SRL Partner Station of the Month: November 2016

Station mentors Paul Pfeffer and Tikeyah Whittle of Connecticut Public Broadcasting encourage their students to go above and beyond, as evident in CPBN Media Lab’s Letters to the Next President submissions.

How has the Student Reporting Labs program benefited the station?
At the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, students from the Journalism & Media Academy High School come to our Learning Lab daily for hands-on instruction in journalism, videography, photography, graphic arts, animation and storytelling from broadcast professionals. Being part of the Student Reporting Labs program has helped tremendously in our efforts to educate and empower youth. From lesson plans and video tutorials to project critiques from Thai and Matt, the PBS team has provided a wealth of useful material for the classroom and is always willing to answer questions and provide feedback. Aside from tangible assets, the benefit of having connections with other stations and mentors from around the country has been immeasurable!

Why is it important to help build the next generation of public media producers and participants?
Since the invention of news, media makers have used their observations and conversations with sources to create factual and informative stories that help citizens better understand the world they live in. The information we receive becomes the basis for our beliefs and opinions and shapes the way we carry ourselves and live our lives. But in today’s world, it is difficult to distinguish between objective and subjective stories. Commercial spots are disguised to look more like content and data is used to obscure truth. In a society where media and news are vital to a healthy democracy, we must prepare our students to question, analyze, be skeptical of and make sense of the information they encounter and share.

If we all had limitless resources, how could we make the Student Reporting Labs program in your community even stronger?
I’m not sure many people outside of the station are familiar with PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs. Perhaps hosting fun, informative community events could help connect with the community. Besides spreading information about who we are, student reporters can take pictures, conduct interviews and maybe even offer a service for attendees (ex. resume head shots). Not only will this help reinforce the students’ skills, it will also provide residents in Hartford, many of whom are low-income, with professional looking headshots for use on resumes.