We usually hear disappointing reports that Hawaii’s schools are dismally behind those on the mainland, which are dismally behind those in the rest of the world. So it’s awesome to report that Hawaii has the very first Statewide Student News Network in the nation.
Called HIKI NO, it airs on PBS Hawaii and is currently in its second season. The 12 participating Maui County schools have been successful in securing a $7,500 grant from the Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation. This is right on the heels of Balwin High School’s award in September for Best Newswriting on their Season One episode called “Plastic Bag Alternatives.”
Roberta Wong Murray, Vice President of Programming and Communications for the locally owned and independent PBS Hawaii station, says they conceptualized the series in 2008 but it took several years to develop. The first season of HIKI NO began in February 2011 with 54 schools and 13 episodes that aired weekly.
Episode Three of the second season will air this Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7:30pm. It features Maui High School and includes a moving report from Maui Waena Intermediate School on 442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran Stanley Izumigawa.
When asked how the money will be shared among the schools Murray said that “There is no simple way to answer this question. It’s not going to be divvied up by formula. It allows PBS Hawaii to conduct on-site video production training and in some cases, provide the means to fly students from Maui or their island to another island which could be Maui for training. I know that sounds vague, but that’s the simplest answer.”
The schools and students currently use their own equipment for videotaping and editing and submit their rough cuts to the PBS Hawaii online platform. PBS Hawaii often consults with the student teams. It’s not unusual to go through many revisions before the students can get an episode approved for broadcast.
HIKI NO means “can do” in Hawaiian, and the program’s mission is to help students develop skills in critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, analysis and communication.
“Through the vehicle of producing a weekly news program, students also learn video production skills, newswriting, reporting, information gathering, on-camera presentation, editing and meeting deadlines,” Murray said. “HIKI NO also gives an on-air voice to students, allowing them to tell stories about their communities that may otherwise not be told.”
Any intermediate or high school–public, private, or charter–can participate. There is also one elementary school that is part of the network.