Students from Worth County toured WALB on February 19, 2020. Mr. Chris Zelman, who is the head meteorologist for WALB, conducted the tour. The tour started in the newsroom where we were able to see the staging for the daily news. The students were allowed to stand in front of the green screen and point at the weather screen. Mr. Zelman pointed out that the news reporters must wear the proper colors to ensure that they are visible while standing in front of the screen. The students also took a turn at the cameras and learned that operating the cameras is learned through on the job training. The news reporters use a script and read it off a teleprompter. The students also had an opportunity to sit in the chairs where the newscasters sit and try to read the news from the teleprompter. They learned quickly that is not as easy as it looks on the nightly news! Mr. Zelman informed us that most anchors start out as producers and go on to become news anchors. He also told us that the weather reports are done without a teleprompter but is done from a weather map.
Different opportunities for employment at the station was discussed. There are five engineers who work in the television stations and they do require an engineering degree. They ensure that all the equipment runs smoothly for the entire station. Although engineers do make a high salary, Mr. Zelman informed us that a person with the knack for sales can be the highest money earner in the station. The sales department, of course, is one of the most important departments at the station. They sell the advertising time slots which is how the station earns its money. They have a team of ten salespeople who sell time slots to businesses in the immediate area and in surrounding communities that the station serves. He stated that the biggest advertisers are car dealerships.
The students enjoyed the tour and were excited to learn that the station does summer internships and apprenticeships. Mr. Zelman told the students they could apply online for these positions.
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The Georgia High School High Tech Program is a comprehensive community-based program providing youth with disabilities a link to academic and career-development experiences that enable them to successfully meet the workforce demands of the 21st century.