Lexington, Virginia • September 10, 2009
The Rockbridge Report is the public face of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Washington and Lee University, and it got a makeover this summer.
A thorough re-design of the department's broadcast studio, including the installation of a new news set and lighting grid, was completed by FX Group of Orlando, Fla. in mid-August.
The new studio was made possible by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The three-year, $1.75-million grant also funded a sweeping renovation of the department's digital multimedia technology to accommodate conversion to High Definition broadcasting.
The grant has also funded a series of journalism, politics and law seminars, summer internships for prospective journalists, and a three-year faculty position in legal reporting.
"We're delighted with our new look," said Department Head Brian Richardson. "Its more professional look and feel will better help our students prepare for careers in broadcast and online journalism."
Planning for the new studio and technology anticipated the increasing prominence of the internet in giving audiences on-demand access to broadcast news. Department faculty and staff, including Profs. Bob de Maria and Indira Somani and Technical Operations Manager Michael Todd, interviewed half a dozen vendors who responded to a formal request for proposals last winter.
"Even if local television news abandons its traditional live, over-the-air format for online-only broadcasts, we'll be ready," Richardson said.
The Rockbridge Report is the department's multimedia local news production. It is broadcast live at 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays during the Fall and Winter terms, and appears on the Web at rockbridgereport.wlu.edu. The Rockbridge Report is a combined production of several journalism classes taught by department faculty.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.