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Back to broadcasting: Communication class revives MHS TV channel

Mitchell High School senior Tierney Musick films a segment in the innovation lab at Mitchell High School last week as part of Mr. Jeff Sand's Contemporary Communications class. (Matt Gade / Republic)1 / 7
Mitchell High School teacher Jeff Sand shows last week's segment of KRNL TV to his Contemporary Communications class last week. (Matt Gade / Republic)2 / 7
Mitchell High School senior Tierney Musick, top, films a segment for KRNL TV as Caleb Gebhard records the segment in the innovation lab at Mitchell High School last week as part of Mr. Jeff Sand's Contemporary Communications class. (Matt Gade / Republic)3 / 7
Mitchell High School senior Tierney Musick, front, films a segment for KRNL TV as Caleb Gebhard, left, records and Lalo Reyes waits his turn to film a segment in the innovation lab at Mitchell High School last week as part of Mr. Jeff Sand's Contemporary Communications class. (Matt Gade / Republic)4 / 7
Mitchell High School senior Tierney Musick, right, films a segment for KRNL TV as Caleb Gebhard, left, records and Lalo Reyes waits his turn to film a segment in the innovation lab at Mitchell High School last week as part of Mr. Jeff Sand's Contemporary Communications class. (Matt Gade / Republic)5 / 7
Mitchell High School seniors Tierney Musick, right, Caleb Gebhard, left, and Lalo Reyes work on their segments while filming for KRNL TV in the innovation lab at Mitchell High School last week as part of Mr. Jeff Sand's Contemporary Communications class. (Matt Gade / Republic)6 / 7
Mitchell High School senior Caleb Gebhard records a film segment for KRNL TV in the innovation lab at Mitchell High School last week as part of Mr. Jeff Sand's Contemporary Communications class. (Matt Gade / Republic)7 / 7

KRNL TV is back on air.

After going dark for over a decade, students of Jeff Sand's contemporary communications class at Mitchell High School are reviving the school's student broadcast station.

"It's an English elective class that students can take to learn how to communicate in our new and ever-changing world," Sand said. "We named it contemporary communications because now a lot of people are communicating via online sources. Whether it's video, online paper, social media, etc., we are giving our students different avenues."

The class breaks out into work groups to choose and discuss topics for feature stories. Each individual is assigned their own task. When the task is complete, each group's video is posted on the class' YouTube channel and then presented and discussed. Instant feedback is provided by students and Sand. The videos are available for the public to view by going to the Mitchell Kernels YouTube channel.

"Ideally we want to watch the videos in class to be able to critique you and give you constructive criticism," Sand said.

The features of the class that are reviewed and graded are lighting of the innovation lab, soft light during interviews, sound that needs to be adjusted, and timing of the broadcast.

"We had an incident where a student used a copyrighted image from Google while they were building a website in computer class and put it out there," Sand said. "You might think, 'Oh, it's educational use.' Guess what? They came after the school district. Those things happen. Be aware of it. We are not exempt just because we are in education."

"It's good for you guys to learn, because some of you might go out and start your own business," Sand said.

New members of the class are tasked with producing the introductions, while students who were involved in the class the previous semester pull together the rest of the broadcast. Part of the curriculum addresses shooting, editing, lighting and sound — the basics of putting together a broadcast.

There are 56 students, each responsible for using class time to meet deadlines.

A graduate of MHS who taught broadcast technology for three years in Mount Vernon before returning to his alma mater, Sand's class opens the door to something new at MHS.

"When I was going to school here they had just stopped their TV station," he said. "They had one back in the day. It was the old close captioned wired system."

Dennis Nath, former MHS librarian, was the adviser for the after school club that produced KRNL TV. At that time it was an extracurricular activity for interested students. The club was not on the school's curriculum and was disbanded as an after-school activity in 2007.

"I give in-class constructive criticism. I think sometimes youth have a hard time with that, so coaching them and pointing out the positives is important," said Sand. "I'm a true believer that you learn by doing hands-on activities. I could sit there and go through multiple lessons on audio, but sometimes you just have to experience it to learn it."

The first episode of KRNL TV this school year was uploaded in early February. Since then, the class has uploaded seven more episodes.

The class' first media project, "Let's get real about CTE," was encouraged by the South Dakota Department of Education, which was looking for CTE students who can create a 30-seconds to one-minute professional quality video showcasing the real story of Career and Technical Education in South Dakota. The top three schools earn cash prizes of $500 for first place and $250 each to the two runners-up.

Mandy Schmidt, 17, and Maggie Dailey, 18, tied for second in the first project. Chamberlain High School took first place.

"Everyone in the class created a video and Mr. Sand sent it off to the state where the videos were judged. I was really surprised when I got the email that we had placed second," said Schmidt.

"We were tied for second with two different projects. That was pretty cool," Dailey said.

"The CTE project is about CTE classes we take throughout the school that are different than Contemporary Communications and help us deepen our knowledge about fields we want to pursue later on after high school," said Dailey. "I really enjoy the class and Mr. Sand is a really good teacher. It's a fun class and it gives us good life skills that we can use later for our career of choice."