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Chicago NLP Student Profiled by PBS NewsHour Extra

For the second consecutive year, a News Literacy Project student from the Reavis School in Chicago has been featured on PBS’s “NewsHour Extra” website.

Rashad Thomas-Bland, now in 7th grade at Reavis, was interviewed about his experience producing and narrating a broadcast report on the impact of video games on youth. The interview, along with an excerpt of the Reavis students’ report, can be found in the Student Voices section of the NewsHour Extra site at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/speakout/arts/july-dec11/nlp_11-14.html.

Thomas-Bland and seven other Reavis students produced the report in the spring of 2011 as the final project of their News Literacy Project after-school program. “I wanted to do something that would help people and show them how video games affect [them] and show the pros and cons about video games. I wanted to get a better perspective on the topic,” Thomas-Bland told the “NewsHour Extra” interviewer.

The Reavis School offers after-school activities in the spring of each school year, and 2011 was the second year that humanities teacher Miles Wieting used the News Literacy Project unit as the basis for his program. The students complete news literacy lessons and activities with Wieting, then get additional lessons in both news literacy and broadcast journalism from NLP volunteers. 

Three News Literacy Project journalists worked with the Reavis students on their report: Natalie Moore of WBEZ in Chicago hosted the group at the station’s South Side bureau, while Lynette Kalsnes, also of WBEZ, and Univision’s Irene Tostado visited the students at the school.

Wieting plans to offer the NLP unit again this spring. “Having students produce a high-quality report on an issue that is meaningful and important to them has proven to be an excellent way to teach them not only news literacy, but also about what it takes to research, verify and present information,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to doing it again this spring.”