Pandemic keeps student journalists busy

Student journalism isn’t quite the same during times of a pandemic. Several challenges not usually there can come up thanks to COVID as a factor, especially on a school campus with a mix of e-learners and physical learners.

Student media adviser Mark Schledorn, who supervises the “Roar” news magazine, WCTZ News and the student news website said making the adjustment has been difficult.

Technology has been the biggest issue, especially in TV production class, where I have seven to nine e-learners and 14 or so physical learners,” he said. “Because of the addition of e-learners, I now have three Zoom breakout rooms, two with teams producing package content and one that has my main producer and the morning-announcements crew working together.” 

Schledorn said his students have risen to the occasion.

“Both TV pro and “Roar” news magazine staffs contain serious, motivated students this year, several of whom are returning students. Those leaders have done an outstanding job orientating the new additions to the staffs — both physical learners and e-learners,” Schledorn said.

Because of COVID, many on-campus activities have been suspended, so while again it may seem like there would be a shortage of stories, Schledorn said  the number of stories to cover has not lessened.

“I have never experienced a shortage of story ideas,” he said.

But COVID hasn’t been all bad for the student-media groups.

“Advantages include a greater comfort level using various new technologies such as Zoom to conduct interviews and a heightened awareness of the news from students who spend more time in front of their devices as result of the pandemic,” he said.

By Kian Nezamoddini