Students and staff at Bonita Elementary School near Santa Maria are staying informed thanks to a recently created student-run newscast.
Called Bonita News TV, the weekly online show can be seen on its own YouTube channel.
It runs about 10 minutes long and offers viewers a variety of news segments.
“You’re going to see interviews and you’re going to see what’s going around at our school and how to play sports and what books are good in the library to check out,” said student anchor Evangeline Moore.
Other popular segments include the word of the week, riddle of the week and bloopers.
Created by physical education teacher Jerome Jones, Bonita News TV has been broadcasting since September.
Jones is the instructor for the newscast, but said students are entirely responsible for its content.
“They write their own scripts,” Jones said. “They come up with their own ideas.”
Jones added the news crew receives a one-of-a-kind educational experience as they produce and record each broadcast.
“They’re learning how to work together, team work skills,” said Jones. “They’re learning how to write. They’re learning how to memorize because we don’t have a telepromter. They’re learning how to interview different people in the community. They’re learning how to communicate with one another on a personal level and they’re learning as they go. They’re learning about science, sports, news.”
Reporters and anchors are selected 5th and 6th graders.
With two months of news experience under their belts, some of them are already thinking about a potential broadcasting career when they get older.
“I like seeing what’s going on around the school and and I like informing people,” said anchor Victor Sierra. “They should know what’s going on around the school and what events are coming up.”
Bonita News TV uploads a new show each Thursday.
Just two months after it debuted, Jones is amazed at the response it has received.
“When we post a new video, within two to three hours, we have 200 to 300 hits, which is pretty crazy for a small production like this produced by kids,” said Jones. “It’s cool, you get emails. You get emails from people in the local community. We get emails from people that don’t even live here and they tell us how cool our news is.”
As the show continues to grow in popularity, Jones is already thinking of ways to improve it.
“Hopefully in the future we can do some live broadcasts,” said Jones. “It would be cool too to take the children out in the community. Hopefully, we could do stuff like that and maybe get some more equipment because we have a very small studio and not a lot of equipment.”
What the newscast does have is a happy group of students who have embraced this new challenge and with great success.
“I’m proud that people are interested in this and I’m proud that are liking what we’re doing and liking that we’re good at what we’re doing,” said Moore.
“It’s really fun,” said Sierra. “I like knowing that I have a YouTube channel and I’m on YouTube. I like knowing that a lot of people watch me.”
Bonita News TV can be viewed here on its YouTube channel.