Someone's working on the animation. Someone else is tweaking the still and video images that go with the feature about the physics teacher. Another person is developing new flash animation for the project while yet another someone is writing, rehearsing and shooting the newscast.
Then there's this deadline looming, this every-other-week deadline always looming.
All for five minutes of air time.
Any veteran news employee knows that look, that panicky, wide-eyed, 'Is this going to all come together or fall apart?' kind of look he has now.
But it's all coming together for Shearer, lead editor, and fellow classmates as they hammer out their fourth edition of the Growl News Network.
The project combines teacher Charles Kleinberg's two advanced multimedia classes and teacher Jennifer Van De Wege's leadership class in producing a video news broadcast that features several levels of multimedia, including video footage, photo stills, various animation and backgrounds, computer-
generated effects and more.
"Everyone's getting excited about it," Shearer says. "It feels like a newsroom."
And like a newsroom, this classroom at Sequim High's A building is abuzz with action. Some computer screens are alight with colors that leap and bound; others show video clips being rewound and paused; other students are hustling in and out of the classroom with various recording devices, from digital cameras to wireless microphone sets.
"We're trying to do everything ourselves," Kleinberg says. "Everyone has their strengths and wants to show them off."
"The big thing is it's a collaboration with multimedia and the leadership class," Kleinberg says.
Leadership class students write and film the newscasts, then film some transitions for the other multimedia projects such as Growl News Network staples "Teacher Feature" and public service announcements.
Sophomore Laura Rutherford is a coordinator for some of the leadership projects on GNN. During a midweek shoot just two days from GNN's fourth airing, Rutherford and coordinator Meredith Roberts are working with newscasters Danny Hall and Kyla Hall (no relation) and sports reporter Jeremie Oliver to complete some transitions.
While Shearer films and others adjust lighting, Oliver reads from a teleprompter in front of a green screen, a screen that gets replaced with graphics in the final version.
"We write the scripts and get feedback: what (viewers) liked, what they didn't like," Rutherford says. "It's always good to hear ideas."
The individual pieces of the broadcast then are sent to a shared server that Shearer and company bring together for the final product.
The show gets viewed every other Friday morning as part of the school's morning announcements. Each classroom at SHS has an overhead projector (from the ceiling, not the antiquated ones rolled in on wheeled carts) and screen that allows students to view each broadcast.
Growing the Growl
The original idea was to do a professional-looking newscast each week, says Kleinberg. But the process of getting everything together was too chaotic for everyone involved, so the classes decided to reel it back to once every two weeks.
On Oct. 30, the Growl News reported about homecoming and Spirit Week, gave information about the upcoming college fair and the school's sports teams, showed a feature about auto shop teacher Kevin Phillips and reminded classmates about a poster design contest. The show now includes public service announcements, such as reminders to wear seat belts and to not use cell phones while driving.
Kleinberg says teachers are asking to have GNN assist with their class projects or get featured on the show.
"This has a strong connection to college (prep)," Kleinberg says. "It's almost like our classroom is designed like a workplace."
'A lot of patience'
It's been a sharp learning curve for Shearer, who says he had planned out an easy senior year by finishing many requirements in his first three years, giving him free third and fourth periods.
Now, more likely than not, he's in the multimedia classroom at those times, coordinating one aspect or another of the news presentation.
That's not easy, he says, when fellow students have other homework or projects or get sick and can leave some projects undone.
"(It takes) a lot of patience," he says. "We're trying to get everything precise. It's hard when you have 25 people saying, 'Put this in.'"
Instead of being an authority figure, Shearer tries to offer advice to colleagues on how to make things better, with a positive spin.
Shearer says he leans greatly on the help of special effects editor Jared Forshaw, who worked on various techniques during the summer.
Students weren't sure what to expect from the first viewing of the Growl News Network, Shearer says, but, "now people take it seriously."
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Digital image editing artists: Michael Bereiter, Spencer Budke, Travis Decker, Jacob DeWald, Sam Faulk, Jake Lotzgesell, Heather McCord
Graphic design artists/animators: Taylor Roads, Amber Tuttle
Film crew: Amanda Bekkevar, Josh Francis, Isaac Gautschi, Cindy Miller, Jacob Parsinen
_ Leadership crew
Coordinators: Meredith Roberts, Laura Rutherford
Anchors: Danny Hall, Kyla Hall
Sports reporter: Jeremie Oliver
The Growl News Network online
See Sequim High School's own news report online at: search.sequimgazette.com/growl-news-network
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