This year The Village School introduced two new programs – the Newspaper Club for Upper Elementary Students and Broadcast Journalism for Middle School.
Run by UE teachers Faye Waanders and Krista Constantine, the Newspaper Club meets once a week on Tuesdays after school. This optional Enrichment program currently has 16 members. Each student rotates through the variety of jobs that make up a newspaper team including editors, writers, photographers and graphic designers. As a group they brainstorm about potential articles and sections of the paper for the upcoming issue – everything from covering the latest volleyball game in the sports section to seeking out opinions on controversial topics on the editorial page. This discussion often continues outside of school on their own google classroom for the club where members can make suggestions and discuss ideas. Once topics are agreed upon, small teams are assigned to different stories. These teams do everything from interview, take photographs, write and edit their stories. Once all stories have been submitted, they are laid out by the graphic designers and the newspaper goes to print. The first issue of the student paper, The Seasonal Tree, was distributed right before the break to all Village School families. (click here to view) Look for the next issue in March!
While Upper Elementary is working with news in print, up in Middle School, students are learning about the ins and outs of news on the screen. The new Broadcast Journalism and Media Literacy program is headed up by VS parent Naomi Pestana, a former journalist who has worked for a variety of local news channels. This addition to the Middle School Curriculum teaches students how to do video reports and gives experience with different video techniques. The program has also been covering a wide range of topics including how to detect fake news, how a topic becomes news, the ethics of journalism, interview and camera techniques and how to write for broadcast news.
In addition to covering news happening in their own school community, students have been exposed to a variety of professional guest speakers as well as getting to see a real news program being filmed at a recent field trip to WABC-TV Channel 7 Eyewitness News in NYC.
On the trip, students had the chance to visit the newsroom, the control room, and the studios of both Eyewitness News and “Live with Kelly and Ryan.” The highlight of the day was being in the studio during the broadcast of Eyewitness News at Noon while it was on the air! The students and staff even had the chance to talk with the anchors during the commercial breaks.
The Journalism and Media Literacy program will culminate for the year in the spring with the students producing their own newscasts, officially called the Village School News (VSN) which was a name chosen by the students. Be sure to stay tuned!
Both the Newspaper Club and the Broadcast Journalism program help to teach kids about responsible news reporting as well as how much work goes into identifying and delivering quality news stories. Younger students have the opportunity to be introduced to the world of journalism while older students are given a deeper understanding of both the process of producing news as well as the ethics behind doing so. The Village School sees this skill as relevant to developing a sense of awareness of current events in our students, while helping them navigate the different sources of information available today and as they grow into responsible citizens.
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