David Mazza’s vision for a modernized, live streaming Undergraduate Student Government controlled media outlet has taken shape with numerous improvements over SBU-TV, but not without its fair share of problems. And at least for now, Mazza has to face them on his own thanks to legislative complications and an ongoing feud with the former staff of SBU-TV.
While Mazza understands why they are upset, he does not regret his decisions. No equipment was stolen in the transition, unlike in a similar incident 11 years ago. He seemed frustrated that there was even a controversy at all.
“We often think of ourselves, and I know some students don’t like this, but we tend to think of ourselves as a company,” Mazza said, “when we want to lay off an employee, we have to make it a public affair.”
Without legislation to outline the new services, Mazza is stuck without a budget, equipment, or a staff. The channel is moving along slowly because he has no one to help him with video editing, something other students would eventually be able to do.
The experienced staff of the disbanded SBU-TV may seem like an obvious choice, but according to Mazza, they have no interest in becoming involved. “I’ve tried contacting their advisors,” he explained “and they’ve said that they have no interest in speaking to me.”
Even if students did want to help out, there would be little that they could do. “We can’t really open it up much at this point,” he said, “we don’t have the structure in place yet.”
For that, they would need a new bill, which Mazza plans to write. If passed, it will provide funding for an employee that will guard and lease out video equipment, as well as a paid subscription to a video streaming site. He mentioned the latter of the two plans after being subject to a loud advertisement that interrupted one of his videos.
Meanwhile, the USG’s replacement is up and running online at http://www.livestream.com/sbusg. The channel, which is a work in progress, is divided between Livestream and YouTube.
The Livestream feed currently features archived SBU-TV news reports, a video of the infamous library rave, and a fragmented, grainy cellphone recording of a RockYoFaceCase concert. The Immortal Technique concert is soon to come.
The Youtube channel documents senate meetings and will eventually contain archived footage.
The internet has opened up countless possibilities for anyone who would like to broadcast. The FCC is no longer a problem, and copyright violations are now the USG’s only concern.
Mazza hopes to stream high-profile USG events, like an upcoming Christopher Hitchens, live for the Stony Brook audience. “We’ll have it on YouTube, at the very least,” he said.
In the past, streaming guest speakers would have been difficult. Digital equipment and no worries about what content violations means that more events will be broadcast.
And improvements like that are why Mazza took more control over SBU-TV, despite the controversy he knew it would cause. “We’ll be judged on the results, not the process,” he said.