I’m Andrew Chambers, and this is my newsroom…

What is your name?
Andrew Chambers

What school do you teach at?
Richland Northeast High School

What city and state is your school located in?
Columbia, SC

What different media are produced at the school?
Daily live broadcast (RNE-TV Live), Newsmagazine (The Cavalier), Yearbook (The Archive), Literary Magazine (Psyche), and online newspaper (thesaber.org)

How many students are involved at the media program at your school?
100 students

Describe your space for us.
Our journalism program is located above our media center and is designed to showcase what the students are doing to the school and visitors. The classroom is surrounded by windows like a fish bowl. We have a full broadcast studio and two classrooms attached to each other to provide collaboration between print students and digital students. The space is designed with modern lighting and a unique wall of televisions showcasing a wide variety of news broadcasts throughout the day.

What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
Our space is ideal for collaboration between students and advisers. The print space and digital space are merely divided by a half wall. This allows the groups to work together as one larger program. Our space is located in the center of the school and showcases what students are doing. This is a great recruitment tool. We are fortunate to have an abundance of technology and resources.

What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
Students enjoy the lighting, technology and collaboration spaces. They often comment on how it doesn’t feel like a classroom.

What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
Students have access to Macbook Pro laptops, iMac computers and our school is 1-to-1 using Google Chromebooks. On a daily basis students use FinalCutPro X and the entire Adobe Creative Cloud suite with an emphasis on Indesign, Photoshop, and After Effects. In the broadcast studio, students use ProPresenter, iKan Telepompter software, and Blackmagic ATEM switching.

What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
All of our students use Canon 80D cameras. We bought the creator bundle from B&H and supplemented the kit with a 50mm lens. Our entry level students learn using Canon Vixia camcorders or their cellphones. The print students have access to two HP drawing tablets and a larger variety of sports lenses.

For daily broadcast packages, students use $30 wired lavalier Audio-Technica microphones from Amazon and Magnus tripods or Manfrotto monopods. The sports crew uses Sony PXW-X70 to capture sporting events using handheld shure microhones. For more creative productions students have access to a GoPro, slider, external camera lights and a Glidecam.

In the broadcast studio, we have 4 Sony PXW-X70 camcorders, 4 manfrotoo tripods on dollies, several handheld and lavalier Seinhezer ME2 micrphones, Behringer X32 digital sound mixer, and Blackmagic ATEM 1 switcher. We broadcast live to the school using vBrick. Our telecommunication system is a simple Eartec 6 person comm system. We run our teleprompter, ProPresenter, and switcher using Mac minis.

Aside from the computers and the programs, what are one or two pieces of equipment that you have that you think other programs should have.
These are more broadcast specific:

1. Canon 80D: they have the versatility and professional quality of a DSLR, but also have a microphone and headphone jack. This is a game changer because students can record audio using a DSLR and monitor the sound at the same time with headphones.

2. Blackmagic switcher: We switched from a Newtek Tricaster and I will never go back. The control surface is easier to use, more dependable, and less expensive. We run it on a Mac Mini. We pair it with ProPresenter for graphics and playback.

How is your workspace funded?
We are very blessed to be mostly funded by our school and district. The yearbook sells ads to supplement their production.Over a decade ago the district got a grant to start the program at the school and remodel the space to form a journalism magnet program. Since then, the school provides a printing budge for our publications and department budget for journalism association memberships and day-to-day needs. Two years ago the district agreed to a $150,000 upgrade using funding available for technology upgrades each year. We received new computers, technical equipment, classroom fixtures, and a total upgrade to our technology in the broadcast studio.

Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
Our broadcast studio received a technology upgrade, but the set is still a DIY news desk and background. It would be nice to remodel the set pieces.

(This is one of a series of posts where high school newsrooms are showcased. We’d love to showcase your newsroom on the site. To find out how, check out the information here and submit yours today.)

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 26th year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He is the 2023 JEA Teacher Inspiration Award Winner and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook "Student Journalism and Media Literacy." You can find him on X and Instagram @manfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

Aaron Manfull has 865 posts and counting. See all posts by Aaron Manfull

One thought on “I’m Andrew Chambers, and this is my newsroom…

  • May 30, 2020 at 7:53 am

    Andrew Chambers’ students once again were winners in the C-SPAN annual student video cam contest, March 2020. Very competitive with forty four states and the District of Columbia entrances, Richland Northeast students won Third Prizes and Honorable Mentions. Congratulations to the eight Seniors especially this year!

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