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Nakamura looks to tell stories

LIHU‘E — Kate Mie Nakamura, a freshman at Kaua‘i High School, and her Connected Educator Leah Aiwohi is one of 30 students from 17 states selected for the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs 2020 Student Academy.

“I am so excited and grateful that I was accepted into this academy,” Nakamura said. “This is definitely a great opportunity for me to grow as a storyteller in video journalism. Even though the academy experience will be a bit different this year, I am still thrilled to be able to tell and share stories during these unprecedented times.”

Nakamura will be joined by Sienna Jolie Patao Racoma, an eighth grader at Maui Waena Intermediate School, and Racoma’s Connected Educator Jennifer Suzuki in representing Hawai‘i at the event that was originally planned to take place in person at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Instead, the event will take place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This unprecedented moment calls for extraordinary storytellers and media-makers to shine a light on untold narratives of communities and individuals,” said SRL Senior Director Elis Estrada.

Over the course of 10 weeks starting this spring and summer, SRL fellows, or selected students and Connected Educators, will virtually work in teams to cover stories related to the pandemic. Fellows will receive equipment and other resources to produce pieces remotely, and from the safety of their homes with SRL’s Youth Media Producers and other team members supporting the fellows with weekly coaching and mentorship through every step of the production process.

“This year, instead of bringing the 30 selected students together for an in-person week long training, the students will be trying out a virtual academy experience that will culminate with a showcase at the end of June, 2020,” Aiwohi said. “What students will do will be to tell the biggest story in our lifetime, working with PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab staffers, virtually. The SRL Summer Fellowship will engage the students in work from April 21 starting with a kickoff webinar through June 26.”

Through virtual meetings with mentors, students will produce content comparable to what they would have done in Arizona. This year’s assignment will be connected to how COVID-19 is affecting different facets of everyday life in our communities, Aiwohi said.

“For me, the biggest challenge in controlling COVID-19 is making sure we are all working together as a community,” Nakamura said. “Without working together as a community, taking down COVID-19 will be a long, treacherous battle. To help flatten the curve, it is going to take everyone to do their part to social distance and take the correct precautions when going out in the community to protect yourself, and others.”

Aiwohi said there will be no filming outside the home.

“Instead, the new modified virtual experience will follow all travel restrictions and social distancing requirement while still providing a unique experience to collaborate with like-minded students around the country and learn vital video journalism, production, and communications skills,” the Connected Educator said.

Nakamura said the biggest challenge of doing the project will be time management and the responsibilities associated with the project.

“I think having a set schedule and organizing my priorities for each day will help me time manage, efficiently,” the Red Raider freshman said. “But these challenges will only help me grow and learn as a person.”

Aiwohi said Kaua‘i is no stranger to PBS NewsHour, having Brooke Kanna being selected to the Summer Academy in 2017, and 2019 graduate Tiffany Sagucio selected as one of three national Gwen Ifill Fellows working with Hawai‘i’s local PBS station, PBS Hawai‘i.

PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs supports teachers and aspiring journalists in reporting important issues in the community.

“With the support and guidance from national staff members, our SRL are able to create impactful video reports for local media outlets, and the PBS NewsHour,” Aiwohi said. “Being selected to be in the Summer Academy will enable this year’s Fellow, Kate Nakamura, to develop stories that will have a wider reach and depth of interest.”


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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