I had the pleasure of speaking with Naomi Pestana about what Journalism means to her and how her experience has led her to develop the New Broadcast class at The Village School. Throughout our interview Naomi shared her experience working with the 7th and 8th years. She described how she tailors her lessons to help the students develop the skills needed for the news-gathering process. During this process, the students are taught how to gather, create, identify their audience, and focus their stories on events happening in school. She also discussed how she has students typing the process of tying the topics to a bigger issue; and how that issue affects students on different program levels. Naomi said it has been rewarding being able to use her years of journalism experience to provide her students with the resources they need to uncover the stories.
The students are first expected to understand the basics of journalism such as how to mount a camera on a tripod, turning it on, and wait for the proper moment to get the correct footage. It can take up to months to make a single newscast. Students are assigned to different roles which require specific tasks: anchor, producer, photographer, reporter, or editor. Teams must work together as all tasks are essential to making their final production. At the beginning of the year, students had a story scavenger hunt around the school. Students listened to discussions and talked about them in relation to a newscast. They became aware of the importance of getting to the scene, gathering information, and returning to the newsroom to make the proper edits for the broadcast. Throughout the year they learned how to identify a good story based on its potential news elements. They also attend classes on news literacy and assess how to documentation according to news values, ethics, and judgements.
The Broadcast Journalism Program has provided a broad spectrum of opportunities for the students that go beyond the school newsroom. For instance, last year one student, Abby Cavlov was given the opportunity to be an Intern for the day at NJTV. Naomi’s relationships in the news world have brought valuable experiences to the Village School students including ABC7 Eyewitness News and Kane in Your Corner. Some students from the Village School were able to go and tour the ABC7 Eyewitness News broadcasting site last year. Other opportunities involved having guest speakers come and speak to the children about what it is like being a reporter on a daily basis. This year Walt Kane from Kane in Your Corner from News 12 came and spoke to the students about investigative journalism and why it is so important and how it can make a difference from uncovering fraud and corruption to fixing problems for people when they otherwise have no hope.
I was able to speak with a few students to understand their thoughts on the Journalism class. One student, Claire Reinthaler said, “From a Montessori approach, this class provides a hands-on visual learning appeal. It is creating something visual and educational while including the community around us.” Another student Chloe Tsarnas said that she was, “Really glad we got this opportunity. Don’t judge it until you try it. “Through the news gathering process, students realize the importance of dedication and commitment to a project that is going to be shared with the community. When you review a Village School newscast, it is clear these students value their work. Click on any episode below to view a student newscast from this school year 2018-2019! Happy Listening!
When I asked Naomi what advice she would give to her students, Naomi stated she would like her class to think about and look at information critically. She hopes they see the multi-level process of putting on news broadcast before it is aired. Naomi would like to her students to grasp the skills to look at things critically and TO HAVE FUN going through the process as they learn it.
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