Watchworthy Wednesday: PBS Mentors Future Journalists

Students at three Los Angeles area high schools this coming school year will be tackling questions about media literacy, work retraining and youth movements as part of a PBS NewsHour video reporting program aimed at teaching them the tools for employment as multi-media journalists in the future.

“We have mentors work with the students and their teachers as they produce three video projects at each of the schools, and the best ones can get featured on PBS NewsHour,” said Christine Zirneklis, PBS SoCal community engagement coordinator. The mentors are broadcast media experts familiar with video editing software, recording equipment and storytelling techniques, she said, adding that they are being recruited to apply by Aug. 11. For details, send email to Zimeslis at czirneklis@pbssocal.org or call (714) 241-4108.

The mentors will meet with the students and teachers in journalism classes at Social Justice Humanitas Academy and Daniel Pearl High School, in the San Fernando Valley and Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga twice a month throughout the school year. The goal is to empower high school students to tell the stories of their communities.

Each year, students in schools, after-school programs and clubs around the country are given topics as assignments. This year’s assignments ask the students to report on misinformation and how to combat fake news, how the changing economy is affecting work opportunities and how youth are getting involved in social justice causes.

Teachers, who often don’t have the expertise to teach or the funds for the equipment needed to produce video reports, appreciate the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs and students get the opportunity to gain broadcast journalism experience and see how their work can affect their community, Zirneklis said.

“This program is part of our commitment to education and media literacy and as we look at the pipeline of multi-media journalists, we want to make sure students have the tools to work in that environment in the future,” she said.

In this video, students from Etiwanda and West Ranch High Schools traveled to the Coachella Valley to report on the efforts of a local school district to provide Wi-Fi for its students to be able to complete homework outside of school. The students spent several days learning broadcast skills alongside mentors from SRL and PBS SoCal and their piece aired on PBS NewsHour’s national broadcast.

Editor’s note: Watchworthy Wednesday posts highlight interesting resources and appear in DML Central on Wednesdays. Any tips for future posts are welcome. Please comment below or send email to mcruz@hri.uci.edu.