Hoggard, other schools nixing journalism classes [Star-News, Wilmington, N.C.]
(Star-News (Wilmington, NC) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dec. 13--What was happening at Hoggard High School on a Friday morning?
A lot. Candy grams were for sale. Students could donate old clothes for needy families. The cornhole tournament was canceled, but the basketball game against New Hanover High School was definitely still on.
Viking TV student anchors Ty Berry and Noah Brock delivered the details in the school's television studio. Behind the scenes, a group of students prepped on-screen graphics and panned the camera, and two basketball players waited to be interviewed.
Viking TV is Hoggard High's all-student broadcast, airing mid-morning three days a week throughout the school. It's one of the few ways left to get news about what's happening every week at Hoggard High.
High schools in Southeastern North Carolina have largely moved away from traditional journalism classes in recent years. Many schools no longer have student newspapers, and next year, Hoggard High will no longer have a class dedicated solely to the morning broadcast.
Instead, students can take yearbook classes or courses focused on specific skill sets, such as creating animations or building websites. For students like Noah, who wants a career designing logos for businesses, having the opportunity to take a class entirely focused on graphic design as a high schooler is a bonus.
Hoggard High digital media teacher Darryl Rogers sees the benefit in learning those separate skills. But he also wants to make sure students don't lose the bigger picture: how to take those skills and turn them into something that gives students information and tells a story.
"I have stressed in all my classes the point of the message," Rogers said. "I really try to relate how much that touches their lives."
High school media and communication classes have seen as many changes as the media industry itself in recent years. In the late 1980s, for example, the StarNews often reported on the success of student newspapers at Laney, New Hanover and Hoggard in statewide competitions. But those slowly stopped being produced, often because teachers were needed to teach core curriculum classes instead.
Broadcast classes are also changing. Four years ago, Rogers taught a full-blown television production class with 15 to 20 students. That's since morphed into the smaller broadcast class he teaches now. Next year in New Hanover County, classes will focus on learning how to work with and become certified in different multimedia software, such as Photoshop or Flash.
Rogers hopes that won't mean the end of Viking TV. He plans to try to turn it into a student club, and he'd also like to use the software skills students learn to create some kind of online newsletter.
"We just don't know what it's going to be yet," he said.
But it's important to keep that kind of information flowing, said Amanda Penegar, who teaches the broadcasting class at South Brunswick High School.
"In today's world of texting and Twitter interactions with people, I think it's important to have a class where you're relating to each other and critically thinking about going beyond core curriculum," she said.
Penegar's students produce the Cougar View, which is similar to Hoggard High's Viking TV. The Brunswick County school system is planning to keep its broadcast class. Penegar, who has taught for several years but has only been leading the broadcast class for a few months, wants her students to gain broadcasting skills, but she also wants to teach them to write succinctly and ethically. She's also interested in teaching them how to embrace the fun side of the media. Her class is currently putting together a "lip dub," which is a cross between a pep rally and a music video.
Having the ability to do fun, hands-on work like that is what attracts students like Noah.
"This is a fun class because it actually applies to a career," he said.
And Noah said he'd stick with Viking TV even when it's no longer offered through a class.
"We've got a studio," he said. "We've got to use it for something."
Pressley Baird: 343-2328
On Twitter: @PressleyBaird
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