It’s just after 8 a.m. on a Monday at George Washington Carver Elementary School.
In a small room off of the media center, computers and production equipment hum quietly in the presence of two empty sets — one emblazoned with the Carver emblem, the other with a playful, personified peanut holding up a “Carver News Network” banner.
This is where a rotating group of fifth-grade students produces and anchors the daily Carver news program. Each broadcast, which includes the Pledge of Allegiance, lunch menu, “Carver Pledge to Learning” and announcements, requires the effort of six to eight trained students.
The reporter team anchors the program on camera, delivering the news with a smile.
The tech team takes care of the behind-the-scenes work — making sure the prompter runs smoothly, giving cues to reporters and managing audio and visual levels or transitions.
Debra Stewart, media specialist at the school, has been helping to run the student news program since its inception in August 2001. She writes the program the night before, but said that the students take care of everything else. She simply guides them and supervises.
“I love it,” she said of her role with Carver News Network. “It’s fun to watch the students come in and show off their creativity.”
At 8:10 a.m., students begin trickling in to the studio. They immediately take their places, and it’s all business as they prepare for the program.
A female student pokes her head into the room.
“Y’all need a reporter?”
“Yeah, we need a reporter,” responds a member of the tech team as he adjusts a monitor.
The girl enters the room and takes a seat on set.
As the students prepare, they transform into focused young professionals, moving quickly and with surprising efficiency. They occasionally laugh amongst themselves as they go but regain focus with uncanny intensity. There is time only for one or two run-throughs before the news goes live.
The whole program takes just over three minutes.
As soon as one of the tech team members yells, “we’re clear,” these aspiring journalists and producers wrap things up. They turn off the equipment, congratulate each other on a job well done, and head out to class with youthful exuberance.
“It’s really fun,” said reporter Alex Kroken, who announced the lunch menu. “It makes me nervous whenever we go live,” she added with a laugh.
Tiaras Polite, another reporter for this particular day, said she likes being on TV and may consider a career in news.
With less than 40 students involved in the program, Carver News Network is a great way for fifth-graders to get involved in their school community and gain experience in many facets of a career in news media.
Like Collin Lee of the tech team, who said he wants to someday be involved in producing or directing. He tries to be in the studio every day.