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March 27, 2013

SUNY Oneonta student project puts spotlight on community

By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star

---- — Two seniors at SUNY Oneonta have turned an independent study project into something they said they hope will benefit their community.

The two mass communication majors at State University College of New York at Oneonta are producing a monthly television show, “Community Spotlight.” It airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays and at 5:30 p.m. Sundays on Time Warner Cable Channel 23.

The first episode premiered March 6 and is being repeated the rest of this month, said Jared Stanley, the college’s TV/video producer and adviser to student-run television station WIRE-TV.

The first episode of the 30-minute, magazine-style program included the Community Arts Network of Oneonta’s Chili Bowl and the annual Ice Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith. The next episode, which premieres April 3, includes features on Brooks House of Bar-B-Q’s and the local debate over hydrofracking.

The students were looking for a new challenge and working with Stanley came up with the idea, he said.

“It gave them an opportunity to use everything they learned,” including producing, editing and working with people. They have used these skills before, but never to create an entire show.  “I thought it came out great,” he said.

The students, who are also computer arts majors, agreed with Stanley that providing a community service is “a win-win for everyone.”

Kara Olney, from Watertown, said, “This is a really good opportunity to show the community there are college kids who care about the area they live in.” 

With the larger television markets in Binghamton and Albany, sometimes the area doesn’t get coverage unless something bad happens, she said. The show is “a great opportunity to highlight some of the events in the community. They are getting their spotlight.”

She said she hopes to go into television production when she graduates. She figures it’s a natural for her because the first thing she ever bought with her own money was a video camera, at age 13.

Will Racaniello said he is hoping to go into television production or work for a graphic design company when he graduates. The project started as an item for his portfolio and has turned into a feature for community events. 

“It’s something (that people on) the community and campus can watch to learn about events going on in the area,” he said.

Racaniello said he enjoyed working on the feature for the Chili Bowl. “There were a lot of good interviews,” he said.

He said he is proud to have laid the groundwork for what all those involved hoped will continue with other students in the future. It started as an effort to get three credits, but he said he hoped it will live on.