On September 19th, The Media Education Foundation of Georgia (MEFGA) sponsored its second annual student media day at the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Atlanta.
With Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) located directly across the street, the event provided opportunities for high school students from all across the state to explore GPB’s studios, attend presentations with industry professionals, and engage in mentor sessions sponsored by the Southeast Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS).
This year, roughly 120 students attended hoping to gain some insight on a possible career path in media. Shannon Philips, MEFGA’s executive director, claimed that the main focus of student media day is to “give students an inside look into career opportunities and provide avenues for pursing those careers by connecting them with industry professionals.”
Brandon Holtz, a sophomore at Cambridge High School, believed networking to be the most beneficial aspect of the event: “I really liked the part where we got to go talk to people at Fox 5, CNN, and Univision because it really taught me a lot about the industry from where to go to what to do.” Brandon aspires to be a broadcast journalist, like his mother, and states that working as an anchor at CNN is his dream job.
Gabbie Von-Bereghy, also of Cambridge high school, is a freshman with dreams of becoming a special effects artist. “Getting information from professionals who have already been through what I am going through is really surreal” she said. “It’s cool to know about all the technology we have available to us and how we can use it get started right now.”
The importance of students getting ahead of the game by creating their own content at home was an issue stressed by Divine Productions’ executive producer Brandon Graham. During his presentation, Graham told his audience to focus on three essential things: “quality content, staying visible, and staying consistent.” Taking from the many successful professionals before him, he asserted that his best advice was to “get started now- the real work happens at home when school is over.”
Other presentations included The Art of Storytelling in Media by GPB’s executive Producer Don Smith. He expressed that journalism is simply another way of telling a story; all one has to do is answer the five basic questions of who, what, where, when, and why. Smith believes it is important for professionals speak with students because “kids going into broadcasting need honest descriptions of what that world is and how you navigate through it.”
New to this year’s event were special teacher sessions where instructors in Georgia’s AVTF courses could learn strategies for running their programs more effectively. In his presentation, Pasha Souvorin shared online tools he created so teachers could learn about Blended, Hybrid, and Flipped learning models for their classrooms.
Looking towards the future, Shannon Phillips claims MEFGA hopes to expand the event to eventually include middle school students.
Erin Valle is a recent graduate of Harrison High School and has served as an anchor/reporter on Hoya Vision, her school's weekly broadcast. She attends the University of Georgia where she intends to major in Digital and Broadcast Journalism. Watch for more of Erin’s work in future issues of School Video News.