iSchoolAfrica Youth Press Teams
The press team concept was initially developed by iSchoolAfrica in the run-up to the FIFA 2010 World Cup as a chance for young people to tell the story of the World Cup and to record stories associated with the event on videos for web and TV. Fifteen schools participated in the project with Sunward Park and Tembisa High schools representing the PSSP programme. The teams produced more than 120 short videos during June-July, of which 85 were broadcast on M-Net’s Magic World and SuperSport channels.
PSSP has continued to support the Press Team Programme, by retaining iSchoolAfrica to provide on-going training and support to school facilitators and learners. The scope of the initiative has been broadened to create content for the classroom based on the curriculum, to tell their own stories and capturing oral histories as citizen journalists, and to record important events in the life of the schools, as well as capturing the excitement of different PSSP events as documentary workers.
Each school selects a junior and senior press team that consists of five to six learners that are required to take on a dedicated role such as presenting, researching, editing and camera work. Technical and editorial training and on-going support is provided by iSchoolAfrica and includes invitations to regular workshops by key media personalities and hands-on training sessions by industry professionals such as Vega School of Brand Communication and international advertising agency, Ogilvy and Mather. Members participate in the national “Voice of Young South Africa” campaigns and if their content is appropriate and good enough, aired on TV.
Proven outcomes of the Press Team Project show that learners acquire a range of skills, including technical skills, personal skills, editorial skills and 21st century workplace skills and that their communication, confidence levels and self esteem improve. Members have the opportunity to create and share their content and are required to work collaboratively under deadline, and are solely responsible to make critical decisions about content, structure, style and story-lines. While participating in the Press Teams requires extra-ordinary effort and dedication that adds an additional burden to schoolwork, learners queue up and aspire to participate in the programme because they understand the ‘value of the learning opportunity’ that is being made available to them, and in the case of the Sunward Park Team, shown visible improvement in their school work.