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In Our Schools: Adventures in broadcasting

The WHOT 99 News Team from left to right, Charles, Bradley, Colton, Madison, Laural and Sophie gathered after their second successful broadcast to all GES students. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
November 30, 2011
A group of six fourth-grade students at Gilford Elementary School have been delving into the world of journalism recently with their weekly Friday broadcast covering events around their school.

The 99-news crew, students of Katie Bryant's class, meet twice each week during part of their lunch and recess to plan and write their scripts.

The six students — Charles, Laurel, Madison, Bradley, Sophie and Colton — take turns fulfilling the duties of two anchors, a reporter, and tech crew.

They had just completed their second news broadcast on Friday, Nov. 18, which would be their final show until after Thanksgiving, so they brought Superintendent Kent Hemingway on to help wish everyone a happy holiday and talk about some of the things he and the students enjoyed about the holiday.

Of course, the first thing they were all thankful for was the turkey and all the food, and next came friends, family and teachers.

Hemingway was glad to be a part of the broadcast, and was excited that the students had taken up the task of telling everyone what is going on at GES.

To help the crew kick off the show, they invited Mrs. Roy's second-grade class to say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing "Yankee Doodle." They shared photos from their recent trip to Concord and their meeting with Gov. John Lynch. They spoke about different places they visited, and what they learned at each destination.

According to Dave Stevens, students invite a special guest and a different class in every week to participate in the news show, along with showcasing different student work.

Most importantly, Stevens said, the students are learning some important skills with a little support form the teachers.

"They are learning presentation skills, and what is going on in the school beyond themselves," said Stevens.

According to Bryant, the news show is an extension of the classroom, and provides a great opportunity for students to improve their writing and public speaking skills.

"They work really hard, on top of everything else that is expected of them," said Bryant.

The students said they were very excited to run the news show, though Charles, who worked on-screen and ran the microphones, said it could be scary at times when something goes wrong, but they are learning to think on their feet.

Each student seemed to get something different out of the experience.

Laurel said she enjoyed writing the scripts and interviewing teachers. Sophie said she liked being on camera. While Bradley liked running the camera, Charles liked running the mic's.

They all agreed that each aspect of the show was interesting, and brought unique challenges.

Though none of the students indicated they wanted to pursue a career in journalism, they were all pleased with the experience of running their news show.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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