AMERICAN GRADUATE -- August 1, 2012 at 4:30 PM EDT
School's Out But PBS NewsHour Summer Programs Keep Young Reporters Busy
While most students are on summer vacation, two Student Reporting Labs have been diligently working through the hot months. With grants from the National Science Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, students in Florida and Illinois have been researching and reporting on topics ranging from young researchers at the zoo and climate change to a skateboard program that inspires youth.
Based in the Gary Comer Youth Center on Chicago's South Side, Free Spirit Media "News on the Road" crews spent the summer learning how to report stories accurately, engage their audiences with vivid scriptwriting and producing news packages using editing software Final Cut Pro.
"When I worked on the news package for the Lincoln Park Zoo, I was excited because this was my first project with Free Spirit Media News on the Road," 15-year-old Jaime Stubbs said. "My favorite part about filming was being able to make the campers feel comfortable on camera. At first, they were afraid to be interviewed."
Through partnerships with organizations and nonprofits, the students at Free Spirit Media gain invaluable hands-on experiences that prepare them for potential careers within the broadcast industry while they're still in high school.
Middle school students in Tampa participated in the inaugural summer session of The W.H.Y. Project, a three-week multimedia camp. Utilizing community members, photographers and journalists from the Tampa Bay Times and the Poynter Institute, 15 talented young people learned the fundamentals of journalism, how to research a topic, produce a story and edit using Final Cut Pro and iMovie. Impressively, the students were able to do all of this using an iPod Touch.
A parent of two students, Erica Hardison remarked, "As a parent, teacher, and member of the community I can see the effect this project and journalism programs have on our children and the community. Children, especially in these days and times, need a voice, need to feel like they are heard and have a positive outlet to express themselves and thanks to the W.H.Y project, you and PBS NewsHour our kids have that."