Students on hunt for 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.