GRAND ISLAND, NE – With over 100,000 people attending Husker Harvest Days (HHD) each September, there is no shortage of individuals to visit with or subjects to discuss. That was the exact thought of two Northeast Community College students, who used the huge farm show near Grand Island as their stomping ground to complete an assignment.
Hunter Bergman, Neligh, and Austin Graves, Mount Vernon, SD, were invited to attend HHD by Dr. Wade Herley, dean of business and technology, and Shawn Tillotson, associate dean of the division, in order to obtain field action stories for their project for Northeast’s student newspaper, The Viewpoint.
They were able to scout the grounds allowing Graves to shoot “B-roll,” while Bergman, editor of the newspaper, sought out interview subjects and to get comfortable meeting with them before, during, and after they shot film.
“One of the cool things we did was just go from booth-to-booth and talk to people,” Bergman said. “When we told them what we were doing, they said, ‘Hey, you should go get an interview with our (organization’s) president.’ So we got a number of leads that way.”
Bergman admits it was a challenge having never experienced an event like Husker Harvest Days and the thousands of people who were there.
“It was really pushing me outside my comfort zone. I had my questions and everything prepared, but it’s different preparing questions rather than asking questions. After the first interview with a representative of Valley Irrigation, we really got into the swing of things.”
But one challenge the students didn’t count on was the busyness of the event and noises that hover the grounds.
Bergman said, “It was super hard to stay focused, but by the third interview, we just tuned everything out as much as we could and focused on the interviews.”
The students ended up with four interviews, but admitted they could not use one of them, because the individual accidentally switched off the transmitter of the lavalier microphone they were using. But Bergman sees a bright side to the error.
“You can only prepare so much. You know, those things in the field can and will happen, but now as a result of that interview, we can better anticipate next time and work to position the transmitter another way or check mic levels half-way through the interview. In order to get good content, we can take small steps to make sure it doesn’t happen the next time.”
Bergman and Graves also utilized social media to share their interviews through The Viewpoint website. Students utilized platforms such as Facebook Live to showcase their work. Bergman said if they end up in a marketing career, they understand they will need to utilize social media in their work.
As business ad manager for The Viewpoint, Bergman also sees the business (e-commerce) side of the digital newspaper in selling more advertising.
“In a classroom, you learn what is already going on, but at The Viewpoint we have to learn what works for us. It’s really cool to have a platform like a digital newspaper where we can learn in real time.”
Bergman is a business major, but also has an interest in mass media. He approached a mass media instructor last year about conducting podcasts on various subjects across the college community. He wants to use the skills he is acquiring from Northeast into a career where he will eventually conduct e-commerce market research to run his own business from a laptop computer.
“This type of work will help me in the long run with my website … how to use and edit video and how to record audio. Since this is not part of my business degree, it was super important to me to actually be able to go behind the scenes and look at Google, Facebook and Twitter analytics to see the business side of it. Yeah, it’s journalism, but it’s so much more.”
To learn more, go online to The Viewpoint at www.neviewpoint.com.
Northeast Community College students and Austin Graves, Mount Vernon, SD, (center) and Hunter Bergman, Neligh, interview Steve Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, at the 2018 Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island. The students conducted field interviews at the farm show as part of a project for the Northeast student newspaper, The Viewpoint.