Student journalists report at simulated crime scene

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — Journalism students were thrust into a simulated crime scene, complete with a dead body, witnesses and heavy police presence.

The Hall School of Journalism and Communication‘s (HSJC) Television News Practicum aims to introduce students to real-life scenarios in the journalism field. Recently, the class held a simulation where students could experience what it’s like to report at an active crime scene.

“It was really fun to be able to have this simulation so when I do graduate and get out into the field, I already know what the situation will be like and how people will interact with me,” said student Mackenzie Foster. “It was a really great opportunity.”

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The simulation was held in partnership with the Troy University Police Department (TUPD). Students had 30 minutes to gather video, talk to witnesses and interview TUPD Chief Beaudry during a simulated press conference.

Witnesses were given information beforehand that could help students form questions for Beaudry. For example, one witness said they saw a red car speed away from the scene. If students talked to the witness before the press conference, they could confirm that information with the chief.

“It’s not every day that you can say, ‘Oh, well I know how to work an active crime scene,’” said Belle Johnson, another student in the class. “It was definitely a unique thing that we got to do today and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.”

“We had to ask very serious questions because, even though it was fake, in an active crime scene you do have to keep your composure,” Johnson said. “It was definitely a different experience than what we’re used to.”

“I’ve never been in an environment like that,” Foster said. “I’ve never had to do a story where it was so hard, so hot, and very intense.”

The exercise aimed to give students real-life experience for the field they’re going in to so they could be better prepared for the future.

“The Hall School prides themselves on creating ethical, hard-working journalists, so the fact that I got this opportunity to figure out what it’s going to be like when I get into the field was great.”

Mackenzie Foster, student

“You get to understand what those reporters are going through, and you can put yourself in their shoes if something were to go wrong someday,” Johnson said.

The simulation was held at Married Student Housing located on North Franklin Drive.

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Television News Practicum is an advanced practicum class and this simulation marked the culmination of all the things students have learned throughout the semester.