Middle school media gets taste of high school publications

By Shannon Wilkinson
Staff Writer

The Emerging Media and Communications (EMAC) Academy is preparing its students for a future job in the multimedia field. On, Oct. 30, they set their sights on a younger generation.

Yearbook and media students from Coppell Middle Schools East, West and North came to explore the different publications CHS has to offer.

“It was beneficial for the middle school students to see the publication rooms because they really got to see if they were interested in joining yearbook, KCBY or Sidekick,” Round-Up senior Stacey Spaans said.

The students started off their day with learning how to anchor in the KCBY studio. The students were fascinated by the different guidelines that each anchor was asked to follow, such as, not moving more than one-fourth of an inch, looking at each camera as directed, reading off prompts and more.

“KCBY is a really impressive room, especially to middle school kids. I watched their faces while [senior KCBY anchor] Jack Robertson was explaining everything and they were all wide-eyed,” Spaans said.

Junior Michael Butzer teachers eighth grade media students about KCBY while they were visiting the high school for a workshop. Photo by Sandy Iyer
Junior Michael Butzer teachers eighth grade media students about KCBY while they were visiting the high school for a workshop. Photo by Sandy Iyer

Besides just watching the KCBY staff, the students were able to experience for themselves what working in their anchor studio was actually like. Robertson chose students to be ‘anchors’ and others to operate the three cameras they have in the studio.

“All the high school students made us feel really welcome by helping us and teaching us what to do,” CMS North seventh grader Addie Brown said. “They were really good at making us laugh too.”

The students were brought into the design studio and were shown Coppell Student Media, The Sidekick newspaper and were given a story idea. The middle school students went out and interviewed high school students and were then given the chance to write a short story. The focus of The Sidekick was to learn how to be a backpack journalist. A backpack journalist is someone who is a reporter, photographer, and videographer. They are also an editor and producer of stories.

“I wanted them to see what it was like to be a backpack journalist,” Sidekick Enterprise Editor Elizabeth Sims said. “I wanted them to get a glimpse at the newspaper room and just see how cool it could be to be a journalist.”

As well as learning how to anchor in the KCBY room, the middle school students were taught “How to shoot video that doesn’t suck”. This consisted of using different camera angles, holding the camera steady and having a good segment.

The middle school students were more than amazed. They were shocked and surprised at everything they could be apart of and how well it is run by the students.

“Every publication we went to I wanted to join because they explained it so well,” CMS East seventh grader Ryan Schwenn said. “That’s how I want to spend my free time in high school.”

The students were not the only ones impressed by how well CHS’ publications work. Kim Goodman, the yearbook advisor at CMS West, loved what CHS has to offer.

“Seeing and having input from teens was more enlightening for them because they can put it in a way that my kids understood it better than when I try to explain it,” Goodman said. “They definitely knew what they were talking about.”

Equally impressive to the middle school yearbook students was the yearbook room and how nice the camera equipment was that they had available to them.

“When we went to the yearbook room, they showed us how to shoot all the different angles and then they even let us try it,” Schwenn said. “We need to get the cameras that they have so we can take better pictures.”

After the tour through the publication world at CHS, the CMS North students were asked to take a survey talking about their favorite parts of the entire tour. Many different comments were said about The Sidekick, Round-Up and KCBY, and they were all favorable.

Both the high school and the middle school students greatly benefitted from the program and hope to do something similar in the near future

“I want to come back and learn more things,” Brown said. “Coming to the high school makes me want to join a publication even more.”