Youth Media Project
Thursday, 15 January 2015 00:00

For our second class, we began by listening to a real youth-produced piece about Snapchat, its uses, and how this particular technology is perceived by teens as well as adults. We also listened to a story on the anatomy of a pop song, which was produced by former KRTS intern Ryan Kailath for NPR's All Things Considered. Students listened and filled out critique worksheets, thinking about what was compelling in these pieces and what could have been better.

This led to a larger discussion on those "get up and show me" moments that make a radio story come to life, as well as effective use of ambient sound, and how to use outside sources -- like experts in specific fields -- to present a balanced perspective and avoid bias. Story structure and pacing were also part of the conversation.

Students practice interviewing techniques.

Students practice interviewing techniques.

Next, we presented the assignment for the week: a Transom exercise in which students must ask five people the following question: "What are you afraid of?" Naturally, they have to use a recorder and see what kind of responses crop up. We listened to a couple examples of these from the Transom Online Workshop, including "Imaginary Izzy" and "Andrew, New Father."

A big challenge in this assignment, especially for those students who may be on the shy side, is that one of the five interviewees they approach must be a stranger. Students will choose the most interesting interview of the bunch to listen back to during next week's class.

Wednesday, 07 January 2015 00:00

Happy 2015! We've just kicked off season three of the KRTS Youth Media Project, and this year brings a number of changes. First, the program is no longer operating after school. Instead, Marfa High students enrolled in broadcasting class will tackle PBS Student Reporting Labs curriculum in the classroom. KRTS mentors Sally Beauvais and Mia Warren are dropping by the high school once a week to cover lessons on topics ranging from "what is newsworthy" to "interviewing techniques."

Such a logistical change will require regular coordination and collaboration between the KRTS mentors and Marfa High teachers Daniel Hernandez and Wayland Jenkins, who are offering two different periods of broadcasting classes this semester.

Marfa high school students practice using the Zoom mics blindfolded.

In our first meeting, we introduced ourselves with an icebreaker: "Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck?" Student responses were pretty diverse. One student even said he'd take on both options at the same time!

Next, we went over the basics of handling Zoom mics. Sally introduced an exercise in which students paired off and guided each other, one partner blindfolded, through a space. With sight eliminated from the equation, students were forced to rely on their sense of hearing -- and what they heard was magnified when picked up through a recorder. A special emphasis was placed on the difference between mic input and headphone volume.

We ran through some interview tips from a handout from Sound Portraits, with a demonstration on how open-ended questions can yield more interesting responses than those that might elicit a simple "yes" or "no." Then it was time for some hands-on practice with the Zooms. Class ended with students practicing interview questions on one another.

Monday, 02 June 2014 00:00

We're proud to announce that 5 of our Youth Media Season 2 pieces made it onto the PBS Student Reporting Labs website!

Check it out: Marfa, Texas teens capture the appeal of their uniquely hip 'small town'

Thursday, 29 May 2014 20:37

After 8 weeks of hard work, the KRTS Youth Media Project presents its second round of youth-produced multimedia stories! We are so proud of this year's student producers, Crystal Cataño, Eva Guevara, Anissa Lujan, Jayne Nuñez, Michaela Serrano and Molly Shaughnessy.

Stay tuned for updates regarding the future of these pieces with PBS Newshour's Student Reporting Labs.


Monday, 12 May 2014 00:00

It’s mixdown time at Marfa Public Radio; today was our final workshop of the second season of the KRTS Youth Media Project! Our students are still putting the final touches on their pieces in preparation for our Listening Party this Friday, May 16 at the Highland Annex in Marfa. The event begins at 7:00 pm, and is free and open to the public.

So far, final touches have included music selection, ambient sound, clip fades and volume levels. Our students' stories range in topic from high school friendships to Marfa ghost stories, tourism in Marfa to water scarcity in West Texas. They have truly taken their pieces from the brainstorming phase all the way through to the final edits, and we are really excited about the results! Stay tuned - the final audio/video presentations will be posted on our blog ASAP.

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