Eight Wauwatosa West journalism students are helping produce two stories with TMJ4 as a part of the studio’s initiative to work with students to participate in National News Literacy Week.
For National News Literacy Week January 27th to the 31st, the News Literacy Project is coordinating with the EW Scripps company, the parent company of local media outlets such as Today’s TMJ4. Local E.W. Scripps media outlets are working with young journalists across the nation to produce stories.
TMJ4 Broadcast director Jessie Garcia initially contacted West Journalism adviser Christopher Lazarski to see if program members were interested in participating.
Before planning their stories, the students were invited to tour the studio and watch how a live broadcast takes place on December 11th.
“I was really surprised at all the working parts of a newsroom and how large the area and the room where the live broadcast is,” said Junior Sara Stanislawski.
Sophmore Erin Scholtus also toured the studio.
“It was an interesting experience to see what happened behind the scenes and how scenes run,” said Scholtus.
For senior Anyiah Chambers, the experience was good exposure to what she is considering for a career choice.
“It was very, very interesting being that I want to be a news anchor myself. So seeing the behind the scenes and how basically everything comes together was very interesting,” said Chambers.
For the project, the students broke up into two groups. One covered the DNC, the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee July 13-16. The event will be held in Milwaukee this summer. The members of this group thought that this would be a story that local students could care about, as they live in the Milwaukee area.
“We had to find people that we knew were from different backgrounds, make it diverse, and we had to find people that we knew had different political opinions,” said Scholtus.
One thing that proved to be difficult for this group was getting students to voice their opinions, especially since most high school students can’t vote. Even those with strong beliefs didn’t jump at the chance to voice their opinions.
“Some people, especially of the minority of beliefs, they were kind of hesitant to be interviewed as they didn’t want to be singled out for their opinions by their peers,” said Stanislawski.
The other group covered college students paying for college. To get footage for this story, the students had to contact college students who they knew were home for winter break.
Chambers said she faced some adversity from her sources for this story.
“I actually ran into a situation where I had a person for the story and they kind of backed out in the end, like a day or two before, so that’ll definitely teach me that people aren’t always accountable. But you also have just be willing to take the task head on and not let anything stop you,” Chambers said.
One other issue for this story was getting college students to tell all on camera.
“I know when it comes to financial questions and money questions, people kind of hide away or shun away from answering those types of questions,” said Chambers.
For both groups, the students are coordinating with Jessie Garcia, a TMJ4 Broadcast Director and former reporter.
“It’s been great. I’ve been so impressed with the high school journalists at Tosa West. I mean seriously doing college level if not higher work, understanding how these pieces go together, arranging interviews, you know really getting the vision of what we’re doing,” said Garcia.
On January 24th the students returned to the TMJ4 studios to help with the editing process of the stories.
The stories will air on Thursday January 30th during the 4:30 p.m. evening news on TMJ4. The students will return to TMJ4 to watch their stories air in studio.