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AETN brings PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs to Arkansas

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) has partnered with the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) to bring PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs to Arkansas. The program connects high school students to local PBS stations, like AETN, and news professionals in their communities to produce original, student-generated news video reports. Dunbar Gifted & Talented/International Studies Magnet Middle School in Little Rock and Searcy High School are participating in the student labs.

AETN Deputy Director Tony Brooks and Malcolm Glover, program coordinator for ARVets, are serving as mentors in the program. Broadcast journalism teachers leading the programs locally include Jacki Romey of Searcy High School and Jason Raymond of Dunbar Magnet Middle School.

"PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs is an excellent idea and a project of which I am proud to be a part," Brooks said.

Brooks is working with Searcy High School on their "Made in America" project, which focuses on the economic changes in their community after the closing of the Kohler and Maytag manufacturing facilities in Searcy. In the 1960s manufacturing jobs were plentiful in Searcy. By the mid-2000s, economic factors had led to the disappearance of more than 700 of these jobs. The students are investigating the resulting economic impact and what is being done to help Searcy and Central Arkansas recover. Brooks aided students in arranging interviews with Arkansas leaders, including a special trip to the state capitol to interview Gov. Mike Beebe. They also interviewed Sen. Jonathan Dismang (District 29), Rep. Mark Biviano (District 46) and Buck Layne, president of the Searcy Area Chamber of Commerce.

"It is important for students in Arkansas to have this opportunity because they are not only learning more about their community and the world around them, but they are also honing their journalistic skills," Brooks said.

Glover is working with Dunbar Magnet Middle School as they explore topics ranging from the American dream to school discipline and standardized testing. Dunbar students joined the shoot at the state capitol to shadow the high school students. Following the interview, Gov. Beebe talked to all of the students and took questions."Educating young people about the art of storytelling and journalism is a labor of love for me," Glover said. "The PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs give young people an opportunity to better understand issues of global and local importance.

"This project gives student journalists a chance to find and amplify their voices through in-depth reporting and authentic storytelling."

Throughout the school year participating labs have the opportunity to submit short videos responding to current events, as well as longer news packages. Content for the labs are sent to "PBS NewsHour" for possible inclusion on the website or in broadcast. When videos are sent to "PBS NewsHour," the students receive feedback on their work from Student Reporting Lab’s staff via FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype and conference calls. The staff assists with content, editing, audio and other elements to help polish the final product.

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs connects middle and high school students to local PBS stations and news professionals in their community to produce original, student-generated video news reports. The goal of the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs is to spark the next generation of media- literate, aware and engaged citizens. The students who participate develop critical 21st century communication, critical thinking and collaboration skills. The Reporting Labs were made possible by grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the National Science Foundation, and "Constitution USA With Peter Sagal."

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas’s statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).

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