They may not be professional journalists, but it’s not stopping Breton Education Centre middle school students from sharing the news.
A group of students and a teacher at the New Waterford school have come together to create their own weekly and monthly news broadcasts known as Middle School News.
The broadcasts have a little bit of everything including news and sports from around the school, birthdays and more. The students also don’t shy away from the issues in the community, including the upcoming federal election.
“I think everyone loves it,” said Nicholas Kearney, a Grade 8 student at the school.
“This is important for us to be able to leave our stamp as a middle school and show the other students that we can do stuff and that we want to do stuff in our school community and this is one way to do it.”
The idea for Middle School News came last year during a Grade 7 in-class project. The class held an election in which some students were designated to be reporters, while others were candidates and returning officers.
From there, the students decided they wanted to learn more about the journalism field and created a newscast designed for students in grades 6-8 at the school.
After learning the school was in the process of ordering new broadcast equipment, a group of five students formed and produced two large broadcasts to finish the school year.
Today, the club has 20 students who do the majority of the work for the newscast during lunch hour each week. So far this year, the club has had close to five broadcasts.
“We weren’t even sure if we could even be able to pull off one broadcast last year,” said Vanessa Canova, a French teacher at the school who oversees the broadcast.
“I think it’s essential to have something like this because I think the middle school needed its own identity and the students need to have a sense of pride and school spirit and I think this does it.”
Along with filming, the students also edit their own work in a small classroom on the senior high floor, once used as an English classroom.
Production and editing usually takes about six hours a week to complete, not counting the monthly project which students say takes longer.
“It’s definitely really fun to be in the media field,” said Meghan Muise, who joined the club this year.
“If somebody wanted to get into the media field after school, this would be a great first step for them because you learn so much and have some idea what to expect.”
The weekly broadcasts are televised on the school television downstairs. Meanwhile, the monthly broadcast is shown in the school’s AV room where all middle school students watch the production.
“There’s only been one rude comment about it, but other than that, everyone seems to think it’s a good idea,” said Muise. “I’m glad I was able to join the club and be part of it.”
Although Kearney and Muise don’t have any plans to study journalism as a post-secondary option as of now, they admit they’re not ruling it out down the road.
“I would maybe consider it, but I think there are some kids part of this club who really do want to stick with it,” said Kearney. “We’re having fun doing this and I think that’s what makes it a success.”
Canova said she hopes to see the middle school news legacy continue well into the future.
“They put the time in and they’re dedicated to this and I think that’s a benefit to the school,” she said. “We’re always evolving and we’re always recruiting, and we hope to be able to continue this when these students are out of middle school.”