NNPS-TV celebrates 500 episodes of 'This Just In'

3-member production staff posing
The NNPS-TV production team: Station Manager Jim Anklam, Production Specialist Aaron Moore, and Producer Nik Long
Beth Scott photo

The NNPS-TV production team's dedication and perseverance is easy to see - just count the number of episodes of their signature show, "This Just In."

In mid-September, the team reached 500 weekly episodes.

"This Just In" highlights school-related events and initiatives. It is usually about seven or eight minutes long and features stories about three or four schools, often around a theme. It runs five times per day on NNPS-TV, which can be seen on Cox Channel 47, Verizon Fios Channel 17, or via live stream on Roku or Apple TV, or on the web at nnpstv.com/webstream/.

It airs daily at 6 and 8 a.m., noon, and 3 and 6 p.m., with a new episode each Monday.

The show started airing in March of 2010, with Station Manager Jim Anklam as the host. He has hosted almost all of the 500 shows - once or twice NNPS-TV Producer Nik Long had to step in when unforeseen circumstances arose.

Though Anklam is quick to point out that all the staff members contribute to the success of "This Just In," the video production team of Anklam, Long, and Production Specialist Aaron Moore is who cranks out the video each week. They work closely with principals, assistant principals, and teachers to gather news and visuals of interesting activities and events happening in the school system.

"Nik [Long] does a great job in the producer's role, lining up the themes and the shoots," said Anklam.

Long is also the main script writer, with Anklam also writing some scripts and proofing all of Long's. All three members of the team shoot video for the show. Moore edits the footage to create the final video, pairing the visuals with the voiceover. He has updated the logo and intro a couple times over the years.

During holidays, the team plans ahead and produces extra shows to air each week. Even with snow days and emergency closings, the production team has been able to keep the show on schedule.

"This Just In" has won Videographer, NSPRA (National School Public Relations Association), Pixie, and Hermes Creative awards. Additionally, many of the shorter segments that make up "This Just In" have won Telly awards: shows like "News in a Minute," "Scouting Report," and "Teach Green."

Communication has been a crucial element to keeping the show running as long as it has. The videographers must divide up the shoots and work together to get everything they need. They also must plan and schedule far in advance, yet be able to fit in last-minute shoots or changes to the plan.

The show has been popular among teachers, parents, administrators and community members who are involved in Newport News Public Schools. It covers special activities, arts programs, STEM events, family nights, clubs, conferences, tours, donations, and more. It is also a vehicle for making announcements about upcoming events and opportunities, and disseminating school-related information.

Every "This Just In" episode is posted on YouTube and on the NNPS-TV video site, video.nnpstv.com, and the individual stories in it are separated out for posting on the homepages of NNPS schools. Those short videos are "tweeted" on Twitter to include all schools and business partners involved in the event.

"[Media/TV Programming Coordinator] Beth Scott puts the show on YouTube and our website, and makes sure that other parties involved have access to it for their sites, which is really important," Anklam said. "And [Administrative Secretary] Sitrena Williams provides the closed captioning," Anklam continued, "so it is definitely a team effort."

Long confides that he's "shocked" they've done it consistently for so long without missing a week, especially given the size of the production team.

"If you look at any other weekly show on television or the web, there is a team of at least 10 to 50 people working behind the scenes. And we pull it off every week with just a handful," he said.

He credits good communication and multi-talented individuals for the success they have had.

"But without teachers and administrators trusting us to highlight their events," he continued, "we wouldn’t have the needed content to push this show out each week."

Long describes it as a "great team effort across the school system.”

Videographer and "This Just In" editor Moore is proud that the show allows the Newport News community "to see the huge impact the schools are making."

"We work directly with the teachers and students on a story," he said, "so our videos are presented in the most honest and true form."

Moore concluded: "And with 500 episodes, no one can say they don't know what's going on in Newport News Public Schools!"