It became a common occurrence to hear the buzz of a police scanner on a Monday afternoon on the first floor of the Reynolds School of Journalism this fall. Meanwhile, students in Newscast Production (JOUR 423) hustled to edit news packages before their hard deadline. Their co-instructors, Kim Burrows, an Emmy award-winning investigative reporter, and John Linn, chief photographer and Emmy winner, provided students feedback and assistance with gear and editing systems.
Burrows and Linn, who are both seasoned journalists at KRNV Reno, designed the course to function like a real newsroom, with realistic deadlines and expectations. “We'll give you an assignment when you walk into class that's due at the end of class,” said Linn. “We're trying to make it as realistic as we can. We'll put on scanners while they're working and turn on news to make a noisy, hectic environment just like a newsroom.”
Students in the news production class appreciated the “real life” reporting experience, as well as the value in having industry professionals as instructors. “I’ve taken plenty of other classes on writing or audio but this is the first one where we’re doing actual news stories and going out into the field and interviewing real people at real places,” said journalism student Mia Wood. “[John and Kim] are super nice but they keep it real with you, which the students appreciate a lot. There’s no fluff with them. They will tell you how it is and be amazing while doing it.”
In addition to honing their editing and production abilities, Burrows and Linn sought to arm students with skills to make them more hirable candidates and prepared to succeed in TV news jobs.
“We want them to have the skills ready to roll when they walk out of this class. All of these students we've trained can all get a job in our newsroom right now and feel confident that they’re prepared to get a job at channel four,” said Burrows.
For Linn, teaching Newscast Production was more than a rewarding side gig, but a full circle moment. John’s late father, Travis Linn, a renowned journalist and former CBS Bureau Manager, was appointed the first Dean of the Reynolds School in 1984. “I never planned on going into journalism and then when I went into journalism, it was kind of like, well, he'd probably be looking down laughing right now. Sort of an ‘I told you so’ moment,” said Linn.
“It's a big honor, and it's kind of like a homecoming for me,” said Linn “I was here when this building was still studs and bricks.”