Delaware Hayes High School journalism students got a firsthand look last week at how cable TV's government watchdog does business.
Representatives of Time Warner Cable, which is partnering with C-SPAN, offered the school the opportunity to host a C-SPAN bus Wednesday, Feb. 13, as it traveled through central Ohio.
The C-SPAN bus is outfitted with interactive TVs, Smartboards and a multimedia section that accommodated 12 Hayes journalism students at a time. About 75 students were allowed inside the vehicle.
"Most of the students didn't know anything about C-SPAN, so it was a fun learning experience for them," said Julieanne McClain, a journalism teacher who also supervises the student-run news team.
McClain said the presentation on the bus included information on how C-SPAN is funded, how it's unique within the cable TV system and how students can access C-SPAN archives as they work on their own news stories in the classroom.
"The majority of my journalism students are involved with the school's broadcasting and the school's newspaper, so it was really great for them to see all this," she said.
McClain said C-SPAN uses Facebook and Twitter, so it was good for students to see how broadcast and print media have a presence in the social-media world.
C-SPAN is in its 20th year of bus tours, McClain said, and the specific bus that visited Delaware was the same one that followed the 2012 presidential campaign.
The network is creating a new series about Michelle Obama and, as part of the series, is visiting high schools named after presidents.
Hayes' journalism classes offer the opportunity to work on a print news team or on a broadcast team, where students produce D-Town, the school's video program.
The 23-student news team at Hayes produces a 16-page paper every month. It's a self-governing program, with a student managing editor and a student editor-in-chief.
The managing editor and editor-in-chief work with McClain to "hire" their staff for the year.
The staff writes all the material, produces the design and layout of the paper, takes photographs and provides graphics.
"The program as a whole teaches students invaluable skills, such as learning to support their ideas with quotes and taking out all the fluff and giving people the facts," she said.
Many students have come back to her after going to college to say the skills they learned at Hayes have helped them to be successful in higher education, she said.
"Whether they pursue a career in journalism or not, the students learn to work under a deadline and under stress, and those are great skills to have," McClain said.