In a world of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, teenagers often don’t find the time to stay up to date with current events. The ASP Mass Media class is looking to change that by showing that these mediums can help to inform students on local, national, and international news.
Master teacher Nate Green brought back the Mass Media course after a one-year hiatus to serve as the pulse of ASP. Green’s class is turning to social media to push out content to the community through Instagram and Twitter
, under the alias @mediamachine14. Class members are also responsible for podcasts and blogging
. Green hopes the class will highlight the multiple roles social media can play in news consumption.
“I hope this teaches them to use social media in other ways than just tweeting out that they are at the beach or what they ate for breakfast,” says Green, who served as an intern at ASP in 2010.
Concord High School senior Hannah Mason confirms Greens thoughts that while teenagers are among the most frequent users of social media, they don’t necessarily use it to keep tabs on world events.
“[My generation] fits all of the stereotypes,” explains Mason. “We are not used to ‘oh let’s go read the newspaper.’”
Mason spent the first two weeks of the course learning how to write a news story, a style of writing outside her comfort zone. She and her classmates have spent recent weeks reading and critiquing the media and creating original content.
Mason has worked on several pieces of an informational story, including “Things to do in Concord on your days off” and a humorous video called “How to look cool with your parents,” which she posted to the blog.
“A lot of kids are jealous that this is what we are doing in our class,” says Mason, “that we get to go on Twitter and Instagram.”
The class tracks visits and likes twice a week to gauge the interest level of their audience. They have noticed a steady increase in hits to their pages since the beginning of the summer, and have found that video content seems to draw the most views.
When the class isn’t creating content, the students discuss relevant media topics. One recent discussion on Internet censorship in China sparked heated debate on whether America should adopt such practices.
Emmett Morrill enrolled in the class based on his interest in videos and editing, but says discussions have become his favorite part of the class.
“I like it because a lot of us have contrasting opinions,” explains the Newfound High School senior. “It’s a more diverse group than I have at my school. I have become more open-minded, allowing my opinion to be changed.”
Green hopes that once they return home later this month his charges will maintain and build on the habits they have developed this summer.
“Hopefully when they leave here,” says Green, “they will continue to follow the news and have discussions with their friends.”