West Virginia University journalism students are playing their part in the state’s flood relief efforts by helping one community rebuild its high school journalism program.
This summer’s floods devastated Richwood High School in Nicholas County, and its award-winning journalism program is now struggling to get back on its feet.
Richwood is the only high school journalism program in the state to have a partnership with Public Broadcasting Service’s NewsHour. But all of their cameras, microphones and other video equipment were destroyed in the flood.
To help Richwood’s journalism students continue to tell stories and produce news packages, the WVU Reed College of Media donated used video cameras, and other needed items, such as memory cards, storage containers and office supplies collected by students and faculty.
Richwood senior Kendra Amick says WVU’s support gives her renewed hope for the future.
“It was humbling to see the new cameras and equipment fill the empty shelves,” Amick said. “We are passionate about the stories we tell and can’t explain how thankful we are to the students and faculty at the College of Media who are working so hard to help our program survive.”
The College of Media is also leading a series of training workshops to help Richwood students develop their skills in interviewing, writing, news judgment and photojournalism. The first workshop was held earlier this month, at the College’s Media Innovation Center.
WVU Journalism senior Kristen Tuell of Weirton provided students with training for the new cameras.
“For me, it was incredible to see how genuinely interested these kids were as I showed them how to work the new cameras,” said Tuell. “I wasn’t a high school student that long ago, and I know getting some students to pay attention or ask questions is nearly impossible, but that wasn’t the case with them. I think they appreciated our gifts just as much as we enjoyed giving them.”
College of Media Dean Maryanne Reed says the College has an obligation to do its part.
“The scope of this disaster is staggering, and many of these communities are still in survival mode,” Reed said. “But this is something tangible that our students and faculty can do to help one community and provide a positive experience for aspiring journalism students.
WVU faculty will travel to Richwood later this semester to help students capture and share their stories of recovery and resilience. Those stories and photos will be shared with the public at a later date.