What’s New OKWU?

Written By: Summer Smith 

Some people turn to local news channels while some search through their social media feeds to get news and updates. Still, others take the old-fashioned route and read printed newspapers. But I, Summer Smith, faithfully tune into What’s New OKWU? episodes for weekly school updates, sports announcements, and laughs.  

To ring in this latest season of What’s New OKWU? I interviewed James Faynik, Tiffani Natera, Kylie Bostwick, and Stanley Fisher and asked them what leading the school’s news platform was like. 

Each of these wonderful people has willingly sacrificed their time and energy to keep their fellow students updated and to give them a good laugh.  

I first spoke with James Faynik, the founder of What’s New OKWU?. He shared how and why he started the video news episodes that the campus enjoys. During his sophomore year, James wanted to help keep students informed by broadcasting OKWU news and upcoming events in Chapel. He then brought this idea to Professor Evan Hewitt, head of the Communications department, and Hewitt was immediately on board!  James coordinated his former team: Armon Akbar, the host; Paige Bostwick, OKWU IQ host; and Sarah Hajdukovic, co-producer. Together, they produced and filmed two seasons for the campus to enjoy.  Currently, the most recent What’s New OKWU?  team is launching its third season this month!  

James has enjoyed being the director and producer, yet unfortunately, this is his senior year. To celebrate the work that James and his teams had accomplished, I asked him to reflect on the highlights from his time leading the platform.  

“Easily one of the best [moments] was beginning the process of production. Working with my crew at the time with Paige Bostwick, Armon Akbar, Sarah Hajdukovic, and I would shoot in the green screen studio. One time, we put a green blanket over Armon to make him invisible, and I thought that was one of the best memories.” 

James also talked about what was most rewarding about producing What’s New OKWU?. In addition to fond memories made, James felt most accomplished because he has helped contribute to the overall increase in activity attendance and the retention of his fellow students. He hopes to pass the baton to another creative who will continue to improve campus communication.  

Tiffani Natera has co-filmed and co-produced What’s New OKWU? since last year. Tiffani explained that she joined the team yet was not experienced in producing and filming. Although learning to film challenged her, Tiffani was grateful for the knowledgeable and understanding teammates who have helped her develop this new craft. She has enjoyed developing friendships while learning about “lighting, camera setups, and script writing.” The work environment has been full of laughter and has cultivated her interests in film. By gaining some film experience, Tiffani now has “a new perspective on the opportunities that [she] could possibly have in the future.” 

Finally, I asked the most recent crew members, Stanley Fisher and Kylie Bostwick, about their positions of leadership while being freshmen. Both conclude that skill level or class should not hinder anyone from getting involved in campus activities and groups. The learning experience and the enjoyment from stepping outside of comfort zones are Stanley’s top two reasons that he joined the What’s New OKWU? Crew. To concur with Stanley, Kylie sends a message of encouragement to all students: simply “GO FOR IT!! The more you think about it, the more likely you will talk yourself out of it. Don’t underestimate yourself because most likely you can do it.”  

The What’s New OKWU? Crew invites anyone on campus to join in on the fun. Anyone can participate in the production of the episodes by joining the crew, sharing announcements, watching the episodes, and participating in the OKWU IQ.  

Have anyone questions for them? You can easily find these wonderful people in Doc Lacy’s, Keating, or by Blind Bart if they’re filming outside.  J   

James Faynik: Director, Producer, Lead Editor 

Tiffani Natera: Co-producer 

Kylie Bostwick: Co-anchor  

Stanley Fisher:Co- anchor