Over the summer, the set was remade to include multiple rooms and a new set design.
Cody Raper, broadcasting teacher, said the changes paired with the students’ commitment have brought the show to the next level.
“I see it constantly changing,” Raper said. “I think the media is constantly changing, so if we ever become stagnant, then we have taken a huge step back. We are no longer meeting the needs of our audience.”
Morning announcements have been relayed via “Raider TV” for more than 10 years. Changes began last year with the help and approval of CMS Principal Mike Collier and Career and Technological Education director Renny Whittenbarger. Raper showed his design ideas to former CMS dad Eric Boston who made them a reality.
When Raper asked Boston why he was willing to help out, Boston responded, “I just really believe in the opportunity the students have been given, and I want to see them achieve and grow.”
The class is offered as a one-semester elective. Interested seventh-graders apply through their English and Language Arts teachers at the end of the school year. Broadcasting students are chosen for their ability to speak coherently, write well and offer a strong presence for live recording. Raper said these students are often viewed as leaders throughout the school. Teachers inform Raper whether the students will likely represent CMS well on and off the campus.
Announcements are relayed over the intercom for the first two weeks of school in both the fall and spring semesters. This time is used by the class to orient it to the newsroom grind. The young broadcasters learn each role before settling into a weekly rotation of duties.
Students have the opportunity to fill a variety of positions, including director; technical director; graphics; lower thirds; audio and streaming; prompting; camera operator; sports and weather; anchor; and interviewer.
Miles Thatcher said his favorite position is technical director, although he has also covered director, anchor and weather camera.
“[As director] you basically give orders to people working behind the scenes,” Thatcher explained. “So the technical director, who was sitting next to me, does the transitions between the cameras and I have to tell her which camera to get ready for.”
Camera operators listen in to the director’s cues through headsets. The director watches the monitors to offer extra cues.
Students bustle into the broadcasting department at 7:40 every morning. A dry run through the script ensures everyone knows their role. A look of intense focus takes over the students’ faces as the countdown begins for the show. Anyone can catch the live-stream at 7:55 a.m. via raidercommunications.com.
A special feature is included in every morning segment: Monday, YouTube clip; Tuesday, trivia; Wednesday, Player of the Week interview; Thursday, special interest piece; and Friday, miscellaneous.
Brittany Linley has worked the teleprompter, graphics, weather, sports and the cameras.
“Some of my friends like to mess with me, but it is actually kind of fun to be in front of the camera and have people know I was chosen because I am respectful,” Linley said. “I know how to respect [peers and] adults, and behave myself around expensive things.”
She said teleprompting has been her favorite and easiest task.
Added Linley, “I am looking forward to being an anchor.”
The entire cast meets after each segment to highlight the pros and cons of the broadcast. Raper said his students do not compare themselves to other middle school or high school news programs. They look to news outlets like CNN to see how they can improve.
“There is a lot of room to grow,” Raper said. “We are doing a fantastic job, but there are so many possibilities, like more features, student films, discussing world news and providing more online streaming. There is a lot of potential, we just need to move in small increments.”