College Student Media Pushing Through Pandemic

By Kenya Petty

Brockport Beat Instagram Manager

COVID-19 is the virus that led to unexpected changes in America. College students were forced to continue classes online, miss graduation, and leave their extracurricular positions on campus. WBSU 89.1 The Point, The Stylus, and Talon Television are SUNY Brockport’s student-run media outlets on campus that were greatly affected when COVID-19 caused the state to shut down. It has caused some students to return home and work remotely, and others to miss out on their last year working for these outlets.

89.1 The Point is SUNY Brockport’s student-run radio station that broadcasts to seven counties and even Canada. The radio station is open all year round due to its official license with the FCC, so there is still some staff working on campus including Derick Abbey. Abbey is currently the station manager of the radio station.

“It has been quiet in a creepy way.  I have been on campus during breaks and shutdowns, but this is different. Over the other shutdowns there are few people on campus but there are still workers and staff coming and going but now it is like a ghost town, but hey they finally have good parking I guess,” Abbey said.

Due to this pandemic, people must practice social distancing so there are not allowed to be more than ten people in one area, and they must stay six feet apart.

“The radio station has existed for over 40 years, so we have had time to build up our culture and infrastructure to supports us in case something happened. Being on the leading edge of the tech wave has helped us so much during this crisis because we have the software that has let us limit the time we need to put into the basic functions of the station because we were able to plan ahead,” Abbey said

“I’m not sure how everyone else is feeling but I can say for me it has been a struggle to report since the shutdown. Not a lot of sources are responding promptly and there is no way to go to the establishment or call the business because no one is there.”

Stylus Managing Editor Courtney Deeren

Although 89.1 The Point is fortunate enough to still be up and running, Talon Television had to cease production and stop all operations. Due to being a completely student-run facility in a TV studio on campus, students cannot even remotely produce content. Lexie Cutmore is the station manager of Talon Television and she spoke about how drastically this pandemic has affected the station.

“We are supposed to cover news on campus and around the Village of Brockport. I personally live in Binghamton and being forced to move back to my hometown made it nearly impossible for me to produce content for Talon. To my knowledge, everyone who was a part of Talon moved back home and we have stopped production completely,” Cutmore said.

Many of the students at Talon were seniors, so this was their last semester being a part of the TV station.

“Most of us are going through some pretty drastic life changes and are taking time to figure everything out. The club is going through another transitional phase. Basically, that means that our current board of directors, including myself, is graduating in May. We have a new board of directors lined up for the fall semester,” Cutmore said.

Despite the TV station having to shut down, The Stylus was lucky enough to still partially be up and running. The staff has been utilizing online sources such as Google Docs to work on and edit their news stories. Courtney Deeren is the managing editor at The Stylus, and she spoke about the difficulties of reporting news during this tough time.

“I’m not sure how everyone else is feeling but I can say for me it has been a struggle to report since the shutdown. Not a lot of sources are responding promptly and there is no way to go to the establishment or call the business because no one is there. So that has presented a unique struggle for some of us,” Deeren said.

Writers that are still in the Brockport area have been mainly covering campus news and updates about COVID-19. They’ve been using the Stylus’s website and Twitter page to get their news out.

“Some of our articles have been written such that a normal “Campus Talk” article would be in our publication. This means we use three published sources from reputable organizations. Otherwise, our twitter is always updating using information from Gov. Cuomo’s press releases,” Deeren said.

Overall, this has been a tough time for college students, especially those who worked for on-campus media outlets. For now, all there is to do is continue to stay safe, stay motivated, and work harder through these tough times.

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