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New Orleans, La.-- They're little reporters, anchors and cameramen, but they are big thinkers, and at one local school, young students are gaining skills that most journalists don't get a chance to do until later in life.
A teacher's lounge during the day at Isidore Newman School Uptown, once a week, after school transforms into a makeshift news studio. "I call the class Newman News," said teacher Jon Schlosberg.
Third, fourth and some fifth graders learn the TV news business. Nine-year-old Miles and 10-year-old Ia take over the anchor chairs. Ten-year-old Roan operates a small digital camera that also captures video, and nine-year-old Sam runs the TelePrompTer through a projector that the anchors read off the wall.
"You guys are gonna be the reporters, the anchors, the people who come back and edit the stories as well. So you want to show the person watching something that they haven't seen before," explained Schlosberg during a recent class. He's a recent Tulane University graduate, who also happens to be a writer for FOX 8 Morning Edition weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m.
"Some people like to know what's going on in the world, and news will tell you what's going on in the world," said 10-year-old Niyati.
At the beginning of each class, Schlosberg gives them a brief news tip, including how to conduct an interview with open ended questions. "Some questions can really be yes or no, but then if you sort of go deeper you can get more than yes or no," said nine-year-old Katie.
Each session Newman News students get different assignments. This week, nine-year-old Miles learned what it feels like to be an anchor. "It's definitely different being on camera than off camera," he said.
"We want to focus on things that the world.. or in this case, Newman cares about," said Schlosberg. He asked his students, "what do your friends care about? What do your teachers care about? What do your parents care about? And what do you care about?"
Nine-year-old Shalin gets a shot at covering the weather and pointed out that tornadoes hit the metro area.
Students break up into teams of reporters and photographers, pitch their own story ideas and then brainstorm about the questions they want to ask other Newman students, teachers and counselors. One crew chose a topic you wouldn't think most eight and nine-year-olds would care about. Nine-year-old Stone is one of several reporters who asked a Newman counselor, "do you think North Korea will launch a nuclear strike and why?"
A much lighter topic, another team's focus was the NBA, and another group looked to put the spotlight on students' summer plans. Katie asked fellow student, Audrey, "what do you like best about the Newman summer camp? Like which class? swimming, boating?"
After gathering all of their interviews, Newman News students spend the next week editing and preparing for their actual classroom broadcast.
Ten-year-old Zack and eight-year-old Gabby pick their favorite interview clips. Others build graphics for their stories and mix in music. In a ten minute broadcast, they cover a range of topics. Anchor Miles read a story about offensive tackles dealing with the NFL draft and anchor, Ia read a story about the power outages following a thunderstorm that rolled through our area.
"It's great to be learning so much in the morning when I'm working at FOX (8), and then I come here in the afternoon and get to teach a little of what I'm learning back to the kids later in the day," explained Schlosberg.
They're little reporters and anchors and little producers behind the scenes, but these students are big thinkers, learning valuable skills to make tiny TV that they call Newman News. The after school class plans to share their broadcast in its entirety with the whole school, which is pre-k through 12th grade.
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