Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Immersive Learning

June 25, 2007

Hoosier families are being asked to prepare for widespread emergencies such as tornadoes and floods in a series of public service announcements  produced by Ball State students for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS).

Students majoring in telecommunications and journalism spent the past spring semester writing, shooting and editing eight 30-second, black and white segments designed to educate viewers on the precautionary steps to take before an emergency occurs.

The "Take Responsibility" messages are being broadcast on broadcast and cable television channels statewide. The spots will rotate throughout the year, depending on the focus of the message and how it correlates with the weather of a particular season.

The first two spots airing in the awareness campaign are "Family Emergency Kit" and "Pet in Emergencies." The commercials may be seen online at

"When Homeland Security officials contacted us earlier in the school year, we thought this was a terrific opportunity for our students to gain real-world experience," said Tim Pollard, a telecommunications professor who coordinated the project with Rich Swingley, a telecommunications instructor, and Dick Shoemaker, a journalism professor.

"During the semester, we pulled together groups of students from video, audio and journalism writing classes," added Pollard. "Rarely do students at that level receive an opportunity to work on such an important project that is alerting millions of Hoosiers to be prepared for disasters."

The spots were created by teams of students working in competition. Each group developed a different component and the best audio, video or script was selected by the faculty. Adding to the flavor to the productions are many first-time actors from the local community.

"This was an incredible introduction to real-world work for our students, who were mostly just entering the field," Swingley said. "This material is good enough to be put on the resume tape of professionals."

Ball State was selected to create the spots because of the university's reputation for excellence in telecommunications, explained J. Eric Dietz, executive director of Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

"We were impressed with the professional quality of work these students produced and will look forward to using them again in the future," he said.

For more information about the campaign, go to