News Literacy Week: Rockford students learn to produce newscasts remotely

Posted at 5:58 AM, Jan 26, 2021

ROCKFORD MICH. — For National News Literacy Week, FOX 17 caught up with students at Rockford High School to hear from journalism students there and how they’re learning to be active consumers of news and finding the facts.

The students also taught us how they’ve then been able to accurately share their stories on multiple platforms with the community.

The ‘Beyond the Rock’ program at Rockford High School went from doing weekly newscasts in-person to becoming the main source for the community for live-streamed sports, board meetings, and student news, all while being remote.

“It was a really big change going online,” says senior Lauren Lewis, executive producer for Beyond the Rock. "We'd have to communicate a lot more between everyone to make sure that we still get our school news out."

With that came some quick lessons on how the students could produce stories remotely, and the ‘Beyond the Rock’ broadcast soon became a trusted source for the community during the pandemic.

“Last year, it was definitely just the usual, your school news help with community videos,” says Lewis. "But once the pandemic hit, it was like, 'Let's have everyone from Beyond the Rock live-stream and get information out to the community with anything that we can do."

The students started streaming not only weekly news stories but board meetings and, of course, sports.

“We've been live-streaming different events that we never thought we would in the past,” says Jason Springer, Beyond the Rock video technician at Rockford High School. "With our sports and minimal seating in the stadium, the parents had to watch from home. So we knew that was a priority of us to get that game out there so they could watch it."

Before they knew it, their audience was growing.

It required a quick pivot in production, but the students adapted and learned the impact they’re able to make.