21st Century Skills | News

PBS Program Connects Students with News Broadcasters

PBS Newshour is expanding a mentoring program it began last year to connect students with news professionals in public broadcasting, a program that's tied in with the students' schools through a curriculum focusing on media literacy and digital media production.

In 2010, PBS Newshour launched Student Reporting Labs in concert with seven local public broadcasting radio and television stations (CPTV Connecticut; KLRU Texas; KUT Texas; LPB Louisiana; WAMU Washington, DC; WETA Washington, DC; and WHYY Pennsylvania). The result, according to information released recently by PBS Newshour, was 15 news reports produced by 230 students covering such topics as the Constitutional rights of minors, youth sentencing in criminal cases, and climate change. "This semester they are tackling the economy, immigration, drop-out issues and fallout from the Gulf Coast oil spill," according to PBS Newshour.

"The Student Reporting Labs are a natural extension of the NewsHour's commitment to education, quality journalism and the transformation of public media," said Leah Clapman, managing editor, education, for PBS NewsHour, in a prepared statement. "Each student who participates in the Lab gains information and media skills, news savvy and curiosity about national and community issues. They experience the power of getting and telling a story to an authentic audience."

The program incorporates a 21st century skills-focused digital curriculum and provides a collaborative online environment for students and mentors. The curriculum includes three units: News Media 101, Constructing News, and Putting it all Together. (The full curriculum and lesson plans can be downloaded here.) The collaborative environment allows students to work with their peers and professional journalists on their projects.

Eight schools are currently participating in the program. Now program leaders are looking to expand that list to include at-risk populations and increase overall the number of students participating.

"In the second year, Student Reporting Labs aims to expand the number of students participating in the program, focus on at-risk school and community settings, and 'youth-source' stories for national producers," according to a release issued by PBS newshour. "The program will also work to develop a 'rapid response' model for national events that receive significant news attention, such as the Gulf oil spill."

Further information about the program can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .