The Charger Blog

Fox61 Interacts with Local High School Teachers at Immersive Workshop

An exciting opportunity for more than a dozen educators from across Connecticut, the workshop enabled participants to learn from faculty and staff at the University of New Haven as well as professionals from the local Fox affiliate.

October 13, 2023

By Anchal Bhatia ’24 MBA

University of New Haven faculty and staff, including Bruce Barber (left) and Paul Falcone (right) show off the University’s television studio
University of New Haven faculty and staff, including Bruce Barber (left) and Paul Falcone (right) show off the University’s television studio

Fox61 has created a teachers’ workshop as part of the educational component of its student news program, which empowers Connecticut middle and high school students to explore the world of multimedia journalism by allowing them to capture, edit, and publish original content under the guidance of industry professionals. Fox61 hosts its annual Student News Workshop in collaboration with the Department of Communication, Film, and Media Studies at the University of New Haven.

The teachers’ workshop was recently held in the University’s Vlock Center. It was attended by more than a dozen teachers from various schools in the state.

“Fox61 reviews the program, provides resources to the participants, and teaches the teachers various ways to guide the students in creating quality news content for the topics they are interested in covering,” said Prof. Natalie Chavoya, practitioner-in-residence in the University’s Department of Communication, Film, and Media Studies, and the primary organizer of the workshop.

‘Quite a professional opportunity’

This is the third year the Department hosted this workshop. Prof. Chavoya says they consider it a great opportunity to build long-term connections with high school media and journalism teachers throughout the state of Connecticut and to enhance the department’s collaboration with Fox61.

The department hosts a follow-up boot camp every March in which high school students and teachers are invited back to the University of New Haven, where students who participated in this student news program receive feedback from Fox61 on their news pieces, before submitting their final entries. The students are then reviewed on their work and provided with suggested areas to grow.

Upon completing the boot camp, the students are given a tour of the TV studio and control center in the Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation, enabling them to get acquainted with the equipment and the space.

Educators touring the University’s state-of-the-art TV studio in the Bergami Center.
Educators toured the University’s state-of-the-art TV studio in the Bergami Center.

One of the most promising aspects of this workshop and bootcamp, says Prof. Chavoya, is when the high school teachers and their classes come back to the campus to learn more about the University and the opportunities as a communication major.

“To date, at least six high school classes have worked directly with our Charger Bulletin News students to produce a full 20-minute news broadcast in our studio,” she said. “Considering our state-of-the-art studio and mentorship from our CBN students, it is quite a professional opportunity that the high school students are interested in and enjoy!”

‘A symbiotic relationship’

Liz Salvatore, community marketing manager at Fox61, was present at this semester’s Teachers’ Workshop and was happy to see the participants’ involvement in the student news program.

“Providing first-hand knowledge of how best to put together a news piece with direction from industry professionals is the main motive behind this workshop,” said Salvatore. “We had some great conversations with the teachers who were present from various schools in Connecticut, and we were able to provide them with informative advice on how to work on creative news pieces.”

Joining Salvatore for the workshop was Freddie Matthis, assistant chief photographer at Fox61, and Doug Stewart, senior digital content producer at Fox61. The team of three led a very interactive workshop in which teachers asked questions, shared creative ideas, and talked about potential stories that the high school students have displayed interest in covering.

Educators in a classroom setting at the University’s Vlock Center.
Educators became students during the workshop, held in the University’s Vlock Center.

“We have a symbiotic relationship with the University, and we are happy to collaborate with teachers from several schools,” said Salvatore. “We are grateful to the University for offering this space and bringing together so many teachers to learn about our student news program.”

The University’s collaboration with Fox61 goes beyond the student and teacher workshops. As a professor, Prof. Chavoya is happy to see communication majors build healthy and professional relationships with the industry professionals and Fox61, and she expects this partnership to continue over the long term.

“Fox61 not only hosts such events with us, but they also broadcast from our campus, have an office in the Maxcy Hall, and they sit on the Media Advisory Board for the Charger Bulletin,” said Prof. Chavoya.

Anchal Bhatia ’24 MBA is an MBA candidate at the University of New Haven.