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PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs | Mastering the Interview Process

January 26, 2018 - Posted in SCETV Regionals by K. Young

Guiding the youth for a better purpose is a significant plan of action in today’s age and that is exactly what South Carolina ETV's Kaitlyn Cannon and Don Godish did at Legacy Charter School.

The two instructors led the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs workshop, which assists middle and high school students in perfecting their skills to produce and conduct student-generated videos. The PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program connects middle and high school students to local PBS stations and news professionals in their community to produce original, student-generated video reports. PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs are located all around the country, and four are located in the Carolinas. 

At the beginning of the workshop, students were given a handout that detailed any problems or issues that could occur with the DSLR camera. While reviewing the handout, Cannon and Godish gave general tips and answered questions concerning the DSLR camera and interviews.

Later, the group of students split into two groups, one working with the DSLR camera and the other focusing on nailing interviews. Godish gave advice to his group about what kind of questions you should ask in interviews. He said you don’t always have to go by the list of questions you’ve already prepared, you can make them up as you’re interviewing your subject. “If it sparks your curiosity, let it go,” he said when answering a student’s question, “Don’t get married to your questions.” 

Other tips offered pertained to lighting and noisy backgrounds and how to avoid them. “If the background is lighter than the subject, then you’ll have problems,” Cannon said, “Try to find an area that isn’t affected by the sun.”

Biology and Journalism teacher, Neena Kumar, said the program has been around for three years now and the students love it. She also said that she combines the two subjects together to make it easier. “This is my Biology and Journalism class,” she said. “Sometimes I tell them to grab a camera, go in the hallway and ask someone about what DNA is…killing two birds with one stone.”

As the class time wound down, Kumar instructed the class to write a five-paragraph essay on what they learned in the Student Reporting Labs that pertained to them. Kai Allen, a student at Legacy Charter and a contributor to Student Reporting Labs, reflected on the visit, saying "We were talking to our mentor, as well as asking questions not only to him, but to each other. This was a very effective way to gain knowledge about each other’s ideas, and it allowed for us to bounce ideas off of each other. As the manager of my group, I feel like asking these questions and learning from others’ questions were very important, and as I looked around and saw these questions being asked, I found that there was no 'stillness.' I think that even though we were not all in the same group, we acted and behaved somewhat like one.”

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