For decades, Lake Orion High School’s television broadcasting established itself as one of the state’s top programs.
Awards piled up and now they’ve pushed the program over the top and into the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association Hall of Fame.
Run by LOHS teacher Roger Smith, the Television Production Workshop class won the coveted Spartan Award from the MIPA for the ninth time in the past 10 seasons, qualifying for the honor.
The Spartans are awarded in newspaper, yearbook and video/broadcast.
Now in its 27th year of the show, Lake Orion becomes just the second Hall of Fame broadcast video member in state history. The full list of MIPA Hall of Fame winners in all categories are here.
Smith’s program submits its three best shows and they are evaluated on writing, camerawork, audio, editing, live production skills, and the on-air talent.
“We’re going to be in the Hall of Fame and inducted this April at the MIPA conference,” said senior Brian Farstvedt, who contributed to the award-winning group last year and is back again this year as one of the leaders. “So I’m really excited about that, to be part of a Hall of Fame and be part of something this amazing.”
The annual MIPA awards lunch takes place April 23, 2018, in Lansing.
Building a dynasty of award-winning broadcasting and video journalism is rooted in Smith, a LOHS alum, but also the students. The seniors teach the juniors and the knowledge is passed down through the years.
“Every day we prepare to make a new show,” Farstvedt said. “We create new content, we build rundowns, we make different tapes. We may work together collectively to put together the best show we can. We have different jobs: you can be a director, you can be on-air talent, you can be a camera person. All we have to do to get the Spartan is to be the best we possibly can at each one of these jobs.”
One of the most important pieces is the structure that allows each of the students to constantly change roles, learning skills at every part of the broadcast from writing the scripts to directing the talent to actually reading sitting at the anchor desk or doing a stand-up report.
“We learned how to get interviews, how to get creative shots, it’s just been a really great learning experience,” senior Kayleigh Nawrocki said.
Winning the award reinforces the need for a team atmosphere.
“It just brought us all together,” Nawrocki said. “Because we all worked on the show last year and to be recognized for it was a huge honor.”
The broadcasting class has remained a standard for decades and continues to expand. Smith told students from Oakview Middle School this week that the program is expanding its capabilities to do remote live shots during the newscast from other parts of the high school.
There are long roots.
WDBC, the Dragon Broadcasting channel, was established in 1970 and LOHS’ Television Production Workshop class was established in 1986, with the daily broadcast starting just a few years later.