I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I stepped into the Junior Achievement of South Central Pennsylvania office this morning.
The office, at 610 S. George St., is home to JA BizTown, a program for which I volunteered. The BizTown room houses a Rutter’s store, a radio station, TV studio, sports store, bank, lab, construction company, city hall, newsroom and more.
I was really impressed with what I saw.
I volunteered to help in the newsroom, BizNet News, which is sponsored by MediaOnePa. The newsroom, wallpapered in newsprint, contains more than a half-dozen computers for students to blog on throughout their time in BizTown.
The newsroom recently discontinued its print publication and now produces online content in real time, said Heidi Potter, director of JA BizTown.
Potter also said BizNet News will allow students to create and add videos to the blog in the future.
During my time at BizTown, I worked with four Logos Academy students — eighth-graders Marissa Myers and Jamyya Murphy and seventh-graders Haydenne Huyett and Rafael Paul.
While not all of them had an interest in journalism, they all were ready to hit the ground running to learn about what various roles in the newsroom entail.
Marissa served as BizNet’s editor, Jamyya as a reporter, Haydenne as a photographer and advertising executive and Rafael was BizNet’s CEO/CFO.
The job requirements for the reporter and editor — two positions I have worked in during my time at the York Daily Record and in other newsrooms — were spot on for general job assignments. The editor, reporter and photographer were required to go out into BizTown and collect information about experiments and projects going on throughout the morning while the ad executive (also the photographer) and the CEO/CFO dealt with bill payments, sales and invoices.
I unfortunately had to cut my day at BizTown short, so I haven’t yet seen the final product of the students’ work. To see the blog Marissa, Jamyya, Haydenne and Rafael put together today, click here and scroll down to Logos Academy. You also can view other school’s projects at the site.
I look forward to volunteering again at BizTown. If your child participates in a program there or if you have expertise in a field the program teaches about — and especially if both apply to you — you should volunteer. It was great learning experience.