DC Youth: PBS’ Student Reporting Labs Discover Trove of Stories

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Young DC Student Report filming for a story


Directions: Watch the video montage below about NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs (SRL)  youthjournalism program and answer the discussion questions. Then check out the videos DC youth reporters produced recently during SRL’s summer academy. If you have time, watch them all (they’re all short and sweet!), or view the one that suits your class the best. You may choose to turn on “CC” closed captions.

DC Youth Reporting Summary

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL) is a nationwide journalism program for middle and high school students that empowers young people to report on stories in their local communities. With labs in over 150 schools, students gain valuable experience in civic engagement, critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork. This summer, teen journalists from across the country attended SRL’s summer academy in Arlington, Virginia, for a week-long training to sharpen their broadcast journalism skills. Paired with PBS mentors, students filmed, scripted and edited stories.



DC Youth Reporting Discussion questions

1. How can local stories by teen journalists make an impact in their communities?

2. Do you think civic engagement opportunities for young people are important for a democratic society? Explain.

3. What storytelling and/or youth engagement programs exist in your community? What impact are they having on young people? How can you get involved?

Six SRL videos from DC Youth Reporters to choose from (or just watch them all!)


1. Students and robots intermingle at the Hirshhorn ArtLab

ArtLab is giving young people opportunities to explore science, technology and art with help from innovative artificial intelligence (AI) robots.



Discussion questions:

1. What is the connection between science and art?

2. In the video, Ian McDermott says that “any sort of diversity is going to lead to greater creativity.” How does diversity foster creativity in art and science?

3. Why is it important for young people to be involved in learning about new technology?


2. Maryland teacher brings mindfulness and yoga to the classroom 

A Montgomery County high school teacher in Maryland uses yoga to create a culture of mindfulness in his community.



Discussion questions:

  1. How might a young person’s home and school environments affect their mental health?

  2. How can yoga and mindfulness be helpful for young people?

  3. What role do teachers and students play in the culture of classrooms?


3. D.C. teen spends summer volunteering at the Smithsonian National Zoo 

Mercer Washington Dickerson’s love for animals and conservation inspired him to volunteer at the Smithsonian National Zoo Kids’ Farm.



Discussion questions:

  1. Why is it important for young people to get involved in activities they are passionate about?

  2. Why are teen volunteers like Mercer Dickerson so important for the community?

  3. How does empathy play a role in the way Mercer interacts with zoo visitors?


4. Technology and art intersect at ARTECHOUSE

An art space in the nation’s capital focuses on the intersection of art and technology, giving its visitors one-of-a-kind immersive experiences.



Discussion questions:

  1. How are technology and art similar? How are they different?

  2. Why do you think people are drawn to this art space?

  3. How is 21st century digital art different from older art forms?

  4. At ARTECHOUSE guests are encouraged to use their phones throughout the exhibit. How does this enhance or take away from the artistic experience?


5. Local culinary program helps young Peruvian immigrant discover his passion for cooking

With help from La Cocina VA, a culinary program in the D.C. area, Oscar Leguia realizes his lifelong dream of becoming a chef.



Discussion questions:

1. How do organizations like La Cocina VA help people who may need assistance finding the right opportunities to help them thrive?

2. Are there any organizations similar to La Cocina in your community?

3. Why is it important to be passionate about the work you do?


6. Kids find new roots with Early Growers

In Southeast D.C., Early Growers teaches children about nature and the environment through gardening and fresh food. 



Discussion questions:

1. How is your community similar or different from the one described in this story?

2. What impact do programs like these have on the community as a whole?

3. How can learning about gardening help young children?


Earlt Growers teaches DC youth about nature and the environment.

In Southeast D.C., Early Growers teaches children about nature and the environment through gardening and fresh food.


Visit PBS NewsHour Extra for more education resources designed to help teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. You can read the original story here@NewsHourExtra