As students awaited their auditions for News 3 New Mexico Wednesday, the air-conditioned conference room at the KENW broadcast center offered a brief respite from the 100-degree temperatures outside.
Down the hallway, however, students would feel the heat of television lights, welcoming them into months of hands-on experience and an audience of people who may never set foot in Portales, let alone on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University.
Wednesday was the second day of a three-day closed audition process at the broadcast center, where news director Janet Bresenham got a first look at about two dozen students from communications and other majors aspiring to join the 2011-12 edition of the News 3 New Mexico student broadcasts.
Bresenham said each student gets a 10-minute audition, which includes an interview with Bresenham and an on-camera news reading. Each student got the script a week in advance, and can either read from a script or the teleprompter in the studio.
During the process, Bresenham is concerned with their knowledge of journalism, but stresses that she wants professional attitudes first. Included in the scripts, for example, are pronunciations that will show her whether the auditioner took time to research or just ignored the script until audition day.
“Are they going to show up for interviews? Are they going to be professional? I can teach them about experience,” said Bresenham, who got her first broadcast experience in radio at KVSF in Santa Fe and has worked for various New Mexico and Texas newspapers and magazines. “I can teach them what the terms are.”
The Wednesday auditions included a range of students, from a graduate assistant to a returning college student to a veteran of the previous year’s news team.
Sophomore Natali Fuller, a double major in broadcast journalism and Spanish, would like to someday do national reporting, either in broadcast news or entertainment news.
“I want to do this as a career,” said Fuller, a Farmington native. “I’ll really know how to do my job (when I finish here). It’s some good experience, so when I do graduate I’ll be better off.”
Preceding Fuller was Amanda Knox, who spent two-and-a-half years at ENMU after graduating from Floyd in 2000. For about eight years after that, she and her husband lived in West Lake Stevens, Wash., just north of Seattle. While there, she had the chance to act in a student movie and an independent film, and she took an interest in the behind-the-scenes work. Now she’s back in school, looking to complete a degree in broadcast production.
“I want to do documentaries or possibly a hunting show,” Knox said. “I need to be able to do everything in the field.”
Following the audition period, Bresenham said she will take about two weeks to evaluate the auditions and the interviews, and create news teams for 5 p.m. broadcasts Monday through Thursday. She wants students to be assured that everybody will be expected to do behind-the-scenes work.
The aim is to be on the air in mid-October, and leadup training will incorporate other instructors from the Fine Arts Department, which now includes the broadcast program. Instruction will include voice work and on-screen presence.
Bresenham said the key is to make students cognizant that they have the same audience as any other show on the KENW schedule.
“This is not an on-campus news program,” Bresenham said. “They’re going out to homes across New Mexico.”