The Sequoyah Scribe

Newscast in Crisis

Ella Miller, Opinion Editor

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For staff members of the Sequoyah Scribe Newscast, the only stress has always centered around deadlines, interviews and filming. Until now. This year, low participation has placed Sevier’s broadcast journalism program into a rather sticky situation.

Last year, the staff had some difficulty producing episodes consistently and efficiently, resulting in a low participation rate this year. With only five staff members, as opposed to the healthier number of twelve, SSN has to work three times as hard to produce episodes and achieve their former success.

“Right now, it’s all about letting students know that the newscast exists and is looking for more staff members,” David Flanary, the adviser of the newscast, said. This is Flanary’s tenth year working in his current position as a journalism advisor.

“Our goal is to produce a few episodes and let students see again what our newscast is all about, and hopefully, that will inspire some of the talented students at Sevier to join,” he said. “In the past, we always had a lot of interest in the newscast. I imagine the only reason the response was poor this year is because the broadcast has been forgotten.”

With this new challenge, there is some question as to whether or not the newscast will even be able to function.

“We’re certainly trying and are working hard on our first two episodes right now,” Flanary said. “I hope we are able to pull the newscast out of its slump, but we won’t know for sure until we try.”

Flanary tries not to be discouraged by the number of people currently working on SSN, but he and his staff are aware of the effects it could have on their production.

“I think that if this keeps up, there’s not going to be any more newscast,” Lindsey Thorneloe, a broadcast staff member, said. Thorneloe is the only returning staff member from last year.

Some students might wonder why having only five staff members is that much of a problem, but considering the amount of work that staff members have to complete, it is a big issue.

While having low participation is a potential danger, the staff is determined to improve the state of the newscast. They hope to raise enough interest to gain a significant number of staff members over the course of the school year. The more people, the better.

“Having more people would help with the workload,” Grace Estes, an SSN staff member, said. “We wouldn’t have to do as many reports each, we would come out with more episodes, and they would be more detailed.”

This is certainly not the first time the Sequoyah Scribe Newscast has had to recover from a difficult situation.

“We’ve had some absolutely incredible failures of technology, absolute disasters,” Flanary said. “Computer hard drives breaking with countless files on them. Computers breaking mid-production. Camera lenses breaking. Microphones stopped working in the middle of once-in-a lifetime interview opportunities, which were then recorded without audio. In the end, this situation is sad, but I think we can come back from it.”

The low participation may be disappointing, but this predicament is far from unfixable. The current staff is working hard and hopes to have the newscast back on its feet soon.

The newscast staff has high hopes for this school year.

“I think if we can produce one episode per month on a regular basis without delays, we should be able to grow the program once again,” Flanary said. “The goal this year is to get more students interested and get back on a regular production schedule. If we can do that, I’d be thrilled. I don’t think that goal is too ambitious; after all, we used to produce our broadcast on a weekly basis when we had more students.”

The Sequoyah Scribe Newscast can be extremely rewarding, which is the main reason the current staff is so dedicated, but it has other qualities, too.

“I joined because it seemed fun,” Estes said. “I did it the year before last in elementary school, and I loved it.”

Students have a lot of fun in SSN, but to do that, falling behind on work is not an option. If assignments don’t get done, the rest of the newscast is put at a disadvantage. Being part of the staff comes with major responsibilities.

“We have to film and edit videos, interview people, and anchor,” Thornloe said.

Stories must be written in order to film a successful episode, and, of course, there is lots of time in front of and behind the camera.

One of the big questions in joining a new job, class, or activity is always ‘how much is the workload?’.

“I would not describe the workload as a lot, but it is more than usual because of the small amount of people,” Estes said.

As a staff member, it is easy to enjoy the experience.

“I enjoy working on the newscast because I enjoy writing stories, being on camera, and sharing with people what is going on,” Estes said.

“It’s really fun because Mr. Flanary is really funny and the work is a good accomplishment,” Thornloe said.

A lot of the older students at Sevier are aware of SSN but newcomers and younger students haven’t had the chance to see its full potential.

“I don’t think a lot of students know about the newscast,” Estes said. “We have only come out with one episode, and we don’t have very many participants to tell people about it.”

Of course, there is always the hope of new participants.

“I really think once students see what it is we do, there will be more interest,” Flanary said. “This year’s sixth grade students have never seen SSN in action. This year’s seventh graders maybe saw two or three episodes at most. Most of the students in the building are not even aware that our program exists. Hopefully, we’ll change that.”

Joining the staff isn’t the only way other students can help.

“It really helps if you are willing to be interviewed, because if we don’t get interviews, we can’t produce episodes,” Thornloe said.

The Sequoyah Scribe Newscast is a that can only improve.

“Over the years, I’ve always been very proud of our broadcast,” Flanary said. “We have done the kind of quality work that can compete with high school student journalists. Achieving that kind of greatness requires dedicated students who are interested in video production and journalism. In the end, I sincerely believe the best is yet to come for our broadcast.”

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Ella Miller, Opinion Editor

Ella Miller is a 7th grade student at John Sevier Middle School. Miller enjoys writing, reading, and tennis. Miller also plays percussion in the band here...

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Newscast in Crisis