PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs announces 2019 SRL Academy Fellows

Video produced by Teresa Johnson

WASHINGTON, DC — Twenty six talented up-and-coming youth journalists from 14 states will travel to the nation’s capital this summer to participate in an immersive real-world journalism experience with PBS NewsHour.

The middle and high school SRL Fellows are part of PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs fifth annual Academy in Washington, D.C. Students will work alongside journalism educators and public media mentors to produce original youth-driven digital content while honing their journalism and production skills through a series of specialized workshops with industry professionals.

The stories produced by SRL Fellows will be showcased at a special screening at the Newseum, in partnership with the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). Students will also work with program leaders and media literacy stakeholders to develop strategies for engaging young people with news and current affairs.

“Fellows learn how to create, collaborate and find their voice by producing, writing and editing a story in a matter of days,” said Elis Estrada, director of Student Reporting Labs. “These students’ worlds open up when they arrive in DC and by the end of the academy, they realize that they’ve found other teenagers who are passionate about video storytelling, as well as the motivation to teach what they learned to their peers in the new school year.”

At a time when local journalism and community news face tough sustainability challenges, SRL’s network of student journalists span 150 schools across the country and connect mentors at local and national news organizations to help fill a critical gap, providing coverage and insights on issues affecting their generation.

Skyylar Jordan, a 2019 Fellow from Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas, Nevada says youth-centered media has the potential to motivate new audiences to pay attention to critical issues. “Many young people today tend to tune out the news when they feel like it is only adults spouting out statistics and words at them…they feel like their own voices are not heard,” said Jordan. When teenagers see their peers discussing the news, they are more inclined to listen and learn more.”

During the 2018-19 school year, these young journalists contributed to NewsHour’s broadcast and digital platforms with Turning Out: The Youth Vote, Opportunity in America, Art in Real Life, and a series of STEM-focused stories. Students also contributed to a myriad of timely responses to national news events, including the Kavanaugh hearings, college admissions scandal, and International Fact-checking Day.

2019 SRL Academy Fellows:

  • Angel Delich, Frederick V. Pankow Center, Michigan
  • Bailey Childress, Early College and Career Center, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
  • Brittany Bucksell, Surrattsville High School, Maryland
  • Cailyn Omuro, Maui Waena Intermediate, Hawaii
  • Chloe McCarron, Etiwanda High School, California
  • Damien Henson, Westview High School, California
  • Dariana Garcia-Bernabe, Franklin Learning Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Diana Rincon, Northview High School, Covina, California
  • Ernesto Hernandez, Ontario High school, Ontario, California
  • Faith Christy Soliven, Maui High School, Maui, Hawaii
  • Gray Fons, Royal Oak High School, Royal Oak, Michigan
  • Hector Machuca, Lanier high school, Austin, Texas
  • Isaiah Harley, Trumbull Career and Technical Center, Warren, Ohio
  • Jazmyne Viloria, Maui Waena Intermediate School, Maui, Hawaii
  • Johneise Ayers, Hughes Stem High School, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Jonathan Luines, Legacy Early College High School, Greenville, South Carolina
  • Kaitlyn Gong, Oakland Military Institute, Oakland, California
  • Kaleb Velez, Jersey Village, Houston, Texas
  • Karen Ramos, Dominion High School, Sterling, Virginia
  • Kylee Hamm, Mid-Maine Technical Center, Waterville, Maine
  • Nova Martinez, Northview High School, Covina, California
  • Reece Harnett, Fort Mill High School, Fort Mill, South Carolina
  • Samuel Stolpe, Wauwatosa East High School, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
  • Skyylar Jordan, Desert Pines High School, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Wyatt Burichka, Cody High School, Cody, Wyoming
  • Zhenwei Gao, Etiwanda High School, Rancho Cucamonga, California

The academy will also feature encore appearances by SRL Fellows Lilly Waterfall from Royal Oak High School in Michigan and Xavier Dominguez from Las Cruces High School in New Mexico. They will provide peer mentoring and behind-the-scenes reporting and support.

To learn more about the students, please visit the official 2019 SRL Academy Tumblr.

Fellows are connected to local PBS stations CET in Cincinnati, Detroit Public TelevisionHouston Public MediaKET in Kentucky, KPBS in San Diego, KLRUKRWG in Las Cruces, KQEDMilwaukee PBSPBS Hawaii, PBS SoCal, South Carolina ETV, South Florida PBS, WETA,Vegas PBS, and Wisconsin Public Television.

Student Reporting Labs is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Graduate: Getting to Work initiative, the MacArthur Foundation, the Kauffman Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award.

On social media, visit PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs Twitter, Instagram and on Facebook.

Media contact:

Adriana Gallegos, Community Engagement Strategist

agallegos@newshour.org