SRL Partner Station of the Month: June 2017

SRL reporter Isabel Evans interviews New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker while Carole Wacey of WNET looks on.


We caught up with Carole Wacey, WNET’s vice president of education, this month to ask her how WNET and NJTV’s involvement with SRL has helped the station fulfill it’s educational mission.

When did your station first become a part of SRL?

WNET first became part of SRL in 2013. We wanted to include student voice and spotlight student journalists as part of American Graduate Day (AGD). Our relationship with SRL has continued to grow since then by including SRL on AGD each year and having an NJTV correspondent/host as an SRL mentor at Phillips Academy Charter School in Newark, NJ. In fact, SRL student Sophie Sabin will be the inaugural SRL Gwen Ifill Fellow at NJTV this summer. It’s great that our station, which promotes mentoring for our viewers on AGD, is actively involved in mentoring young people. This kinds of learning is what we’re all about and it’s great to partner with SRL to support youth in our community.

How has the Student Reporting Labs program benefited your station?

Student reporting Labs has been positive learning experience both for the students and staff involved at WNET and NJTV — it provides a way for employees to directly participate in supporting a station-wide programmatic priority. There are so many benefits to the station, which include:

  • Great Content: A group of SRL students from Phillips Academy Charter School attended the ribbon-cutting during the opening of NJTV in Newark and conducted an unplanned and dynamic interview with Senator Booker as he left the podium. SRL students also conducted interviews with AGD talent and did some behind-the-scenes reporting, which has been included on AGD where it reaches a national audience.
  • Impacts on Mentors: SRL helped mentors in many ways by building relationships across the station, mentoring SRL students helps station staff get stronger in their role, SRL provided a great opportunity for job satisfaction for the mentor, even the staff who aren’t mentors appreciate and are touched by the impact of SRL students, and SRL shows funders and partners that we care about our community and will invest our most valuable assets (our employees) to support them.

Why is it important to help build the next generation of public media producers and participants?

It is important to help build the next generation because it leads to better citizens and better producers. The young people in the program are eager, hungry, ready to learn and dedicated to their craft. We want to support this skill set and culmination of knowledge in our community and, ultimately, stations will benefit from a tremendous talent pool of SRL alums. Even if SRL students don’t all go into journalism, the skills they learn (storytelling, communications, problem-solving, teamwork, etc.) will be an asset to any career path they may take.

If we all had limitless resources, how could we make the Student Reporting Labs program in your community even stronger?

Student Reporting Labs could be stronger if we could take the participants out into the field for more shoots to shadow reporters. The more field-based work they would experience would be an asset. Having more participants literally out in the field and learning the craft of turning around a quick news piece would be incredible. It would be great if you can share mentor success stories as a way to demonstrate the positive impact that SRL has had on stations so that other stations will want to participate. It would also be great to connect SRL students across the country through an online forum and facilitate them working with each other. They could learn from each other and co-create content together.

WNET is very proud to partner with SRL—and, we look forward to expanding our partnership in the years ahead.