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Equitable Student Broadcasting

Nearly ten years ago we set out to give our students a voice through student-led broadcasting with just one computer and the internet.

With no television studio, no allotted class time, no budget, and one second-hand computer, we set out to create a student-run broadcast each morning for our students. Because of all of our constraints, we found innovative ways to use resources, organize our team, and develop ownership with our students. If your school isn't broadcasting, this is something you should and can do too!



HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.

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March 2019
It is a safe place where they can take risks, express themselves, and learn to fail forward.

About the innovation

What is Equitable Student Broadcasting

For the past decade, the start of the academic day at Cornell High School begins with a familiar line, “We’ll see you in the halls.” It all started when two teachers decided to try to live stream our morning announcements. We had some old equipment that was previously used to broadcast through the school using old coax cable that desperately needed replacement. We didn’t have a studio or a budget to replace the equipment, but we were able to find a second-hand computer, a microphone, and a camera. A lot has changed with streaming video since then. With sites such as Twitter and YouTube, this is something you can easily start doing today!

Excitement is in the air each morning in a way that just doesn’t happen in a traditional class. Students rotate jobs such as producer, director, on-air talent, etc. Our program attracts a diverse team of students who are there because they are interested in broadcasting or learning to use a camera or new technology or who just want to tell a story. As Victoria, one of our freshmen puts it, "It's sometimes a disaster, but it's always a fun disaster. We always make it work somehow. It's fun to work in a fast paced environment." 

CHS-TV has never been a class at Cornell. Our students give up their breakfast time to prepare and deliver a morning announcement program that includes all of the happenings at school along with lunch, weather, student-created commercials, and sports reports. We had really limited resources, especially in the beginning, so we had to rely on our students to identify causes of problems and finding the best resolutions. Our students have taken ownership of this project in a way that is really unique. They have developed an innovative mindset and are constantly tinkering with lighting, shots, graphics, and how the team is organized. 

Over the years, the stories change to reflect the interests of our students. Several years back, our students produced a series called, "This Day in Pittsburgh History," with the help of The Thomas & Katherine Detre Library & Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center and Steeltown Entertainment. More recently our students have been creating more personal stories through interviews of students and teachers in our high school.  

Because of the success of the program, our students and teacher have developed relationships with outside organizations to help improve the broadcast. We have received countless grants to purchase computers, cameras, and microphones. The school built a dedicated space that is now used as a studio. We have a new journalism course that we have partnered with Point Park University and Steeltown Entertainment to offer. Steeltown sends a teaching artist two days each week and our students are able to earn three college credits.  

Even though a lot has changed in the past ten years, new students, new teachers, and new tools. The culture in the studio has remained much the same. Our studio is a place where students can come and learn about broadcasting while learning a little bit about themselves. It is a safe place where they can take risks, express themselves, and learn to fail forward.

Implementation steps

Organize Your Team

Broadcasting is generally appealing to a wide range of students. Some of our students want to be on camera, others want to tell a story, and some are there because they like technology. It is important that everyone is given a role, responsibility, and voice. Early on, we asked our student to help define the roles. We have counted on our students to solve problems, whether it has to do with staffing or figuring out why our homemade teleprompter is not working as expected. This really comes down to ownership. Students need to be given a certain amount of freedom for the project to be successful. 

Live or Pre-record
You will have to first decide if you want to go live or pre-recorded. There are certain advantages to both. If you decide you want to pre-record you can make sure everything is perfect, or as perfect as possible before you distribute your video. One advantage of going live is there is no time to procrastinate however anything that can and will go wrong. We like to look at this as a learning experience. 
Editing the Video

If you are pre-recording you can use any video editing tools you have available such as iMove, Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro, WeVideo, etc. If you are broadcasting live, you may want to look at YouTube Live, Twitter Live Video, Wirecast (Mac or PC), VidBlaster (PC), CamTwist (Mac), or TouchCast Studio (iOS). 

With any of these tools, there are online discussion forums that can help you when you even when you are still in the planning phase. 


We started out just broadcasting internally in our school district using a free and open source tool called, Darwin Streaming Server. Eventually, we moved to YouTube because we wanted to share our broadcast with our community. YouTube is a great place to send the video because everyone is already on YouTube. There are lots of other tools you can use such as Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, Ustream TV, or Wowza Live. 

Making a choice really depends on your budget (we had none), what is available in your country, and where your audience will be able to easily your stream.

Develop Partnerships
In Pittsburgh, we are fortunate to have Remake Learning, a great community of creative and innovative people who are willing to help out. Look for those in your community to provide more opportunities for your students. We have hosted individuals, such as television producers and worked with our local museums to develop content. Partnerships have become especially powerful when we've been able to establish long-term collaborations. We have an ongoing partnership with Steeltown Entertainment, who sends a teaching artist to our school twice a week to support our journalism class. 
Develop Curricular Connections

The students that have been working on our broadcast team have developed a wide range of skills that are used daily in their classrooms. Improved communication, problem-solving, reading fluency and collaboration are just a few. 

Because of the popularity of CHS-TV, our journalism course was transformed. Our students are now learning about broadcast journalism and are earning college credit through a local university, Point Park, while while still high school students. 

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