Stu­dents on hunt for news

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

AC News is an Ararat Col­lege stu­dent news ser­vice ded­i­cated to keep­ing the school and the broader com­mu­nity in­formed about what’s hap­pen­ing. The ser­vice is the brain­child of stu­dent Jack Ward and is quickly gain­ing broad com­mu­nity in­ter­est. The Weekly Ad­ver­tiser in­vited Jack to sub­mit a story about the pro­gram. Here is his story, writ­ten in third-per­son –

Stu­dents at Ararat Col­lege are work­ing hard each week to bring school and Ararat district news to a grow­ing au­di­ence on In­sta­gram.

The school’s news sta­tion – AC News – is ap­proach­ing its two-year an­niver­sary af­ter stu­dent Jack Ward founded the pro­gram at the be­gin­ning of 2017.

For the past two years stu­dents have been re­search­ing, writ­ing, film­ing, in­ter­view­ing, an­chor­ing and edit­ing to pro­duce con­tent and keep their au­di­ence up to date with lat­est news.

The team has in­ter­viewed Pre­mier Daniel An­drews and Mem­ber for Ripon Louise Sta­ley, along with many Ararat res­i­dents and stu­dents.

AC News now has more than 440 fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram and its seg­ments have reached more than 54,000 peo­ple.

It has bro­ken many sto­ries be­fore other sources and team mem­bers won praise from Ararat West Pri­mary School prin­ci­pal Terry Keilar for their ex­ten­sive cov­er­age of a school fire in Oc­to­ber 2017.

Ararat Col­lege teach­ers have sup­ported stu­dents from the be­gin­ning of the pro­ject, in­clud­ing English teacher Lenny Sky who re­called how be­gan.

“Our first meet­ing con­sisted of my­self and three stu­dents. My main role was to su­per­vise stu­dents and sup­port new mem­bers to find their strengths and de­velop their skills. Be­fore long, the stu­dents had taken own­er­ship of AC News,” he said.

The team now in­volves 27 stu­dents – rang­ing from year seven to year 10 – who meet dur­ing lunchtimes and af­ter school to plan and pro­duce seg­ments.

Many vol­un­teer their week­ends for big­ger news sto­ries and events.

“Be­ing part of the AC News jour­ney has been an in­cred­i­ble high­light of my teach­ing ca­reer,” Mr Sky said.

“It has been as­tound­ing to watch AC News build mo­men­tum and be­come the pro­fes­sional hub of stu­dent en­ergy it is to­day.” it all

Year-10 stu­dent Emily Lewis has been in­volved for al­most two years.

“I be­lieve it’s a great ex­pe­ri­ence for stu­dents and I love cre­at­ing sto­ries for our com­mu­nity,” she said.

The AC News team has al­ready cov­ered many sto­ries in 2019, in­clud­ing the Grampians ‘Ride to Re­mem­ber’, the Townsville flood and flood­ing that oc­curred at Ararat Col­lege on March 6.

Pro­ducer and an­chor Jack Ward said the school flood­ing de­manded a quick re­sponse.

“I saw the wa­ter flow­ing into the school like a river so I yelled out to one of my fel­low team mem­bers who was in my class and we ran out into the rain – I knew we had to act fast,” he said.

“We re­alised the locker area had been flooded so we filmed a quick clip for In­sta­gram and went live to ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion.”

The team up­dated the school com­mu­nity on devel­op­ments through­out the evening, pro­vid­ing footage and pho­tos for ma­jor news out­lets.

As the team ap­proaches its two-year mile­stone it is build­ing a fresh and mod­ern-look­ing web­site.

The new site will al­low for writ­ten ar­ti­cles to be pub­lished and non-in­sta­gram users to keep up to date.

Ararat Col­lege con­tin­ues to sup­port the group – both fi­nan­cially and phys­i­cally – which Mr Ward said was the rea­son AC News con­tin­ued.

“I be­lieve the pro­gram will con­tinue to run suc­cess­fully be­cause the in­ter­est is con­stantly grow­ing,” he said.

Peo­ple can fol­low AC News on In­sta­gram @ac­news_.

ASK­ING QUES­TIONS: The Ararat Col­lege 2019 AC News team.

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