Monroe students record own newscast at WISC-TV Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
monroe students record program at wisc tv
Fourth grade students from St. Victor School in Monroe record a birthday message while taping a newscast at the studios of WISC-TV in Madison. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- “Good morning, I’m Jack and this is St. Victor News.”

“And, I’m Anna, and this is February news.”

“Isn’t it great that we’re filming at Channel 3000.”

“It’s amazing.”

“First, we’ll start with the calendar of events.”

“Why not?”

An experienced local TV news producer couldn’t have scripted it any better -- anchor crosstalk in a unique monthly newscast.

That introduction by St. Victor School in Monroe fourth graders Jack Garry and Anna Polnow starts the February edition of St. Victor News, an online newscast run and put on by the students with guidance from technology teacher, Amy Lewis.

“My goal as their teacher is to have them create a project they can be proud of for people outside of the classroom,” Lewis said. “I want them to add value to the world around them.”

‘On location’ newscast

While usually recorded at the school, the February newscast had a special location shoot -- the studios of WISC-TV in Madison.

This was brought about from the relationship WISC has with St. Clare of Assisi Parish (which St. Victor is part of) and Pastor Msgr. Larry Bakke, who is the Director of the Diocese of Madison Apostolate to the Handicapped.

Monsignor Bakke records a weekly TV Mass at the WISC studios for the apostolate.

Before getting down to business, the students got a tour of WISC led by Production Director Al Barcheski.

Barcheski showed the students, staff, and parent chaperones the satellite dishes and broadcast tower outside, and some of the inner workings of the station including the control room and studio.

The students had the opportunity to be in the studio while News 3 at Noon with anchor Mark Koehn and meteorologist Karin Swanson was broadcasted.

Following the newscast, it was time for the St. Victor students to get behind the desk and do their own.

Planning the show

Like a typical local TV newscast, hours of preparation are put in before it’s time to go “on the air.”

The fourth grade students take turns with the roles each month. A manager oversees the entire production; two anchors decide the important calendar events, as well as writing their own scripts; two camera people record the segments; and other students serve as reporters and do the special assignments.

The reporters and their assistants brainstorm potential story ideas, propose them to the manager and anchors, and wait approval.

Once approved, they begin researching their topics and writing interview questions. For the newscast at WISC, Monsignor Bakke himself was the subject of a story and interview right in the studio.

“The students pretty much run the entire newscast,” said Lewis.

As Garry and Polnow took their seats behind the anchor desk, Ethan Rosenstiel manned the camera and Wren Stites held a slate in front of the camera to keep track of what take the students were on when they recorded their segments.

Some parts took a few retakes, mostly because the students wanted to make sure they did their parts right and did them well.

Later, the special reports were recorded in the studio to all be edited together into one newscast.

Toward the end of taping, another highlight for the students was when WISC anchor Susan Siman came into the studio to meet the students.

She answered some of their questions about TV news and encouraged them to keep up the good work.

Growing as newscasters

The students have been doing these newscasts since the beginning of the school year.

Lewis had been discussing with Principal Joe Peters about adding video recording and editing to the curriculum “and a newscast was mentioned in the discussion,” she said.

When she mentioned the idea to her students, “I knew I had to start the project. They were too excited not to!”

While she only gets to work with the students for one hour a week in their technology class, Lewis said fourth grade teacher Jered Dickman is “ very supportive and brings the students in for additional time during the week to complete their assignments.”

“They are extremely hard workers,” Lewis added. “I couldn’t be more proud of this class.”

To view the newscast taped at WISC (to be posted in February), and past newscasts, go to and search for the St. Clare of Assisi Parish YouTube channel.

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