PBS partnership off to great start

Joey Hein, Contributing Writer

Joliet West student Kyra Adams recently bridged the gap between class work and national news in an opportunity presented by an on-going and growing program. West’s Multimedia Journalism and Writing teacher, Jennifer Galloy, has provided this opportunity with the aid of PBS NewsHour where Adams’ work was published to the world on August 31 to approximately a million viewers.

This program is the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab, which allows students to prepare news packages based off of rapid response questions that PBS provides to participating teachers.

Adams’ rapid response question was particular to the events taking place in Ferguson due to the controversial killing of Michael Brown and how students’ opinions on race were affected. In regards to Adams’ work being showcased on PBS Galloy explains, “We were just hoping to get our feet wet with this as it was our first time responding to a rapid response question and we were delighted to see our submission be received on our first try.”

Joliet West’s initial success in this program leads to a hopeful future in which we could see it grow into a more integral part of Multimedia Journalism and Writing, where students can have even more real world application in this field. To be recognized for skills such as video editing, videography, graphic arts, social media, project leadership, and so forth early on, could lead to career connections later.

In addition to the opportunities this program provides for aspiring journalists, it is an overall goal of the Student Reporting Lab to help engage everyday students in current events. Adams strongly agreed with this, stating how she “really hope[s] that kids get motivated to step up and speak up,” along with Galloy who sees a majority of students not caring or not knowing what is happening in the news.

Even now the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab is reaching out to more schools and willing participants from a basis of 80+ schools. Such locations they are hoping to expand in include Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.