Austin High School students meet Jim Lehrer at Overheard taping

Jim Lehrer from PBS NewsHour with Austin High School students

Guest blog by Laura Laufer
media arts student at Austin High School

Having been involved with the PBS Student Reporting Labs for the last year as a junior, it was a real treat to be able to tour the KLRU studio and view one of the tapings for Overheard with Evan Smith with Jim Lehrer as the guest. It was only a year ago when my teacher was showing me a video clip of Mr. Lehrer addressing me and my classmates about the journey we were about to take working with the PBS NewsHour Extra website. Having only seen a high school media studio it was mind blowing to walk around the maze of KLRU’s office to see studios the size of our classroom and a control board that looked like something off of a spaceship. It was not only the size that was impressive, but the staff of KLRU is truly amazing; being able to watch them in their element was enjoyable and enlightening. (See photos from this taping on KLRU’s Flickr page)

The taping was my favorite part, listening to Jim Lehrer crack jokes about all of the politicians he’s interviewed was the highlight of my day. My parents were also jealous that I got to sit in on such an influential political figurehead which made the gloating that much more enjoyable. It was a learning experience as well. Being the youngest crowd there Overheard gave insight to the class about the inner workings of political interviews, a process that had never been explained to us.

Before the taping, Erika Aguilar gave us a tour of the KUT studio and showed us where they record bands, interviews, and eat bagels! (morning story meeting table). It felt really cool that we also had a story meeting table and did the same thing they did, bouncing ideas off each other as a team to get the best ideas on what to put on air.

The Austin Highs Media team is so lucky to have been able to work so closely with our mentors, KLRU’s Lynn Boswell and KUT’s Erika Aguilar with the Student Reporting Labs to create our own NewsHour Reports. The experience last year, producing our news stories, was very difficult, but well worth the stress. That year taught me how to be a serious journalism and media student and gave a voice to my classmates and I, a group of individuals whose point of view often gets over looked. That experience gave us a chance to see what it means to be a journalist, and to see all the hard work that goes into finding a story that is worth creating.

Learn more about the Student Reporting Labs.