Inside a spacious two-studio complex, underneath the Learning Resource Center, is a publicly recognized and educational student organization, Public Eye News (PEN). This award-winning student television news network, also known as WNMU-TV 13, provides students with practical broadcasting work experience.
Founded in 1975, PEN provides news packages, weather and sports updates, features and national news from various networks like, CBS, ABC and NBC. The program’s long-standing efforts also earned them the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Award in 2014.
Public Eye newscasts are shown daily on channel 13 at 4 p.m. for 15 minutes of live action. Anchors and producers provide stories at 1 p.m. for crew roll call to gather news stories and breaking news updates. At 2:40 p.m., the behind-the-scenes crew files in to set up cameras and turn on graphics backstage. Every show begins with one or two practice runs to check on equipment, such as the camera, graphics, sound and green screen, which is utilized for weather.
WNMU Station Manager Bruce Turner said that Public Eye News is known for recruiting anyone to help run a smooth newscast regardless of experience.
“We started this institution to see what the real world of television is like, and it’s better than what I expected,” Turner said. “The enthusiasm here has grown each year.”
Turner added that having the experience working at PEN can increase chances of finding a career in broadcasting.
“We have had a number of students who, by working with both Public Eye and the productions with other programs, ended up not just graduating and finding jobs, but finding better than average jobs down the line,” Turner said.
Working on the show for three years in various positions, show producer and communications senior Todd Rose said it’s the place for those interested in broadcasting.
“Whether it’s doing camera work, being a news anchor or doing sports, this is the best place on campus to get your start on media production,” Rose said.
Being a part of Public Eye News can also be used for internship credits to students for communications and performance studies, and art and design majors.
Media production and new technology senior Erika Flint said the hands-on experience of being a sports anchor and being part of the crew are key to learning while on the job.
“The atmosphere of acceptance here is very important. If people make mistakes, it’s okay because we don’t dwell on them,” Flint said. “Instead, we learn from it, move on and get better at it. It’s great for people like me starting out.”