Ask the Alumnus | Etiwanda Seniors Say Goodbye

Etiwanda High School, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Three recent graduates from Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, California looked back on their time with SRL, and gave advice for the next generation of curious journalists.  Students Nick Hinojosa, Ty Koslowski, and Riana Teran describe the lessons they learned and the values they gained through the SRL program, and how it made them the young adults they are today.

Nick Hinojosa

What was your initial reaction when learning about Student Reporting Labs for the first time?

Nick: I thought it was crazy that a huge network like PBS wanted to connect with us in a small town of Rancho Cucamonga, and I was scared at first, but after a few years, I felt really comfortable with them, and I can really say they’re mentors now.

What does SRL and PBS NewsHour mean to you now?

Nick: Student reporting labs really changed my life, in that it got my name out there, and it’s given me opportunities that no other company could give me.

How can youth media change the world?

Nick: A lot of the news coverage in media nowadays is all by adults and older people, but I think younger people are starting to get more of a voice nowadays, and their opinion really matters and we’re starting to have more knowledge of what’s actually going on in the world than most people.

What advice would you give to younger students just starting out in SRL or just starting to have an interest in video production and journalism?

Nick: My advice to younger journalists is to just never give up, even when a story seems like it’s going nowhere, the coolest story can come out of it. You know, a lot of stories that I’ve done have started to take turns for the worse but I kept going and I never gave up and they turned out to be great segments that I’m very proud of. My advice is never give up and just keep pursuing journalism.

Finish this sentence. Student Reporting Labs is….

Nick: Student Reporting Labs is home.

Riana Teran

When did you start taking Ms. Judson’s class and why did you decide to take it?

Riana: I started taking Ms. Judson’s class in my freshman year, and I decided to take it because I was really interested in writing stories.

What does SRL and PBS NewsHour mean to you now?

Riana: PBS and SRL mean a lot to me now because it showed me that I can tell stories and that there’s a whole other world out there, and it just really opened my eyes to how everyone’s different and everyone has a story to tell.  

Finish this sentence. Student Reporting Labs is….

Riana: Student Reporting Labs is life changing.

Ty Koswlowski

When did you start taking Ms. Judson’s class and why did you decide to take it?

Ty: I signed up to be in it because I thought journalism would help me improve my writing skills. It wasn’t even because I had an interest in journalism, it was just because I thought it would help me with my writing. What ended up making me stay, was the film aspect of journalism and actually getting to do broadcast journalism and learning how to do that.

What did that mean to you then? Did you have an understanding of what SRL was?

Ty: As I went through these four journalism years, our journalism program moved from doing the news broadcast and sending it out to the school, to doing actual news pieces that were published on websites or on TV. Now, SRL is basically our main way of producing content. SRL in my head holds a higher authority figure than the broadcast does because we’ve done more things for SRL, we’ve produced more segments for SRL, more serious segments, more professional segments, and actually made news stories. News stories done by students.

What does SRL and PBS NewsHour mean to you now?

Ty: SRL made it so that we moved from just doing pieces about our school to pieces about our society, our neighborhood.

How can youth media change the world?

Ty: Youth media can change the world because it’s a perspective that isn’t normally heard. Having a voice for teenagers and having a way for teenagers to put their ideas, their perspectives, their news stories out there, it’s just another way that people can learn from others. It’s another way that we can understand each other better, and understand why certain people have certain views and certain people make certain choices.

What advice would you give to younger students just starting out in SRL or just starting to have an interest in video production and journalism?

Ty: If you’re beginning and just starting to come into the journalism program, don’t turn down opportunities. Say yes to everything because you end up doing cool things and you end up making relationships with your teachers, other students, and other people. It ends up helping you grow as a person and you get to do way cooler things in the future. I feel like from freshman year to senior year, everything I did just kept getting cooler, kept getting bigger and that’s just because I kept deciding to say yes, I kept accepting opportunities and actually doing things. So, don’t be afraid to say yes, accept opportunities, go for it, the worst that can happen is that something messes up, but you still got the experience.

Finish this sentence. Student Reporting Labs is….

Ty: SRL is a way for you to grow as a person, and as a journalist.