The Magnet Tribune has been podcasting since 2009. Here’s their story and some links to what they’ve produced.

Freshmen in the journalism/online media program at the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts in Laredo, Texas, work on a sports-related podcast. From left to right are Katherine Dovalina and Olivia Treviño.

We began podcasting in fall 2009 after I attended the Reynolds High School Journalism Institute at Arizona State University that summer.

The decision to go totally digital was easy. Learning about the electronic side of news reporting coupled with budget cuts to my journalism program that left me with nothing to purchase darkroom chemistry and paper provided the motivation to repurpose the darkroom into a makeshift studio.

At the time we had a thriving website on hsj.org. I opened an account on SchoolTube, where we published our early video productions. As I recall, we uploaded our audio files directly to hsj. Of course, we continued with the usual stories and photos.

Our first podcasts were recorded on a video camera due to us not having any audio recording equipment. Using our software, we’d remove the video and save the audio file as a mpg.

To help with space I had the school district remove the sink in our former black-and-white darkroom so we’d have more floor area. Mrs. Webber bought a bolt of cloth and made a nice curtain to hide the cabinets.

We later obtained appropriate equipment for our audio productions: an eight-channel Alesis USB mixer plugged into our HP workstation, Behringer headphone amplifier, four Shure PG-48 microphones, mic stands, and headphones, and a yearly series of podcasts. Two of the school’s music instructors taught me how to use the hardware.

For editing we use Adobe Audition 2018 CC. Our aging HP desktop computers can handle the demands of Audition and also Premiere Pro.

We moved to a new campus about 3 ½ years ago and have a dedicated studio attached to our classroom, as well as access to other studios the broadcast program uses.

Who creates the podcasts varies by year. This year all freshmen and some sophomores will have podcasts on topics of their choice. They are in production now, and should start publishing after the Thanksgiving break.

Podcasts are uploaded on the newspaper’s Podbean account then embedded into the newspaper’s website, The Magnet Tribune (http://magnettribune.org). I’ve seenAnchor discussed recently on the listserv, and would like to try it to compare with Podbean.

I look at the podcasts as an avenue for students to publish their work on electronic media.

One student, now a junior, created a series of movie reviews she called MovieMatters, last spring. She did quite well, I thought, but didn’t continue them this year. I put links to her work below.

The music used in the podcasts come from sites offering Creative Commons-licensed music.

TheMagnet Tribune’s site for audio productions can be found here.

Some of the MovieMatters movie reviews mentioned above can be found here:

Radius

Coco

Stardust

Mark Webber

Mark Webber is a founding faculty member of Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts in Laredo, Texas, a school district magnet school program. He has taught print journalism all 26 years the school’s been open, and creative writing for 3. This is his 40th year as a classroom teacher. His students produce The Magnet Tribune print and online newspaper and Rumination Creative Writing Magazine.

Mark Webber has 1 posts and counting. See all posts by Mark Webber

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