NEWTON, NJ—The five students enrolled in Newton High School’s video production class and photography class got to visit the Walt Disney Television-ABC TV New York Broadcast studio on Wednesday, November 6, meeting with some of the top executives of the organization. The video class, taught by Jim Hoffman and the photography class, taught by Patricia Krol had been invited by Hoffman's longtime friend and contact at ABC Scott Pierce, Director of Central Switching and Live Operations.
The first part of their adventure was the trip into the city, leaving Newton by bus at 7 a.m. to get to the Secaucus Train Station.
“The group traveled by NJ transit train to New York City Penn Station," said Hoffman. “When we arrived at Penn Station, we rode the #1 subway uptown to 66 St, Lincoln Center, which was right by the ABC Building, located on 47 West 66 Street in NYC," Hoffman said.
Pierce, a 30-year veteran at ABC, led the tour, introducing some ABC staff to the students. The students first met Joan Preztunik, Senior Manager, Operational Procedures. It is her responsibility to ensure a successful relationship between ABC news and Broadcast operations. She is also responsible for the operational procedures required so that the show will air properly.
The class also met Ryan McCormick, Executive Director, Engineering and Studio Operations, responsible for managing the day to day studio operations for ABC NY, primarily focused on ABC news. Jeff Fitzgerald, Executive Director of Radio and News Operations, was next on the tour. Fitzgerald’s runs ABC radio and the manages ABC News Acquisition Center in New York.
The tour then brought the students to Pierce’s boss, Steve Ferrara, the Executive Director of Program Operations. He oversees the East and West Coast day to day operations dealing with program delivery, live shows, and insuring ABC News expectations are met for Broadcast air.
The students were then joined by other staff members who shared with them their experiences so fair in their career as well as other career opportunities and stories that “kept everyone on the edge of their seats,” Hoffman said.
“The ABC staff engaged our students with a variety of questions about future educational goals, favorite TV shows and what forms of media they enjoy at home,” Hoffman said. He said that many of the staff noted that they got their foot in the door with a summer internship, working their way up to where they are today.
“One of the students’ biggest takeaway”, Hoffman said, “was that they saw the many careers that also used STEM Lab Industry standard software we offer at Newton High School, which includes Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, MAYA animation and Adobe Premiere Pro.”
Hoffman said the trip had a huge impact on the students; that they will never watch a news broadcast in quite the same way after the experience they have had.
“As a public-school teacher for these past thirty years, I always took pride that we help shape the hearts and minds of our youth,” Hoffman said. “I was amazed at how many support staff and dedicated workforce that ABC has around the world, the work ethic and mission they all communicated was crystal clear.”
Each student and teacher took away their own perspective on the experiences that day but each could “sense they stood on a stage that helped change the course of the history of our country at that time.”
Students got to sit behind the desk that journalist David Muir sat at, they got to visit the studio where “The View” is produced and they got to see the stage that covered the final and fourth debate that covered policy issues between 1960 Vice-President Nixon and Senator Kennedy.
The group said their goodbyes at 3 p.m. and navigated the Manhattan grid of streets as they headed back mass transit to Newton High School.