Award-winning Gahanna Linoln selected to help SVN at the Ohio Valley Emmy Awards.

When SVN was looking for a crew to help us cover the upcoming Student Production Awards at the OVNATAS event on August 2nd, we reaced out to Tom Gregory whose students happen toIMG 1717  be one of the award winners.  What could be more fitting?  

Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?

I was involved in Print journalism program (newspaper staff) at the high school that I currently teach. I went to college new that I wanted to teach and so to make myself more employable I got a degree in secondary education Comprehensive Communications. This would allow me to not only teach English but also Drama, Debate, Journalism (Print and Broadcast).

How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?

IMG 1702 The initial funding was through a joint collaboration between the cable company and the school about 29 years ago. We sell DVD’s for graduation and other school events as well as apply for various grants and awards over the years.

Did you have equipment available?

We did but I begged various colleges and news stations over the years to help us out.

How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes?

There are about 30 students in the Advanced TV production class that meets one period a day all year and about 30 students in the Introduction to TV Program that meets second semester one period a day. How is it broken down? It is a Multi-step Program. Basic Speech is a required semester course at our school. Students must take this their freshman or junior year. Once they complete Speech class they can apply to be selected for the Introduction to TV Class that is one semester their sophomore or junior year. Once they have completed that class they can apply for the Advanced TV Program their junior or senior year. If they have taken the Advanced TV class their junior year they can take it again their senior year. There are a number of students when they graduate I have had all 4 years of high school.

Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?IMG 1706

The students are in class for 48 minutes each day. We produce a weekly 30 minute news show that airs on cable TV as well as being put on our local on-line TV station that we just formed four years ago with the city of Gahanna.

How many kids to do the morning news broadcast?

We present the daily announcements to the student body which is about 2,400 students. The students all have a chance to do this on a rotation basis where they are graded. They also must produce Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) that are also shown on the daily announcements that highlight events going on here at school – games, plays, clubs etc. Do you also do a weekly broadcast? We produce a weekly 30 minute newsmagazine show. The students anchor, write, film, and edit all their own work. It is run by the students and advised by me. Students receive a grade for the stories they produce as well as when they anchor the show. We have three anchors and we rotate each week so all students have a chance to anchor the show a few times each year. Special events coverage? We cover a number of Special Events and projects each year. We raised over $150,000.00 to produce a veteran’s memorial in front of our school. It is the largest veterans memorial at any high school in the nation. We have a Special Veterans Day ceremony there every year. It also serves as an outdoor learning space for any classroom. We raised $80,000.00 to move and restore a one-room schoolhouse in our community. Retired teachers now act as school marms and school masters and all third graders in our district come and attend school for the day one class at a time as if they were going to school in the 1800’s. My TV production students filmed the entire project interviewed local community members and researched the history of the building. They interviewed a 100 year old community member who attended school in the building. They put all this together in a special documentary that is given to the third grade teachers to use to IMG 1715 show the students before they come to the school for the day. The past 7 years we have raised enough money to help sponsor and Honor Flight. Honor Flight Flies World War II and Korean war veteran to Washington DC for the day to see their memorial. Many of my students will serve as guardians on the flight to help assist the veterans for the day. That might mean pushing a wheel chair or helping them around. It is almost as meaningful for my students as it is for the veterans. We then produce a thirty minute DVD of highlights from the flight we sponsor and send it to all 84 veterans who were on the flight.

Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?

Yes we cover all those things but Board Meetings

What jobs do the kids do? Do the kids rotate through on-air talent and crew positions or are they “hired” for a specific task?

The students do everything and I require that they all rotate. I view this class as a learning experience. Even though some of themIMG 1699  might like behind the scenes or anchoring more they must all do everything. Many of the students that I have in class have gone on to jobs after college as Anchors, reporters, news directors, public relations directors all over the country.

Do students audition for on-air positions?

No, they must all rotate and have that experience where they are graded and provided with pointers to improve.

Do they write the content?

The students are responsible to writing, filming, editing and anchoring everything that we produce.

How long does the show run?

Each show is thirty minutes except once a year we will produce a 60 minute special.

Do you submit programming to independent contest?

We send students work to local, state and national contests all the time. Over the years we have had a lot of luck and our students do very well.

Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school?

IMG 1703Yes if the go to Gahanna TV-on line. District-wide? Yes. Local cable access? Yes we are also on the local cable station throughout Central Ohio On your school/district web-site? There are links on the district web site to our on-line Tv station that we have with the city of Gahanna.

Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?

We have a Schooltube site where we put a few of our stories. Many times in order to enter contests stories have to be uploaded to schooltube.

Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?

We use non-linear editors. We have enough edit stations that each Advanced TV student will have their own to use for the year. They must share these part of second semester with the Introduction to TV students.

Have any quick start tips!

I make all the students at the beginning of the year produce an evergreen story (A feature that can air at any time). This becomes a back-up story so that if something unforeseen comes up (death in family or other emergency) we can still put our show out. I tell the students these are not to be used because they procrastinated and did not meet their deadline. In 29 year with calamity days, unexpected assemblies absences we have never missed a deadline for one of our weekly shows – Knock on Wood! My hope is to create as authentic TV Production an experience for students as possible while helping them to develop their skills.