Issue No. 14, Fall 2009, Volume 9, Number 1


The set of MDC tv
On the set of MDC TV

Lights, Camera, Interaction

See Them at Work: It takes much more than a pretty face and a clear speaking voice to be a successful television reporter. You’ve got to have poise, know your angles, and most importantly, know how to gather and share information in a way that’s engaging and assessable. Students at MDC who are interested in careers in front of the camera learn all this and more as field reporters for MDC In Focus, a magazine-style news program on MDC TV, the cable network that reaches more than half a million homes in Miami-Dade County – and millions through its Web-based video stream. A team of aspiring journalists report from MDC’s eight campuses to give viewers an inside look into the College. They report on high-profile events like Miami Book Fair International and Miami International Film Festival, interview faculty experts and college leaders and share campus-based human-interest stories, such as the summer music and TV production camps for teens at MDC’s Kendall and North campuses. Students Paula Barbieri and Brandon Janvion report on the "Intergenerational Workplace" for MDC InFocus.

By Pilar Ulibarri de Rivera

The outside world strips away when you enter the non-descript, fluorescent-lit hallway. Then, the door – and above it, a sign reads: “On Air.” 

Behind the door, Miami Dade College students write, produce and direct for MDC TV. The outside world has to fall away, they say, and what they’ve learned previously in classes must come second nature. They have to be “in the zone.”

That’s because MDC TV is broadcast to more than half a million households throughout Miami-Dade County and reaches a worldwide viewing audience via the network’s online video stream (

The station serves a dual purpose.Programmed by the College’s renowned School of Entertainment & Design Technology (SEDT), it showcases MDC’s outstanding academic programs and leadership in communitywide events through a dynamic schedule of original programming. It is also a fertile training ground for students interested in working in television production.

Shows on MDC TV are recorded in television facilities at North Campus using the latest studio technology. The TV studio at Homestead Campus is currently being refurbished to begin production this fall. Students pursuing a career in the industry make up the production crew.

During a recent taping, a student served as the director. “Camera one, I need you to loosen up the shot on her,” the student says.

A second student works one of the three cameras.

“Zoom out a little bit more,” the director says. “There, that’s the shot I want. Camera two, give me your final shot. This is the shot I want.”

The student director, like others before her, has also worked as a camera operator and a floor manager who told people where to sit and look during tapings.

Everyone on the crew is expected to learn all aspects of studio production and is assigned a position such as camera operator, floor manager, graphics designer, technical director, teleprompter operator and show director.

“Students rotate assignments so they can get the most hands-on experience,” said Barry Gordon, director of SEDT and MDC TV.

The idea, Gordon explained, is to prepare students for entry into the highly competitive television industry.

“MDC TV is a way to showcase the College,” Gordon said. “The academic departments, student organizations and MDC’s cultural events all have their presence on the network.”

The Big Picture

SEDT is a workforce development program focused on providing skills necessary for students to obtain entry-level and advanced technical employment in the entertainment and design industries. The school additionally serves those who are currently employed and desire to upgrade and enhance their skills.

SEDT created programs of study in order to support occupational growth within the entertainment industry as the use of new technologies increased. The television and radio production programs were created in the early 1970s. SEDT developed the film production, music business and graphic design programs in the early 1990s. The computer animation curriculum was added in the last five years in response to industry demand.

The recent renovations of the teaching facilities and labs at the College’s North, Wolfson, Kendall and Homestead campuses offer students state-of-the-art, industry-specific learning environments, including a recording studio and a post-production editing suite.

Last year, Grupo Televisa, the world’s largest media company serving the Spanish-speaking population, joined the College to establish the MDC/Televisa Centre for Film and Television Production, what will become a training and development program for film and television production.

On the Set

When MDC magazine arrives on the set, the first show features Debbie Goodman, chair of MDC’s School of Justice. Goodman is interviewing a professional forensic artist. Around them, crew members communicate through headsets while the show is recorded live-to-tape.

The students agree this is a high-stress environment. 

“I like being behind the camera but one day I want to be in front of it,” said Jessica Delgado, who is running the audio for today’s three shows. She is making sure that everyone’s audio level is adjusted properly. 

Delgado already has an associate degree in mass communications, but when another local university recently closed its TV production program due to budget cuts, she enrolled at MDC.

“We have the flexibility to stop if we absolutely must, but we try to go all the way through the taping as if it were a live show,” Delgado said. 

Students chosen to participate as crew members must have already taken television production courses.

“MDC TV is a public network and we have to know that the crew is able to do the job professionally,” Gordon said.

Each semester, five crew members receive a $1,200 scholarship and 3 credits. Often times, this experience leads to employment in the industry. SEDT helps place approximately a dozen students in professional internships and industry jobs each year. 

At the studio, recording is ready to begin. Delgado has done her sound check.  The “On Air” sign is switched on. The director gives her command: “OK, cue talent, roll tape, in 5, 4, 3…”

More Features Articles

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577.