as the festival approaches.
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A Central Michigan University honors student has combined her interests in journalism, broadcasting and technology to deliver information to the Internet community. For her Honors Program senior project, Lindsey Wahowiak of Wyandotte created "The CentralWire," a podcast series focusing on CMU students, faculty and staff. Wahowiak, a journalism major and broadcast and cinematic arts minor, said the project "marries the two together, which I really like."
Advised by School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts faculty member Jeff Smith, Wahowiak has created six, 15-minute podcasts, three of which are currently available online at feeds.feedburner.com/centralwire. Apple iTunes users can subscribe to the series by searching for Wahowiak's name or "CentralWire" in the iTunes store.
Currently the news director for WMHW Modern Rock 91.5 FM, CMU's student-run radio station, Wahowiak also has served as a reporter for Central Michigan Life, CMU's student newspaper. She also is president of CMU's Society of Professional Journalists chapter, co-host of WMHW's "Geekspeak" radio show and a part-time Honors Program office assistant. Wahowiak plans to graduate in May 2007 and hopes to pursue a career in print journalism.