Eric Smith well deserving of broadcast honors

Eric Smith, director of broadcasting and audio visual services at Northern Michigan University, is being saluted this summer as one of five Michigan Association of Broadcasters summer award honorees. He will receive the 2014 Professional Pioneer Award, which will be presented in August on Mackinac Island.

The award stems from NMU media outlets’ integration of TV and radio broadcasting into learning and teaching on campus during a fast-changing time for the field.

The outlets offer lab experience to students as volunteers producing Public Eye News’ live daily newscast, as interns at TV13, WNMU and Radio X and and as paid employees working on production for sports and other events.

Many fields require real-world experience as well as traditional classroom learning, and broadcasting definitely is one of those fields.

Without hands-on experience, students most likely would have a more difficult time finding employment after graduation.

Although Smith, who has spent nearly 39 years at NMU, as director, he credits others with helping to make the program successful.

They include the university, its staff and the public that contributes financial and volunteer resources to keep the programs afloat.

“I’m just here to facilitate,” Smith told The Mining Journal.

That might be the case, but typically the person at the helm sets the tone.

When it comes to teaching students about the evolving field of broadcasting, getting them to look beyond the textbook and get out and actually perform the work is the way to go, and Smith, obviously a proponent of this direction, is well deserving of the Professional Pioneer Award.