UH students may produce news program
By Audrey McAvoy
By Audrey McAvoy
The head of the University of Hawai'i film school yesterday said he hopes to have his students produce a 30-minute daily news program for broadcast on PBS Hawai'i.
Christopher Lee said the program would offer news from the point of view of local students in an age when Hawai'i television stations have become less focused on Island issues.
"Local news was local at one time when it was locally owned. Now, like most stations in this country, they are conglomerates," Lee told an Associated Press Managing Editors training session.
"It seems every time I see a new news director has been hired, they come from the Mainland, they stay for a few years and they leave again."
As an example of the drift away from local concerns, Lee said weather reports never used to be a major concern for Hawai'i viewers.
But now, some stations have followed the lead of Mainland stations to make the weather a central part of their news broadcast, he said.
Lee, who is the director of the Academy of Creative Media at the University of Hawai'i, said he has already talked to the head of PBS Hawai'i about a student-produced news program he hopes to start airing within a year.
But he said he would need to have some of those discussions again because the station's president, Mike McCartney, recently quit to lead the Democratic Party of Hawai'i.
Lee said he believed Hawai'i viewers want to watch news broadcasts that delve deeper into the issues, even though some evidence — such as Hawai'i's low voter turnout — might indicate otherwise.
"When you get out to some of these community forums that politicians have," Lee said, "people ask some very good questions. That, it seems to me, is largely not reflected in the local stations."
Lee launched the UH film school, which also offers courses on media and how to create video games, about three years ago.
The school has since supervised about 300 student short films, including 37 that have been entered at film festivals worldwide.
Last year, Lee took a leave of absence to serve as the executive producer for the movie "Superman Returns."
A former production president for TriStar Pictures and Columbia Pictures, Lee also has supervised such Hollywood films as "Jerry Maguire," "Philadelphia," and "As Good As It Gets."