PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University School of Communication recently received an $85,000 donation of newsroom automation equipment from Tektronix, a leading technology company.
The equipment, called NewStar, creates workstation environments that streamline news production and allows for better control of news gathering, editing, reporting, production and management. NewStar lets producers automate and coordinate newsroom production tasks from a single workstation.
“For years, just like all broadcasting schools, we’ve had a major struggle to keep up with new technology and have relied on donations from news stations, which is usually old equipment,” said Glenn A. Johnson, associate professor of communication. With the NewStar system in place, WSU students will have the chance to work with the latest newsroom technology, which will put them way ahead in the job market, he said.
Janet Dunnihoo, a NewStar trainer, said more than 90 percent of the TV newsrooms in this country have computerized systems. “NewStar is one of the most widely used systems in the country and around the world,” she said.
Alex S. Tan, director, Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, said the donation is an example of how a partnership between the school, broadcasting industry and technology industry can work effectively. “We’re now the only university in the Northwest to have this level of technology available to our students. It’s a real competitive edge for them because they’ll leave WSU better prepared than graduates of most other programs,” he said.
WSU’s NewStar lab of 25 workstations will be used for numerous broadcasting classes, to run the school’s Cable 8 news channel and radio station, and as a demonstration lab to show other universities how useful such a lab can be in education.
“NewStar will help improve Cable 8 news,” Johnson said. “It also will allow for improved newscast editing, as producers and faculty will now have instant access to scripts before they are aired and faster access to the wire services,” he said. “It means that if we went on the air at 7 p.m. and a news story broke at 7:02, we could insert it right into the program and have it on the air in seconds,” he said.
WSU’s College of Liberal Arts also provided $18,000 in matching funds for lab renovations and the purchase of computers.

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