Extraordinary Experiences

Christi Mitchell likes the unique aspects of OBU’s communication arts division. It helped her gain a unique distinction this fall, when she won the Overall Broadcast category in the Baptist Press Excellence in Journalism Award Competition.

A telecommunication and cross-cultural ministry major, Mitchell said her professors’ varied areas of expertise in telecommunication prepares students for a variety of disciplines.

“They are all specialized in a different area within our field, whether it is sports production, writing, visual media or comedy,” said the junior from the southwestern Oklahoma town of Blair.

The telecommunication faculty seeks to create a learning environment in which the students receive proper training through practical experience, according to Dr. Roger Hadley, chair of the communication arts division and professor of telecommunication. Students become familiar with different aspects of the profession, such as news, production or even music videos.

“The professors are there to guide us, but everything is student-produced and a hands-on learning experience. We get to develop our technical skills and combine them with creativity which we use for our assignments,” Mitchell said.

Skills learned in the classroom setting directly link to skills the students will use in their future work environments. Assignments completed inside and outside of the classroom are designed to aid in refining the students’ skills.

“What we do in class are things we can actually apply to News30 or our live televised basketball games,” Mitchell said.

Her award-wining entry in the Baptist Press competition was a news report she had previously completed for News30, a weekly live broadcast.

News30 is produced by 15 to 20 student volunteers, provides an atmosphere where the students can learn about the value of professional preparation and the abilities needed to carry out a live production. The volunteers work in a rotation, which gives each student the chance to practice several roles in a live broadcast.

“I’ve been able to be in front of the camera and behind the camera. It’s nice to do both,” Mitchell said.

With News30, Mitchell previously was an anchor and currently is director. Through the telecommunication program, she has received opportunities to expand her learning experiences beyond OBU.

“I’ve been able to do different sorts of internships  one with a news station, one with live televised sports in Oklahoma City and I also had a job in radio over the summer,” she said.

“We get to do some pretty extraordinary things. Our major is time consuming but at the same time I am really able to see what it will be like in the real world,” Mitchell said.