PBS Hawaii Invites All Middle & High Schools in Hawaii To Build the Nation’s First Statewide Student News Network

Hiki Nō “Can Do” Model Gains Major Local Funder
Media Release:

Hawaii’s only public television broadcaster formally announced at a news conference today the station will work with the state’s public, private and charter high schools and middle schools to create a statewide student news network.  Student newscasts and other content will be made available on PBS Hawaii’s broadcast and web platforms.  The model is the first of its kind in the country, and the TV station has branded it Hiki Nō – the Hawaiian phrase for “Can Do.”

PBS Hawaii is a private, non-profit organization, so the station must secure funding through grants and private donations.  Today the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation stepped up to become the first major local funder of Hiki Nō, giving $100,000.

“We see this as a bold and innovative project that understands our young people, growing up in the digital age, and it knows how to prepare them to succeed,” said Ching trustee Kenneth Okamoto.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting awarded PBS Hawaii one of its largest grants last year, $200,000, for Hiki Nō.

“Nationally, this student-based news program is recognized as a groundbreaking step into the future of education.  And we want everyone in our community to embrace and support what our young people are doing to help lead us as a community,” said Robert Alm, Board Chair of PBS Hawaii.

Last week the station announced that veteran journalist, Susan Yim, had signed on as Managing Editor for Hiki Nō.  Today Yim said, “Hiki Nō will create a network of student storytellers to take us into their communities and humanize the issues that concern them. I’m looking forward to facilitating the collaboration among participating teachers and schools, ensuring editorial and technical standards as students introduce us to new ways to deliver news.”

Leaders of the public, private and charter schools in Hawaii see a model like Hiki Nō as an opportunity for students to develop the skills and competencies they’ll need for the 21st century.

“This is a vehicle for transformational change in Hawaii ,” PBS Hawaii President and CEO Leslie Wilcox said. “It puts students and learning first. And it provides value to educators.”

The students will be connected via a web-based virtual newsroom.  This will eliminate the geographic boundaries so that teams of students from schools on different islands can work together under the Hiki Nō brand, producing stories about things that matter. About 30 schools throughout the state have already expressed an interest in working together to build the Hiki Nō network and collaborate on the creation of content for broadcast and web casts.

For the past several years, a small but growing group of Hawaii schools has emerged victorious at national competitions and they’ve established themselves as skilled communicators and storytellers.

Today students from Waianae High School , Maui High School , Kauai’s Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School and Ke Kula Ni’ihau O Kekaha Charter School, Moanalua High School , and Mid-Pacific Institute attended the news conference.

Last November, Waianae High School and Intermediate School , Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School , Maui High School and Waimea High School were all award recipients at the national Student Television Network competition. They competed against schools with some of the strongest media programs in the country.  Waianae High School took first place in the Best Overall Category and the two local middle schools, Waianae and Chiefess Kamakahelei of Kauai, swept 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the middle school competition.

At the news conference, PBS Hawaii previewed a campaign it will use to introduce Hiki Nō to TV viewers and the online community. In the near future, the station will also begin airing a sampling of stories produced by students.

The timeline for launching the first Hiki Nō inter-school newscast is early 2011 and the station plans to schedule the local newscast produced by the students between BBC World News and PBS NewsHour.   Plans call for producing one newscast per week initially and gradually adding additional newscasts to the weekly schedule. Between the fall of 2011 and the following spring, the network will become a six-day-a-week broadcast and web program.  Newscasts will air every weekday with a recap edition on weekends – a total of 3 hours of new content each week.

Tax-deductible donations in support of Hiki Nō may be made via the PBS Hawaii website pbshawaii.org.  Organizations interested in becoming underwriters in support of helping Hawaii ’s schools with this bold education initiative should contact Lucy Ahn , VP Corporate & Foundation Support at PBS Hawaii (lahn@pbshawaii.org).

For more information on Hiki Nō contact Linda Brock  (973.1383)

lbrock@pbshawaii.org

Or go to www.pbshawaii.org

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