Point Park Spring Media Day

Image taken by Morrissa Valasek.

On April 20, 2018, six Redbank students, as well as Mr. Fricko, joined Point Park University for their annual Journalism Spring Media Day. Students chose between  three sessions to attend throughout the day: Capturing Student Voices: Communicating During a Crisis; Protection and Security: How Photography has Influenced Profiling People. Schools from the greater Pittsburgh area were attending Media Day, so there were over 100 students present.

The first session seemed simple enough–five question to ask interview subjects.   We then interviewed a 15-year-old student from White Hall who attended the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. We asked her questions and typed/wrote notes.  Afterwards, our instructor revealed that we would witness an actual school walkout at the Creating and Performing Arts School, CAPA, at 10:45 AM that day.

Then we walked. I took in every detail possible, from the graffiti on the buildings to the trees with bright pink flower blossoms draping down.  And the skyscrapers–don’t even get me started on the skyscrapers. They seemed to go up and up and up and never stop. The windows were tinted black, and they were dark enough to see your reflection.

After walking only a short distance from Point Park campus, we found ourselves standing on the street below CAPA High School.  We could see the students inside of the building walking around, waiting impatiently for the rebelion to begin. The KDKA News chopper was flying overhead. Soon enough,  the students were walking out and yelling chants while they crossed the streets and over took the roads. Each member of our tiny, yet powerful, Redbank group had a job, from filming to taking notes.  We followed, phones in hand, cameras recording. Suddenly, the protesters stopped and formed a circle where they would remain silent for 13 minutes and 47 seconds. Thirteen minutes represented the 13 students killed in the Columbine School shooting, while the 47 seconds represented the fact that every 47 seconds at least one person is shot and killed by a gun in the United States.

After the silence, we walked back to the Point Park Media Center. We helped construct a webpage that our instructor  published and then went to lunch where Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist and book editor spoke about how the future of news was in the hands of young journalism students such as ourselves.

Afterwards we got back into The “Fricko Mobile” and started our journey home, this was by far, my favorite school field trip yet.   I am a member of both Broadcast Journalism and Journalism. This field trip was a once in a lifetime experience for me, given that I witnesses and covered a real school walkout.  The videos and pictures that were taken during the walkout are still on my phone, and everytime I watch them, I still get goosebumps. I even caught a KDKA camera man on video. At two in the morning, I did a Google Search for the protest.  I found our Redbank group on both Channel 4 and Channel 2 News. This was exciting for us. We were covering the news and making the news. I cannot wait to attend again next year.