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"[KidScoop Media is] like that story about stone soup: I started with some water and we began creating this beautiful thing and it is still burning at the fire because it is still growing."

- Michelle Mayans, Culver City News, January 22, 2015

Making News while Covering the News

 

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"Holy Cow! We're going to meet the President!"

- Sam Parekh, Culver City News, December 4, 2014

CC Teen Meets President at Education Summit

By Sam Parekh, KSM Reporter

December 4, 2014, Culver City News

 

On Wednesday, November 19, I was one of five youth reporters invited to the White House for a ConnectED conference involving superintendents from schools across the nation.  ConnectED is President Obama’s initiative to bring high-speed internet access to 99% of schools and increase innovative technology use in American schools. The other young journalists represented Time for Kids, Scholastic News, Student Voice, and HuffPost Teen.  I was reporting for KidScoop Media, as I have many times in the past, though never at the White House. 

We first asked questions of Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council for the President, and found her very receptive to them. Some questions asked were (not direct quotes):  “How is ConnectED going to try to catch up to South Korea’s program of modernization in the classroom?” and “Teachers are often unfamiliar on how to capitalize on technology’s abilities. How can you and the Department of Education fix this?”  One of my questions was, “An important part of studying history is having a multiplicity of viewpoints. A single textbook is inadequate to that requirement.  How do you envision the Internet helping better the curriculum in Social Studies and History classes?”  Ms. Muñoz answered that the Internet can help by providing free and easy-to-find texts which all present different viewpoints. In addition, you don’t have to try to flip through a book to find the relevant section, Google will just bring it up for you.

On November 19, 2015, KSM reporter Sam Parekh visited the White House to cover the Obama Administration's new high-tech education initiative, ConnectED. Sam was one of five youth journalists invited to the White House to participate in a round table discussion with the Director of the Domestic Policy Institute, Cecilia Munoz, and a meeting with President Barack Obama.

Questions like these were asked by kids ranging from a senior in high school to a child only eight years old. I fell about in the middle, at thirteen years of age, and being a seventh grade student. Interestingly enough, I was the only boy out of five, and from the farthest away (Los Angeles/Culver City). Then we were taken to the Red Room of the White House, where we were met by the Assistant Secretary of Education, Deborah Delisle.  After talking to us about our school’s level of technology, which ranged wildly, from a computer-per-student, to an outdated computer lab of 40 computers and a single cart of Google Chromebooks, several other people came in, including Ms. Hope, President Obama’s personal videographer, and Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education.

Opal, our guide, announced after Mr. Duncan left that President Obama was going to meet with us for 5-10 minutes.  We had been told it was a possibility we would meet the President, but with his schedule there were no guarantees.  All of us must’ve thought, “Holy cow! We’re going to meet the PRESIDENT!”

We had about 20 minutes before he came, so we all started scribbling down questions for him. When he arrived he said, casually, “Sorry I’m late!” with a grin.  We all laughed and then he said, “I hear you hard-hitting reporters have some questions for me. Who would like to go first?”  I raised my hand. My question was: “How do the goals of Common Core fit with the goals of ConnectED, and will there be a major revision, or even a complete replacement of Common Core?”  The President answered that Common Core was a unified code of education that governors agreed upon to raise the bar on achievement.  He added, “ConnectED and Common Core have one thing in common: to prepare America’s youth for the future.”

The senior in high school, Tess, asked about how FCC regulations concerning a school’s connectivity to the Internet would be impacted by ConnectED; the HuffPost Teen reporter was next; then the little girl, who, panicked, and said “I don’t have a question for you!”  The President then said, “Well, can I still talk to you?” The President asked her a few questions, then moved onto the 8th grader, Ainsley, who asked, “How is ConnectED going to try to bring Internet connectivity to remote areas, like the island of Molokai?” The President answered her question, then asked why she had used that particular example, whereupon she revealed that she had lived on Hawaii for a time, and had visited the island she talked about, and spoke from experience on how hard it was to get Wi-Fi on Molokai.

When the President had finished answering our questions he moved on, and the Marine officer in the room told us, “If we move really fast, we can catch his speech in the East Room. Follow me, single-file.”  So we moved through the Blue and Green Rooms, to come out near the back of the East Room, where all the other press was congregated.  We watched the President’s speech, some of us taking notes but most of us, including me, recording it with our phones.  After the President finished speaking, everyone except us left the room. The Chief of Food and Drink, who has worked at the White House for over 20 years, let us ascend the podium and take pictures were Obama had been speaking, with a State-of-the-Union-style podium in front of him. We were then led out to the annex where we began, retrieved our coats, and exited the White House grounds.

Local Student Shares Experience Leading up to Meeting President Obama

By Cristian Vasquez

December 11, 2014, Culver City News

 

The Editor of the Culver City News spoke with reporter Sam Parekh about his experiences with KidScoop Media, from interviewing celebrities on the red carpet to meeting President Obama at the White House.

"At KidScoop Media kids are put alongside major media reporters during big events such as red carpet ceremonies and one-on-one interviews with iconic figures in music, government, and sports where these young reporters are given the opportunity to ask their own questions, while getting the chance to share their point of view with the individuals they interview." - Cristian Vasquez

KidScoop Media Introduces Kids to Journalism

By Cristian Vasquez

January 22, 2015, Culver City News

 

Michelle Mayans, Founder and Executive Director of KidScoop Media, tells the Culver City News why she began KSM and what it's taken to bring the organization as far as it's come.

KidScoop Media Again at the White House

By Brooke Zacher and Haley Zamolo

December 20, 2018, Culver City Observer

KSM reporters Brooke Zacher and Haley Zamolo covered the 2018 Press Preview of the Holiday Decorations.  They were lucky enough to be in the White House Press Pool coverage when President Trump walked out to leave on Marine One, and were able to hear him talk to reporters up close!

They wrote about their experiences for the Culver City Observer. Click here to read their complete articles.

© 2014 by KSM KidScoop Media