Fort Lewis College News

News at Fort Lewis College

Fort Fuel is online, and fueled by students


Students Haylee Knippel, Andrew Mangiona, and Anthony Martin (l-r) work together to create and produce Fort Fuel.

Although Haylee Knippel won't be turning her tassel for another two years, her dream career has already begun.

“I just really want to be a news anchor,” says the sophomore from Albuquerque.

And that's exactly what she's doing on Fort Fuel, FLC's recently launched web-based campus news show. The show, developed as part of the Communications practicum course, is filmed weekly in the studio in the Ballantine Media Center, located in the Student Union.

The five-minute weekly program, a project of the campus' print and online news magazine, The Independent, features campus news and interviews with athletes, student leaders, staff, and faculty.

“It's also a great way for us to share the accomplishments of other students,” explained Knippel. “Sometimes students get so absorbed in their work that they don't always know what's happening right next door. The position of anchor is very hands-on and requires me to be neutral, inquisitive, passionate, and upbeat. My job is to make the news or interview informative and exciting.”

Being part of Fort Fuel has allowed Knippel to not only experience what it takes to be a successful news anchor, but to gain a hands-on understanding of the entire process of broadcast journalism. Knippel has gotten to conduct on-air interviews, contact the interviewees, and write both the scripts and the news blurbs for the beginning of the show. She even lends a hand in preparing the set and cameras before the filming begins.

Students working with Fort Fuel have access to all the equipment they need to film the show in the Media Center's Digital Media Lab & Multimedia Studio, which includes a studio with a green screen and a number of Macintosh video editing stations with FinalCut Pro, the industry standard for video production.

For Knippel, though, it's the help in navigating this new world that has been made the difference. "The most valuable experience I've had thus far with Fort Fuel is having feedback and friendly, constructive critiques from not only my professor, but from interviewees and other faculty members, " says Knippel.

"Through their coaching I have learned that the world of news media is not simply about reading a script and wearing a smile,” she explains. “It's also about being a part of the administrative side. Just like many other things in life, Fort Fuel is a team and has many facets that need to be kept organized in order to function."

For Practicum Director and Associate Professor of English Leslie Blood, though, it's the students' motivation and determination to launch and steer the student-led production continues that impresses her.

“I am really proud of them,” she says. “They've worked really hard to get this together and start this off in the right direction.”

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