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On the Fast Track

Spring 2010 | By Barbara Hart Dixon. Photo by Mark Simons.

Greater Lafayette cable subscribers who tune to Comcast Channel 5 on Friday nights can watch CLA communication majors hosting an award-winning video newsmagazine, Fast Track. The program gives students valuable, hands-on experience in all facets of TV news, helping them land jobs in the broadcast industry after finishing their degrees.

Fast Track, which began five years ago, is produced by communication professor Pat Rochon, who has an MFA from Yale and won two regional Emmys while working at a Boston TV station. Scott Schroeder, who directs the Communication Technology Center, helps with videography.

To work onFast Track, students must first pass Introduction to Video Production. “That’s where they learn how to make the magic happen,” says Rochon. Following auditions to become anchors, reporters, or crew, the students then plan, write, and produce the weekly program in the Department of Communication’s studio in Stewart Center.

A pair of 2009 grads, Kyle Bloyd and Laura Hoffman, recently earned national recognition and a “Best Reporting” award from College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) for their story about a Purdue staff member whose house had burned down. Fast Track also took top honors in the “Student Newscast” category at last year’s Chicago/Midwest Emmys. As a service to the Latino community — as well as to provide foreign language experience to students —Fast Track produces a Spanish version of the newsmagazine called Fast Track te Informa .

Cecilia Tenorio, a native Argentine and director of the CLA Community Assistance Program, helps students write, translate and present the stories in Spanish, including some with subtitles to support English language acquisition. “The translation and presentation work are amazing opportunities to learn by doing,” says Tenorio, shown at right with anchor Ale Encarnacion and Schroeder.

To see the work of these talented students, visit http://web.ics.purdue.edu/fasttrack or search for “Fast Track Purdue” on YouTube.

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