North Canton, Ohio,
08:00 AM

In three, two, one…cue anchor

Mobile Storyteller inspiring future journalists with assist from State Farm

It’s 7:30 am and news anchor Jamie Landers is ready to present the HVTV morning news. Producer Tyler Raff is ready for his director to give the cue to begin filming. In another room, the director counts, “In three, two, one…cue anchor,” … it’s show time.

“Good Morning, this is HVTV News host Jamie Landers …”

This happens every morning in cities across America, but this situation is just a bit different. Jamie and Tyler are both seniors and third year Video Journalism students at Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio.

The Video Journalism program at Hoover consists of 32 Broadcast Journalism students and 75 Video Production students. The first two periods of each school day are spent researching story ideas, writing, editing, and producing the news. Students cover internal school stories, sports events, and even create community documentaries.

One such documentary, Pieces of Paradise: Rebuilding Bay St. Louis, was about a school in Mississippi the Hoover students “adopted.”

“After Hurricane Katrina, the Video Production students wanted to produce a documentary, so the school rented an executive motor coach to head down south resulting in a story which aired on PBS, and garnered an Emmy Nomination” said Tom Wilson, Coordinator of District Media at Hoover.

A Dream Becomes Reality

This experience led Wilson to dream of a Mobile Storyteller. Rather than limiting storytelling to the classroom, he envisioned students creating and experiencing stories first hand. A mobile unit would allow students to conduct onsite interviews, write, edit and produce stories on the road.

Sounds like a great idea, but reality soon set in. This mobile storyteller would cost money. Thanks to Wilson’s tenacity and generous donations from The Hoover Foundation, The Henry and Louise Timken Foundation, Blackmagic Design and State Farm, the Mobile Storyteller is up and running.

The Mobile Storyteller can travel anywhere. Students recently visited the Ohio Education Technology Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Senior Kyle Shreve was one of 17 students in attendance and was the daily tour guide.

“The Storyteller provides a great collaborative space. The equipment we have is similar to what major movie producers’ use,” Kyle excitedly shares.

Because of these talented students and the capacity of the Storyteller, Hoover’s Video Production class has been the only video crew allowed to record the state-wide conference for the last four years.

The Future Looks Bright

As Jamie’s senior year winds down, she is focused on life after high school. Jamie is attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Her goal is to be a major cable network news anchor.

“Jamie is one of the most talented on-air broadcasters and producers to come through our program at Hoover,” shared Wilson. “When the on-air light turns red, she looks into the camera and makes it appear so easy. Whether she has spent hours preparing, or a producer says we have a last minute interview with a CEO, state official, or celebrity guest. She is consistent with her broadcasting skills every time; the true mark of a professional.”

Tyler, who will likely attend Ohio University, hopes to eventually be a news producer. The young man loves being behind the camera.

“Tyler is amazing to watch as a producer. His passion for excellence drives him to make every show better than the one before,” Mr. Wilson shares. “He is a persistent motivator for the crew. He instantly connects with our guest through his charm, warmth, and attention to every detail”.

Perhaps in the future, Tyler will hear those familiar words in his headset…”In three, two, one, cue anchor…Good morning, my name is Jamie Landers…”