SSHS alumna creates news web-show


A former South Side High School student with a passion for journalism has created a show that brings condensed, entertaining news to the students of Arizona State University (ASU) in a format they would appreciate — a web video called the Outlier.

Samantha Koukoulas, a 21-year-old junior at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication studying broadcast journalism, said that her interest in public speaking, as well as morning and evening news shows she would watch throughout high school, helped form the idea for the creation of the weekly news video.

“I’d wake up and watch the Today Show every morning and end my day with an assortment of night shows,” Koukoulas said. “But I never watched the news in between, sparking the idea for the show. I think it’s amazing the following some anchors have. Take Dick Clark for instance or Brian Williams — millions of people tune in every evening to listen to these people for information.”

Koukoulas said that she noticed that not every student has the same enthusiasm toward news, or even reading, that she does, and thought there might be a better way to reach her peers. It’s important for people to remain up to date on the events around them, an idea brought home to Koukoulas during the presidential election, when, she said, “social media was littered with uninformed opinions from both parties.”

“I wanted to condense the important information they need to know and intertwine it with kicker news that would keep them entertained long enough to watch, while still remaining credible,” Koukoulas explained. “We call our segment PDQ News (Pretty-Damn-Quick) where we basically run headlines and the basic facts to breaking, national and international news.”

The emphasis of journalism is shifting as new technologies are continuously introduced, Koukoulas said, and The Outlier tries to follow the new standard.

The audience can stay updated on current events by watching the show, by following its Twitter account and by reading articles on its Facebook page.

“As long as the content is put in an engaging format I believe it will hold the interest of the viewers,” Koukoulas said. “My co-host, Mike [Smith] and myself love the Today Show as well as a variety of night shows. So I thought, why not combine both, incorporate the features and profiles while still delivering a sense of hard news in between the interesting content.”

The show features current news at a serious and entertainment level, while incorporating interviews and profiles, Koukoulas said. The show is filmed every Thursday night at 6 p.m., and is on Youtube by Sunday at the latest. Koukoulas said that it might switch to filming every other week because the crew is less than 10 people. The show was started on Feb. 1 and to date there have been three episodes aired on Youtube.

The show allows for the cast and crew to get creative with the presentation of the news, Koukoulas said.

“My favorite part about the show is showcasing the talent of my peers,” she said. “It is a place for students to come together and get creative. There is a very straight journalistic line we have to follow for our classes and at The Outlier, students can get creative with stories or artistic approach.”