UTTC Student Lands Job at Bismarck TV Station

Aug 15th, 2008 | By | Category: 20-1: Native Voices, Modern Media, Tribal College News
By Dennis Neumann


PURSUING A DREAM. Jeremy Pettigrew is the studio camera operator at the KFYR TV station in Bismarck, ND. UTN photo by Dennis J. Neumann

Jeremy Pettigrew wants to edit – the kind of editing done on the computer with moving pictures and sound, where you tell a story using scenes shot on videotape. He has landed a job in the media, bringing him closer to his dream. Pettigrew is employed as a studio camera operator at KFYR-TV, the local NBC affiliate in Bismarck, ND.

Several nights each week his work site is a TV studio on the second floor of a downtown office building. There he wears an audio headset and maneuvers a video camera in front of the evening news desk under rows of bright lights suspended from the ceiling. Using hand signals he relays timing cues to the news anchors from a director in the control room.

“It’s not exactly what I trained for, but I like my job,” says Pettigrew with a smile. “Everything is so time oriented – right down to the second. It’s interesting. Pretty cool.”

A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Pettigrew was raised in and around Wounded Knee, SD, and educated at Red Cloud Indian School, where he first got his hands on a computer to work with media. At  United Tribes Technical College (UTTC, Bismarck, ND), he studied film and animation and editing in the college’s Art-Art Marketing Program and graduated with an AAS in May 2007. He and his wife, Elisha Yellow Thunder, a student in the UTTC Environmental Science Program, have three children ages 2, 4, and 5.

During a class field trip to the TV station, he thought of applying there and decided to give it a shot. Three months later he received a call from the station’s operations manager; he was hired part-time and trained on the job for doing camera work. He also changes light bulbs and moves the furniture that makes the set for different programs.

“The people are really nice to work with,” he says. Occasionally it can be pretty crazy what goes on behind the camera, he observed, people running around to get things together. “You never see that on TV, of course. They’re very professional.”

During the day Pettigrew continues to attend UTTC. He carries 19 credit hours of classes in Small Business Management, his second major. Someday, he hopes to make his own films and videos. He’d like to try for more advanced media schooling when time and money permits.

For now he sees the studio camera job as a good start – a place where he can get more experience. Next, he’d like to put his college training to work by editing videotape. After that? Well, stay tuned.

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