SRL Partner Station of the Month: March 2017

Wisconsin Public Television

WPT reporter Frederica Freyberg with student journalists from Black River Falls High School.

This month, SRL teachers Julie Tiedens and Jean Biebel attended the inaugural Wisconsin Public Television Education Innovation Summit and presented the learning opportunities available through SRL. The station’s new Education Specialist John Dollar also traveled up to Black River Falls High School to mentor the students on a shoot. See the WPT blog here.

Here’s how John and WPT Education Director Alyssa Tsagong see the program helping the station’s work.

How has the Student Reporting Labs program benefited the station?

SRL is quickly becoming a cornerstone of the work we do to support students and teachers in the state of Wisconsin. Education has been at the heart of public broadcasting here since Professor Earle Terry’s experiments with radio from the UW Madison campus 100 years ago, through the Wisconsin State Legislature’s 1953 authorization of the “Wisconsin Television Laboratory” to “pursue teaching, research and experimentation in television,” and now in our 21st century efforts to help educators deliver authentic, student-centered learning experiences through media resources and direct involvement in classrooms. The Student Reporting Labs program represents a direct, hands-on version of that mission, allowing us to share our professional experience with the young people who will craft the media of the future.  

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

It is important that public media is constantly striving to include as many voices and perspectives as possible, so giving young people the tools and experience they need to contribute their views is a natural fit for us. Maybe asking why it is important isn’t the right question, instead: How can we best broaden the range, reach and definition of who can be a public media producer and participant? If students have an authentic experience being engaged with and co-creating public media, they will be poised to expand it in the future.

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

Can you get us a Hermione-style time turner? Time is the biggest limiting factor that teachers and students face! Whether they’re in a block or traditional schedule, it’s really difficult to manage a team of reporters who have to go to 4 or 5 other classes plus soccer, plus dance, plus everything else teenagers are expected to do in a day. Working in linear time however, we would create a full-time fellowship position that would attract stellar candidates who have excellent digital media skills to work exclusively with Wisconsin schools as a mentor to students and obstacle-navigator for teachers to start, improve or enhance SRL programs. They would travel our state, work directly in classrooms and help infuse our station with the work, voices and experiences of students.