Elected officials interviewed by Litchfield student newscasters

April 25, 2014

Article as it appeared in the Register Citizen

LITCHFIELD>> Elected officials in the Litchfield area had a roundtable interview with third grade student newscasters at Litchfield Center School Thursday morning, while being captured on camera by Cablevision’s Neighborhood Journal and local Neighborhood News program.

Neighborhood Journal is an exclusive news program produced by Optimum that highlights the local happenings. The Neighborhood News program, hosted by Jeff Zeiner, is a newscast that airs weekday evenings on channel 5. The segment was aired Thursday.

“We thought it was a great thing to highlight, to bring in elected officials to give students a sense of what an interview was like,” said Kristen Thurber, manager of public affairs at Cablevision. “The kids love it.”

The students came fully prepared. Two regular anchors introduced the news show with daily items like hot lunch, birthday and fun facts. Two student reporters sat down with First Selectman Leo Paul, state Rep. Craig Miner and state Sen. Clark Chapin for a question and answer segment.

Students asked about the routine work of the officials and how they liked being interviewed by the third graders. Paul said during the interview that the show gave students a new opportunity to learn how to speak on camera and how to handle pressure of interviewing officials.

Joanne Moore, school library media specialist, said they gathered twice earlier in the month to prepare for the interview. She said she tried to teach students tips for how to interview people, such as not to ask personal questions and to focus on the work the subjects do.

“The students were excited. They were very poised, they did not show their nervousness at all. They had practiced a few times,” Moore said.

The TV camera, lighting and professionals from Cablevision may have seemed overwhelming at the beginning — Moore said it was a bit nerve-racking for the students, but they didn’t stumble once.

The student broadcast is produced daily by third grade students. The show is anchored by two students in the third grade, sometimes filmed by students, and edited and uploaded on the web by Moore. It has been available to the public on the school district website since April. Children start their preparation in the library with Moore every morning, doing research, writing down the anchor introductions and checking facts online. They take the job very seriously.

“I am so grateful this is being recognized,” Moore said, “It can serve as a model for other school districts if they are interested. It’s a powerful tool for communication and learning about career move for students.”