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CLASSROOM:Breaking into broadcasting

IN THE

Orange Coast College students take their turns in front of the camera in the hope of landing a job in television journalism.

February 27, 2007|By Michael Miller

Chelsey Chesson stood Thursday in front of an audience that would terrify the average public speaker — a glaring camera, a scrolling teleprompter and a producer watching her every move through soundproof glass.

The Louisiana native adjusted her toes to the masking tape on the floor as the technicians loaded her prepared speech — a review of the Diane Keaton comedy "Because I Said So" — onto the screen below the camera. As Chesson took a deep breath, the floor manager told her to stand still and move her arms as little as possible during the take.

"I feel like Barbie, doing what I'm told," said Chesson, 18, who lives in Costa Mesa.

"Barbie's very popular," retorted the floor manager, John Cox.

The camera rolled, and Chesson delivered her scripted lines — "Moms, daughters, this is a great opportunity to spend quality time together" — three times in a row before the producer declared a perfect take. When she nailed it on the third try, the room broke into applause.

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Chesson was among the Orange Coast College students in William Hall's broadcast journalism class giving their on-air reports Thursday afternoon. The project marked the first time the students had given mock broadcasts before the camera.

Each student wrote his or her own news item and delivered it in front of a green screen. Across the room, technicians added music, background art and a logo in the upper right corner to approximate the look of a professional news show.

"My goal is they shouldn't look like college students; they should look like professionals," Hall said. "If they show this footage to someone, they should look like they're ready to enter the business."

Most of the students who lined up outside OCC's television studio Thursday hoped to make it to the business one way or another. Chesson said her grandfather had been a news anchor, while Gary Talsma, a real estate broker from Fullerton, hoped to host his own real estate show in the future. For his news segment, he reported an item from the Los Angeles Times about actors David Arquette and Courteney Cox putting a house on the market.

Jessie Maslyar of Yorba Linda did an Oscar preview before the camera. She had considered acting on film, she said, but liked the communal vibe of television.

"I think being in TV is a lot more fun because of the atmosphere," said Maslyar, 20. "Everyone works as a team together."

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