With each new school year at Hubbard Woods comes a new iteration of our school’s very own television studio. We call it WGST: The World’s Greatest Student Television! After a decade and a half of service, we’ve seen entire families come through our studio. Many of those students have gone on to work in the profession. The vast majority of our students have shared when they come back to visit as high school seniors that the opportunity to prepare for and share their stories to be liberating. There are dozens of stories of how students have pushed beyond their comfort zone to become Anchor One, Two or the Meteorologist for the day. Imagine the pride a student feels when they have struggled day by day to write fluently and then, after several practice runs, deliver a flawless, poised and eloquent presentation!
We’ve come a long way from our basement studio where we recorded the daily show on VHS tapes and played them through our closed circuit television system.
The biggest challenge we’ve experienced over the years is keeping the focus on the students. The technology has increased in so many ways that essentially one person with a powerful Mac computer could run the whole show. In some ways we’ve had to downgrade tech systems to continue to have students working behind the scenes.
This year we are once again making some pretty big changes. There are of course a few technological changes. The biggest one is that rather than use an expensive program to produce the news, we are going back to iMovie. Our new technology associate helped us know that it pretty much does EVERYTHING the production software did for us and it is a program that is included on every Mac and supported by Apple.
The biggest changes this year though are behind the scenes. For years we’ve worked to have students develop a sense of journalistic integrity through the writing of their stories. We’ve striven to make sure they are school appropriate, balanced and up to date. The truth is we’ve really not had the time to help students craft their stories or work to establish balance.
This year, we are having students come in a few minutes earlier and rather than crafting their stories at home, we are developing them at school in our ‘newsroom.’
In fact, the students will be helping one another through the process of researching, writing, documenting and finding appropriate images to go along with their stories. We are creating a permanent green screen location for our meteorology reports and any other creative elements the kids cane explore!
Most importantly, we are adding two new jobs that we previewed last year: Student Director and Student Producer. They were phenomenal in our trials last spring. We are eager to have the students take control of the broadcast. It was exciting to watch the student director and producer step up and ‘run’ the broadcast. It was everything I’m sure my colleagues dreamed of when they started the program a decade and a half ago.
We are so excited to have students of multiple grade levels working together to produce stories and other audio compositions. We think that the shared exploration will beneifit us in ways we haven’t even begun to understand.
It’s going to be another fantastic year of the World’s Greatest Student Television! We can’t wait to see what our students come up with this year!