Station Spotlight | Louisiana PBS: Strengthening relationships within its communities

Students from Mayfair Laboratory School with their teacher, Jessica Vicknair, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana  

SRL started working with Louisiana Public Broadcasting last year to develop Labs at Mayfair Laboratory School and University Laboratory High School in Baton Rouge. We asked Louisiana’s PBS’s Christina Melton about the impact she and her team have made on our students in recent months and what they hope to tackle this year.

How does Student Reporting Labs program benefit your station’s short and long-term goals?   

LPB is always looking for new ways to strengthen its relationships within our communities and schools. We would like to train new generations of content producers and to help develop savvy media consumers. We also love getting into the classroom to work with students, face to face. Kids give you hope for the future, especially our SRL partners, they are really bright and enthusiastic.

Why do you think it’s important to include the perspectives of young people at your local station?

Young people provide unique insight into the constant evolution of the media ecosphere. They help us understand ways in which future generations will consume media and what issues they see as being relevant to their own futures. With that understanding, we are better prepared to help keep them engaged in the public dialogue about who we are and where we want to go.

Students from Mayfair Laboratory School filming “man on the street” interviews for an SRL assignment on the youth vote.

What are your goals going into an SRL classroom this year?

LPB hopes to help students explore and experiment with a wide array of platforms and formats in content creation with a critical foundation in solid journalistic principles. We hope to teach them that they should find their own voices and be bold in pursuing stories that can educate and enrich the lives of their fellow citizens, and that that is a vital component of our democracy.

What role do you think youth voice can play at every station?

Young people are concerned about their own futures and their concerns may be different from the conversations going on in the media and on a national level. Young people are our future and we have to engage them if we expect them to eventually take leaderships roles.

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

The young people I’ve encountered seem very concerned about the “truthfulness” of the things they see in the media. When they become content producers, they find a new perspective about what it means to present truthful stories in journalism and how important journalistic integrity is to the stories they present. Educated content creators make much more educated media consumers.