Stepping into Broadcast: JambarTV

By Abigail Cloutier

Rachel Gobep (left) and Alyssa Weston (right) are among the first students to sit at JambarTV’s desk as news anchors. Photo Courtesy of YSU

The Jambar has evolved since its 1931 inception and two-cent, pocket-sized first edition, to the 16-page weekly print with a website and social media. In the years since, student media expanded to introduce students to the rapidly evolving world of multimedia journalism. Student media houses a range of media, including YO Magazine, Rookery Radio and Penguin Rundown.

After years of thought and conception, The Jambar launched JambarTV in 2019 as its first-ever news show. Former editor-in-chief Rachel Gobep worked with advisers to launch the show, alongside fellow staff member Alyssa Weston. In addition to being the managing editor of The Jambar, Weston became the first executive producer. Gobep and Weston carved their names into Youngstown State University history as the first students broadcasting a news show on campus.

Before JambarTV, editors created Facebook Live videos and uploaded interviews on social media and The Jambar’s website.

“Every year that I was at The Jambar, we looked back to the year prior and tried to top ourselves,” Weston said. “We knew that where the industry was going, [we] needed to be that all-in-one, full-package reporter where you could do it all from, you know, video to print and everything.”

Even after the executive producer, video editors and studio crew were hired, creating a show didn’t happen overnight.

“I didn’t really understand it would be this huge undertaking,” she said. “Just starting to talk about the little nitty gritty things, like what’s our logo going to look like graphics, music, walking down to the TV studio for the first time with Ryan [Donchess] and looking at how it’s all laid out … In that moment, it really felt real.”

As part of her executive producer role and to get some experience on-camera, Weston hosted weekly interviews with community members and leaders, from Hollywood writer Vera Herbert, to Youngstown City councilmen to our very own president, Jim Tressel.

 “Just having those moments on camera that were genuine, that you don’t necessarily get to translate through paper … not necessarily just like a reporter telling you in front of the camera, or an anchor telling you at the desk, hearing it from them, is just something that I think is really special,” she said.

Weston, who graduated in spring 2020, said the hands-on experience gave her practical skills she uses when she creates multimedia content for her communications job at an insurance agency.

“There’s absolutely no way I would have the job I have now without the skills I’ve learned at JambarTV. I initially went into it [thinking], ‘This will be a good thing to have on my resume,’ and now it’s like, ‘Wow, I really couldn’t do what I’m doing now without these skills.’”

Though this is only JambarTV’s second year, Weston is excited to see where the show goes.

“When we initially started doing JambarTV, the idea was that, you know, sink or swim, we were going to create a foundation that hopefully could be built on and every team after that could take it to the next level and only get better and better,” she said. “The second year of JambarTV was a whole new set of challenges and adversity.”

Weston also shared advice for future executive producers: “Keep connections, network. The people that you interview or you know, send them the story afterwards. Someone you interview on camera, send them the video clip. Those connections will take you far. People will remember you, especially people in the industry. I think it was just an overall great experience. I’m glad I was able to take part in it.”

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