Save Studio One

There was a grim presence in the air, which was odd because Studio One had just completed its 535th show without issues. We had just done our first on-air demonstration with a gentleman who showed our viewers how to properly repair your bicycle for the upcoming warm weather. The demonstration called for new camera positions and close-up shots, the likes of which a significant number of interns had never tried on-air before. But we practiced and persevered.

The show was over, and this was the time our director, Barry Brode, normally came out and congratulated us on a job well done with the type of enthusiasm and vigor you rarely see in people nowadays.

Brode didn’t seem his happy self, and there was a noticeable hush that had fallen over the rest of the staff who stood off to his side. The interns were falling silent one by one as they realized the ensuing discussion would not be a pleasant one.

The interns of Studio One sat impatiently as Brode began to articulate the events that had transpired the last few weeks right under our noses. With the poise and professionalism we had come to expect from him, he scanned the room and looked each of us in the eyes as he delivered the worst news we could imagine, Studio One had been cut.

Last semester, I had never heard of Studio One, so when representatives from the marketing team came into my meteorology class to give a presentation, I listened as they discussed the finer points of the organization. They detailed the weekly responsibilities of interns. They spoke of how the students operate expensive camera equipment and recorded interviews with people of interest. Then they came back to the studio, edited the footage and it played live on television.

Although I had every intention of becoming a pilot at the time, I had wanted to be a journalist as a kid, and something inside told me to try out, so I did. In my interview, I spoke frankly of how I wasn’t sure if I wanted to become a journalist in the

future. I was honest and talked of how I had always loved writing as a kid, and had recently began wondering if I would be happier in the profession.

Since the beginning of this semester, my life has been drastically altered. I went from the former Marine who was dead-set on becoming a pilot and having the kind of stability in my life I had become so used to the last eight years, to a man who dreamed of nothing more than becoming the next Boyd Huppert. I obsessed over stories created by professionals, breaking them down and discovering how they perfected every aspect of the minute and a half segment.

I could always count on a cheery “Hi Matt!” from the front desk to the highest ranking chair in the studio.”

— Matt Eidson

The instruction I received from the staff was phenomenal. They always gave me positive feedback and made intelligent suggestions. During my time with the studio, I never saw a frown on any of the staff’s face. The happiness they felt just to be able to pass down their knowledge to the students radiated from them every second they were in the studio. I could always count on a cheery “Hi Matt!” from the front desk to the highest ranking chair in the studio.

To this day I’m a video journalist with Studio One and an opinion writer for The Dakota Student. The confidence I have in both of these positions can be linked back to the instruction and attention I received from Studio One.

But one of these accomplishments — the one I cherish the most — has been taken away from me.

I think back to Brode standing in front of the students. I can’t help but see one of my advisers, Monte, leave the room twice. I never saw the emotional reaction, but something inside of me knew his heart was breaking, and he couldn’t bear to be in front of us as the news of his life’s work being taken away was described to us.

When something special is being threatened, the people affected by it do not sit back quietly and watch it happen.”

— Matt Eidson

I remember seeing another one of our staff members, Kaylee, start to cry as Brode pushed forward in his speech. At first, it didn’t make sense to me that such a happy and positive person could be in such agony. But deep down, it wasn’t hard to understand why she was hurting so much. The same show the students had fallen in love with over the past few semesters, she had fallen in love with years ago when she was an intern, and again two years ago, when she began working for the studio. As I sat there listening to Brode, my heart broke for all of them. My heart broke for all of us.

This is unacceptable. These staff members are the most passionate and sincere individuals I have ever met in my life. And when I say this, please don’t write me off as “just another college kid” with no life experience. I have lived on both coasts, fought in two wars and am quickly approaching 30 years on this planet. So when I say these people are exceptional, I mean just that.

I understand that desperate times call for desperate measures. But what’s being ignored is the impact of the decision to cut Studio One. This isn’t just another club being denied its very existence. This is a place that finds the passion in students and provides the knowledge necessary to achieve true greatness in the world. By cutting this program, the university has attempted to silence the next Walter Cronkite or Barbara Walters. This isn’t some side project the interns just do for fun and decline to take seriously. This is a professional organization that values the expertise it passes down to select individuals. The alumni, as well as the current interns, take this matter extremely seriously.

When something special is being threatened, the people affected by it do not sit back quietly and watch it happen. The alumni and current students of Studio One will not accept this outcome. We will do everything within our power to ensure this coming fall will see familiar faces back in orientation being greeted by the advisers we love so much. We will not lose our tempers, and we will not speak ill of those who had a hand in this decision. However, our desire to protect one of the most unique organizations at any university is unwavering.

Studio One is not over — not by a long shot. To all those who are currently interns, those who came before us and those who have the means to help, do not become discouraged. We have a voice and the power to invoke change.

To those who read this and see the injustice being committed, please stand by our side and offer assistance if you can. Help us as we attempt to save Studio One.

Matt Eidson is a columnist for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]