Behind the Scenes of the Portola News Network


Simrat Singh

Sophomore Shivank Gupta edits a segment of PNN.

Junhee Ryu and Simrat Singh

With around 800 students watching the Portola News Network, also known as PNN, how do the video production students create a great show?

Every Thursday, members of advanced video production stay after school from 4:15 to 8:15 p.m. working on the broadcast, but most of the work for creating PNN began in the summer as members sacrificed time from their vacation to attend 80-hour workshops under the direction of David Junker, founder of FilmED Academy of Arts.

“The most powerful thing I do is use the right student leadership,” video production teacher Tina Murphy said. “The student leadership helps me to lay out even more structure with them helping me recognize talents of each individual in this class.”

Sophomore and show producer Stephanie Tang has the most important role in PNN. She is responsible for planning all the segments that go into the show and managing the groups that produce each segment.

“I have to think of something for every single group to do,” Tang said. “That’s like seven different segments per show, and what you guys see is only like three per show.”

In order to actually film a segment of PNN, the assistant show producer, lighting director, audio director, grip and camera people are necessary. Sophomores Ethan Dru and Eddie Chen, the two studio managers, are responsible for ensuring that people with these jobs all perform up to standards.

“The studio manager makes sure that the lights are all in the right place, the green screen is set up right, the desk is in the right spot, and making sure that the audio is done right and everything is ready to go for the actors to shoot,” Dru said.

Although not directly involved in the filming of PNN, show editors and graphic producers prove to be very important as they make sure that the show transitions seamlessly from segment to segment.

The most notable members of the broadcast team are the hosts of the show. Sophomores Liz Moerman and Sepehr Nourbakhsh are the anchors, providing a run-down of events coming up and general news. Sophomore Shivank Gupta is the sports host, providing a look into major highlights from campus sports teams.

“[Being an anchor] does not come as naturally as you think it would be,” Moerman said. “There’s a difference between being an anchor and being a ‘good’ anchor, and being a good anchor is with more practice, and Sepehr and I are working on that.”

While their after-school Thursdays are extremely hectic, watching the members of video production work made it clear that everyone is detail-orientated.

“The amount of students that are focused on what they love to do and … how determined these students are to do well and how passionate they are about this class… really sets us apart,” Murphy said.