Photo of a design concept for signs planned for the outside of the home of student media in the Hendrix Student Center.

A design concept for signs planned for the outside of the home of student media in the Hendrix Student Center.
Image Credit: WYFF

CLEMSON — Clemson University and WYFF 4 have established an academic partnership that will allow members of Clemson student media to work alongside industry professionals in a satellite news bureau located on Clemson’s campus. The partnership will make Clemson the only university in South Carolina to feature an on-campus news bureau occupied by an outside media organization.

WYFF 4 is the top station in South Carolina’s largest media market and it covers stories across the Upstate, Western North Carolina and parts of Georgia. The station will set up its news bureau in the Hendrix Student Center alongside Clemson’s student media organizations. This news bureau, which will specialize in reporting news out of the Upstate region, will join other similar WYFF 4 news bureaus with specialized scopes of coverage in Anderson, Spartanburg and Washington, D.C.

Joseph Mazer, chair of Clemson’s communication department that houses student media, says the academic partnership will provide valuable experiential learning opportunities for students interested in a wide range of careers in media. He says the partnership will also bring the communication department more in line with the makeup of those in the country’s top research universities.

“Thanks to this partnership, Clemson students will get a view of the current media landscape that no other institution in the state can provide,” Mazer said. “The student media experience at Clemson will become much richer when it happens alongside seasoned professionals reporting right from our campus on breaking and general news across the state.”

According to John Humphries, president and general manager of WYFF 4, establishing a news bureau at Clemson University brings the NBC-affiliated television station and digital media company closer to an audience and area that is vitally important to the state and to WYFF 4.

The news bureau will place reporters on Clemson’s campus where they can be close to faculty experts and breaking news at the university. Space set aside in the student media suite will also allow reporters to go live from campus whenever necessary.

Humphries envisions WYFF 4 reporters and Clemson students working in tandem with the nearby Anderson bureau to more effectively cover news in the Upstate region. Humphries said he and WYFF 4 News Director Bruce Barkley have long recognized the level of talent emerging from Clemson University students and graduates working in media, so this partnership will also serve to solidify the media company’s connection with Clemson.

Graphic of a design concept for the space to be occupied by WYFF 4 in the Hendrix Student Center, which overlooks the building's main entrance.

A design concept for the space to be occupied by WYFF 4 in the Hendrix Student Center, which overlooks the building’s main entrance.
Image Credit: WYFF 4

“This move checks a lot of boxes for us, and we get the added benefit of being able to feed off the energy of Clemson students who are eager to participate in media in a variety of ways,” Humphries said. “We’re thrilled about the prospect of being embedded in Clemson and among students.”

Barkley sees the partnership as another step in an evolving relationship between WYFF 4 and Clemson’s communication department. The two entities have previously collaborated on political coverage using the department’s Social Media Listening Center.

Barkley said students will be allowed to shadow WYFF 4 employees operating out of the news bureau and WYFF 4 will create more formal internship opportunities based out of Clemson student media. Barkley also plans to tap into content developed by the many organizations on hand in student media.

“I was impressed by how many different outlets there are in Clemson student media, and talent is talent regardless of where it’s coming from,” Barkley said. “We’ll take any opportunity we can get to showcase the great content coming from talented Clemson students.”

Wanda Johnson, director of student media at Clemson, said she is excited to see students engage in a variety of ways with WYFF 4. She said the opportunities for student involvement include obvious roles such as reporting and videography, but they’ll also have the chance to try their hand at producing, promotions, marketing, directing and more.

“Our students will gain the kind of experience departments, schools and colleges of communication across the nation will no doubt envy as they gain resume-building experience as communicators,” Johnson said. “Through the Clemson-WYFF 4 partnership, I look forward to helping create as many opportunities as possible for students.”

Leslie Hossfeld, dean of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences that houses the communication department, said she applauds the department’s efforts to pursue a partnership that all but guarantees students will receive the most relevant experiences in their chosen disciplines.

“Our communication department has students who are among the best of the next generation of media professionals,” Hossfeld said. “I can’t think of a better way to ensure that happens than to have them working alongside the professionals of WYFF 4 who exemplify quality news reporting and production.”

Representatives from Clemson University and WYFF 4 will hold a kickoff event to celebrate the partnership at 2 p.m. Nov. 12 on the third floor of the Hendrix Student Center in the common area outside of the entrance to student media. Media are invited to attend the event, which will include remarks from Clemson University President James P. Clements, WYFF 4 President and General Manager John Humphries and Clemson students.