By: Sabrina Pizziol
Since the recent pandemic has changed the way we receive information, news productions have been scrambling to figure out how to adapt. Graduating broadcast journalism major, Ben Ezzy, has been at the frontline of this change, as he executive directs COVID-19: A UMTV Special.
“Obviously, it’s been a difficult few weeks in not being able to finish the semester together,” Ezzy explains. “But this has been a powerful story, and it shows our strengths as journalists and that we’ve been able to embrace those challenges and tell it.”
The new UMTV consists of short IGTV newscasts throughout April and is building toward a full show set to be released in May. IGTV is a video app by Instagram that allows for longer video content on Instagram and in the IGTV standalone app.
However, this isn’t the first time Ezzy has stepped in to take the lead for UMTV. Since joining, Ezzy has been an instrumental part in uniting various shows, designing news looks, raising UMTV’s profile on campus, and helping to establish special projects.
“UMTV allows you to have hands-on experience and to apply what you learn in the classroom to real productions,” said Ezzy. “The ability to experiment, and try new things, and make mistakes, and learn from them is really beneficial,” said Ezzy. “And it’s a lot of fun.”
Ezzy got his start on UMTV in his sophomore year, working as a volunteer crew member. His passion for media production quickly developed and, by the spring, Ezzy became the technical producer for NewsVision
Everything started to fall into place in his junior year, after becoming an executive producer of NewsBreak and getting a taste for live directing.
“I immediately fell in love with directing,” said Ezzy.
For the last two years, Ezzy has led UMTV’s special programs as both station manager and director for NewsVision. His work on the show was honored both years with multiple NBS awards and nominations for UMTV and a personal one for Outstanding Multi-Camera Direction. Ezzy was also given the UMTV Rex Pompadur Award for Outstanding Service.
Having an understanding of the ins and outs of production has allowed Ezzy to create dynamic projects, including a 20-minute documentary on the Florida Skunk Ape called Bigfoot of the Everglades.
“I got to go out and meet all sorts of crazy people,” said Ezzy. “We went on a skunk ape hunt, did nighttime photography in the swamp, went on airboats, and made all kinds of memories.”
With all the projects and events he’s spearheading, you would think Ezzy doesn’t have time for anything else. Think again.
“Outside of UMTV,” said Ezzy. “I’m the special events chair of the President’s 100 and an intramural supervisor at the wellness center.”
Ezzy has been a President’s 100 Student Ambassador since his freshman year and was even hand-picked to give the campus tour when Chief Justice Robert’s visited UM. In 2018, he was given the award of Official of the Year for his dedication to intramural sports.
“I’ve just loved everything about my time on campus,” said Ezzy. “But people are special.”
Faculty members and students will all feel Ezzy’s absence next year, as he moves on to pursue a career in live directing.