UNCW students launch new political talk show

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Shane Fernando, director of CFCC's Humanities and Fine Arts Center, was among the first guests on UNCW's new political television show. Courtesy photo.
Shane Fernando, director of CFCC’s Humanities and Fine Arts Center, was among the first guests on UNCW’s new political television show. Courtesy photo.

Some local students are hitting the small screen to talk politics.

UNC-Wilmington recently launched “WingSpan,” a weekly talk show airing on The Learning Network (TLN) and online.

The joint project of the 23 students enrolled in the university’s upper-level “Media and Politics” class will welcome leaders on and off-campus, including city, county and state officials, to discuss timely topics.

Guests of the premiere episode, which taped Wednesday, focused on economic development in Wilmington. Mayor Bill Saffo, Shane Fernando, director of Cape Fear Community College’s Humanities and Fine Arts Center, Wilmington Business Journal editor Vicky Janowski, N.C. Azalea Festival president Robby Collins and Kim Hufham, president of Wilmington and Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau joined the round table discussion.

“We are excited to be involved in an applied learning experience like this, from beginning to end, capturing the energy, enthusiasm and critical thinking that makes the university so critical to our community and our future,” said Dr. Jennifer Brubaker, associate professor of communication studies and executive producer of “WingSpan.”

The show is sponsored by ETEAL, a UNCW department that funds and supports first-hand learning opportunities.
Under the guidance of Brubaker, students are responsible for every aspect of the show–from selecting the name to researching topics, writing scripts and selecting guests. The goal is to tackle relevant issues in a constructive and non-partisan format.

“This type of applied learning project provides students an authentic experience to enculturate them in a civic engagement opportunity while also doing a service for the greater community,” Brubaker noted. “UNCW really puts a value on the importance of both applied learning and civic engagement, and ‘WingSpan’ is a perfect example of these initiatives…Active learning to be informed and involved citizens is a key part of a good education.”

Click here to watch the first episode. Episodes will also air at 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays on TLN.