O’FALLON – Alex Herrell, Assistant Principal of Fulton Jr. High, recently spearheaded a broadcasting program for the middle school called Panthercast News that is modeled after OTHS’s Panther Beat.
Herrell said that in the 2017-2018 school year, students shared with him in interest in having a student- led news broadcast program.
“I figured we had even more students with interest in journalism or video production, so I was excited to get this started at Fulton,” he said.
As Herrell previously sponsored a news podcasting program at Shiloh Middle School, he knew what it would take to get the program on its feet and wanted to get it started as quickly as possible.
With the help of a Fulton eighth grade Language Arts teacher Mrs. Derstine, Herrell started a DonorsChoose page to get some basic broadcasting equipment, including: a laptop, microphone, cameras and lighting.
“We were fortunate enough to get the project funded and the kids are quickly getting used to the new equipment,” Herrell said.
Herrell said that he also got in touch with Kristin Strubhart, the teacher who oversees the high school’s Panther Beat, and she was able to arrange for a few pieces of their older equipment to be donated to Fulton’s new program.
One of Strubhart’s Panther Beat student, Ethan Weld, went to Fulton one afternoon to teach students how to use the equipment.
“She also put me in touch with JournalismStL, who hosts a journalism conference at SLU each Fall,” he said. “We were able to take some of the students to this year’s conference where they learned some great information about journalism, interviewing techniques, and video editing.”
While the Fulton students were the youngest kids represented as the only junior high in attendance, Herrell said that they still had fun and learned a lot about broadcasting.
After the conference, the Panthercast News students went to the high school to get a crash course in some advanced technology that they use to put on Panther Beat.
“I could see it in some of their eyes that they were already imagining themselves as future anchors at OTHS,” he said. “It was a valuable experience and we are very grateful to Mrs. Strubhart and the Panther Beat crew for their guidance as we get our program up and running.”
“The main focus of each newscast is to highlight Fulton students and staff and some of the awesome things they are doing at Fulton.”
In addition, Herrell said that the kids hope to report on news stories that affect the surrounding community and the world.
The second edition of PantherCast News will be held this week and Herrell said he welcomes parents and the community to view it. The link to the newscast is: https://goo.gl/wu3zqR