SRL Partner Station of the Month: January 2016

From left to right: Yolian Ortiz with students from York Comprehensive High School.

For the past three years, John Bullington and Yolian Ortiz of South Carolina ETV have been an integral part to the Student Reporting Labs program. This public media duo has mentored youth journalists at Fort Mill High School, Legacy Charter High School, York Comprehensive High School and now Forestview High School.

Check out what John and Yolian, along with ETV’s CEO Linda O’Bryon, had to say about the honor.

What is your reaction to finding out ETV was selected as SRL partner station of the month?

John Bullington: It’s exciting to be chosen for this honor. The NewsHour SRLs have been a centerpiece of our work with local schools. The diversity of the schools we serve has made this work even more interesting.  We are serving both rural schools as well as an inner city charter school.

Linda O’Bryon: We’re always excited by the work going on in the SRL program, so to be highlighted is an honor. The “e” in ETV stands for educational – we started in a high school library in 1958 teaching French – so the SRL program matches our purpose as educators in South Carolina.

In your opinion, why is it important for public media stations to work with young public media professional like those who participate in SRL?

Yolian Ortiz: I tell the students often, “If I had had someone like me, coming into my classroom and giving their time and knowledge for free; I would have been a lot smarter.” It’s important for these students to have mentors. If they go into journalism careers, well that’s a plus, but not why we do it. I’m there to teach journalism, but to also make them understand that whatever they learn from this phenomenal program, they can apply it to life. Journalism is everything. We learn how to communicate, how to research, listen, tell a good story, present ourselves, problem solve and think critically. Those are the tools of life to create successful and well-rounded people. If we as media professional prepare the next generation by just passing on knowledge and experiences, we have a chance to better the future.

Linda O’Bryon: Journalism is not a job, it’s a calling. Done well, it’s the fourth branch of democracy, insuring fairness and truthfulness in all we do. It shows the many sides of each story, it represents the complexity of our society, and it expects a reasoned and enlightened audience to engage with the world. To teach a new generation those expectations is not just a high calling, but it inspires a new generation of new talent to build on what we represent. We expect to find these students on our doorstep in years to come.