Hannah Broxmeyer gave a daily update report from her home.
A weekly Zoom meeting to schedule upcoming packages on April 17.
Just as the school closures began on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district’s Bellmore-Merrick broadcasting program, housed at Wellington C. Mepham High School, sprang into action.
“Before the first weekend of the shutdown was over, the students met on their own to continue production of their weekly shows the Morning Announcements and Midweek Update shows,” explained instructor Stuart Stein. “Since then they've begun remotely producing daily reports focusing on the impact that the virus is having on their local community.”
Along with their weekly shows, the students have also produced four PSAs on social distancing and a series of tutorial videos to help students around the district navigate the ins and outs of distance learning.
"We try to keep stories relevant to the local community and what would be important to kids and people in the Bellmore-Merrick community,” added Stein. "We also wanted the kids reporting from their own homes so other kids and adults around the district can get a window into what life is like for kids under quarantine.
They're documenting their own moment in history."
In the first few weeks of the pandemic, the students were limited by lack of access to equipment and much of what ended up on air was edited by the handful of students who had editing programs on their home computers.
“In the past week, Adobe software gave the district permission to give our students remote access and BMB Studio Manager Matt Russell has worked to increase the number of students with the ability to contribute,” added Stein. “The students hold weekly zoom meetings with the BMB faulty members with me, Russel and Lisa Kalish, where student showrunners assign out story assignments to production teams.”
Production teams are made up of two students, one being an upperclassman and generally have a week to produce their packages which are turned in to showrunners for use on Midweek Update, Morning Announcements and the Daily Report.
Junior Louis Saraceni organized the initial remote broadcasts.
“It started when we were still in school the week before we closed,” he explained. “I thought that the idea of closing wasn't even in the realm of possibility early in the week and even if we did it would be for a week at the absolute maximum. I thought it would be a fun idea to try to record a midweek update from home.”
Principal Eric Gomez was on board with the remote project from the beginning, noting their collective aptitude.
“Each week, they tackle new projects that involve all of the schools,” Gomez added. “Not only does this help bring a sense of normalcy, but it also enables BMB students to hone their skills.”
BMB is now one of several schools featured nationwide on the Student Television Network's YouTube page highlighting work done by students across the country during the pandemic. Three of the BMB videos have been nominated for STN Awards and the “How Not to Annoy Your Parents in a Pandemic” has been selected for the NYC Underground Online Comedy Festival.
Follow BMB on twitter at @BM_Broadcasting, Instagram at Bm_broadcasting or on their YouTube channel, https://bit.ly/3cp0k4Y