The Student News Network of the Town of Greenburgh, NY, is a program conceived by Town Supervisor Paul Feiner Judith Beville and guided by digital producer and local parent, Alan Brody with Digital Journalism Professor Mo Krochmal. The idea is to develop and train students to become multimedia digital journalists, persuasive communicators and participants in 21 Century Digital Citizenship.
With over 20 teens attending weekly meetings, Brody & Krochmal guided the group through finding, developing, writing and then producing the stories featured on the SNN News TV show. Each story has been written by the teens, posted on the SNN News website and then each author was trained to present before the camera.
About the Student News Network of the Town of Greenburgh
The Student News Network of the Town of Greenburgh, NY, is a groundbreaking service that is perhaps unique in the nation in creating a platform that allows the young students of the Westchester County to be of service and to learn essential skills of 21st Century digital citizenry while coached by World Class volunteer professionals.
The vision of Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, the guiding force in this project, was to welcome students into the town hall and support them learning how us the cable access broadcast facilities and equipment and to make a newscast. The town welcomed the students every week after school to the seat of the community, the Town Hall, where students could actually sit in the seats at the front and talk in the microphones for questions and answers with Supervisor Feiner and Town Clerk Judith Beville
Alan Brody, a parent and a digital entrepreneur who lives in the community, got involved in early January and then reached out to Mo Krochmal, a former digital journalism professor in New York City. Every week the two would meet with the students, and even some parents, to teach and to coach them on reporting, writing and eventually video production.
The students, ranging from 7th Graders to Seniors getting ready for college, collaborated in a private Facebook group and a private website and, edited by Brody and Krochmal, started publishing their stories, starting with a scoop when a student, Julia Brody, got to sit in on Supervisor Finer’s interview with Dr. Ed Zuckerberg, a Greenburgh resident and the father of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The students work has been published on the SNNews.org website and shows the philosophy of the program – “News by kids, for kids.” The students have done photography and video as well as writing and rewriting for publication on the site, and they have learned how to then tell their stories to the broadcast television cameras. Their half-hour news program will also be posted to the SNNews.org site and will play on the town’s cable access channel.
They have covered issues important to them, such as bullying and what happens when junior varsity sports have their funding cut.
But, more than anything, they have learned skills about how to get people to tell them their stories, interviewing, writing effectively for the Internet and for broadcast, as well as how to tell a story effectively in front of the camera as well as on a mobile telephone.
Their stories have illuminated youth issues and have served their community. Their experience has taught them to be comfortable with technology, to learn the value of credible information and how to find it as well as how to present it using traditional broadcasting technologies as well as the emerging technologies of citizen journalism. The students learned a lot because they wanted to, all came on their own, juggling busy schedules to learn in a real-world situation, without grades.