Broncho News keeping OHS campus, parents informed

What started off as a way to keep teachers, staff and students informed about campus events and promote school spirit has evolved into a full-fledged newscast featuring events, scores and information.
“Broncho News” sprang from chemistry teachers Brittany Raney and Zondra Pointer and now involves 32 students in grades nine through 12. The newscast is recorded daily at about 10:15 a.m.
“Our intercom system wasn’t working very effectively,” Raney said, “so they were sending out PowerPoints that we were showing the kids. We were just sitting here talking after one of our state testing days about ways to make it better.”
Pointer said she got the idea from a 90s movie that she used to watch where high school students conducting their own broadcast. She said she thought it would be cool if they could get students to create a broadcast at OHS for the campus.
Raney agreed and they went with it.
When it started, Raney and Pointer did all the filming and directing. The video clips were about two minutes long and now its segments average six to seven minutes. Raney and Pointer have scripts ready for each broadcast and tell the students what needs to be recorded that day.
They said they hope to have a full 50-minute class period next year.
“Our kids do a lot and they come up with really good ideas and we’ve had an abundance of kids wanting to join, but we just don’t have enough room for them. Most of them are very self-driven. We’ve had to be exceptionally organized to keep them on task,” Raney said.
The broadcast is available on the OHS website. Viewers can click on the date they want to watch.
“ … We do have some parents that are watching it. We pretty much post everything that goes on at OHS,” Raney said. This includes items like basketball and volleyball scores, competitions, academic honor roll, club news and birthdays.
The news isn’t usually bad, however, Raney said.
“We really wanted a way for the kids to feel more a part of OHS because we were feeling like they didn’t have a lot of school spirit,” Pointer said.
Raney said they now think the newscast has brought people together and keeps them informed about all the activities going on at OHS, which is a lot.
“It’s all student-driven,” she said. “We … say what goes in there, but a student records it. All the voices on there, all the faces on there, they’re all students. Students give us feedback what they would like to see and what we could change.”
Pointer said students do sometimes conduct interviews with teachers.
“We do a segment on Thursdays, ‘Throwback Thursday.’ They did a segment on how we started out as the Yellowjackets and why. They had to research that and why we have an H in Bronchos and the first graduating class and how much we’ve grown. …,” Raney said.
In February, Black history spots were featured. Students also have offered segments on famous graduates like pro football players Marcus Cannon and Bradley Marquez.
“We’ve tried to integrate every student population on campus,” Raney added.
To that end, Pointer and Raney said they are trying to find ways of getting closed captioning for deaf students and have started a Twitter page with the handle @bronchonews where they can conduct polls.
Students at all grade levels are involved in Broncho News. The seniors have taken over, but they have been mentoring the younger ones so by next year they’ll be able to take over, Raney said.
Seventeen-year-old senior German Jacobo, who is now doing most of the directing and producing for the newscast, said Raney and Pointer asked him if he was interested in getting involved in Broncho News.
“I just said yes. That’s who it started for me,” Jacobo said.
Alejandro Hernandez, a 15-year-old sophomore, said one of his classmates recommended it to him.
“I was kind of interested because I’d never done a newscast before. I thought it would be a cool thing to do,” Hernandez said. He added that it has lived up to being cool because it requires everyone’s efforts to keep it going.
Like Hernandez, Jacobo said he’s never been part of a newscast before.
“It’s definitely been a different experience,” Jacobo said. “… I’ve had to learn how to cope with people because sometimes they can be annoying. Sometimes we have to do more than three or four takes just to get it right and sometimes I have to stay after class and edit the videos out. So it’s just time consuming, but I consider it to be exciting.”
Hernandez said he’s a behind-the-scenes kind of guy, so Broncho News has brought him out of his shell.
“It kind of helped me with my social skills and it helped me better enunciate my words,” Hernandez said.