BYU uses technology to communicate values


    By Stacey Reed

    Technology can serve as a great tool. For BYU, it has been a primary means for the university to communicate its values and extend its influence throughout the world.

    Whether it is through radio, television, Internet or newspaper, viewers everywhere can discover what”s going on at BYU.

    And these media have gone through and are continuing to go through changes and improvements to better serve students, alumni and interested audiences worldwide.

    BYUTV, a 24-hour satellite and cable TV broadcast network, came into existence in 1999 after BYU Broadcasting acquired approval to air a public interest channel.

    Since then the network has become more than ever envisioned, said Duane Roberts, general manager of academics and educational services at BYU Broadcasting.

    “When we first started, we didn”t understand the impact it would have,” said. “People watch it more than we thought they would.”

    As of now, BYUTV is available in about 20 million homes and the number is growing.

    Some of the programs the network provides its audiences with are selected devotionals, musical performances, sporting events, general conferences, faculty discussions and CES firesides.

    “I think BYUTV has the potential to communicate and connect with members of the church and with people interested in LDS values,” Roberts said. “People connect to that and are being touched.”

    President Bateman related an experience he had because of BYUTV in a 2002 summer issue of BYU Magazine.

    He said a couple he knew while living in Pennsylvania called him after watching him speak at a Devotional and said it helped them feel fully connected to the church for the first time.

    “We believe BYUTV offers an opportunity to create a community of viewers around the country who are connected to BYU,” he said in the article.

    BYUTV is available to audiences through direct satellite broadcast services such as DirecTV and Dish Network, cable carriers, the LDS Church satellite system and the Internet.

    In addition, BYU Broadcasting is exploring the idea of having continuing education courses available through BYUTV, said Diena Simmons, television program services manager for BYU Broadcasting.

    Simmons said it”s possible that in the future students may be able to get credit for a class through BYUTV.

    “We”re happy to provide it as a service if the university and academic departments would like it done,” she said.

    Simmons said the missions and scope of distribution of KBYUTV and BYUTV are different.

    “One of BYUTV”s missions is to share things that happen on campus and share it with the world,” she said. “KBYUTV is a local PBS service that provides children, nature, documentary and university programs.”

    Jim Bell, manager of marketing and communications at BYU Broadcasting, said BYUTV makes it possible for someone in Nebraska to watch President Hinckley live make a historic change at BYU, or watch the Olympic Light of the World production.

    “People have wanted a connection to this for so long, and that”s exactly what we”re trying to do,” he said.

    However, because the network is non-commercial programming, BYUTV depends on donations, sponsors and underwriting to keep it growing.

    “I think that as the resources are needed they will come,” he said.

    He added, “And we hope they come quickly.”

    Bell said having the Seattle region recently agree to put BYUTV on their system has reminded him that there is a lot more work to do.

    “This is only the beginning,” he said. “We reach a small fraction of the world, but it”s part of making the world our campus, and the world has become a very small place because of technology.

    In addition to BYU television, BYU NewsNet and other media plays a large role in fulfilling a great part of the university”s mission.

    On the fifth floor of the Wilkinson Student Center, over 100 people, including reporters, editors, photographers, anchors, camera crews, producers, directors and much more, are busy keeping the public aware of events taking place on campus and throughout the world.

    The NewsNet newsroom is the first of its kind in the nation. In one newsroom both broadcast and print journalism productions are composed.

    The integrated program was set in motion in 1996 when the Daily Universe, KBYU News, CCN News, FM Radio News and the NewsNet Web site merged into the large conglomerate that it is today.

    “The idea was corporate driven,” said Jim Kelly, NewsNet”s general manager.

    It”s about cross training news students, so they can do both print and broadcast, he said.

    “The multi-task reporter is very rare,” he said.

    Our role in convergence isn”t to have one “super reporter” that can do everything.

    “We”re going to train people to be flexible so they can go into all different kinds of jobs,” Kelly said. “You”re cross trained and that is of huge value.”

    Most of these media have undergone revolutionary changes over the years.

    A couple of years ago, Kelly said, there were at most 30 to 35 beginning reporters working for the Daily Universe. Today, there are 87.

    The paper being produced is four, and sometimes six, pages longer than it was back then.

    “Major newspapers don”t redesign often enough,” said Phillip Ritzenberg, the designer from New York who came up with the implemented design for the Daily Universe in an interview late September. “Nothing works forever.”

    At the beginning of this past fall semester, The Daily Universe experienced some slight changes in format.

    The scripture of the day was moved to the opinion page and international and national stories were gathered onto the same page, and a few other minute modifications.

    Another effective media is BYU Radio, which came to the university in 2002.

    BYU Radio officially launched its first broadcast on August 1 from Bonneville International”s LDS Radio Signal

    Some of BYU Radio”s daily programming includes BYU Devotional and Forums, BYU sports, and general conference broadcasts and rebroadcasts.

    The broadcasts run on the Dish Network channel 980.

    Listeners can log onto the Internet and listen to BYU Radio using the Windows Media Player.

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