Several years ago SVN visited Magnolia High School for one of our first profiles. Today we go back and talk to Kathrina Martin to see how they are doing.
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SVN: Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
KM: I graduated with a BS in English, Communications and Theatre from Moorhead State University in MN. I taught many different types of classes for many years until 2004 when I proposed to our district the idea of a broadcast journalism program at MHS. I was fortunate to get a lot of support from the district and our school – it’s been growing ever since.
SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
KM: The district provided the initial funding for equipment and training. Since that first year, we are dependant on our administration and tech department for some financial support. We do not have a set budget – we fundraise throughout the year to buy things on our “wish list.” Students film school events and sell/create commercials for local businesses to raise money.
SVN: Did you have equipment available?
KM: We started from scratch, with three Sony camcorders and five pcs loaded with Pinnacle. Our studio
was my classroom.
SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
KM: We currently have 60 students involved in the program. MHS offers Broadcast I, II, and III. Next year we will have our first Broadcast IV class.
SVN: Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
KM: Our classes are a short 45 minutes five days a week. Students work on news stories, features, short film, PSAs, commercials, parodies, music videos, and anything else they can dream up!
SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
KM: We have a daily taped morning announcement show which Broadcast I produces, and a live weekly magazine-style show every Friday.
SVN: Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?
KM: We do news stories on events in the schools, and have been hired to record/edit recitals, concerts, and plays.
SVN: What jobs do the kids do? Do the kids rotate through on-air talent and crew positions or are they “hired” for a specific task?
KM: All kids are trained to be “backpack journalists” and can do all jobs in the edit lab and in the studio. We rotate jobs in the advance classes. In Broadcast III and IV students are allowed to specialize in cinematography, editing or reporting.
SVN: Do students audition for on-air positions?
KM: No. Everyone has to do it.
SVN: Do they write the content?
KM: Yes, all of it.
SVN: How long does the show run?
KM: Our announcements are around 6 minutes, and The Friday Show is around 15 minutes.
SVN: Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?
KM: Yes, we participate mainly in STN contests, though this year we plan to branch out.
SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
KM: We can be viewed on the MHS website.
SVN: Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?
KM: We also post all projects on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/watchdognews) and occasionally on SchoolTube. This year we are also appearing on SVN!
Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
SVN: We currently have five iMacs w/FCP, two Macbooks w/FCE, 2 Canon GL2s, 5 Canon Vixias of various ages, a Tricaster, three light kits, assorted mics, a jib, and we’re getting our first Glidecam this year. Our teleprompter is a clipboard!
SVN: Have any quick start tips!
KM: Have passion for your program, talk to a LOT of people who have already walked this path, and don’t be afraid to ask for donations. It’s a challenging and time consuming job, but well worth it when your kiddos catch that same passion and create amazing pieces.