Live from Wausa

The Viking News Network makes its debut

WAUSA — The CNN of Wausa has continued to grow into a small, evolving news network in Northeast Nebraska.

Viking News Network, or VNN, has been in the news streaming business since the beginning of the 2019-20 school year for Wausa High School students and now, with the essential rebrand, it is going strong via YouTube.

To date there are just over 50 subscribers to the network which has produced approximately 120 videos.

“Our very first episode that came out was last week,” Sheila Hoesing, teacher for broadcast journalism, said of the new VNN approach. “We have been teaching them all of the journalistic aspects, the script writing and the video making. So, it took a little time to get rolling right off the bat.”

Hoesing collaborates with Kyle Stevens in teaching the course.

The broadcast journalism class behind VNN, first started by doing announcements and posting them for the community to see.

“We were kind of getting people excited about (the concept),” Hoesing said. “We were doing a weekly episode, but we are moving it to two weeks because we want better quality. We have a lot of kids who are involved in every activity and sports and they are realizing it is a little harder to get it as perfect as they like it to be.”

Episodes usually come out on Tuesdays in order to get sports and activity information out prior to the upcoming weekends.

The broadcast usually consists of announcements and spotlights on different topics including news items and individuals.

“As we go on and the kids start getting ideas on how to write, they will be adding in their own shows that they will produce,” Hoesing said. “That will happen as they learn and get that background under their belts.”

The length of a show is about seven to 10 minutes, but ultimately, they could see broadcasts that could go for as long as a half an hour.

“I think it’s really cool how we went from morning announcements and talking about ‘this is for your lunch,’ to now telling people about what’s going on in the school and to post it on YouTube and have everyone be able to see it,” junior Emily Woockman said. “Now our parents can see it and so can people in the community.”

It took a while to get the dream to a reality as the department slowly collected the right equipment, staffing and student interest. Suddenly, a small office became a broadcast room.

“I eventually got a grant a year or two ago to get some nice lighting equipment into my photography class and I was able to bring some of that over along with some of my own personal equipment,” Hoesing said. “We are hoping to get a little more into it as it becomes more of a thing.”

The biggest challenge for the teachers and the six students involved is finding the time and especially with a worldwide pandemic going on.

“We might have kids who may be in one day and some may be missing another day,” Hoesing said. “It’s stressful trying to get them all in one space and get things going.”

Junior Leah Bloomquist says that some of the challenges involve just learning all the machinations and figuring out what works for each kid.

“One of the challenges is using Adobe Premiere since our computers are too slow to really use it so it’s hard to learn how to do it,” Woockman said. “We only have one computer that works for it.”

Bloomquist got into it when she was assigned with another classmate to start giving the daily announcements.

“I had seen other schools do their own student-news and I wanted to try it out and see if it was my type of thing,” Bloomquist said. “I definitely like the journalism aspect of it since I have always liked writing.”

The goal is to see the students slowly move into roles that are most comfortable for each one and ultimately find their niche with learning all aspects.

“They are each going to take a turn doing each of the programming production aspects,” Hoesing said. “We don’t have specific people on each role right now so they can be learning different ones and what goes behind everything they do.

“We will eventually have different kids, doing different things once they know what their strengths are.”

It would also be better to have even more students in the loop.

“It would be nice to have more people because we shoot every single home football game and it would be nice to have more than six different people to choose from,” Woockman said. “Having a lot more people would also be nice to bounce ideas and write scripts to videoing.”

It may not be a long-term proposition for all involved, but in the moment, being a member of the VNN has its perks.

“I don’t think I would want to do this in the real world, but it’s really fun to learn how to program stuff and make it work,” Woockman said. “The behind the scenes stuff I like more.”

Either way, VNN is getting around and the students are noticing it at work on the television screens in and around the school.

“They really like to see what we are actually doing and the work we are putting in,” Bloomquist said.

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102 W. Main
Hartington NE 68739
402-254-3997

 

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