SRL Partner Station of the Month: May 2016

Our friends at West Virginia Public Broadcasting have always been there to lend a helping hand. They are terrific mentors and it shows in how much their mentees have grown at Richwood High School.

Not only did they help teacher Susan Johnson and her class produce a powerful video on West Virginia’s opioid epidemic, they supported SRL team members Matt and Thai when they visited to produce a STEM story.

Television Production Supervisor and SRL mentor Chuck Frostick tells us why educational partnerships and building the next generation of public media journalists are important to the West Virginia Public Broadcasting family.

In your opinion, why is it important for public media stations to work with young public media professional like those who participate in SRL?
It’s important that students get exposed to the working world which they are soon to enter. Interacting with public media professionals, to learn hands-on how a job is properly performed and to decide if this really is what they want to do, is invaluable in helping students select the right life-long career path for them. As we so often differ from our commercial media counterparts, it’s good to learn that public media allows for longer pieces and the ability to more fully tell a story — without being limited to a few quick sound bites.

How has the Student Reporting Labs program benefited the station?
Our broadcast license is held by the Educational Broadcasting Authority. Education is a part of everything we do. We have received great praise for our educational outreach programs and we proudly publicize our partnership with Richwood High School. Stories of our work with SRL have been featured on all of our broadcast platforms including television, radio and Our partnership with Richwood was seen nationwide when the White House posted the student’s video showing the effects of the prescription drug epidemic on the people of West Virginia. And the exposure only multiplied when the video was posted on Facebook, tweeted about and shared by so many.

Why is it important to build the next generation of public media producers and participants?
In a world where androids and iPhones seemingly allow anyone to “go live,” it is vital that students receive the proper training to ensure they tell a story completely, accurately, fairly and effectively. A camera or a blog does not make you a journalist. Education, training and experience, combined with ethics, makes a journalist. The SRL program encourages and develops the next generation.

If we all had limitless resources, how could we make the Student Reporting Labs program in your community even stronger?
Expand the program to more schools willing to take on the challenge and help provide funding to local PBS stations for full-time positions to work with the schools. Also, provide (perhaps through corporate sponsorships, philanthropists, etc.) the tools necessary to do the job. More cameras and batteries; more audio equipment like recorders, microphones and headphones; quality tripods; lighting and recording media. Some schools do not have the resources to keep everything working or to replace lost or broken items.