I’m adviser Spencer O’Daniel, and this is my newsroom…

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What is your name?
Spencer O’Daniel

What school do you teach at?
Maize Career Academy

What city and state is your school located in?
Maize, Kansas

What different media are produced at the school?
OneMa1ze Broadcasting (during a normal year) produces three weekly announcements shows for both Maize High and Maize South, along with a monthly feature show for the district called The OneMa1ze Show. We also produce special projects videos that include hype videos, demonstration videos and other projects in and around our USD 266 school district. We also are starting to create podcasts within our Broadcasting program as well.

How many students are involved at the media program at your school?
55-60 students

Describe your space for us.
We have a main classroom where we start class for our students with 24 computers. Behind our classroom is a very large storage area for cameras, tripods and other camera gear and accessories. We even started a senior brick signing for those who leave the program! Our studio space is fantastic with a large control room with a tricaster and everything needed to produce any type of television show. Within our studio, we have a new Q&A set to bring on special guests from our community and surrounding Wichita area. We are also looking at podcast set-ups online from the Apple Top 100 to decide the best ways to create an authentic podcasting sort of station. We have a fantastic space available for our students from both Maize High and Maize South High Schools.

What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
The benefits to having a large space is that we are allowed to go over capacity with the students in each class. While we only have 26 computers, we often find ourselves with anywhere from 28-32 students in a given class. We have a detailed, structured staff manual that puts Broadcasting 2 students in position as leaders with Broadcasting 1 students training as the semester goes along. We also have a set Control Room crew, social media and marketing manager, equipment manager and even a graphics expert that all work together with our mini teams to create our shows. We are also able to practice camera work and techniques in many different areas within our Broadcasting space. Our Q&A set and future podcasting set allow different forms of multimedia within our program to diversify our content and grow the opportunities we offer to our 21st century, tech-minded students that enroll in the course.

What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
We have spaces to focus and grind away on projects in the classroom. We have a professional control room space that mimics any newsroom in Wichita and lets our Control Room team (separated at times from the rest of the class) like they are important to the production and success of our program. We are lucky enough to be in a new facility with ideal hall space and a “hub” area that’s great for practicing interviews, filming Q&A sessions and practicing basic camera movements. We also have PLENTY of space for teambuilding, ice breakers, openers and closers of all different types. We are extremely fortunate to have adequate space to spread out, learn, create, record and collaborate.

What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
We are using Adobe Photoshop and After Effects for graphics work in the class. We are using Adobe Premiere for editing and Audition for audio editing when needed. NewTek is the brand of tricaster we use to put our shows together with pre-recorded and live content as well. We use YouTube and a Vimeo Pro version to upload our announcement, feature and special project content to our community. We also utilize Twitter and Instagram for promotion, but will look to expand by adding a Facebook account for parents and a Tik-Tok account for our high school audience as well.

What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
We primarily shoot with the Canon 80D to record our video pieces for our Broadcasting 2 students. Our Canon XA35 video cameras are usually a “beginner camera” for Broadcasting 1 students. We use a high speed HP computer with LG 16 inch monitors for our producing videos. We are using RodePro microphones and as much Rode audio equipment as possible because of it’s durability and reliability in the field and recording. We use Manfrotto monopods and tripods because of their durability and they generally last about 1-2 years before they wear out due to high student usage. We have a variety of monitors in our studio that we use for graphics in our Q&A show and live shows.

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.
While we don’t have any piece of equipment that really stands out as unique, I think it’s a really good idea to have multiple ways for your students to capture and record audio. Having wireless microphone units, shotgun microphones, SNO ball or Yeti microphones, boom poles and even the RODE mini shotgun microphones equipped in the Canon 80D Video Creator kit can help kids come up with backup options during an audio crunch when their devices are out of batteries or not working. We prioritize great audio and always make sure we have an audio back-up option from an equipment standpoint when out in the field shooting a video.

How is your workspace funded?
We use Perkins money during the summer for requests for the next school year. We share a general fund with other communications and arts programs within our district, so we are lucky to be able to receive 80-90% of the equipment we request and need for that year. Our fundraising efforts help build our Broadcasting activity account, which helps to pay for memberships, contests, pizza nights, travel and competition fees for the course. It can also help with small equipment purchases such as batteries, SD cards and quick requests from our Broadcasting 2 students.

Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
We want a few innovative Neewer devices that allow us to dolly around more with our tripods and remote controlled dolly devices that allow for more unique shots and angles for our videos, specifically our special project productions that we create. A smoke machine would be a nice addition for our sports and hype videos. We are looking into a Rodecaster Pro recording device to be able to have four guests on a podcast and that seems to be the student-friendly option that is being promoted by advisers who have thriving podcast productions in their programs.

(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 23rd 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 created The Next 26 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 Twitter and Instragram @manfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

Aaron Manfull has 717 posts and counting. See all posts by Aaron Manfull

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