SRL Partner Station of the Month: June 2016

MontanaPBS provides mentorship to our youth reporters at Sentinel High School.

Mentor and station producer Anna Rau explains the importance of public media in a time when we must constantly question our news and our sources.

How has the Student Reporting Labs program benefited the station? Participating in the Student Reporting Labs has raised the station’s profile within the local community. Getting high school students, their parents and the school faculty involved and interested in journalism and MontanaPBS has opened many avenues and friendships that benefit both the students and the station. One of the star students has already worked an excellent internship with MontanaPBS and other students decided to attend journalism school on our campus, thanks to SRL.

Why is it important to build the next generation of public media producers and participants? We need good journalists and critical news consumers now more than ever. We live in a world saturated with information, but starving for facts. It’s so important for students to learn to question sources and information and to question motives. Also, when so much of our information comes from a Google search, we need trustworthy sources. That’s why public media is so important. I truly believe the best journalism comes from a funding model that is not tied to advertising and ratings. It is my hope that these students will appreciate, support and participate in public media in the future!

If we all had limitless resources, how could we make the Student Reporting Labs program in your community even stronger? Better field gear — light kits, audio — would really help the students to do a great job. Also, a community screening of their wonderful stories at the end of each year would be a great way to reward their hard work and make them feel special. Lastly, offering journalism scholarships to some of the most promising students would help create better public media journalists to cover the tough stories of the future.