In the fall of 2007, KJZZ, the NPR affiliate for the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area, piloted the Teen Radio Project. The program sent skilled journalists into local high schools to work with at-risk students. The objective was to combine education and technical skill development, while producing high-quality news stories. The program not only achieved these goals, it also increased graduation rates and college enrollment among the participants.
In 2011, with the support of Rio Salado College and Friends of Public Radio Arizona, KJZZ was able to expand the project into the SPOT 127 youth media center. SPOT 127 empowers high school students to develop state-of-the-art skills in digital media and journalism while connecting participants to higher education. Through this unique model, SPOT 127 seeks to build self-esteem and self-efficacy in participants.
During SPOT 127’s hands-on program, students learn how to brainstorm, pitch and report stories. Their reports are featured on SPOT 127’s social media channels and website and may be selected to air on KJZZ or appear on the station’s website.
Story Selection: Students are led through the process of selecting a newsworthy story that is relevant and important to their community.
Story Pitching: Once the story is selected, the students pitch their story ideas to a professional editor for feedback and approval.
Story Completion: Working on deadline, students learn how to research, interview, storyboard and edit their news piece.
Instruction is based on the following three learning theories:
Experiential Learning: SPOT 127 utilizes a hands-on approach to learning that fosters continual self-discovery through individual and group projects. Experiential learning creates an atmosphere that promotes self-motivation leading to a higher retention rate of skills and knowledge.
ARCS Model of Motivational Design: SPOT 127 is committed to motivating students by focusing on attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction.
Dialogue Education Theory: SPOT 127 builds on experiential learning by empowering students to encourage and teach one another.