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41 Action News partners with Crossroads Preparatory Academy for National News Literacy Week

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Posted at 5:00 AM, Jan 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 06:35:09-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Scripps, 41 Action News' parent company, has partnered with the News Literacy Project for National News Literacy Week.

In the effort to educate younger generations about news and the spread of misinformation, Scripps stations across the country worked with local high schools to co-produce a story.

The team from 41 Action News partnered with five students from Crossroads Preparatory Academy: Imani Berry, Neika Capelton, Blue Cowdin, Bettye Ray and Dominic Zamora.

41 Action News worked with the students to report, write and shoot their story on gentrification in the Westside neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri.

They chose the topic – which is a big one — because it directly affects one of the students’ families.

Each of the students got something different from the experience.

"I liked talking to different people about their perspectives," Imani said, adding that she felt it was harder to be a news anchor than she'd previously thought.

Neika expressed surprise at some parts of the process.

"You can do interviews for like 15 minutes, but you only use like 10 seconds, just a sound clip, even if the sound's amazing," Neika said.

Dominic said he could see himself in a news career someday.

"Not in front of the camera, but like maybe a photographer, or editor, something like that," Dominic said.

The project was also a learning experience for the 41 Action News team. Read their thoughts below.

When I first met the students, I was eager to find out what mattered to them the most. Usually when you hear stories about teens these days, they involve vaping or social media. To my surprise, our students picked gentrification. I knew it would be a difficult story to tell in two minutes, but I was inspired by their willingness to tackle the story head on and by how much they genuinely cared for the people it impacted. They would gasp when they heard how much a person's property taxes had risen, but they also got to see why many people were moving to the area. A developer allowed them to go on top of a home that belonged to a doctor in Lawrence, Kansas. When they came down, they were captivated by the view. "How would they reconcile this conflict within themselves?" I asked myself. "How will they navigate telling this story while remaining unbiased?" I enjoyed watching them navigate through these things as the project continued. I hope it's an experience they will never forget.
SyKnese Fields, Senior Producer

Working with these students reminded me just how much good stories mean to people. So much of this job revolves around, "who is going to care about, or be impacted by, this story?" These young people picked a topic that is meaningful and hard to tell, but also something that some of them were very passionate about. It was powerful for me to see proof that people of all ages respond to good stories, and want to hear them. We just need to work hard to make sure we're telling stories that touch those nerves. I'm really proud of the work they did, and the effort they put in to this project."
Taylor Hemness, Morning Anchor

Working with the students from Crossroads Preparatory Academy was reinvigorating. In this industry, it's easy to get caught up in the daily grind of the news cycle and lose sight of the bigger picture. Teaching the students about what we do helped me see afresh the importance of local journalism. It was so fun to see them learn the process from beginning to end. Each of them was amazed at the impact of gentrification in the Westside, and they were eager to tell the story after meeting people impacted by the changes. I hope they have learned the value of news and staying informed through our partnership.
Hailey Godburn, Senior Digital Content Producer

Read the students' story on gentrification in the Westside neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, here.