The Bay High Tiger News Team Puts Art Into Action
- story by Karen Fineran
High schools offer so many activities and opportunities these days, it can make the head spin trying to keep up with the whirling array of upcoming and ongoing social, academic, and sporting events held every week at school.
But at Bay High School here in Bay St. Louis, students can remain calm and well informed, because the Tiger News Team is on the job! The extracurricular club that formed just last September collects, writes, performs, records, and edits all of the high school’s breaking news.
The result of this innovative program is that the entire student body and faculty of Bay High is kept better informed (and entertained), while the students on the team have the chance to learn and practice valuable media skills and techniques and learn about opportunities in the broadcast and media industry.
Arts Alive! column
There is the creative team. They do the research to find interesting and fun facts that the news writers can use to tie into the school’s events and curriculum. The creative team also comes up with the Joke of the Day, chooses and researches the Bay High sports player of the week, collects awards and scholarship information to highlight on air, and thinks up other ways to celebrate the artistic and academic achievements of the students.
A writing team was formed to draft the news scripts, which are customized for each news anchor and loaded into a teleprompter, and to compose the questions for interviews and special reports. The art department chooses wardrobe and costumes for the students to wear on camera, and creates the digital graphics and print art displayed throughout the newscasts.
The production/camera crew handles the lighting on the set, wiring the anchors for sound, doing a sound check, and then recording the news anchors’ performance on set or following the reporters to other sites for interviews or special reports. The anchorpersons and on-air talent auditioned for their roles, and were chosen based upon their stage presence, people skills and reading/acting ability.
Finally, but indispensably, the editing team pieces the episodes together and jazzes them up with music and other clips or segments to make the news shows more interesting and fun for the student body.
Digital Media Technology Teacher Tarah Herbert is understandably proud of the students on the Tiger News Team. “It took a semester of hard work, dedication, patience, and positivity to train the students, work out the kinks, and finally get it right. All the students have a job. If they don't perform their own job at a high enough level, then other students will be at a loss. They are not only taught how to use the equipment, they are taught how to be responsible, and the skills needed to work in a real work place. They do this daily, and they are constantly working.”
Though the club was initially formed as a fun and educational way to fill a need for getting school information out to the student body, the news team in many ways has transformed the entire school.
“Now, the news team has changed the environment of Bay High,” Herbert exclaims. “Students and teachers are showing more school spirit and supporting each other now that we announce and celebrate players of the week, and awards and scholarships. By showing off students’ talents on the news, some of the kids that might normally fade into the background have their time to shine and feel special!”
Participation in the Tiger News Team has become a two-year high school program of courses for credit. Students who want to learn to develop, design, and implement projects in the fast-growing field of digital media can take this Digital Media Technology course and learn the techniques and tools involved with creating computer graphics, audio production multimedia, and animation.
In the first year of the course, students learn the foundational skills of digital media, audio and video production, photography, graphic design, and safety and ethical issues. During their second year, the students will be expected to focus more heavily on video production and editing. They also will learn more about career opportunities in audio and video technology. “The News Team has helped many students discover what they want to be when they get out of school and pursue the working world,” says Herbert.
Herbert is hopeful that the Gulf Coast community will become interested in the vanguard Bay High news program, and that local experts in the media industry will come to the school to provide advice and give the students some exposure to more state-of-the-art equipment.
“It is so amazing to watch these kids work so hard, with the same passion I have for my job. I am so happy to be helping these children, and I think of every one of them as one of my own.”