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Video production class helps inform NRHS students

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Lunch at New Richmond High School was canceled Feb. 18 due to a lack of hustle -- at least that's what anchorman John Peper said during the high school's video production class newscast.

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Peper, one of two anchormen for the class, was joking of course. Anchormen often put their personality into the broadcasts, said teacher Deena Neumann.

The class of 11 students rotate their positions, said senior Carrie Powell. Another class, taught by Ken Kerr, also broadcasts.

"We get three broadcasts during a rotation," Peper said. "This was our second."

"The guys usually fight over anchor or camera," Powell said. "I like being floor director and teleprompter."

Guys like the cameras because camera operators get to wear the headsets, Peper said. The headsets give the students a chance to playfully mock each other while communicating about camera angles and where the anchors needed to be looking for the next segment.

During last week's broadcast, one cameraman's joke made Peper laugh through an entire segment.

The class isn't all about newscasts, Neumann said. The students also make commercials, public service announcements, music videos, spoofs and short movies.

For example, shortly before winter break the two production classes spoofed the territorial 'anchor gang' fight scene from the movie "Anchorman." Tiger Rag, the school's newspaper, also participated in the "fight."

It's not all fun and games, however, said Becca Goette, a student in the class.

Students come up with the story ideas, write and edit their stories and write the script for the broadcast.

"We brainstorm to think of stories that would be important for the students to know," Goette said.

Those stories are then shot and edited before the bi-weekly newscast, Neumann said.

For example, for last week's broadcast Goette worked on a story about the alternative school.

The story showed a tour of the facility, explained that alternative students get equal homework as other students and let students know how to get additional information on the school.

The class works in pairs to record a story, Powell said. Usually, one person does the interviews and one person works the camera.

It's not hard to find people willing to talk into the camera, Powell said.

"When people see you walking down the hallway with the camera they'll usually jump in front of it," she said.

It's a different story at the middle school, she said. Kids swarm the cameras when the high school video production team shows up, she said.

To help the students get a better understanding of what it's like to produce a real newscast, the video production classes took a trip to KSTP and watched a noon broadcast, Neumann said.

"Kids were able to see a real newsroom, tour the station and talk with the anchors," she said. "It was a great experience."

Students have learned so much in the class that they've nicknamed Neumann "den mother."

"We call her that because she's like... we're her cubs and she's our den mother," said Peper.

The year-long class is open to only juniors and seniors through an application process. Applications are reviewed by Neumann and Kerr and only after being approved can a student add the class to his or her schedule.

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Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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