Saturday, January 22, 2011

Learning to Be Fearless

Back in November I met a group of students from Absegami High School at the NJEA Convention in Atlantic City. They were there to do an interview with CNN's Soledad O'Brien for their school's news program, Gami TV. You may recall that I was really impressed with their work.

Well, one of the things I've learned in this business is that one thing always seems to lead to another.

Wanda, the executive producer of Classroom Close-up, NJ was just as impressed as I was and decided we should do a story about Absegami's Media program for our show.

So yesterday, I got up bright and early to make the 80 mile trek down to South Jersey in time to catch Gami TV's morning newscast, hang out in some classes, and talk to these students and teachers about their media program. It's impressive. Three levels of elective classes being taught to nearly 200 students. A 14-minute live daily newscast — the real deal — not just the announcements. More editing stations than they have at NJN. And an advanced course in filmmaking to top it off. No wonder the group I met in AC were so sharp, they're in a college-level media program.

But the best part about the program is that it's not about teaching kids how to succeed in the TV business. Sure, they walk out of high school with more hands-on experience than some college grads, but they also gain skills to help them succeed in anything. Things like public speaking, interviewing, and experience working in teams on complex projects. Not to mention the ability to handle the pressure of a deadline-driven environment. They learn to be fearless.

The Classroom Close-up, NJ episode with the Gami TV story will air Monday at 7 pm and on Saturday at 9 am on April 11, 16 and May 9, 14 on NJN