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Special School District of St. Louis County

Northview News:
Journalism Classes Offer Students New Learning Opportunities

A student sits in front of a green screen and reads news that will be a part of the school’s broadcast. Another student writes announcements and reads them over the public address system, while others write articles for the student newspaper.

These students are part of a comprehensive media program at SSD’s Northview High School that includes classes and student-driven print and broadcast media.

According to Northview teacher Brad Walkenhorst, the classes and programs have evolved over the past few years.

“The challenge to untangle technology and navigate various platforms along with making them accessible to all has been a challenge, but it has also offered the opportunity for collaboration and success,” said Walkenhorst.

Northview offers print journalism and broadcast journalism as two separate classes. Students are selected based on their communication skills or needs, willingness to work on project-based assignments, as well as academic needs. Other students come to the programs and classes by advocating for themselves and expressing a desire to participate.

Daily announcements and longer special features are developed as part of the broadcast journalism class. In addition to daily announcements, students work on long-term projects for larger broadcasts.

Some students don’t appear in the broadcasts, but they make their contributions with PowerPoint presentations and Movie Maker projects.

Students are learning with a variety of tools. They use iPads, digital cameras, a green screen and an application called TouchCast to produce the videos. The videos are also uploaded to YouTube but can only be accessed using a provided link.

Sophomore Alex D. says his favorite part of the broadcast class is being able to co-host with someone and being able to contribute to the school in a bigger way.

“We get to tell people what’s happening in the school,” said Alex. “When you are doing it over video, it’s a better way to communicate because people can see you in the school.”

The Northview monthly newsletter is another way students are involved at the school and growing their writing and journalism skills.
Students brainstorm for story ideas and have a 150-word requirement per story. They are responsible for developing the idea, writing questions, research and interviewing, editing and publishing.

The job of editor was added this year and the editor is responsible for the construction of the newsletter. Microsoft Publisher is used to format the newsletter and is another tool that students can learn.

“Students are benefitting by learning more about technology and being responsible with the use of technology,” said Walkenhorst.

Walkenhorst added that students have the opportunity to develop receptive and expressive skills, both oral and written. “Students learn interview skills, patience, social interaction and how to ask questions and process answers.”

Senior Ja’Maya C., a student in the broadcast journalism class, enjoyed working on a review of the movie “Hidden Figures” for the Northview newsletter as well as a project titled “I am Northview.” 

“We go around the school and ask people to say, ‘I am Northview.’ It’s basically a family thing – everyone says they’re part of this family. Without the people, we wouldn’t be Northview,” said Ja’Maya.

Walkenhorst said these classes and programs create another connection to the school, and it benefits the students to learn about the variety of activities available at Northview.


Published May 2017

Northview students work on the school's news broadcast.Northview students work on the school's news broadcast, which is one part of a student-driven media program.

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Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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