Take two: Junior high media clubs produce news shows, empower students

News-DemocratMarch 31, 2014 

Students in the Media Club at Central Junior High School in Belleville do a weekly news telecast and take care of the daily news announcements over the schools' PA system.

BNDVIDEO

— During a taping of the Central News show, eighth-grader Devin Oregon forgets a line and puts his head down at the anchor desk in disgust.

However, Devin and his co-host McKenzie Teutrine nail it on the next take. Eighth-grader Kimberly Haguewood was behind the iPad taping the introduction to this week's newscast.

All three students are members of Central Junior High's media club, which produces a 10-minute news show every two weeks and the school's morning announcements every day, among other projects.

Media club sponsor Joan Hasenstab said the club started the news show last school year after Belleville School District 118 purchased iPads for all the teachers.

"Once we had that iPad that just opened up a huge avenue to make these shows," she said.

Everything is done on the iPad -- the video taping and the editing -- using the application called iMovie.

The news shows is available to all teachers and students at Central once completed. "It really helps with the feel of community," Hasenstab said. "Everyone can be involved in the show."

Media club member Hannah Needham, 14, concurs. "I just love how it really brings the school together," she said. "It allows everyone to be themselves."

Eighth-grader Rocoya Anglin, 13, said she likes the Central Talent segment, which is sometimes included in the news show. During this segment, the unique talents of students at Central are highlighted.

The Central media club has been producing the school's daily morning announcements the last three years. Students use a free audio-editing software program called Audacity.

"It just opened up this avenue where you really get to see student and teacher personalities and interests," Hasenstab said.

Hannah enjoys getting more involved in all the events at school. "We get to take videos and pictures," she said. "I've learned so much like how to use cameras and really cool programs like Audacity and iMovie. It showed me a lot of stuff I didn't know before."

Like Central, West Junior High in Belleville also has a media club, which was launched this school year under the direction of computer education teacher James Hesse.

The media club is currently finishing the school's 44-page yearbook and also works on monthly "Western Way" videos, which Hesse said "capture the best things about the school in a month."

The videos, made with iMovie, vary in length from 5 to 20 minutes. "Kids always love it," Hesse said. "They feel a little famous when it comes out."

The videos are shared with students and staff via email.

More information on West Junior High's media club can be found online at http://wjhmediaclub.weebly.com.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Central's media club has 11 members this year, who are all eighth-graders. "They are very dedicated," Hasenstab said. Media club members work on projects before and after school and often times during their lunch periods.

Hasenstab plans to expand the club next year to include as many as 20 eighth-graders. "You want to include as many kids as you can," she said.

Hesse also hopes to see more students involved in the media club at West Junior High next school year. He said the club had more members at the start of the year, but membership has dwindled to only two.

"They put in a lot of time," he said of eighth-graders Max Stone and Mahlik Good, who work on media club projects before school and during their lunch period every weekday and after school three days a week. "They are very dedicated."

"It's something you really have to be devoted to," Mahlik, 13, said.

Max, 14, said the best part of the club at West Junior High is creating "things for the school that they (students) love and enjoy."

To apply to be part of the club next school year, Hesse said seventh-graders need to submit an application as well as a media project they have worked on in their free time and not for a school assignment.

Hasenstab explained seventh-graders are invited to apply to be members of the media club at Central and are selected by members of the current club.

"It's really fun," eighth-grader Nathan Morris, 14, said of media club. "If you come to Central, you need to join it." Nathan, who wants to be a sports broadcaster, was proudly sporting a hot pink T-shirt with -- "It's a Media Club Thing" -- printed across the front.

Media club members also have specially designed polo shirts they wear during the news shows.

BENEFITS

"I've made a lot of new friends here," said Central media club member Bailey Redden, 14. "It's fun to hang out with them."

Being a part of the morning announcements or the news show has helped some students come out of their shell, according to Hasenstab. "The ones that you never expect -- really shine," she said.

Media club members also hone skills, Hasenstab said, including organizational, writing, interviewing, photography and video taping.

Central eighth-grader Rocoya, who aspires to be a broadcast journalist, said her writing has improved. "I've learned how to put movies together and work on scripts and articulate words to make it sound better and more interesting," she said.

West Junior High eighth-grader Mahlik said he has learned life skills including patience and communication through his work with the media club.

Mahlik is glad he's gotten the opportunity to learn more about technology. "I get to experience all this technology before I go to high school," he said, "so when I get to high school I am ready and prepared."

Central media club members are responsible for handling multiple projects at one time. "They handle the stress better than I do," Hasenstab said of club members.

The students learn how to be leaders as well. "It gives them a sense of empowerment," Hasenstab said. "They have control over what other kids are seeing and hearing."

Bailey said more schools should have media clubs. "It's a great opportunity for kids to meet new people and adapt to technology happening in our world right now," she said.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com.

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