Teenagers take on the news at Temple SMC multimedia camp

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photos by Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University

After a flawless take by one of her anchors, Amy Caples, assistant professor of media studies and production at Temple’s School of Media and Communication, raised both of her hands victoriously in the Kal and Lucille Rudman Media Production Center control room.

“That, ladies and gentleman, is television,” she exclaimed.

With years as a professional reporter and educator under her belt, Caples still reveled in the excitement of creating a news show – even if all of her anchors and reporters were teenagers.

On July 25, more than a dozen 13- to 17-year-olds in the inaugural multimedia camp at the Temple Ambler campus travelled to Annenberg Hall to film the studio segments of “Multimedia Camp Update,” a news show named in honor of the long-running “Temple Update.”

Caples said the weeklong camp was created to introduce the teenagers to new technology and teach them how to tell a story.

“I was really interested in multimedia and I wanted to learn how to be on camera and not be nervous,” said Maddie Lewis, 13, of Horsham. “I thought it would be a good opportunity.”

The campers started the week off with a pitch meeting, at which they decided to do stories on the birth of the royal baby, teen use of social media and a preview of the Eagles and Owls upcoming football seasons.

From there, 13-year-old Jillian Anderson of Plymouth Meeting said they learned how to set up a camera shot, including how to place people within the camera frame, and how to edit footage.

“I’m not too good at writing a script,” the aspiring camera operator admitted.

They broke up into teams and canvassed the Ambler campus, packed with teenagers attending other camps, for interviews.

“What they did was go up to complete strangers and ask them for comments, which is a huge part of being a reporter,” Caples said.

But the in-studio experience was the pinnacle of the week, even though filming was delayed by some technical issues.

“This was the best day. One of the reasons it was so good because everything went wrong, Which I couldn’t have asked for a better real world experience for these young people, because television is like that. There are lots of technical problems that happen,” Caples said. “What I really admired about this group is that they weathered the storm. When it was time, when everything was fixed and we were ready to go, they were on like stars. That’s really great skill to have – to be resilient when things go wrong.”