By Brian Graves, Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 —
Here is fair warning to Diane, Scott and Brian.
There are a group of teens who are aiming to take your jobs in the near future and they have already shown they have the spunk and ability to do just that.
They are the staff of Gray Stone News who produce a weekly video newscast on the life and times of the students at Gray Stone Day School.
The videos they produce can best be described as part scrapbook, part informative and maybe a little part “Saturday Night Live.”
Their broadcast, “The Knight Life,” takes its name from the school’s nickname, the Knights, and while it’s not unusual for a school to have its own in-house announcements, it is something completely different when the students plan, write, produce and edit something that you have to watch and not fall asleep watching.
In the course of a week, the staff of 14 hash out ideas, decide on what will be used and not used, film segments and then edit together a program.
Their class sponsor is Lisa Deese, who was searching for a project for a class with the subject of digital media.
That’s where three students with an interest in communications said they wanted to get things started.
“We’re friends and we had been wanting to do something like that,” said Sarah Goodnight, who also serves as one of the broadcast’s anchors.
“We talked to Mrs. Deese about it and they were already planning something, so the timing was great.”
Ria Sethi has already done some of this at Albemarle Middle School and says she would like to go further than just the Gray Stone anchor desk.
“I think that might be my career path,” Goodnight said adding news runs in the family as her father is a copy editor in Salisbury.
Both Ria and Sarah say having on-screen roles “is really easy.”
“We’ve been best friends forever and being on camera with her is really natural,” Goodnight said.
They said students do watch the episodes.
“Especially when we do something that involves the students, they watch and we get a lot of feedback,” Goodnight said.
The episodes are not currently shown in the classroom, but the staff hopes that will eventually happen.
“We don’t just do announcements,” Goodnight said.
“We give a look back at the entire week, and it’s easier for us to pre-record it instead of doing it live.”
Anna Cooper serves as the staff’s technological wiz who takes each of the produced segments, feeds them into a computer program, then splices and dices each piece into one five- or six-minute episode.
“The most stressful part is editing, but I love editing,” Cooper said.
All three said there have been segments that, after seeing them, they had second thoughts about.
They have done serious subjects such as bullying and the three say they, along with their sports reporter, Ben Jones, were the only four involved last year which made it hard to be as versatile as the program is now.
But, with more students now involved, the well of ideas has not run dry and while they want to be informative, they also want to be entertaining.”
“When we start the program with the two anchors, it’s just telling about what is going on,” Sethi said.
“But, after that, that’s sort of where the goofiness starts.”
There might be those who see this as frivolous for high school age students to be doing instead of sitting behind a desk and a book.
But, there is an extensive process, including a written essay, involved for a student to be allowed into the class.
“These are remarkably creative students,” Deese said.
“They spend a lot of time using the academic side of their brains. I want them to know being creative is a wonderful thing and there’s nothing wrong with using that creativity.”
She says there is a lot of genius in the classroom and when it comes to censorship, she finds a news staff she trusts totally.
“There was one time when they used a song with a word in it that probably should not have been there, but there have been times when I’ve seen them debate something and then come to me about it,” Deese said.
“Actually, I totally trust them.”
To submit story ideas, contact Brian Graves at (704) 982-2121 or email at email@example.com.