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Illinois' Winter on the Prairie

Exploring Illinois' Winter on the Prairie (2010) from Tempestas et Caelum Films on Vimeo.

EIU Broadcast Meteorology Students Produce Winter Show

Caitlin Napoleoni, Geography MajorInstructor, Cameron Craig, always wants to give student more opportunities than just sitting in the classroom taking notes. He wants them to engage in the learning experience as well as increase the number of activities students participate in so that they can put those experiences in their resumes and curriculum vitaes. In 2004, Mr. Craig and his very small production label, Tempestas et Caelum Productions, gathered together the students employed in the Indiana State University Climate Laboratory to put together a short magazine show about Indiana's winter. The idea came about from watching the local broadcast meteorologists in Terre Haute, Indiana give a winter weather preparedness show the week before Thanksgiving. The shows always presented the forecast for the upcoming winter. Craig knowing that forecasting the entire winter ahead was extremely difficult, twisted the idea into a simple series of segments that discussed the three top snowstorms of Indiana, folklore, how to prepare for winter, what is the difference between blizzards and a snow flurry, and dealing with the flu. The 30-minute production has been used in the classroom and seen on WEIU in east-central Illinois.

John DeMatteo, Geography MajorWith the vast amount of talent in Craig's classroom, he decided to re-produce the 2004 production as "Exploring Illinois' Winter on the Prairie." Students enrolled in Craig's Broadcast Meteorology Practicum were given a topic to research and then write a script. Each student would present their introduction in front of the green wall in Craig's office and do the rest of the segment as a voice over (i.e. narration).

The educational value of this project is to allow students to research a topic and present it in the same venue as they would a weather broadcast but without the forecast. In the broadcast industry we call this type of feature a "package." Broadcast meteorology students leave the classroom or practice studio without knowing how to put a package together. Former students of the Department of Geology/Geography have reiterated the importance of doing more science reporting rather than just focusing on forecasting and presenting the forecast. This project gets beyond the traditional idea of what a broadcast meteorologist is.

Student Participants

Copyright 2010 by Cameron Douglas Craig, Darren John Leeds, and John M. DeMatteo