BY KATELYN VAN BUSKIRK
Knight Talk is a student run news organization that was founded in 2014. Knight Talk consists of on-air talent, along with producers, a marketing team and videographers. The head of Knight Talk, Bryant McCray ’ 16, spearheaded this program in Spring 2014, but Knight Talk has been most successful this semester. Having over 332 Facebook likes, 88 Instagram followers and a website, Knight Talk is a work in progress. However, having a big social media presence shows that they are just getting started.
I spent the night with the Knight Talk crew in their studio located in the Mulva Studio. Entering, I immediately could sense an easygoing atmosphere about the room.
“It isn’t always like this you know. You should have been here last Thursday; I was so stressed,” says McCray.
McCray was calm and seemingly ready to work in his professional attire, a button down shirt with a blazer and dress pants. Matt Wanezak ’ 15,, who was dressed equally as professional as McCray, is McCray’s co-anchor and right hand; both were filming a promotional video for their Facebook page. Struggling to get a perfect take, the room filled with laughter after every failed attempt at the promotional video. Finally, after five or six takes, the video was perfect. I sat down separately with both McCray and Wanezak to get an inside look at Knight Talk and its overnight success.
Sitting down with McCray, I could sense right away his excitement not only to talk to me about Knight Talk but his passion for news, too. In the last few weeks I have seen McCray spend many a late night in the Knight Talk studio. His hard work and dedication to the organization is admirable.
Katelyn Van Buskirk: How did Knight Talk Start?
Bryant McCray: I was interested in journalism; I really wanted to get educated in the field of media. I knew nothing about media, or news. After I saw the studio in the Mulva Studio I was like, well maybe we can start our own news program here at St. Norbert College. Knight Talk definitely started because of my interest in journalism and reporting.
KVB: What is your role at Knight Talk?
BM: I am the leader and founder of Knight Talk. It is so weird, though. I never pictured myself to be a leader of a club here on campus. There is no one above another person, we are a team here, but I am the founder.
KVB: Do you think you have become an overnight success on Facebook?
BM: We first started in Spring 2014 and barely had any likes on Facebook or followers on Instagram. I never thought it was going to take off anywhere. This spring we really worked on our marketing plan and our brand is uniquely St. Norbert and uniquely “you.” We are really here for our fellow students. This really became an overnight hit. We are networking a lot more this semester. With over 322 likes on Facebook, we really have grown so much in the last five weeks.
KVB: What topics do you cover?
BM: Our primary focus is things that are happening at St. Norbert College. If there is a social justice issue on campus, we are covering that—an athletic event, we’re covering that. There are so many things on campus that students do not even know about, so we report on them.
KVB: Is this a club anyone can join?
BM: We are always interested in people to come in. However, if someone is going to join, I need them to care, I need them to have passion. I need a dedicated person. I give each new member a trial week to see if they really like it and are willing to take the time out of their day. Honestly, this is a job. I hate calling it a club; this is an organization, this is a team.
KVB: What do you hope for Knight Talk by May?
BM: I want to see Knight Talk on TVs across campus. I want it to be a true presence on campus. I want people to tell us what stories to put in our segments, because we get a lot of views on our YouTube page. My mantra is basically to make it professional but make it fun, too. This is a playground for students to experience media, but this is also a job. I take this job very seriously.
Matt Wanezek ’15, is a football player here at St. Norbert and is described by Bryant McCray as his “right hand” when it comes to Knight Talk. Seemingly a jack-of-all-trades, Wanezek is known for his roles as a sports broadcaster and movie critic, as well as his senior sit-down interviews with athletic teams’ star senior athletes. You also may know him as the friendly guy who works at Phil’s on campus. Wanezek, who is very likeable and friendly, was excited to sit down to discuss his role on Knight Talk.
KVB: How did you get involved in the Knight Talk organization?
Matt Wanezek: My friend Joe Bartel was in it last year. I heard him talk about it and I told him I was interested and asked him if I could be involved. We started last year, but it has really picked up this year. Bryant gave me the green light and let me be a part of it.
KVB: What goes into being on Knight Talk?
BM: We have meetings once a week. Everyone has a part on Knight Talk. We are really looking to expand. We are looking for editors, producer, marketing people and reporters. We are just starting up, so we actually have a lot of roles open now. We need to recruit many more young people to be in this club, because the team right now is mainly upperclassmen. Working on Knight Talk is really a part-time job.
KVB: Do you think Knight Talk has fulfilled its purpose by informing students on what is happening on campus?
MW: Yeah, we have had two episodes so far, so we are definitely new. We are trying to take something professional yet engaging to the college student demographic. I think we are fulfilling that, but, obviously, there is always room for growth. I know we are definitely headed in the right direction, though.
KVB: What is your favorite part of Knight Talk?
MW: Getting the stories is really the best part for me. I have done three stories so far: one sports related, a career fair segment and a movie review. It is fun seeing your work pay off once everything you have been working on is finished. You get to see all of your work in a professional setting. It makes you feel you are in a real news organization. I can show this work to a future employer. Any job in the media will ask you for past work, so now that I have done this, I can say that here I have worked on a script, I have worked on filming and I have been on camera. I think this experience is awesome; I highly recommend anyone to join. We are definitely eager to expand.
It is clear to me after interviewing McCray and Wanezek that this program is going to be a major success on campus. The hard work and dedication of both of these individuals is truly remarkable. Wanezek and McCray are two driven young men that will have much success in their careers. Knight Talk releases a new seven-minute broadcast every two weeks on YouTube and Facebook. You can find them on their Facebook Page, Knight Talk and on their Instagram, @sncknighttalk.