Social Media

MS 57 Students Take School Newspaper to the Next Level

Students at MS 57/James Weldon Johnson Academy in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood combined old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting with their digital know-how to create a website that will serve as the school’s primary student newsroom.

The student reporters were members of the after-school journalism program run by the News Literacy Project and sponsored by Bloomberg News. The 2015-16 school year marked the unique program’s fourth year.

Over two months, more than a dozen Bloomberg journalists visited the school twice a week to teach students essential news literacy skills and work with them to write articles and create multimedia projects for Tiger 57 News.

Through the depth and breadth of their research, reporting and writing skills, students were empowered to produce content that informed their school community. 

Seventh-grader Giovani Pantaleon was part of a group who reported on a live sporting event by closely following a rare basketball game between teachers and students. “My favorite part was acting like a real journalist and reporting and interviewing people with my press pass,” said Giovani. This was his second year participating in the journalism program.

Two sixth-grade student journalists wanted to know why a computer skills class had been canceled. Their curiosity led to an investigation into the circumstances surrounding its termination and the school’s plan to bring it back based on students’ needs.

“I think journalism is important because we learn more about our world and ways to inform others about what is happening,” said Heidi Soriano, one of the technology story duo.  

“Through NLP, students were able to explore topics of interest to them and reported on topics ranging from prom fashion to a civil rights activist, video games to presidential candidates, and technology courses in our middle school,” said Dierdre Metcalf, a special education teacher at MS 57 and the teacher supervisor for the after-school program for the second year in a row. “Students were taught how to express themselves in various forms, including print, video, and slideshow presentations.”

The spring program culminated with an event at Bloomberg’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan, where students revealed the Tiger 57 News website and shared their final stories and projects with their journalist mentors.