Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad

Students making news

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services

Hay River (Mar 29/04) - When students at a Hay River middle school want news that's important to them, they turn to television. But not CBC or CNN. They have their own "Princess Alexandra School News."

NNSL Photo

Princess Alexandra student Shailyn Atwell, 11, looks pretty comfortable behind the news desk at the Hay River middle school. Watch out, Peter Mansbridge! - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

It's a package of news, views and odds and ends written by students and broadcast on the 15-television network.

"It's really fun because you get to see yourself on TV in your classroom," said Grade 7 student Heather Tybring, 12.

Heather provides updates on student council, on which she is a vice-president.

"When I grow up, I plan to be a reporter on TV, maybe for the weather," Heather said, noting the PA school network offers good experience.

Another presenter is Shailyn Atwell, 11, who says she enjoys practising speaking on camera.

Kris Alcos, 12, does a weather report, although it is from the previous week.

She said she wanted to be on the news just to do something different.

Since early February when it was launched, three news packages have been created and broadcast.

One recent 10-minute package included, among other things, scenes from the school's Pyjama Days, interesting facts on the blue whale, lunch-time rules and the joke of the week. The news concluded with bloopers.

The reports are shown to the school on Thursday mornings.

Principal Gordon Miller said about 20 students are involved in preparing the news. He is not aware of any such in-school news program elsewhere in the NWT, particularly for Grades 4-7.

"It's a wonderful age group to do this with," he said. "They're so keen to get involved."

Miller said one purpose of the project is to promote school spirit and literacy.

"I think it's really motivating for kids to see themselves on TV," he said.

Miller has helped out for the first three news packages as cameraman and producer, using a computer program to put everything together for presentation.

"Students write everything," he said. "We get together as a team and identify the newsworthy things happening in school in the next couple of weeks."

Miller will soon be turning over production of the news program to computer and technology teacher Tyler Hawkins.

"It's in its infancy," Miller said. "We see the potential as being huge."

He added that it's even possible the school news will eventually make it to the Internet on the Princess Alexandra Web site.