On the Road...
to WMUR News 9!
Well, it’s been a newsworthy month here at Chichester Central School. Just a couple of weeks ago, WMUR’s Kevin Skarupa visited our school (scroll for story). This week, the Rams Record staff, along with Mrs. Duval and her daughter, Juliet, at age 1 our youngest honorary staff member, visited him on his home turf. Allison and Sarah’s mom and Levi’s mom also served as chaperones.
We were superbly hosted by Jacqueline, who took us on a tour of the facilities, which are currently under construction, hence no photographs were permitted. During the tour we got to speak with Meteorologist Kevin Skarupa and K.C. Downey, Digital Media Manager. We also caught a glimpse of News Anchor Erin Fehlau working diligently at her computer ahead of the noon broadcast. The Rams editors asked great questions and discovered some little known facts, most of which will be shared in this article.
There was ONE rumour that our staff tried to pin down for our curious readers:
“We hear there will be a new logo. Is this true?”
WMUR would neither confirm nor deny this rumour. However, the emblems, new or not, were emblazoned upon the staff jackets, one of which was hurriedly removed and folded before our perceptive staff could search for solid evidence.
Being the professional amateurs that we are, we will reserve comment until such time as we can, without a doubt, inform you, esteemed readers, of the veracity of this rampant rumour. Suffice to say, “Where there’s smoke….” ; )
Enjoy learning some facts about WMUR through this Q & A compilation by all our staff editors. (Note: in order to establish an interview style tone, the answers are written to sound as if one person is answering each question. The answers are, instead, compilations of multiple answers and some added research as needed.)
Q: How should a kid prepare for a job working at WMUR?
A: It’s important to have a college degree in fields like writing, communications, technology, history &/or politics. You might look into internships because that is where you can get lots of experience that will help you learn about the job you want to have. Also, DUNKIN DONUTS gives scholarships to students who are majoring in communications. Spread the word to High School students!
Q: How many days a week do you come to work? And what is it that you do?
A: Some jobs are Monday through Friday, but news happens on the weekends too. There are different shifts in the 24-hour news day. Some start at 3 a.m. til noon while others come in from about 3 to midnight. While no reporter has to work from 3 a.m. all the way through midnight, they do keep reporters on staff during those hours to cover news nearly 24 hours in a day. Kevin Skarupa comes in about 2 a.m. and leaves late!
Q: Do you wonder, like we do, how everyone can have so much energy all around the clock?
A: As we were leaving the building, we sharpened our keen observation skills and noted that there is a WELL-STOCKED breakroom with LOTS of COFFEE and HOT CHOCOLATE!
Q: Is the blog expensive to run?
A: Yes, there are enormous servers that cost a lot of money.
Q: How long has WMUR been around?
A: Well, WMUR started out on the radio in 1954. It became a television program about 8-10 years later.
Q: What does W.M.U.R. stand for?
A: The “MUR” stands for “MUR”phy, as in Governor Francis P. Murphy who was the founder of WMUR, first on radio, then on t.v. Mr. Murphy also created one of the first aerial tramways in New Hampshire at Cannon Mountain. There is a Murphy Dam at Lake Francis on the Connecticut River that is also named for him.
Q: How does WMUR get ideas for news stories?
A: The station has a police and fire scanner. They also follow leads that just regular people call in.
Q: What is the length of each news story?
A: The average segment is edited from 1 to 1 ½ hours down to 1 ½ minutes.
Q: How long does it take to get ready for a show?
A: The producer may work all day long to get ready for the 11:00 p.m. broadcast.
Q: How many people are involved in putting on one broadcast?
A: There are 3 cameramen, 2 anchors, 1 weatherman, 1 audio control person, 1 director and 1 producer.
Q: What happens when something really big occurs, like a tornado or a big fire?
A: The station will break into regular programming, even commercials, to cover it for as long as it takes while it is unfolding.
Q: Are you all on the web now?
A: Absolutely! Viewers can watch us on television, the computer and portable devices. There are WMUR apps that you can dowload.
Q: Which is the most popular way for folks to watch your show?
A: We have actually been monitoring that. The website used to be the most popular but now more people are checking in with their mobile devices...smart phones and ipads.
Q:You must have a lot of people staffing the digital section of the news then, right?
A: Actually, until a few years ago, there was one person who was in charge of all the technology end of it. His name is Kirk Enstrom. He is now the Digital Managing Editor. Now, there are three people working the digital department.
Q: What is one of the best things going on right now?
A: WMUR has started streaming live so you can see us on your computer or digital device right as the news is happening!
Q: What is one difference you can think of in the way news happens on t.v. and in print?
A: If you read an article in the paper, it will be written in the past tense, whereas on t.v. it will be spoken as if in the present tense.
Q: You said WMUR is under construction. Why?
A: It’s customary for news stations to update their set look and their graphics about every few years. (and logos????)
Q: You showed us the green screen where the weather man stands when he gives the forecast. Why is it green?
A: The screen doesn’t have to be green, but can be any solid color. The purpose is to provide a solid background on which the computer-generated images can be displayed. When Kevin Skarupa is looking at the weather map, it is on a computer screen beside the screen. It only looks to the viewer as if the map is behind him. We chose a shade of green that is opposite fuschia on the color spectrum. That is because it helps bring out a more natural skin tone so everyone looks more natural. If an anchor were to wear clothes that matched the color of the screen their bodies would disappear. They might have floating heads!
Q: Our Teacher, Mrs. Audet, wants to know if that is the same reason the Green Room, or waiting room for guests, is called that.
A: Actually, back before television, when live plays were presented onstage, there used to be a special kind of lighting made from lime bulbs. It was called “limelight.” It could be very harsh on the eyes of the actors. To get the actors eyes used to it, they painted the walls of the waiting rooms lime green. This helped their eyes adjust better.
Well….we hope you have learned a lot about WMUR. We sure did! If you’d like to know who has been producing this blog all year, take a look at our Rams Record Staff photo, taken at WMUR studios on June 11. We will be on summer hiatus, or vacation (Mrs. Audet likes to throw those big words out there with context clues!) but will be back in business next September.
Here is a link to watch the WMUR story about Kevin Skarupa’s visit to CCS: http://www.wmur.com/weather/School-Visit-Chichester-Central-School/26222842