World Television Day is celebrated on November 21st. The holiday is devoted to an important role of television in shaping society and its views, as well as the culture that television programs promote. Marking the holiday, we spoke with a person who, being a professional television journalist of Russian television, stood at the origins of SUSU-TV Television and Radio Company at our university: Head of the Department of Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations of the SUSU Institute of Media, Social Sciences and Humanities Liudmila Shesterkina.
– Please, tell us, how did the idea of creating SUSU-TV Television and Radio Company at our university appear?
– The idea of creating television and radio company appeared when the Department of Television and Radio Journalism was founded at SUSU. At that time 20 years ago, it became clear that no one was training specialists in the field of television. So, the necessity appeared for a place, where journalists would be trained, able to work not only in newspapers, but also in television and radio broadcasting. Then German Vyatkin made a decision on creating SUSU-TV University Television and Radio Company. We purchased equipment directly from Japan, and, at that time, that equipment was absolutely advanced, digital. Even professional regional television companies did not have such equipment. When representatives of television companies came to us for the opening, they were surprised, because our equipment allowed us not only to shoot digitally, but also to edit digitally, and also broadcast materials not from a mixer, but from a computer in digital format. That was a very serious step forward. Therefore, we began to teach students not just television and radio broadcasting, but television and radio broadcasting based on digital technologies. When such technologies began to appear on local regional TV channels, we had already been training specialists who knew how to work with all this.
– How is the process of preparing materials for the news and the Youth Prospect program organised, and what skills do students acquire during the work?
– News and Youth Prospect are our main programs that students are working on. I think that news is the image of not only television, but also of university, and Youth Prospect provides an opportunity for a more creative approach to television, because news is still information, and here the ability to work in news mode is formed in accordance with the requirements to news text, editing, filming. And Youth Prospect is an opportunity to create special reports in which there is more air, more creativity, where students can express themselves more. This combination of information work skills and creative television work is the “golden ratio” that our students need. Therefore, when preparing materials for SUSU-TV, our students acquire absolutely all the skills that are necessary for a person who wants to work in television. Already from their freshman years, our students learn to film television stories, transcribe recordings, write texts, edit and voice-over their stories. This is how a television correspondent able to do everything is formed. In addition, due to the creation of materials on SUSU-TV, students develop communication skills, because they have to communicate not only with their peers. We film a lot at the university and among students, but we also film many interesting events in our city, region, and country. We participate in creative contests. It seems to me that such a corporate environment, where a student journalist develops, is the most important condition for a true television professional to mature.
– The SUSU-TV team has won many awards. Which ones are the most memorable?
– Our television and radio company was awarded the Crystal Prize of the Macau International Television Festival, China, in 2010. We were also awarded the first place in Germany: the award was given to Youth Prospect as the best television program in a foreign language (we did it in English). In 2013, our students were awarded all three places in journalism in the Student Spring All-Russian Contest. In 2016, we received our first Student TEFI (the highest award from the Academy of Russian Television) for our contribution to the development of professional education in the field of television. And, of course, 2019 was unique for us, when in the contest of the World Journalism Education Congress in France we were awarded two first places in television and photojournalism: we became the best in the world. Last year we took another TEFI for camera work on the film of South Urals. Traces of Centuries. Also, SUSU-TV received a laureate diploma of the Modern Russia Through the Eyes of Young People All-Russian Contest of the Federation Council, a prize from the Sichuan Festival, China, for the video film called Ballerina as the best student work, a winner’s diploma and a special prize of the Profession: Journalist International Television Film Festival, diploma of the winner of the UniverCity All-Russian Contest of Journalistic Works in Moscow for a video clip about SUSU-TV. Awards are many, but I would like to note that they would not be achieved without editors, cameramen, cutters, directors of the student TV channel, including director Sergey Gordienko, chief editor Natalya Tuchkova, senior editor Olga Maruseeva, and many other staff members of SUSU-TV.
– Recently, a Regional Student Media Centre of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, which will include SUSU-TV, has been opened at SUSU. Please, tell us, will the television and radio company undergo any changes in this regard?
– I think that namely SUSU-TV Television and Radio Company appeared to be the decisive factor so our university was chosen as the site for opening a Regional Student Media Centre in Chelyabinsk. Even before its opening, SUSU-TV Television and Radio Company collaborated with both the Ministry of Science and Education of the Russian Federation and the central office of the Student Media Centre, which operates in Moscow. And now, of course, the television and radio company will be the main supplier of our materials for the accounts and resources of the Student Media Centre of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.
– Speaking about changes. Time marches on, so do the trends. How does SUSU-TV adapt to changes?
– We can speak about adaptation to changes judging, for example, by the Youth Prospect program. It was the first program in our country to use artificial intelligence technologies in its work. The ex-host of the program, Masha Serchuk, hosted it together with artificial intelligence, which we called ARON. We used it in the program for several years. We showed it in Europe, and everyone was surprised, because Aron, in the form of a ball, appeared on the screen, talked, and then it was truly an innovation that was introduced into our television and radio company. We can also speak about changes, judging by the “For You, Applicants!” traditional telethon, which has been organised in a stream format this year. In fact, there are now a great variety of technologically new techniques and methods for creating television content.
– What advice would you give to those who are planning to connect their lives with television?
– Those people who want to connect their lives with television need to be ready for anything. You need to be ready for the unexpected and very difficult work. And I would like those who come to work on television to understand that television is not about glamour. Television is a very serious work, 24/7, the ability to work in a team, the ability to feel a person, to communicate with people. And, above all, a television journalist is a profession that requires full dedication from you. If you give your energy on air, give your knowledge, your desire to make this world a better place, you will definitely return it with the love of TV viewers!