OUR PEOPLE: Student Voice & Politics: CPBN Media Lab high school seniors address the next President in DEAR POTUS

OUR PEOPLE: Student Voice & Politics: CPBN Media Lab high school seniors address the next President in DEAR POTUS

Given the opportunity to address the next President what would you say?  Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN) Media Lab presents, DEAR POTUS, a series of open video letters from high school seniors of the Journalism & Media Academy (JMA) to the future President.

“Hopefully the next president actually opens these letters and thinks about what we’re saying instead of just ‘oh, here’s another student wanting something.’ No, all of us have our own opinion on what we need – what we think needs to change in the country,” says Jhan Spears, a senior at JMA and a member of CPBN’s Media Lab team. “Hopefully they’ll get an idea of what we’re saying.”

Elevating student voice is the goal of The CPBN Media Lab’s partnership with Journalism & Media Academy Magnet School located in Hartford, CT.

“This project was very telling”, say Mallory Mason, Partnership Program Manager at CPBN, “these students are our future community and business leaders and given the opportunity to be heard, the students initiated conversations around college affordability, #BlackLivesMatter, prison reform and police brutality.  They are using their voices, now it is our turn to listen.”

Established in 2007, the CPBN Media Lab is committed to grooming inspired, budding journalists. “This year’s focus is training and developing high school seniors,” Paul Pfeffer, Director of Education shares, “…the JMA students are embedded within a professional production team whose content will be on available on-air, on-line and on-demand.”

CPBN Media Lab alumni have landed jobs at the Washington Post, FOX News, Democracy Now, ABC, ESPN, Frontline-WGBH, NBC30, Dreamworks, Alaska Public Radio and in the film, financial and education sectors.  Furthermore, Media Lab student producers have received four College/University regional awards for excellence from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Up next, students will work in collaboration with the CPBN Education Team to co-produce an interstitial series focused on spreading social awareness through cultural questioning. The intent of each episode is to explore hot-button issues in one minute to spark curiosity and conversation.  Unearthing perspectives not readily exposed in mainstream society, Mason says, “we look to explore the avant garde and challenge the status quo from a place of inquiry and wonderment.”

To stay informed and/or contribute to these student-generated conversations follow us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @cpbnmedialab.

The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN) is home to CPTV, WNPR and the Learning Lab. CPTV is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including original documentaries, public affairs and educational programming. WNPR is an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. The Learning Lab serves high school seniors through a partnership with Hartford Public Schools and the Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School. It is also home to the Institute for Advanced Media, a program that provides the men and women of our armed forces and adult learners an opportunity to learn skills necessary for the 21st century digital media workplace. For more information, visit cpbn.org.

Contributing to KQED’s Letters to the Next President 2.0 and the PBS Newshour Student Reporting Lab, this project was chosen to prepare the students for their year-long multimedia production (so please stay tuned….)

Watch the students discuss their work on WFSB Channel 3 (6 O’clock News 10/6/16)

Watch the videos here.

Read more about it in WNPR’s newsletter.

To extend the power of these incredible student voices please VIEW, LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE on our social media channels:

Facebook @cpbnmedialab

Facebook @jmahartford

Twitter @cpbnmedialab

Instagram @cpbnmedialab

Youtube @cpbnmedialab


For more information, please contact:

Mallory Mason|Partnership Program Manager
Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network
1049 Asylum Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06105