Weed High School journalism students are back in the studio for a second season of their local news show, Cougarcast!
Regular interviews with community members, a “Question Man” series videotaped at the high school, and pre-recorded Weed Rotary student-of-the-month presentations are just a few of the new additions to the show this year. This week’s show features an interview with College of the Siskiyous head football coach Charlie Roche, who led the 2012 COS Eagles to the Top of the State Bowl Central Division Championship just weeks ago.
“The students do it all – from script writing to interviewing and camera work, from title generation to technical direction. If you’re not watching the Cougarcast!, you’re missing out on a great student-generated success story,” Siskiyou Media Council Executive Director Deborra Brannon said.
Siskiyou Media Council (SMC) initiated the Broadcast Journalism project last spring to provide an opportunity for WHS students to practice interview, performance, and teamwork skills in a professional environment, and to learn basic broadcast production skills. Brannon said the level of commitment and energy this year bodes well for the project’s continued development and success.
“Last year’s class did a great job of helping move this project from blueprint to reality. Then I sat down with WHS Journalism advisor Josh Oates and WHS principal Mike Matheson, and we did some fine-tuning. This year’s students have risen to the challenge once again, and, wow! The Cougarcast! gets better every month,” she said.
Enrollment in this year’s Broadcast Journalism project includes two “seasoned” journalism students – Jon Hofer and Chris Huffman – who returned to hone their skills. Johanna Stensaas, Carlessa Harris, Mallory Pappas, Paige Miller, Kayla Lewis, and Tia Palangvanh round out the class roster.
SMC Public Access Coordinator Audra Gibson provides technical support for many aspects of Cougarcast! production. Operations Director Sara O’Meara directs each broadcast and provides basic training in camera work, title generation, and technical direction.
“Working with these students is extremely rewarding and always fun. They are serious about their work, and it shows. It’s gratifying to be able to help them expand their horizons and it’s fantastic to watch them have a great time while they learn,” O’Meara said.
The in-studio interviews make Cougarcast! a true community effort. Joining Coach Charlie Roche in the lineup this fall were Weed Rotarian Todd Schoffstoll and COS Director of Student Life Doug Haugen. Weed Elementary School principal Alisa Cummings and Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey are among those scheduled to appear on shows this spring.
Sponsorship revenue demonstrates community effort as well, according to Brannon. Tri-Counties Bank, Scott Valley Bank, Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta, The Weed Store, and The Garden Party, which is the catering arm of the Hi-Lo Café, have generously stepped forward as sponsors for the 2012-2013 Cougarcast! series.
City contracts with Weed, Mount Shasta, and Yreka keep MCTV15 and YCTV4 on the air and staffed at a minimal level, but Siskiyou Media Council depends entirely on donations to accomplish specific outreach projects like the Broadcast Journalism project with Weed High School, Brannon explained.
“Donations and sponsorships are needed and appreciated,” she said.
Community members interested in contributing are encouraged to contact SMC at 530-938-5285 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cougarcast! is broadcast on Northland cable channel MCTV15 and streamed online here on Mondays at 8:30am, Wednesdays at 1:00pm, Fridays at 7:00pm, and Saturdays at 9:00am. As new episodes are aired, older ones are available for viewing via the Video-on-Demand feature here (click on Playlist to find recently archived Cougarcasts!)