So Amherst Regional High School 'Student News' sendoff off edition (the youngsters get the summer off) was unintentionally hilarious--as the cub reporters and "executive editors" once again ended up in hot water for publishing a less than ethical episode.
After getting pounded in the blogosphere for their rude, childish portrayal of School Committee member Catherine Sanderson--a stand up publicly elected town official who happens to run a very popular blog with ratings far greater than theirs--for a piece where they repeatedly spliced together Sanderson at a School Committee meeting subtly bobbing her head to music (superimposing a spotlight so you could not miss it) with an overdub of their musical choosing.
Hey, at least she was not falling asleep!
After the fallout (in journalism that kind of video is considered doctored deliberate distortion) you would think they learned their lesson. Not in Amherst, where obviously some grown up Wizards like to manipulate marionettes from behind the curtain; so the kids decided to take another shot.
This time they generously allowed Sanderson 40 minutes of unedited airtime, which she managed to fill without having to consult cue cards (unlike their "reporter"). Considering Student News is normally a half-hour show, pretty sweet. But then later, back at the Amherst taxpayer subsidized ACTV studio, the "Executive Producers" could not resist adding another 20 minutes of editorial follow up. An ambush where the prey was not even physically present to rebut.
Obviously at their tender age they have no firsthand experience with how committees and sub committees work. A sub committee is less than a quorum of the main committee and they can meet separately and talk as long as they want pretty much about anything they want providing, the meeting is open to the public and posted 48 hours in advance.
When Catherine explained that the Union 26 issue had been discussed in subcommittee extensively but only for 10 minutes or so total by the entire School Committee who voted unanimously to consult an attorney--that is certainly no "contradiction" (wherein they suggested she lied with the introductory comment, "even if Ms Sanderson misspoke").
That's why you have subcommittees! So they can hash out details and take up far less time of the full committee.
And as this clip shows Mr. Wolfsun--and, apparently, a committee of his teen aged peers--the venerable "High School Student Advisory Committee"--took tremendous offense at an offhand comment made by a paid education consultant regarding the wisdom of letting children evaluate their teachers, prompting laughter from the audience, mostly comprised of concerned parents of Middle School kids I would imagine.
Maybe Wolfsun should have just held his breath until he turned blue.
But somehow that supposed disrespect (and I agree with the professional consultant) gets blamed on Catherine Sanderson, who I assume was in the room at the time, yet Wolfsun offers no evidence whatsoever--like a video spliced to repeatedly replay the scene--that she joined in the "laughter". The old guilt by association, paint with a broad brush routine.
And in the interest of "full disclosure" Mr. Wolfsun should have mentioned that both he and "Associate Producer" Graham Churchill (son of now somewhat discredited former School Committee Chair Andy Churchill) both graduated from their local neighborhood Marks Meadow Elementary School, the smallest of four in Amherst now closed, mainly because of Catherine Sanderson's blog. A taxpayer savings of $850,000 annually, but met with bitter resistance by those with a vested interest.
Comment to Student News: If you are going to masquerade as journalists, may I recommend "Online Journalism Ethics: Traditions and Transitions" by Cecilia Friend and Jane Singer.