For the first time since the 1980's, students can flip the switch on their televisions to see fellow students broadcasting a live news show. DevilTime, produced by seniors Amy Unell and Mary Haynes, is a live 30-minute broadcast comparable to Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
The show has been put together by about 15 students who hope to serve up accurate news with a twist of comedy. "This is the first 100 percent Duke students news show," Haynes said. "It's something the University needs. We want it fun, but we want it informative."
The show, which operates on a $100 budget per semester, will contain six segments--News DevilTime Style, a We've Got Balls sports segment, the Fashion Forecast, Street Smarts, Wendy's Flick Picks, and Faran's Final Word--each about 3 to 6 minutes in length.
The hard news will be presented in two parts. "The news section at the top of the hour will be strictly on Duke news, and the news section at the bottom of the hour will encompass local and national stories," wrote news-co-anchor and senior Julie Smith, a former Chronicle columnist, in an e-mail. Senior Dora Robau will be the other anchor. "Dora and I are going to try to focus on stories that people normally would not hear about."
Getting the word out about news events is a major goal of the show. "There's a kind of apathy about current events and this is something to get people aware of events in the world," Haynes said. "The first show is going to be very funny."
Each segment will feature a live introduction or will be live throughout its duration. "By doing it live, you'll get the funny stuff that wouldn't be on a tape," Unell said. "But it's professional. That's how they do it in the real world."
All the faces on the air will be students, a striking difference from Duke's former student-run news broadcast, which ran footage from local newscasts as part of their program. Many, but not all, of the students involved have TV journalism experience through either courses or internships.
"It was good that they had a large crew with a lot of people who had a lot of experience," said senior Mike Marion, chair of Cable 13, a committee of the Duke University Union. "That really helped them get off the ground quickly."
But lack of experience is not stopping many of the show's hosts and producers, who came together mostly through sharing classes and word of mouth.
"[Amy] just turned on the camera and said 'Go!'," said senior Lissette Garcia, the host of the Street Smarts segment, who has no prior on-camera experience. Her crew traveled down the road to Franklin Street where they asked strangers--and received few correct answers to--questions such as, 'Who is Nan Keohane?'
Some people were drawn to the project by their own particular interests rather than for broadcasting experience.
"That was one of those things back in high school that people said I should be--a sports caster--because all I do all day long is talk about sports," said sophomore Ryan Craig, co-host with sophomore Matt Murphy of the sports segment.
The fun continues with a fashion forecast by seniors Amar Tanna and Jacqueline Richard, who roam across campus catching the essentials of fashion on tape.
So, a series of three-to-six minute segments--it sounds easy, right?
The show's producers said it's not as easy as meets the eye. Even though much of the show is live, which reduces editing time, and the Cable 13 studio boasts such professional amenities as three cameras and a new TelePrompTer, the DevilTime crew will spend hours each week editing and preparing for their Tuesday night slot.
"It really takes a lot of time. I think [there] is a misconception about how much time it takes to put a show together," Marion said. "It takes hours [of editing and on-air time] in addition to planning."
While DevilTime's producers are open to bringing on board any interested students, they agree that part of the show's success will depend on students' dedication. "The thing we needed is people who were going to put in the time and effort," said Unell, a Chronicle sports photographer. "It's been a lot of work, but is so fun."
Tune in to Cable 13 tonight at 7:30 to catch the DevilTime premiere.
"You can get the news from anywhere, but people want something fun and this is coming from the students," Murphy said.
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