Feb 23, 2010

“Option LU” Broadcast students showcase creativity

by Casey Overcash

Liberty University’s Communication Studies department is branching out to include new media. “Option LU” gives Liberty University broadcasting and communication students the opportunity to develop and show off their skills by creating a unique entertainment Web cast.

“Our desire is for ‘Option LU’ to be an outlet for students to obtain practical hands-on experience, to develop and showcase their skills, as well as give them something for their personal resume,” producer Kelly D’Ambrosio said.

The idea for “Option LU” began in fall 2008. According to D’Ambrosio, having a student-produced show has long been a dream of communication professor, Bill Dewhurst and the Creative Director for Liberty University’s Center for Advanced Media Productions Erick Petersen.

D’Ambrosio’s took an independent study class in her senior year at Liberty and the final project was a show called “Artistic Liberty.” This was a “talk show” where she interviewed communication students about the videos they had produced.

According to D’Ambrosio, communication students’ talents were not being showcased. After “Artistic Liberty” was completed, Petersen, decided that it was the type of show he and Dewhurst had been looking for.

The idea of “Option LU” was presented to the Executive Producer of New Media Communications, Bruce Braun. D’Ambrosio was then hired to work at Center for Advanced Media Productions to produce “Option LU.”

“Option LU” is produced by students from Bill Dewhurst’s video practicum class, although communication students who are not in the practicum may also submit stories for the show.

“Option LU” allows students to practice and develop their production skills by producing their own video segments.

“Erick Peterson and myself adopted the idea, for students, about students, by students,” Dewhurst said. “We wanted to provide practical education for the students and bring them together so that they could produce stories they wanted to report on and hear about. The show has generated excitement with viewers, students, and potential students.”

There are four “Option LU” segments. The hosts, Kelly D’Ambrosio and Joel Nickerson, are the main introductory hosts, and serve as a common thread through every show. Joel Nickerson was recruited during the University Advancement “What’s your story” campaign when he came to tell his Liberty University story on the blue couch and mentioned his dream of becoming a news anchor.

“One of the producers who work at Center for Advanced Media Productions took down his contact info and he became a great addition to the team,” D’Ambrosio said.

The other segments include: Tyler Depoy with “Big Man on Campus,” Shauna Crossman with “Your Very Big Backyard” and Kalie Lanford with “Spotlight.” Also included are “Headlines” and other segments highlighting the students of Liberty University.
“Option LU” is quickly becoming a source of news and entertainment not only for the Liberty University students, but also for those who find it on the Web. You can find “Option LU” at libertyu.com, or on Facebook as “Option LU.”

“We are excited to see the potential of ‘Option LU’ and are hopeful that this program will continue to grow and become a good source or information for students, by students, about students,” Dewhurst said.

Contact Casey Overcash at

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