While other students are dragging their books into homeroom at 7:45 am, Parkland High School's TV studio is counting down the seconds until it's time to go on-air. Parkland High School is fortunate enough to have a state of the art studio from which Parkland Morning News broadcasts a daily morning show to over 3,000 students and faculty. PMN's advisor is Mrs. Marilyn Stinebaugh, a broadcasting and English teacher at PHS.
SVN: Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
MS: I studied Communications Radio and Television at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. When I moved to Allentown, PA, I went back to school at Kutztown State College and earned a degree in Communications -Secondary Education. When the new Parkland High School was built with a T.V. studio, it seemed like a natural union for me to run it.
SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
MS: The district provides everything that we need. The TV studio is part of the technology budget. So, I really don't have an allotment. I do submit suggestions as to what we might need.
MS: Parkland Morning News does have a club called the Parkland Media Network, and we earn money selling videos. The money that we earn is used for scholarships.
SVN: Did you have equipment available?
MS: We have state of the art equipment.
SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
MS: There are usually 20-25 students in the Broadasting classes.
The program is sequential. Broadcasting I - the students learn the reading and writing aspect of broadcast journalism. They learn the vocabulary of the program.
Broadcasting II These students learn camera operation, lighting , microphone, storyboarding. They learn everything up to but not including the editing.
T.V. Video Production - editing is added to the mix.
Parkland Midday News- this is the afternoon broadcast class. They write the script for the afternoon announcements and they perform them, set up the studio, etc. Once a week we have a lead story which requires them to videotape and edit.
Parkland Morning News - the morning news program. This group of students produce the morning broadcast which includes a lead story everyday. This class is by invitation only, so I hand pick them and usually has 15 students or less in it. Last year they won two of the five grand prizes in Apple's National Voice of Innovation contest. They have also been recipients of the International Shortie Award for broadcast journalism.
SVN: Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
MS: The Broadcasting I and II plus the T.V. video production class are semester classes. They are 42 minutes long and have 20-25 students. I try to create packages that the students can do in the school. In broadcasting I, we might take newspapers articles rewrite it for broadcast journalism and then videotape the story. We have a green scree, so every student creates a weather segment. By the end of the semester, I divide the kids into groups and they videotape a news broadcast with anchors, weather, sports, field reporters, etc. In broadcsting II I assign packages such as investigating how the Parkland mascot got its name, or the 4 teachers/administrators that went to Parkland High School and now work there.
My administsration is incredibly cooperative and are willing to grant interviews, etc. to help out. The T. V. Video class storyboards, tapes, and then edits packages, usually of their own choice. It might be a highlight tape for the lacrosse team.
Parkland Midday News meets during 8th period and prepares for their afternoon broadcast which airs at the end of the period.
Parkland Morning News meets an hour before school starts to prepare for the morning broadcast. These students are often required to put in time after school and on weekends to create news stories or other video projects such as DVDs or contest entries. One or two students each year put time in over the summer to create a short video leader which precedes our daily broadcast. This year's leader won first place at our local computer fair in the category of digital movie.
SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast?Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
MS: We have anywhere from 8 - 15 students in Parkland Morning News. We air daily and run a package everyday. It can sometimes cover national news. We have had students on the press risers for the last 3 presidential elections. Most recently, a group of students videotaped Barack Obama and John McCain's political rallies for the 2008 election. In previous years, we got a sound-bite from John Kerry, and a one-on-one interview with Hadassah Lieberman from Jenkintown, PA. We also cover local and school activities. For example, Parkland Morning News cooperates with the theater department and airs a preview of the fall play or the spring musical to promote their show. Also, the student council club here at PHS produces a talent/pagent contest for senior guys. PMN will film the production which takes place in the auditorium and create a professional DVD that is sold to participants, parents, or students. The money generated from this is used for scholarships. PMN also does Public Serivce Announcements for the school. If the adminstration wants to enforce a policy about cell phones, we create an episode for a series they created called "BUSTED". This series follows a student breaking that specific rule and eventually getting "busted" by a teacher. I have also had students do community projects. We videotaped a commerical for our local Community Action Committee, which aired on our local cable channels.
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?
MS: This is a student run program. I am just the facilitator. They run the video switcher, cameras, audio board, teleprompter, router, and lights. There is one director and two on-air anchors each day. I choose a director for the year, but all of the other positions rotate. Usually the director assigns duties for a 2 week period. Every Wednesday we have a news meeting to assign lead stories for the following week, and organize other video projects. The older students will teach the new ones how to run the equipment. Former students come back and teach all of us what they are learning in college or on the job.
SVN: Do students audition for on-air positions?
MS: Not really. During the last 2 months of the school year, we have senior guest anchors.
SVN: Do they write the content?
MS: They do everything.
SVN: How long does the show run?
MS: Our daily broadcast is five minutes long
SVN: Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?
MS: We enter The Shortie Film and Video Contest every year as well as other contests such as Apple's Voices of Innovation.
SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
MS: We can be seen on the districts CCTV plus we air nightly on our local Service Electric Cable Access Channel 50 at 5:00 pm
SVN: Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
JVC Digital studio cameras
Canon XL1 and XL2 cameras
DVC Pro Camera
Avid Xpress Pro and Media Composer
Adobe Creative Suite (After Effects, Photoshop, Encore, Soundbooth)
Lightwave 3D 7.0
DV CAM and DVC PRO tape decks
Kramer Video/Audio Matrix router
Mackie SR32-4 audio mixer
Sony Acid Pro 6
Bravo II disc publisher
Lutron Lighting Control dimmer