As each school day begins at the Shelton Intermediate School, students and staff are greeted by the morning announcements that are broadcasted throughout the school on televisions located within each classroom. These announcements are designed to help prepare students and staff for what’s going on for the day or in days to come.
The Shelton Herald got a behind-the-scenes tour of how one of the daily news shows is filmed and broadcasted.
Technology teacher at SIS and Director of the WSIS morning show, David Dennis said working on the show has launched the school into the “digital age.” Each member of the volunteer staff has been assigned a position and has had to study their individual responsibilities to assure the shows are running smoothly and constantly improving.
“We work to get better everyday, every week,” said Dennis.
There are six members on the daily news team, not including the pool of nearly 25 rotating anchors. Dennis said all of the anchors received a copy of a schedule that shows when is there day to do read the announcements. The other positions include a student who controls the sound, another who controls the teleprompter, and a team of three students who manage the cameras.
Each morning the news team assembles at around 8 a.m. to provide the school with updates in school sports, the menu for lunch that day, birthdays, or any information a teacher or faculty member may want to announce.
One of three students who manages the cameras, Liam Saranich has been working on the morning show since last year as a 7th grader and says now he enjoys helping out some of the newer staff members.
“I’m more of a behind the scenes guy,” said Liam Saranich who is the son of SIS Headmaster Ken Saranich. “It is fun watching what the anchors do, how they improve and build their confidence though.”
Not all of the anchors are as confident as others.
“Sometimes they’re nervous and you have to remind to just smile and be confident. Usually I’ll tell them to before they go on and they do just fine,” said Liam.
Dennis explained that the process of joining the school’s news team starts in 7th grade when they take his communications technology course and try out for a position towards the end of the school year.
“7th graders come in towards the end of the year to shadow the current staff and then they start doing the show with the 8th graders looking over their shoulders,” said Dennis. “Then the 8th graders let the younger staff do the show for a week and then the 8th graders take over again for the last week of school.”
Dennis’s course, along with the process of joining the morning news staff, has inspired some of the students to begin thinking about a future in the news/journalism world. The next step would be joining Shelton High School’s morning news staff.
Dennis also said as his staff continues to progress it could be looking to expand on the variety of coverage they offer.
“I’ve trained new staff members every year and we’ve now reached a point where if Mr. Saranich or another teacher had a last minute announcement to make, they could come the show and the students would know what has to be adjusted and would get them mic’d up right away” said Dennis. “Sky’s the limit. We cover anything related to the school, but in the near future we’re looking to start filming and broadcasting our assemblies.”
When he’s not making sure the students are all doing their jobs on set, Dennis also tells his staff members to go home and study the pros at work.
“I tell them to watch News Channel 3 or 8 to observe how the anchors interact with one another and it’s worked for them. I see their progress,” said Dennis. “You’re not going to be smiling if you’re telling a more serious story. They’ve picked up a lot of good tips just from watching the professionals do their job.”
The students that are on staff said they also learned the importance smiling, not swaying in their chairs while anchoring because it causes a distraction and definitely not to wear green while in front of the green screen.
“We had one teacher on the first show of the year who showed up in a green Polo,” said Kaylee Gura who manages the teleprompter. “When the cameras went on he was invisible except for on his face and arms.”
Gura said she’s really enjoyed her time on the staff and she never knew, prior to working there, all of the work that goes into creating a news show.
“It’s more than just the people on camera, there’s a whole team working behind the scenes to bring you the news you guys see every morning,” said Gura. “
All of the school’s daily news shows are broadcasted to Dennis’s Youtube channel.