LAWRENCE — When "PBS NewsHour" contacted the University of Kansas last week looking for an expert to interview live about student loan debt, Social Welfare Associate Professor William Elliott III fit the bill. Elliott headed to Media Crossroads at the Kansas Union, put on a mic and spoke on camera with anchor Judy Woodruff in a national broadcast.
Elliott was the first KU expert to use the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications' new video technology at the Media Crossroads, which allows KU experts on the Lawrence campus to interview live with media outlets anywhere in the world.
The technology, LTN Video Transport Service, also put another KU professor in the national spotlight last week. Al-Jazeera America interviewed Professor Don Haider-Markel, chair of the Department of Political Science, about public attitudes toward gay politicians for a “Real Money With Ali Velshi” news program.
"As we work to keep KU experts in the national media spotlight, having an LTN connection on the Lawrence campus is an incredible tool to reach geographically distant video media. When we can tell producers and reporters that we can connect them with a source like this, it gives our pitches even more punch," said Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, KU spokeswoman.
The new “live-shot” capability to connect faculty to national and global news organizations has not been available on the Lawrence campus until now. The University of Kansas Hospital has had the technology for more than a year, and although Lawrence units can request to use the hospital’s media room, having the uplink on campus allows more flexibility, accessibility and convenience.
Cal Butcher, director of Media Crossroads, said the LTN capability would benefit the campus in several ways.
"It’s a great learning experience for our students who want to work in live production. The resources of the J-School and Media Crossroads are here to support anything that promotes KU and the expertise of our faculty," Butcher said.
The technology is a win-win situation for the university. News organizations pay a fee to KU to use the LTN service, and KU gains media exposure for experts and research. Through the LTN service, networks can search through a list of organizations that have the live-shot capability, and now KU is on that list.
"Right now, we are just trying to build up relationships. I am talking to the network guys after we're done, letting them know we are still on a learning curve and getting any suggestions,” Butcher said.
To contact Media Crossroads about LTN Service, call Cal Butcher at 785-864-2389 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the PBS NewsHour interview here.