SRL Connected Educator of the Month: April

After years of teaching print journalism, SRL Connected Educator Mitch Schwartz brought Student Reporting Labs into his classroom at Dominion High School in Sterling, Virginia to try video storytelling. Mitch’s passion for teaching and journalism is clear. In less than a year, his students picked up the video production skills to produce a piece that aired on the NewsHour. Their story about an elementary school coding program was a favorite of NewsHour Executive Producer Sara Just. Next year, he plans to start the first broadcast journalism class at this school.

What is your teaching philosophy when it comes to storytelling?

Every year in my introduction to journalism class, my students have to write feature stories on a different student in class. The exercise shows that everyone has a unique story to tell, and it is their job as a journalist to find that story and to tell it in a compelling manner for their audience. It is really important to guide students through figuring out how to tell a story and why it is important to tell stories.

How can student journalism help promote a greater understanding of the world?

Student journalism can provide a different perspective that most people would not see otherwise. The ideas and stories presented are unique, important and necessary to gaining a greater understanding of the world.

How can we get youth more interested in the news?

It is important to listen to young people and think about how they consume information to adapt how we present the news to them. After that difficult task, we have to figure out a way to inform young people in a way that helps them better understand the impact news has on their world and the world around them.

What would life look like without public media?

It would be a dark place in which people are fed information to push a specific narrative, rather than being informed and making educated decisions for themselves.

What do you hope to accomplish with SRL? 

It is an awesome opportunity for me to learn from all of the other educators in the program, and from the amazing team at PBS. We have been able to start a broadcast journalism class next year because of the work with SRL. It is a chance for me to increase student interest in journalism and to hopefully give students a foundation for exploring journalism at the college level. SRL opens up so many doors for students and myself.