By Erin Moeckel, Journalism Adviser
Green screen. Check. Microphones. Check. Camera. Check. Editing station. Check. Two talented producers. Check.
In it’s inaugural year, Mehlville Today, the news channel at Mehlville High School, has provided students, faculty and community members with many great stories. Leading the way in the production and execution of telling these tales are two fine young women in juniors Macy Salama and Rachel Pearson. Having been there since the beginning, they'll be taking lead roles in August as producers.
“I like that it was a new program and it’s what I want to major in,” Pearson said.
Salama also enjoyed being part of the beginning of something.
“Naming the station was fun. It made me recognize that this is a real team environment. Everyone was a part of that,” she said.
Many names circulated the newsroom, but ultimately, Mehlville Today was the name that stuck. Every day, students read announcements and sign off with, “This is Mehlville Today, see you tomorrow.” This has created a friendly feel for the news station.
In addition to working in television news, both students have dabbled in radio. Producer and senior Ryan Dell created MyMehlville Radio, and encouraged all students to participate.
“I like that it was different from visual broadcasts. It was very personal listening to people’s voices. The words really mattered," Pearson said.
Salama agreed, “It is a fast and easy way to cover stories that people are interested in.”
This year, the class worked out of a classroom, but next year it will be expanding into the library with a studio of its own. Students recognize the challenges of working with a tight budget and limited resources.
“It’s good for us to start from the ground up to appreciate what we have. It’s more challenging and we learn way more," Salama said.
Pearson and Salama will take on the role of producers next year. They are already looking into fundraising options to increase revenue for the class.
“This way we can have more resources and take our work to the next level,” Pearson said. Pearson and Salama also hope to attend the National Scholastic Press Association and Journalism Education Association National Convention in Minnesota next fall.
These students also hope to bring in outside resources to the classroom whenever possible. Salama has discussed acquiring guest speakers to give tips and discuss the reality of the journalism field.
Pearson acknowledges she will face obstacles in her new position as producer.
“Figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of the staff will definitely be tough. But once we figure that out, it will be great to put people where they will succeed,” Pearson said.
Salama agreed that there will be a learning curve, but that she is ready for the challenge.
“After watching this year, I am motivated to shape the class to be even better than this year,” Salama said.
Both students dedicate time to their school. Pearson will serve as vice president of Student Council and secretary of her class. She is also the assistant-editor-in-chief of the yearbook. Salama is a leader of the Pantherettes dance team and mentors freshmen in the Panther Kick-off Mentor (PKOM) program.
Pearson and Salama hope to expand broadcast coverage on the student-run website, which logs more than 1000 hits per week. Student Prints newspaper, MyMehlville Radio and Mehlville Today have converged to provide multi-faced news coverage.
Pearson and Salama will replace Ryan Dell, Brett Heinkel and Matt Wentzel as producers in the 2011-12 school year.