Join the discussion.

Inklings News

Join the discussion.

Inklings News

Join the discussion.

Inklings News

[Sept. 2016 Features] New media production teachers aim to make Staples a television and radio empire

By Renee Weisz ’17 Breaking News Editor and Adam Wenkoff ’18

A national media powerhouse. New England schools’ top source for films and broadcasts. A force to be reckoned with at the most elite media competitions in the country. That’s what new video production teacher, Justin Nadal, will propel the Staples’ media department towards achieving in the next five years, along with his partner, Geno Heiter, who oversees the audio-radio side of production.

“When I first started this journey, I knew what I wanted to accomplish, the tools that I wanted to have and the kind of environment that I needed to create an absolute empire,” Nadal said. “This place has every single one of those things.”

Both teachers have experienced their fair share of behind-the-scenes media positions giving them insight into resources and operation styles that will fuel the Staples program towards their ambitious goals.

Nadal has explored the more informational reporting and performance side of media production, working for ABC News and the Associated Press and dabbling in the commercial voice recording industry. Music guru Heiter earned a degree in composition from the Berklee College of Music, later teaching music in Newtown Middle School, performing in his own instrumental groups, and helping produce a youth radio platform in Connecticut that “amplif[ied] young voices,” he said.

“A lot of my background in terms of teaching  music has to do with expressing myself,” Heiter continued. “So let’s express a great story, cause it’s all about the story.”

Through their work experience, both teachers have learned that the most valuable resource for building their Staples media kingdom isn’t the most advanced technology, but raw ideas.  

“Let’s get some more ideas; let’s not worry about the technology. Let’s do something with what we have,” Heiter said.

The camera’s aleady rolling, as they are already putting their own spin on changes to the media program, and students have reacted with enthusiasm. So far, classes have focused on the live elements of media, championed through the radio and morning news shows.

“I think Mr. Nadal does a great job of incorporating the fast-paced New York media scene into his classes,” Jack Caldwell ’18, director of the WWPT radio station, said. “We’re doing shows live, on-location, five days a week. It will be demanding, but also realistic and will prepare us for what the real world of tv production is like.”

In an effort to avoid the contrived nature of pre-recorded shows, Nadal and Heiter teach students to broadcast with spontaneity, making their live shows genuine and entertaining.

“People want to see something live,” Nadal said. “The excitement, the nerves, the energy —sometimes things can happen that are even funnier when they’re live.”

Students like Gavin Berger ’17 admire the commitment to detail and passion within Nadal and Heiter’s teaching styles.

“Their goal is to build a stronger foundation in media, whether that be taking a longer time to teach newbies how to edit a movie, or teach the art of storytelling before jumping into filming a movie,” Berger said.

They also plan to develop regular podcasts and collaborate across departments to feature a diverse array of classwork and stories on the morning show, radio and media lab website.

Though the beloved former media production teachers, Mike Zito and Jim Honeycutt, have left deeply entrenched tracks on the Staples media department, Nadal and Heiter don’t feel pressure to fill their shoes.  Instead, they hope to carry on the energy and legacy of their program while adding their own unique touch.

“The way I want to make it my own is make it what the students want to do,” Heiter said of his own personal approach.

A year of hard work and media expansion lies ahead but everyone is confident Nadal and Heiter have the chops to end their first year with a bang.

Both have proven to  “bring something new to the table,” Michelle Lopez ’17, veteran WWPT member and TV production student said. “That would not only make both Zito and Honeycutt proud but also prove to benefit Staples’ community as a whole.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Inklings News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *