BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (WXYZ) — Combatting misinformation and informing our communities... a very special group of students are modeling the way for young journalists in metro Detroit.
The award-winning journalism program and news magazine Scriptor at Groves High school has made an enormous difference in the community by combatting misinformation and asking tough questions of those in power.
High School Senior Joelle Allen has learned lessons about news literacy's impact on every facet of reporting. She's writing articles on a wide range of topics for the school's award-winning newsmagazine.
“When I think of journalism today, I instantly think about politics and how there are a lot of biases," says Allen. "As a news feature journalist, I really work hard not to editorialize. I’m interviewing people in Detroit about topics like environmental injustice.”
Two years ago, as part of Channel 7's news literacy campaign, we partnered with students at Grove High School. These students learned to conduct interviews, write, edit, and present stories that offer all sides of an issue with diverse perspectives.
“Every trimester, I’m working on one or multiple stories about things going on in the community,” said Allen.
Senior Caden Meyers is focused on combatting misinformation and tackling topics like threats against schools. Meyers gets his stories by asking both students and staff members difficult questions.
“I’ve won a few awards for writing. It’s amazing and something I never expected,” says Meyers.
English Teacher Laura Redman was heavily involved in collaboration with Channel 7 and says today, the need for trusted reporting is more significant than ever.
“All the misinformation is out there, and that’s what everyone is believing," says Redman.
Redman points to students facing challenges in gathering information but always recognizing the need to focus on fairness and facts using official sources that can be trusted.
“What they learned is they have to be credible," says Redman. "They are changing people’s lives and giving them new viewpoints.”
Birmingham Superintendent Dr. Embekka Roberson led the news literacy partnership with Channel 7.
“When they are looking at stories or looking at information, they are able to look at it with a critical eye,” says Roberson.
The superintendent attributes the success of this effort to a better understanding of the crucial role of journalism in society and its effect on how we view the world.
“The students are always looking to having both sides of the story represented to make sure it’s balanced," says Roberson. "Doing the stories with Channel 7 and just continuing with Mrs. Redman really sparked their interest.”
These young journalists are eager to get started on their next chapter, but they tell us they will be back to mentor younger students here at Groves High School.