Station Spotlight | Montana PBS and SRL Lead Teacher Training

SRL traveled to Bozeman, Montana for two days of professional development with 12 teachers and students from all over the state at Montana PBS. Chris Seifert, the Director of Educational Services and producers at the station worked with SRL staff to provide a full day of hands-on camera, audio, editing, interviewing, and journalism workshops, followed by a full day filming around Montana State University. Afterwards, Chris shared her vision for integrating youth media into Montana PBS.

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

Authentic experiences are crucial for students to learn and the Student Reporting Labs model helps us fulfill our vision of connecting residents of this state to each other and our country.  We know that SRL participation impacts our communities and engages students in a very unique way.

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

The most important impact to students is teaching them, through modeling, about media literacy. If they know the care that should be given to a production prior to broadcast, they can better evaluate the things they see on air. The impact to our station from having this underrepresented voice can influence our programming and educational services throughout the state.

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

I think the best use of youth voice today at our station is to bring local stories as seen through their eyes, and having our viewers see what students are capable of producing is valuable to our older audiences. We also need a younger tone for our social offerings. We need to know what resonates with different age groups.

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

For a democracy to work we need educated voters and there are three public entities that are crucial to that education – public schools, public libraries and public media.  Information needs to be accurate and reliable. We cannot afford to not recruit and train our best students to be great teachers, librarians, producers and documentarians.