Congratulations to Pflugerville High School junior Kennedy Huff! Kennedy was chosen for the inaugural class of KLRU and PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs All-Stars and was honored by the staff of Congressman Michael T. McCaul (TX-10) for her accomplishment on May 1st.
Kennedy, along with 10 other students chosen from participating Reporting Labs schools across the country, will travel to Washington, D.C. this summer to help teachers from around the country develop curricula and instruction strategies to engage young people in news and current affairs and ensure that the youth voice is a part of the conversation around critical issues facing the nation.
PBS NewsHour Executive Producer Linda Winslow says it’s important for public media to help build the next generation of reporters. “I want them to deliver the kind of quality that we encourage today journalism that makes people better informed citizens of the world,” she said.
Students participating in the Reporting Labs program work with public media mentors from their local stations to produce original news reports. Their work is featured on the national Student Reporting Labs website, the NewsHour’s Rundown and broadcast as well as americangraduate.org. The Reporting Labs after-school club at Pflugerville High School has worked with KLRU.
“PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs is just one of the many innovative ways that KLRU leverages content to provide students with real-life learning experiences and help them connect their education to future aspirations for long-term success,” said Bill Stotesbery, CEO, KLRU. “We are delighted and proud that a student from our Reporting Lab is an All-Star.”
Student mentor and KLRU producer Lynn Boswell said, “It’s been exciting to see the number of schools and students participating in the program grow so quickly. These students are gaining strong skills that will be very valuable if they choose to pursue careers in journalism. But they’re also gaining tools to help them become informed citizens and thoughtful voters, no matter what careers they eventually choose.”
In addition to participating in the Reporting Labs club at Pflugerville High School, Kennedy is an editor for the school newspaper and a member of the student broadcast staff. She models herself after Lisa Ling and Oprah Winfrey and aspires to one day host her own network show.
“Kennedy Huff is a shining example of what the Student Reporting Labs program represents: curiosity, civic engagement and hard work,” said Reporting Labs Producer/Program Coordinator Thaisi Da Silva.
Student Reporting Labs is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) as part of the public media initiative, “American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen,” which is helping communities improve education opportunities for all students and build the next generation of skilled graduates. Student Reporting Labs is also funded by National Science Foundation.
The Reporting Labs club at PHS is co-sponsored by Tamika Fagan, David Robb and James Ruiz.
Instead of merely watching the Inauguration on Jan. 21, two graduate students and a senior lecturer from the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin will be running through Washington, D.C., covering the event for PBS NewsHour. The school is part of the College of Communication.
They will participate in a PBS NewsHour multimedia short course, which will take place Jan. 18-22 in Washington, D.C. The goals of the course are to give rising journalism stars an opportunity to be a part of history and collaborate with their peers from across the country, said PBS NewsHour Extra director Imani Cheers.
Second-year graduate students David Barer and Efren Salinas are among 14 student-reporters selected from a nationwide search. After being nominated by a professor, applicants were each asked to submit a cover letter, résumé, references, letter of recommendation, short biography, news clips and three story pitches.
“It was a great feeling to be selected for this short course,” Salinas said. “I’ve been working very hard since arriving at the School of Journalism, and I feel this is not only a validation of my hard work but an excellent opportunity.”
After visiting one of senior lecturer Kate Dawson’s classes in 2012, PBS’s Cheers invited Dawson to help lead the short course.
Instructors and student-reporters will arrive at the PBS NewsHour headquarters Jan. 18.
“It will be hectic,” Dawson said. “We’ll watch the show live on Friday, have a working dinner and then it’s a litany of 12- to 14-hour days.”
Barer will serve on a print team, writing stories about corporate donations and how the Obama administration plans to respond to environmental issues.
Salinas will serve on a film team led by Dawson. He will work on a video piece about the Hispanic vote, with a focus on the Dream Act and “Dreamers,” young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.
To follow the multimedia short course blog, visit inaugblog.com. On Twitter, student-reporters will post under #newshouru and #inaugblog.
“Going through this boot camp will be tough but really rewarding,” Dawson said. “We’re working on some really innovative ways to tell stories, including some amazing shooting techniques. This will be like a mini multimedia course for students — a semester rolled into six days. We’ll just need some rest when it’s done!”