JEA honors Kevin Patterson with Special Recognition Broadcast Adviser award
The Journalism Education Association has awarded Kevin Patterson, Oviedo High School (Oviedo, Florida), as a Special Recognition Broadcast Adviser recipient. Patterson, who participated in high school broadcast and then majored in Communications in college, quickly learned that producing quality news broadcast packages requires a clear set of skills.
In college, Patterson had two significant experiences that shaped his perspective on broadcast. He worked for a year as a photographer/editor with reporters to cover teams and athletes at Florida State University. Their packages would air on Saturday mornings across the state. He also worked with a team to produce a documentary on lucid dreaming.
“These two experiences combined to provide me a solid foundation for understanding how to teach my students to produce news and feature packages,” Patterson said. “But I’ve learned a considerable amount of the techniques I teach now by attending state and national conventions.”
Using his experience and the knowledge he gained from the various conventions, Patterson set out to change the culture of the broadcasts at his school from “the announcements.”
“The implied meaning in calling us ‘the announcements’ was that we existed to be talking heads simply reading information to the school and that’s essentially the purpose everyone believed we should serve,” he said. “I immediately began pushing back against this culture of mediocrity where the shows were accompanied by seemingly random and unprofessional student projects and began emphasizing the need for a broadcast with quality writing, charismatic anchors, and coverage of our campus and community.”
Now, his students understand the expectations of running a true news show, and the students all have the benefit of experiencing different roles and responsibilities.
“They have to produce timely content and meet a quarterly quota,” he said. “Doing the work requires the use of skillful photography, effective digital video editing, mature writing, and a finger on the pulse of what’s happening on our campus and in our community.”
Patterson’s expectations and his focus on also teaching soft skills has made a significant difference for his students.
“Mr. Patterson’s extraordinary support and instruction vastly shaped my high school career, and has given me the best head start in my journalism career that I could’ve dreamt of,” former student Elizabeth Tammi said. “I left Oviedo High School with the knowledge and confidence to pursue my wildest dreams, and plenty of relevant experience to back me up.”
Experiences like this consistently come back to Patterson’s philosophy on how to guide his classes.
“Students in my class should be treated sort of like athletes: they need coaching, development, and guidance, but when it comes time to play the game they need to make it on their own,” he said. “When a student takes all the material I’ve supplied and envisions something on their own, something that they’re not directed to create but that came from their own imagination and intuition, it’s truly something exciting.”
Founded in 1924, JEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.