WTV Unplugged: Behind the Scenes of Westview’s Student-Run TV Channel

Female middle school student sitting on a chair in front of a camera. She is talking on camera during a newscast that is being recorded.

Westview Television (WTV) is a student-run television program that has been an integral part of Westview Middle School since its inception in 2015. Programs, which air biweekly in classrooms, are produced, directed, and anchored by student journalists who develop the same skills used in professional television production. They learn to solve problems quickly and communicate effectively while working together in the studio. The goal of WTV is to keep staff and students informed about school events and news in a fun and engaging manner.

Students are actively involved in all aspects of content creation and technology operations. They share roles, take turns filming and editing each segment, and provide input during the content creation process. “We produce regular segments such as Principal’s Corner, where our principal gives a message to everyone, and we have other rotating segments that we cycle through,” shared School Counselor Cherie Kanemoto. “Each episode has a unique intro, news anchors, a message from the principal, and a bad joke. The rest of the time is filled with other things going on in the school. We might introduce new teachers, show what clubs are doing, highlight sports, and even showcase student talents.”

WTV is offered as a STEM class for seventh and eighth graders. Sixth graders are invited and encouraged to participate in the segments themselves. According to Media Specialist Lisa Herrmann, “We try to get a wide variety of student involvement, including students from each grade level. It is an opportunity for students to shine outside of traditional core-classroom learning.”

Two female middle school students standing behind an iPad on a tripod while they are filming their principal, who on the left side of the photo sitting at his desk.

Through their participation in WTV, students develop skills such as leadership, time and project management, planning, organization, and public speaking. “I’ve learned a lot of stuff about communication and leadership while having to film things and take charge in a situation where I need to talk to people,” shared eighth-grader Wren Heron. Students also gain hands-on experience with various technologies, including iPads, digital cameras, a padcaster, microphones, green screens, teleprompters, and video editing software.

Since its inception, WTV has grown to become more student-led and incorporate more responsibility. “It is an evolving process, and we learn more each year and adjust to the needs of our school,” said Kanemoto. “We continually ask staff and students for feedback and incorporate new ideas as we grow.” By providing a platform for information sharing, WTV contributes to building a strong sense of community among students, teachers, and staff. It promotes school culture, sportsmanship, and a sense of pride for all students.

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