The whole nation was reeling after the tragedy of the Parkland school shooting. The news was especially devastating for us here at FSS, as it happened so close to home.
When we were commissioned to co-produce a recent satellite media tour with public relations firm, Auritt Communications, in NY, on the witness of two of the Parkland school teachers, we knew we wanted to cover this story. Their book, “WE SAY #NEVERAGAIN,” spreads the powerful story of their school as told by their students.
If you aren’t familiar with the details of the Parkland school shooting, it happened last Valentine’s Day, when a lone gunman shot and killed seventeen students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. For journalism teacher, Melissa Falkowski, and broadcasting teacher, Eric Garner, as well as several of their students, writing “WE SAY #NEVERAGAIN: Reporting By The Parkland Student Journalists” was their way of reacting to the tragic event.
This honest and powerful book contains first-person accounts and reporting by and about the students and editors about the school shooting. The first chapter is a firsthand account from Melissa herself, which describes her terrifying personal experience of hiding in a janitor closet with nineteen students as the shooter prowled the school. Her emotional testimony highlights the confusion and terror so many of the Parkland students and teachers felt during the shooting. Eric wrote his testimony too, powerfully shining a light on the courage, talent, and dedication of his students in the aftermath of the shooting.
Melissa and Eric were booked on an SMT (Satellite Media Tour) at our satellite studios for a series of sixteen television and radio interviews describing their book and their powerful story. These interviews ran live in a 4-hour time frame from local stations all over the country.
The day we hosted the SMT, another tragedy struck: the mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, CA that left thirteen dead, including many college students. Instead of our planned Q&A section, we decided to incorporate this breaking news into our broadcast and get the immediate reactions of our studio guests, Melissa and Eric. They reacted to the news as it was unfolding in real time and they were able to tie it into their own personal stories of how they survived the Parkland school massacre.
This change required everyone to quickly think on their feet to present a professional-quality live broadcast to cities across the country. The Satellite Media Tour format gave our guests the ability to maximize their overall audience reach, as our studio signal was broadcast via satellite to local stations nationwide (and picked up by all their affiliates as well!). This expanded our intended targeted audience reach exponentially, as several news stations shared the video segments via satellite as well as through popular social media channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
When news of the Parkland school shooting broke last February, our studio became the go-to studio for all the national network news stations to book their remote guest live shots from. More than providing just a remote studio uplink space in Fort Lauderdale, FSS was as an important “neutral” platform for the entire Parkland community. Folks utilized our studio to voice their frustrations, concerns, and broadcast their messages to a multitude of different news outlets on both the local and national stage.
Many members of the South Florida community also booked our production studio for green screen commercials, professional Facebook Live Shows, YouTube Live, Skype, and other internet streaming and webcasting venues as they tried to let their voices be heard online as well as in the mainstream media.
Going “LIVE FROM FSS,” our studio guests had the comfort and peace of mind knowing they had a local studio that they could call home, and one that was readily available for them to go live whenever they wanted, 24/7!
FSS was and remains the home studio for all of Parkland, FL. We’ve been the home for everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, which has forever changed their school and our community as a whole. The victims’ parents, siblings, classmates, teachers, friends, family, and community in Parkland, FL know they are always welcome at our studio.
It’s our sincere hope that we, as a society, all learn from the mistakes leading up to and on that that tragic day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and that we do everything we can to ensure that our schools are as secure and safe for all our children and teachers.
If you’re looking for a broadcast studio in South Florida to book your next Satellite Media Tour, look no further than Florida Sun Studios! You can use the same studio that all the major news networks depend on every day for remote guest live shots as well as entire broadcast show productions…As your talent goes “LIVE FROM FSS!”
Below is one of our live shots from the satellite media tour we filmed with Melissa Falkowski and Eric Garner, that aired on WJLA, a local ABC station in Washington, DC.