Students deliver the news at Carson Middle School

CMNewz Live, Carson Middle School’s student-run newscast, broadcasts daily with news and weather updates. Anchors Sean Thornton, center, and Drew Olson, eighth graders, produce a broadcast on May 9 as Elliot Ruffner, eighth grader, monitors the livestream.

CMNewz Live, Carson Middle School’s student-run newscast, broadcasts daily with news and weather updates. Anchors Sean Thornton, center, and Drew Olson, eighth graders, produce a broadcast on May 9 as Elliot Ruffner, eighth grader, monitors the livestream.
Jessica Garcia/Nevada Appeal

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In just a few minutes’ time, Carson Middle School’s CMNewz crewmembers turn on their lights, a laptop for livestreaming and their large television used as a teleprompter.
Eighth graders Sean Thornton and Drew Olson set up their microphones, practice a run-through before going live referring to a poster reminding them about proper poise and speaking tips, and then the team begins streaming.
“Good morning, CMS, I’m Drew,” Olson says.
“And I’m Sean,” Thornton says. “And CMS News begins right now.”
The entire program has flourished with minimal guidance from technology teacher Rob Hostler, who is proud to have seen a once-fledgling broadcast in CMS’ school hallways transform into a true student-led media studio during the past six years.
The makeover has provided students the ability to keep from carting out a computer placed on a card table into a corridor every day for tapings recorded against a green cloth pinned up on a wall.
“Obviously, that’s painful because every morning, we’d have to go roll it out and put it back out again and it’s pretty inefficient,” Thornton recalled.
Hostler and his original team of students began recording and editing videos a few times a week, but they all got so excited, they wanted to do it daily. Eventually, the students were ambitious enough, they wanted to take it live.
“Every year, CMNewz kids, or at least the ones running the news program, would try to improve it as much as possible,” Thornton said. “So, a few years ago, we did get a renovation, and part of that renovation was this room, which definitely improved things.”
In their dedicated room this year, the anchors read their announcements. Off the air or behind the scenes, eighth-grade classmates Nathan Freed, Sandra Nealon and Elliot Ruffner and sixth-grader Xander Smith keep the technical aspects running well.
“People know what’s happening, like dances,” Ruffner said. “Normally before CMS, it’d be announcements (on a board) and they weren’t seen very well … mainly because classes are super noisy, but with CMNewz, it’s like an everyday thing.”

Carson Middle School’s CMNewz Live crewmembers Xander Smith, sixth grade, far left, Sean Thornton, eighth grade, Ean Thomas, eighth grade, Elliot Ruffner, eighth grade, Nathan Freed, eighth grade, Drew Olson, eighth grade, and Sandra Nealon, eighth grade, prepare and livestream the program’s daily broadcast. (Photo: Jessica Garcia/Nevada Appeal)


Word about spring book fairs, the upcoming Color War, the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing, dress code violations and more is recorded and uploaded to YouTube and to the school website on daily. The ability to livestream CMS’ baseball games in the COVID-19 era since March 2020 has reached far, with a follower from Wisconsin expressing interest once it was available, Hostler said.
“We get to inform a lot of the parents and teachers,” Nealon said. “I think that’s really cool.”
The announcements, prepared by the teachers through a form they submit online, cover the gamut of school activities or department needs from fundraisers to dress code reminders. Nealon said the crew prepares slide presentations to accompany Thornton and Olson’s announcements.
Thornton said his ability to edit videos applies now to his classes at CMS and would be useful in high school and beyond.
“I love being part of the CMNewz program because I know that in middle school, you’re preparing for high school and there’s always going to be a lot of paperwork, but you’re not really going to remember a six-page packet you did in seventh grade,” Thornton said. “But something like this, you definitely will remember.”
Olson said he found the class appealing because it’s open-ended.
“It’s really free and Mr. Hostler lets us do our own notes and we get to do this awesome news program, and it’ll help me later in life with public speaking,” he said.
Next door, more of Hostler’s advanced multimedia students work in his classroom, creating stop-motion videos. Hostler, previously an English teacher for 16 years who moved into computer literacy, said it’s been the “perfect marriage” becoming a technology instructor preparing students for new high school standards. He has collected input from his outgoing eighth graders about what works or what doesn’t.
The CMNewzPaper, a weekly publication, also is published on the school’s website and distributed to staff e-mail accounts and through ParentSquare. Hostler said it helps the students to understand deadlines, writing opinion pieces and accountability.
“If you can get students to want to do something intrinsically, that’s when you do the best work,” he said. “That’s what’s going to help them out.”


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