They're reaching their community on a level above and beyond social media.
After the tragedy of Michael Brown, kids everywhere were eager to have their opinions on the subject heard.
This was especially true in Missouri.
Student protest in Ferguson, Missouri. Image via XQ.
In the months following the shooting, there were numerous student protests over racial bias and discrimination. Young people were angry, and they wanted change — both in their hometowns and on the national level.
[rebelmouse-image 19531703 dam="1" original_size="640x480" caption="A Ferguson protest at Stanford University. Photo by Paul George/Flickr." expand=1]A Ferguson protest at Stanford University. Photo by Paul George/Flickr.
Today, the protests and fights for justice are ongoing because the problems are far from over. Many people turn to social media to keep the many conversations around these issues relevant, but that can sometimes feel like screaming into a void of millions of other voices.
The students of Ritenour High School had a special way to get their voices heard over the crowd though: a professional media lab.
Image via XQ.
The lab at the school near St. Louis, Missouri, is outfitted with all the tools the kids need to create fully produced radio shows and television broadcasts about the issues they care about and the news stories that affect them.
"Our school has been very forward-thinking with journalism," explains Jane Bannester, a teacher at Ritenour. "It wasn't just 'I'm doing an assignment and I'm turning it in.' It's 'I'm doing it, and there are people in our community who are hearing this and looking to us to tell these different stories.'"
The students genuinely feel like they're making a difference in speaking to their community at large.
It's also giving them the skills they need to work in media professionally.
The lab allows the students to get hands-on experience producing their own media programs so they can have a sense of how it's done in the real world. This type of training is vital for kids who want to pursue careers in the fast-paced world of journalism and broadcast news.
A student watches a television broadcast taping. Image via XQ.
Anyone can post their opinions on social media outlets, but it takes serious training and skill to get those opinions to reach a major audience. Ritenour's media program is giving its students the means to do just that in a way that counts.
It's no surprise that Rintenour is on its way to becoming an XQ Super School. XQ is helping schools nationwide adapt to an ever-advancing world. Their high-tech classroom is what people running the project hope all classrooms across the country will eventually look like — one that's filled with tools that will better prepare them to take on any career in media they choose.
Today, it seems like there's never not a "breaking news" moment. Thanks to this awesome media lab setup, you know these students will be covering them.
The Ritenour students may just be kids, but their interactive lab classroom has allowed them to be heard on a level that rivals local news stations.
In the not-too-distant future, the skills they're picking up in this classroom will help them rise up in the competitive media business, but right now, it's helping them realize their voices matter and deserve to be amplified.
Learn more at XQSuperSchool.org.
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