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Billings students learn journalism from the MTN team

Behind the scenes of the News Literacy Project
Posted at 2:56 PM, Jan 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 16:56:48-05

The News Literacy Project is a nationwide effort from Q2's parent company, the E.W. Scripps Co., to create a news-literate generation who can spot bad information and prevent others from spreading it.

Local TV news stations across the country partnered this week with local high school students to produce a story of importance to the community.

The Q2 team worked with six students from Billings Central Catholic and Billings Senior High Schools to brainstorm a news topic and create a full-fledged story.

“Our teacher brought this to us. I just thought, ‘Wow, this is so cool.’ Not everyone in school gets to do this and I think that it was really awesome I got to be a part of this," said Senior High senior Ronalee Stone.

The group was 20 days away from the deadline to get the story on air when they met the Q2 team for the first time.

“Honestly, this is kind of a weird experience because this does not happen every day. I never thought I would be in the Q2 building helping you guys with a project," Central High student Camille Ball.

The students asked the question: How do first responders, who deal with traumatic events on a day-to-day basis, keep their mental health in check? The group learned the importance of going to the source for accurate information during the interview process.

"Experiencing what you go through to talk to people and film and editing all that. Everything you guys go through. It’s real. And it’s really cool to see that that’s actually happening," said Hailey Petermann, a junior at Billings Central High.

As production started moving along, the team made real-world connections with the skills they learned in school.

“It’s really cool that I’ve gotten this opportunity to implement some of the things I’ve learned here at Q2, which is super fun," said Savannah Miller, a senior at Senior High.

Miller and Stone have plans to attend college in the fall to study journalism.

“I’ve enjoyed working with everybody and getting to know new people. And seeing what it’s like in a more professional environment rather than a classroom. I’ve learned a lot," said Senior High Senior Marley Toffton.

The experience changed Central High student Faith Erramouspe's career path.

“Working with Q2 has definitely opened my eyes to what I want to do in the future and maybe change my plans. Originally I was planning on double majoring in English and history and then teaching at the high school level. But now, it seems like journalism and doing this kind of news stuff. It brought a whole different kind of light to what was going on in my community and area," Erramouspe said.

The News Literacy Project is a nonpartisan national education nonprofit. Its partnership with Scripps aims to educate the next generation of news consumers.

To watch the story these students put together, click here. To view other stories from student journalists at Scripps stations nationwide, head to newslit.org .