The Tiger News Network: On the air at SLO High

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A class of 13 San Luis Obispo High School students, led by electronic media teacher Cherie Jones, on Thursday completed the inaugural taping of a broadcast that will soon air on the county Office of Education’s Charter cable Channel 19.

In a fully professional television studio recently completed on campus, students ran all technical aspects of the show.

The first installment features a panel discussion about how the new television program came about and what educational goals it will achieve. On-air guests included county schools Superintendent Julian Crocker, San Luis Obispo High Principal Will Jones and San Luis Coastal Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Rick Robinett.

Before the taping, Jones said the class, like other Regional Occupational Program classes at high schools throughout the county, will teach “skills to go into industry — and prepare them for college.”

Crocker added: “The general thinking is there are lots of careers related to video production. It’s very practical.”

Other occupational program classes, which are funded by the state with some local district support, include automotive technology, industrial technology, agriculture and child care.

The entire cost of the new studio project was $60,000, funded with a portion of proceeds from the Public Education and Government Channels Fee, a tax added monthly to Charter customers’ cable bills.

That money is used to support equipment, training and airtime for public access channels.

Other county schools are also creating similar television production programs with funds from the levy.

Students did not seem nervous for the taping, but they mentioned the difficulties of learning the high-tech equipment.

Junior Michaela Keil, who constructed a 26-second computer animation for the show’s opening sequence, said, “I’m super curious to see what this class looks like in five years, when its hammered down and running smooth.”

By then, some of the students may have turned their experiences into careers — such as senior Rachel Robinson.

As Web editor, she will upload stories created by the school newspaper team and the Tiger News Network to the school’s news website.

Because of the classes she has taken at San Luis Obispo High School, she is considering pursuing a career in journalism.