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New video course allowing Arroyo Grande High School students to produce weekly newscasts

Weekly Eagle News
Weekly Eagle News online newsletter as seen on the Arroyo Grande High School website. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. -- Arroyo Grande High School students interested in media arts now have a new class that allows them to produce weekly broadcasts which features important campus news.

The Weekly Eagle News is an online newscast that is part of the curriculum in the school's recently created Film and Video Production course taught by instructor James Carter.

Interestingly, Carter said the course, as well as the newscast, was actually a product of the pandemic.

"We started it last spring," said Carter. "We came back from the pandemic and we started trying to get our bulletin back out there, and we previously had a video bulletin being done by our leadership, but they really didn't have time to do it. Sometimes there would be video and sometimes there wouldn't. Admin took over and started this newsletter, which started during the pandemic to keep everyone informed, and that newsletter became a thing, and everybody got used to getting that newsletter every week to know everything about AG."

Carter added that students weren't really paying attention to the video newsletter, so he went to administration and asked if he could have students themselves make the video newsletter in a new course he would be willing to teach.

He would eventually received the go-ahead to create the new course, which debuted one year ago in spring 2022.

"The kids ran away with it," said Carter. "It was an instant hit. The newsletter was being more and more viewed right away, and the kids started getting excited as they were putting it together."

The course is a year-long class and has received approval for students to receive required visual arts credits, and is also now a CTE (Career Technical Education) Pathway.

"Now, if kids take it for two full years, and get involved in some more advanced things in the second year," said Carter. "They will be considered a CTE completer, and we're also trying to go out in the industry and find ways to get the kids out of the class and doing cool things."

Carter noted students are having the monthly opportunity to speak on the radio with KVEC (920 AM) personality Andy Morris.

For the Weekly Eagle News, students are required to find informative news stories around campus, shoot and edit video, write scripts and anchor the newscasts.

 "I think it's important because the students need to know what's going on, what sports activities are going on throughout the week, or what clubs are meeting at lunch and different stuff like that," said student Barrett Benjamin.

While some students like Benjamin appear on camera, others do not. Some of the students work behind the scenes on various elements of the newscast, such as editing.

"Knowing that the whole school is seeing it, I'm a little nervous," said student Claire Scalonek, who serves as newcast editor. "But then after I see it, I say this is going to be good for my future I guess."

Carter has a long-term vision for the course. He hopes one day it will include live broadcasts of campus events.

"I'd like to see the kids do some live stuff," said Carter. "Possibly some broadcasting for our sports."

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Weekly Eagle News

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