Another episode of 'Millennials' set to air on Big Ten Network

November 14, 2008

An episode focused on the environment, with segments about recycling at Penn State football games, composting at the University's dining commons and a feature about carbon footprint highlight an episode of "We Are: The Millennials," a magazine-style television show produced by students in the College of Communications at Penn State set to air nationally at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 27, on the Big Ten Network.

This installment of "The Millennials" represents the fourth 30-minute episode of the show to air on the Big Ten Network since May. Rebroadcasts of the episode are scheduled at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1, and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3.

"The Millennials" focuses on the interests, stories and themes of college-aged students. Each episode represents the culmination of hard work by students in COMM 497F: Big Ten Network, a course taught by Topher Yorks, a senior producer/director at WPSU-TV.

Since an initial group of students in the course built the series and delivered three episodes to the Big Ten Network earlier this year, their successors have maintained that commitment to the project.

"The students are really getting a unique experience through this course," Yorks said. "Their 'homework' is to produce a series that airs on national television. 'We Are: The Millennials' is a fantastic way to showcase the talents of our broadcast journalism and telecommunications students while simultaneously educating the country about the millennial generation."

The students also made the most of opportunities provided by the Big Ten Network, the College of Communications and Penn State Public Broadcasting.

While the launch of the Big Ten Network in August 2007 created an additional outlet for college sports, it also provided a venue for communications students to exhibit their talents. The Big Ten Network’s programming approach, and its stated mission, includes several hours of nonsports and University-produced programming each month.

With state-of-the-art facilities and many skilled students, the College of Communications aggressively worked to provide content for the Big Ten Network. The course taught by Yorks, who was assisted by senior lecturer Thor Wasbotten, emerged from discussions between Anne Hoag, associate dean for undergraduate education and outreach in the college, and Ted Krichels, associate vice president of public engagement for Penn State Outreach.

WPSU, the Public Broadcasting Service station housed at Penn State, has worked diligently since the idea of the Big Ten Network first arose to play a large role in providing content. Likewise, the college has been proactive in its approach to crafting partnerships and relationships with WPSU and the Network.

Although several other courses exist in the college that allow students to produce work that airs on broadcast TV, the magazine production class differs because it allows students more freedom in terms of determining content and subject matter because Kritchels and others wanted the final product to "reflect the world as seen by students, not just something created for them."

Two more episodes of "The Millennials" will be broadcast in December and January -- with debuts set at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, and 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 1, for those programs.

The course will be offered again during the spring semester, and students will produce three more episodes.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009