The Pony Express

GTV’s Star Behind the Camera

Photo+Courtesy+of+Yacob+Reyes
Photo Courtesy of Yacob Reyes

Photo Courtesy of Yacob Reyes

Photo Courtesy of Yacob Reyes

Hayley Greenlaw, Staff Writer

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Lights, camera, action. Behind the camera every morning for GTV is Julia Pappacoda. She has been the head of the TV production program here at Gaither for the past two years. From overcoming obstacles to receiving awards, Pappacoda has transformed the GTV program for the better and continues to do so every day.  

Pappacoda got her love for TV production back in her senior year of high school. She knew that broadcast journalism was something she had to pursue in her career. “I was doing my own morning show and I knew at that moment I could never live without broadcast journalism,” said Pappacoda. “It always needed to be in my life.” 

While in college Pappacoda majored in English education and broadcast journalism. She worked at her news broadcasting job from late 2012-2014, while also opening her own business and becoming an independent contractor. Different projects she worked on consisted of public relations, broadcast work with videos, graphic design and website management.  

“[What I loved most was] getting to be in control of the creative content, getting to see it come from this idea when I pitched it to a client and having it come to fruition after seeing them be satisfied with it. That whole process is the most satisfying part of the job,” said Pappacoda.  

Pappacoda was inspired by her high school English teacher to become a teacher. “She made me fall in love with English and she made me fall in love with the idea of helping people to be better,” said Pappacoda.  

Pappacoda has been pushing her students to be better every single day. The biggest accomplishment her students have achieved is the Jim Harbin Media Awards. The contests start off in the district where some of her students won first place awards. Those same entries went along to regionals and then states. Two films ended up placing as state finalists. In the past year, Pappacoda’s students have won 35 awards in total.

“[When the students went to state] it definitely was really cool. This is my fifth year advising TV production and I’ve never had videos make it that high,” said Pappacoda. “I know how hard the students worked last year to try to change the program around and it was like finally seeing the efforts pay off.” 

All these successes have not come without obstacles standing in the way. When Pappacoda first took over there was no functioning equipment available for the students. “The biggest challenge is having the best and right equipment available for my kids and shifting the mindset of student’s last year,” she said.

Yearbook spent $5,000 and bought a new system TriCaster, all to help GTV put on the best production that they can every day.  

Pappacoda would love to expand her program even more. “We could grow the program to a point and position within GTV where we could try and market our program to become a magnet to the district,” said Pappacoda. She is always trying to achieve the highest goals for her kids and encourage them to aim the highest that they can.  

The best part about the job isn’t about the awards it’s about seeing her kids grow into the very best that they can be, both as journalists and as people.  

“I can have a kid come in my doors as a freshman who says they’re never going on camera, never going to be an anchor and that they want nothing to do with the program. They end up not getting switched and four years later that same kid is one of my best anchors, has won a ton of awards and has become industry-certified,” said Pappacoda. “Watching that growth and how I can have that much impact on somebody, that’s really rewarding.” 

Pappacoda has been standing by her students and the GTV program since she’s started her job at Gaither. Every day the program continues to blossom under her direction and her students can’t wait to see what else she has in store.

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GTV’s Star Behind the Camera