The Bay High Tiger News Team Puts Art Into Action
This innovative new program teaches team-building and cutting-edge technical skills while promoting communication and school spirit at Bay High. It's an artistic win-win.
- story by Karen Fineran
After getting up to speed on the basics of broadcast news with the help of their faculty advisors/sponsors Tarah Herbert, Franklin Williams, and Samantha Davis, the students now run the entire show. And it takes a lot of teamwork to put together an ongoing project with the complexity of the Bay High Tiger News show.
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.
The news show is taped nearly every morning, and the product is more professional and slickly produced than one might expect from a group of such youthful creators. A typical three-to-ten minute daily newscast opens with an upbeat musical selection and title graphics, then the Pledge of Allegiance led by a different student each day, a reading of general announcements, awards and birthdays, followed by fun trivia facts, a tantalizing description of today’s lunch menu, a somewhat corny “Joke of the Day,” occasional special reports on current school events or interviews with students or faculty, and then closing titles and music.
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.”
The video below was produced by the news team about the Bay St. Louis Rotary's annual Chili Cook-off in January 2016. The video premiered at a Rotary meeting in April.