Campus News

Bethical News: behind the scenes

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If you are a Bethel student, you understand that Fridays in chapel means another weekly episode of “Bethical News.”  The show that everybody sees is the final product, but has anybody ever thought about the work and the production that goes into our favorite four minutes of chapel? Each episode of “Bethical News” is timed at around four to five minutes.  But those four minutes generally take hours to write, film and edit until it gets to the polished, fine-tuned show that is enjoyed by chapel-goers. “Each minute of a normal show takes about an hour or two to make,” said Josh Hartsell, the writer and editor of the show. “But the big production episodes can sometimes take eight to ten hours to finalize everything.” Hartsell believes that the hardest part of the show is getting the writing done well.  Since Bethel is a small college in a closed system, it is hard to find new material to make funny, but not offensive to some people.  There aren’t enough things happening on campus to keep things fresh, which explains why some jokes and themes are reused. An interesting fact that might not be known by every student is that Bethical News began as a Twitter account that would tweet things that were happening on campus and give it a comedic twist. “The best part is that it just came out of nowhere and suddenly became this huge tradition that we are proud of, or at least I hope we are,” Hartsell said. Although Hartsell does a lot of the behind the scenes work, the fans of the show normally think about the two anchors when they hear the words Bethical News.  This year’s anchors are Justin Brown and Jasmine Bradley.  This job is fun, but difficult because it’s their faces that are associated with every single joke and story that is said.  Both Bradley and Brown claim that the hardest part of filming is just being able to make the script sound like something they would just say and not make it sound like they are reading from a script. “The best part is being able to make the show our own,” said Brown. “Once we get used to the show a little more, we will be able to change Josh’s words and make them our own and get a little more freedom with what we say.” This year’s show is a bit different from past years because Bradley is the first African-American anchor in the show’s history.  She believes that this is a huge opportunity because it is starting to add some diversity to the show. “We are now able to talk about some things that weren’t able to talk about as much,” said Bradley. Hartsell believes that this change is going to help the show reach some of the minorities that weren’t being reached as much before.  He believes that Bradley has a huge voice on the campus in even more of a capacity now.  This will open up opportunities to tackle some topics that weren’t possible before. Lastly, the three were asked if there was one thing they want students to know about the show that they wouldn’t know by just watching every week. “It is super nerve-wracking for the anchors because they are the faces that people see, “said Hartsell, “if a joke isn’t funny to people, then it is the anchors who are seen as not funny because most students do not know that I write the jokes.” “The set we use isn’t really glamorous.  It is just a green screen behind a desk, so it’s not as cool as it looks on Fridays,” Bradley said. Brown wants people to know about the work that Hartsell puts into the show. “Josh puts so much work each week on each show,” Brown said, “he juggles all of his responsibilities as the [resident director] in Oakwood and also tries to write things that are funny to the entire student body.”
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