Youth Beat Students Report on the Strike

Yep, the OUSD teacher strike, was a huge disruption for anyone connected to the Oakland schools. But for a team of Youth Beat’s students, it also provided a fantastic opportunity to practice their journalism skills in a real-life setting.

The team went out with video and still cameras to record the event, and they came back with some great material -- including pictures that were picked up by the PBS NewsHour to illustrate an article on their website. You can check our their photos HERE.

The student team also conducted man-on-the-street interviews, and compiled a TV News Magazine style piece that was broadcast on KDOL-TV. You can check out the video HERE.

Perhaps most important, the students came back walking tall and feeling proud of themselves.

“I’m someone who would rather be behind the camera, and I was really worried about messing up,” recounted Sophia Hawkins, our live, on-camera reporter for the day. But with support and coaching from her Youth Beat peers and teachers, she became increasingly comfortable in this new role. By the end of the day, she said, she was feeling so great she didn’t want to quit!

“I just felt really empowered and realized it’s ok if I do something awkward when I’m doing an interview,” explained Sophia.

Sophia also reported that the experience made her “want to reach out to and connect with” people around her more instead of keeping to herself.  “It made me want to be more a part of the community and see how I can help my community or lift up other people.”

So, no, we wouldn’t say we were “happy” about the OUSD teacher strike. But wow were we happy our students had this opportunity, and so very proud they were prepared to take on the challenge.

Sarah Givens