By Melody Mendoza
Two communications majors were selected to participate in Univision 41 San Antonio’s Proyecto U or Project U, a local educational partnership between Univison and local schools and universities.
Communications senior Steffany Gutierrez and communications junior Priscilla Leyva will appear in Proyecto U, a 15-minute, student-produced news program which was pre-taped March 1 and will air from Univision San Antonio’s studios 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
The students were selected to participate in the project as a mixed-media team alongside students from Our Lady of the Lake University, University of Incarnate Word and Brackenridge High School media class.
Participants will have the opportunity to create a Spanish-language newscast that will air as part of “Noticias 41 Univision Fin de Semana” (Univision 41 Weekend News), fulfilling different on-camera and behind-the-scenes roles.
Students were required to send Univision a photo, resumé and list of strengths and weaknesses.
According to a press release, Proyecto U was launched as part of the multi-year, national education campaign “Es el momento” (The Moment is Now), which is Univision’s multi-platform education initiative aimed at improving academic achievement for U.S. Hispanics.
Proyecto U offers work experience and coaching for students to develop technical skills under the supervision of the Univision 41 news department.
Gutierrez was chosen to be anchor of Saturday’s show with Joel Flores from University of the Incarnate Word. Leyva was selected to run one of three video cameras.
Gutierrez said as anchor, she had to learn how to do a run down, which gives anchors the skeleton of the newscast showing. “It includes the segment topics, technical direction of the newscast and other elements,” she said.
She said she had to learn technical language used in a newscast, tone usage, and become familiar with reading from the teleprompter.
The program is designed to enhance curriculums and allow student-related issues to be a part of the local newscast.
Jenny Moore, assistant professional track professor and journalism program coordinator at this University, said Univision’s news director Samuel Belilty presented the idea to her about a year ago for this project.
“What interested me was the collaboration,” Moore said, adding that at the time, the A&M-San Antonio’s start-up journalism program didn’t have access to cameras and equipment, but through this program, students would gain experience in a professional setting.
The University’s communications program, which is part of the School of Arts and Sciences, and whose online newspaper is supported by the office of student engagement and the University library, started in 2010.
When Moore heard of the opportunity, she asked Gutierrez and Leyva to participate. She said the students were put into teams with students from other universities and schools, and were required to create a news package with local interest.
One team covered spring break and volunteering, another Luminaria and the final group covered gas prices.
Gutierrez covered spring break with Brackenridge High School student Erick Lopez.
“The first project we were assigned to by Proyecto U, was to develop a 1:40 second-long report about an assigned topic,” she said, which had to be complete within a week.
Gutierrez said she worked with Lopez who had knowledge in Final Cut Pro, a video-editing software, and the two worked with Brackenridge media instructors Robert Blackard and Jorge Hernandez to complete their package.
She explained that Lopez was in charge of videography and photography, which “was very helpful.”
“My duties for the video package, besides setting and performing interviews, also included writing the script, doing a voice over and editing the package on Final Cut Pro,” she said.
Overall, Gutierrez said this project has helped her gain more confidence and skills.
“This experience has been tremendously rewarding and beneficial,” she said.