Creating a public service announcement or PSA is part of the regular curriculum for the students in COMM 321 Television Production, but this year was a bit different. What started out as a normal assignment turned into a competition thanks to Dr. Stacey Irwin, associate professor in the Communications & Theatre Department, and Sarah Fritz, the community outreach coordinator for Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.
Fritz contacted Irwin over the summer to discuss a collaboration with one of her classes. The two met and brainstormed, then decided that PSAs would be a great way to spread the word about the District Attorney’s important initiatives like opioids and distracted driving. Fritz’s ideas fit perfectly with the assignment and she really wanted the perspective of young people in their advocacy content.
“I am excited that they will be used in previews at Penn Cinema as well as part of social media campaigns and as part of assemblies in schools across Lancaster County,” says Irwin.
Irwin’s COMM 321 television production class had 25 students and they created 10 different PSAs. Students worked both in and out of class on their assignments, which took three weeks to complete. They collaborated in their groups in preproduction, created their scripts, recorded their visuals and edited the projects.
“It was an absolute privilege to work with the students in Dr. Irwin’s class. They were professional and interested in contributing to outreach on these topics. I was impressed by their work and the District Attorney’s Office was happy to have been a very small part of the process,” says Fritz.
Fritz came to visit the class in September to discuss the topics with the class. Then Fritz and Media Specialist and Millersville alum Brett Hambright came to judge during a class in October. They discussed and emailed Irwin later in the day with their decision. The winners were Erika Peiffer and Erik Shewchuk who did a PSA on the dangers of opioid use and Jared Sullivan and Luke Haldeman who did a PSA on distracted driving.
“This semester the students worked very hard on their assignments and gained valuable skills to prepare them for internships and media careers,” says Irwin.
To view the PSA on Opioids, visit Opioid PSA.
To view the PSA on Distracted Driving, visit Distracted Driving PSA.