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Great Arts at Eastern interviews with Colt Owens of Eastern's Department of Communication

GENTRY:  And now Great Arts at Eastern, from the Portales campus of Eastern New Mexico University. I'm Jeff Gentry, Dean of the College of Fine Arts here on KENW, Your Public Radio Network. Today my guest is Colt Owens of Eastern's Department of Communication. Thank you for joining me today Colt.

OWENS:  Thank you.

GENTRY:  So, you have been with ENMU on faculty and staff since 2004, but your time here goes back even further.

OWENS:  Yes, yes, it does. I was a student here. I think I started about 2000, and I was getting my degree in anthropology and archaeology. And I just finished my associate's degree in computer animation inexplicably.

GENTRY:  All right. And so, but now you're a broadcaster. And you're on the faculty, and you've done that since maybe about 2010.

OWENS:  Right.

GENTRY:  So, what is it that drew you to the field of broadcasting?

OWENS:  Oh geez, this is actually a good one, and I'm surprised you didn't have this in your notes. One of my very first jobs was on television. I was a-. I tried to be a child actor; I was in a few commercials. And I got to be background characters and extras and quite a few things in the late 80s.

GENTRY:  Fantastic. Alright, so as a young man, you are in front of the camera. And now you teach students to be both in front and behind. So, how challenging has it been teaching broadcasting under COVID-19?

OWENS:  Oh, it's been really challenging. Being able to connect with remote students and have them understand what is going on. Because this is mainly a hands-on field, so being able- you know, to separate that a little bit so that you can teach it online or remotely is really quite challenging, I've been able to do it, but it's been quite challenging.

GENTRY:  So, are students using consumer-level equipment to edit and shoot video?

OWENS:  Yes, yes. In fact, I've seen quite a few quite a bit of work done with the phone-, done with an iPhone and it-. it's passable. It'll work- that they're doing a really good job with what they have at hand.

GENTRY:  Great, and then so right now you have some students who are- say are in Albuquerque. But then you do have a few students coming to campus this semester. So how are they working together? Or are- how are they collaborating as it were as students in the same classroom?

OWENS:  Well, they have access to the same Blackboard shell. And to the same assignments. It's just the in-person class. I get to elaborate a little more on the nuts and bolts of how to do something. On the online component of the class, I go more with theory and practice.

GENTRY:  Gotcha. So, tell me later this semester, we have CommFest. How are you going to pull that off under these conditions?

OWENS:  Well, right now, we're in the judging phase. We have most of our submissions in, and we're going to- I think we're going to have a public event as more of an award ceremony for this.

GENTRY:  OK, so this is Community College students and high school students get to compete in different categories of broadcasting. What are some of those categories that you're judging?

OWENS:  We have PSAS; we have journalistic works; we have just productions. I think there's a commercial category as well.

GENTRY:  All right. Well, that's really neat that you guys are charging forward under difficult circumstances to try to reach out to students at the high school level and the Community College level and share your expertise with them. And so, is the Journalism Bootcamp that your Department has planned is that related to CommFest?

OWENS:  Not necessarily. It is not necessarily related to the CommFest.

GENTRY:  OK, but I know that that's planned, and you'll have some dates for that so that students who are interested in learning about journalism, whether their high school students or Community College students, are getting going to get to learn more about journalism. And so, speaking of journalism and media, what changes do you anticipate in the broadcasting area in the next few years?

OWENS:  Oh, I think there's going to be-. And, of course, we've already seen a lot of this happen. But there's going to be a lot more web-based broadcast. I think that, and that's only because I've just dipped my toes in that recently. I think VR is going to become a lot more important in the future for broadcast.

GENTRY:  You mean virtual reality?

OWENS:  Yes.

GENTRY:  Excellent. Well, later this semester Colt Owens will help lead CommFest for high schools and college students from throughout the High Plains. You can learn more about this program at KENW.ORG. And all the Great Arts at Eastern can be found on our calendar at enmu.edu/fineartsevents. Colt Owens, thank you for joining me today.

OWENS:  Thank you.

GENTRY:  I'm Jeff Gentry. Thanks everyone for listening to KENW, your Public Radio Network.

ENMU College of Fine Arts Virtual Student Research and Creativity Conference

The deadline to apply to the ENMU College of Fine Arts Virtual Student Research and Creativity Conference has been extended to Monday, March 8th at 5 pm! Apply here: https://forms.gle/3XprSdR6kMC76eie7

Why enter: Cash prizes for top presenters in many divisions, a great line on your resume, share your creativity or research with the whole campus

Who’s eligible: All ENMU students, provided that your project is mentored by a CFA faculty member. Completed and in-progress work is welcome, as long as the work hasn’t been presented at another conference.

Why enter: Did we mention cash prizes? The conference is free, which means a potential net profit to you. Enter a current music performance, art project, short film, research paper, news package, monologue, and more. Get your friends involved for a whole panel in your subject area.

How to enter: Just submit a short abstract of your project to the website; it doesn’t even have to be finished yet.