After more than a dozen hours of editing film from last week’s Michigan Student Assembly meeting, WOLV-TV staffers realized the broadcast would never appear on television.
At the beginning of this semester, WOLV-TV agreed to broadcast MSA’s weekly meetings. As part of the agreement LSA junior Matthew Dupree and LSA senior Angela Sultani — students who work for the television station — filmed each MSA representative that spoke at the meeting.
But after 15 arduous hours of editing the footage, Dupree said WOLV-TV realized it didn’t have enough cameras or manpower to participate in the project.
“We want to put out a public service, but we have limited resources and personnel, and it was really getting difficult,” Dupree said.
If the project had gone as planned, MSA Chambers would have been equipped with two cameras and two cameramen that would film each meeting. Immediately following the meetings, WOLV-TV would have broadcast the meetings online and played the broadcast on Channel 55 every day of the week after the meeting occurred.
According to MSA President Abhishek Mahanti, WOLV-TV did not have the capacity to film meetings that can last a few hours and have a number of speakers.
“Filming Michigan Student Assembly meetings with 40 people around the room, as quickly as we go, is very hard,” Mahanti said. “I think the two cameras they brought were insufficient to just have two full screens and edit accordingly.”
Sultani worked for C-SPAN last year and volunteered her time to help with the public service broadcast of the meeting last week. Sultani said she is unsure why the broadcasts were cancelled.
“I was thinking we were going to try a different way to record and to just set up the whole thing, but I guess (WOLV-TV) decided against that,” Sultani said.
While WOLV-TV has decided not to broadcast the meetings, Mahanti said he will meet with students from the station, along with MSA Vice President Michael Rorro, later this week to discuss whether the station could broadcast the meetings to residence halls in the future.
Though the station has decided to drop the project, before they made the decision WOLV-TV proposed a different method of filming, but decided against it.
Mahanti said the plan involved using three cameras centered around a control center in a separate room in which a manager could edit the shots as the meeting progressed.
According to Sultani, WOLV-TV said it would still be “too much work” if the station pursued the alternate plan with three cameras.
Mahanti said in an interview last month that the project was intended to create a more transparent student government.
“This is an idea we kind of had in the middle of the semester for transparency and getting people involved,” Mahanti said in the interview. “It would be better to have (meetings) televised. Maybe if (students) happen to stumble across it on television, they’d watch it.”
In exchange for the volunteer work of the videographers and the free price of filming, MSA would have featured advertisements on their website for the station.
Though it may not happen during his term as president, Mahanti said last night that the project should still be a priority.
“I’d like to see it come back, whether it’s in my term or not,” Mahanti said. “I think it would be something that would really benefit both of our bodies.”
Dupree said he would like to have WOLV-TV film MSA meetings this semester, but there are “pretty significant hurdles” to overcome.
— Robin Veeck contributed to this report.