GREELEY, Colo. — For the journalism students at Greeley West High School, the news gathering process includes some serious topics, combined with a little entertainment and humor.
“I really wanted to find new stories and new perspectives about what was happening and just kind of making the news more fun,” said Tanian Schuttler, a senior newspaper production student. “While also being informative and kind of just writing about everything.”
Schuttler is also the anchor of the Greeley West student newscast this semester.
“Our job is really about making sure that a lot of students are heard and teachers as well,” she said.
“Usually, it's about a 15 to 20 minute video,” senior Nathaniel Rudolph said. “We usually have two main stories, and then we have our info section and commercial breaks and stuff.”
It’s a newscast they are putting together in a closet thanks to Rudolph’s push to launch a school newscast, initially using his own equipment to make it happen.
“We actually got our inspiration from Mead High School, where they started there, and I was like, 'I think we could do this and make it really professional,'” Rudolph said.
“I actually really enjoyed writing these stories,” said Abby Rivera-Flores, who started in the journalism program after a little push from her advisors. “My teacher, Mr. Falter, he actually enjoyed reading my stories.”
Dave Falter, the newspaper and production teacher and advisor at Greeley West, is behind these students and their effort.
“We learn by doing and by making mistakes,” Falter said. “With future journalists, they’re going out, there’s a lot of coaching that goes into that. Is this your best source? I'd rather they learn by doing.”
This week is the third annual Scripps National News Literacy Week, which makes the expanding journalism story at Greeley West all the more relevant and important.
“I would say that we aren't really afraid to dive into those deeper kinds of stories and the ones that might be a little bit more controversial,” Schuttler said.
“We kind of like to keep our focus on the school and telling stories about the students and informing the world about what the students here are doing,” Rudolph said. “Because not many people and community members get to see that.”
This closet is just the beginning. Greeley West is moving into a brand new building, which is currently under construction right next to the old one. The journalism program will move from a closet into a new space in the new building.
“We’ll have an entire room dedicated to production, video production,” Falter said. “A recording studio for the audio stuff. It's really, really cool.”
A program that is quickly growing its audience beyond the walls of GWHS.
“What’s interesting, because, you know, you look at the numbers behind the scenes of who's watching stuff sometimes and there's a lot of grads,” Falter said. “And there's a lot of community members from Greeley West. So, it's also teaching a valuable lesson that, ‘Hey, they care about what's going on throughout the school, too.’”
Students are writing and telling stories regarding things they are passionate about, like Rivera-Flores’ current project.
“Right now, I'm writing a story about honors band,” Rivera-Flores said. “I play the percussion.”
Students follow the Scripps news literacy slogan this year, ‘Care before you share,’ meaning their stories and sources are properly vetted and thoroughly researched. Their newscasts offer information that viewers and readers inside and outside the school can trust and rely on.