The award-winning newspaper of Anne Arundel Community College.

Campus Current

The award-winning newspaper of Anne Arundel Community College.

Campus Current

The award-winning newspaper of Anne Arundel Community College.

Campus Current

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Journalism students tour news radio station

Students+tour+WTOP+Radio%2C+the+largest+news+radio+station+in+the+country%2C+during+a+Campus+Current+field+trip.+Foreground%2C+WTOP+anchor+Anne+Kramer+with+AACC+students.
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Students tour WTOP Radio, the largest news radio station in the country, during a Campus Current field trip. Foreground, WTOP anchor Anne Kramer with AACC students.

AACC students visited the largest news radio station in the country on Friday.

Campus Current editors, reporters and photographers visited WTOP Radio in Chevy Chase to learn first-hand how radio stations run.

“It was so inspiring to see all those professional journalists,” Tomi Brunton, Campus Current’s editor-in-chief, said.

Broadcasters were live on air while students observed from inside the studio, known in Washington as the “glass-enclosed nerve center.”

“They’re watching 16 radios and watching 10 cameras at one time, and they take all of that information and turn it into something digestible,” Zack Buster, a third-year communications student, said. “That’s super impressive and it only comes through experience.”

Buster, who also attended the same field trip last fall, said he has “no idea” how reporters at WTOP are able to keep up.

“You walk into this room with all these different people in it, and they’re all doing something different, but at the same time, they all know everything that everyone else is doing,” Buster, the president of AACC’s Student Government Association, said. “It’s this organized chaos that [is] really, like, it’s really exciting.”

Izzy Chase, Campus Current’s associate editor, agreed.

“We got to talk to real news anchors and see them as they worked live on the air,” Chase said. “[It] was really interesting to see how they improvise. … I got really excited.”

Buster said it was “a bit overwhelming” to watch the pros in action, but noted it is important for student journalists to see.

“To really see what it’s like, what a journalism job is like outside a student newspaper at a community college,” Buster said. “That type of experience, I think it’s really important, especially for student journalists.”

Shawn Anderson, afternoon anchor of WTOP, said he has “never been bored” during his nearly 30 years working for the radio station.

“I have the opportunity to talk to about a million people per week on the radio for five hours a day,” Anderson said. “This is the best job I’ve ever had.”

Anderson said he views journalism as an important field.

“For America to survive as a democracy, it is so important to have [these] unbiased journalists who are uncovering the truth,” Anderson said. “I encourage students to really consider the field of journalism as a career, particularly the Gen Z generation. … We are really going to need you.”

Mike Jakaitis, a senior broadcast producer at WTOP, said students shouldn’t be afraid to “put in the work” if they want to be journalists.

“Hard work pays off,” Jakaitis said. “Any opportunity you get, run with it. … Nothing’s going to be handed to you in this world.”

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