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Lights, Camera, Action

Lights, Camera, Action

“Good morning Jesuit, and welcome to JTNN Live …”

Jesuit students, as they have for years, gather in homeroom every Thursday morning to watch the JTNN broadcast. This fall, however, things are a little different.

JTNN – the Jesuit Tigers News Network – is no longer a club. It is now part of a class, Jesuit’s new Digital Communications course.

Beginning this school year, the Digital Communications class has merged three entities –the journalism class and two Jesuit clubs, the Tiger Newspaper and JTNN – into an all-in-one Jesuit news outlet that produces both JTNN Live and JTNN Online.

This new media synergy is led by teacher Mark Lennox, Jesuit’s Educational Technology Specialist, and quickly has yielded positive results.

One of the biggest changes has been the establishment of JTNN Online, Jesuit's new digital school newspaper available at Unlike in the past, when Jesuit printed a few editions of The Tiger newspaper each school year, now JTNN Live and JTNN Online regularly work hand-in-hand on a weekly basis. Thus, the same story idea can be packaged to run both on JTNN Live (video/audio) and in the online newspaper (text, photos, and links to JTNN Live shows).

That convergence, along with the new organizational structure and inherent motivation provided by having a class grade at stake, has the students more engaged. The Digital Communications class creates a space for them to produce and edit every day, rather than meeting once a week after school and then trying to find time to do the work.

“I’ve been really impressed when I go into the JTNN studio and there are so many students on their free period working hard on their projects,” said Lennox, who was moderator of JTNN the past two years. “There has been a strong buy-in. All of the guys are very committed to learning how to use all of the technology, and to creating quality content. The transition from a club into a class has really made a difference.”

Fourteen seniors comprise the Digital Communications class. (To view their profiles, go to The buy-in is evident in their body language and voice, as they brainstorm ideas in small groups while sitting up on their desks speaking with rapid-fire enthusiasm.

Each week they split the group in half, with seven taking primary responsibility for JTNN Live, and the other seven for JTNN Online. And as one week ends and another begins, those responsibilities rotate. Writing, copy editing, video editing, producing, anchoring, photography – everyone tries their hand at every role, learning how to effectively communicate using many different mediums.

When creating and editing their projects, students have access to eight iMac computers, an iMac Pro, five video camera kits, digital cameras, a GoPro, and Final Cut Pro software. They frequently shuttle back-and-forth between the classroom and the nearby JTNN studio, which has the green screen set-up for the JTNN Live anchors.

The class is designed so that a batch of news is released once a week, every Thursday morning, with JTNN Live broadcast in homerooms and a concurrent rollout of content on the JTNN Online website.

“After we finish producing the paper and show for one week, we move right on to preparing for the next,” said Jack Fahey ’17, who was involved with The Tiger newspaper last year, helping it earn the Second Place Award from the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists. “We spend Thursdays brainstorming and bouncing ideas around (for the next week). There are so many creative and out-of-the-box thinkers in the class that coming up with new ideas has been a breeze.”

The students are producing so much content that JTNN Online is updated with stories on other days besides Thursday, and recently JTNN started broadcasting a second show each week – all of it created, edited, and produced by students who are developing and honing their media communications skills.

“My favorite part of the class is being able to have the opportunity to speak to the entire campus about issues around school,” said Jack Henry Nouss ’17, who is ubiquitous in JTNN Live segments.

JTNN Live and JTNN Online touch a wide range of topics. They can inform about upcoming events, discuss relevant issues on campus and in the world, review movies and video games, and regularly provide good laughs and entertainment, such as timeless, silly debates over cereal (pour the milk first, or cereal first?) and toilet paper (over or under?) preferences. They also regularly include faculty in the segments.

This week, the new Tuesday edition JTNN Live featured Nouss and Noah Armenia ’17 (who are pictured on the homepage) as anchors and included a segment about “How to appropriately use words.” The Thursday show was anchored by Rhett Broz ’17 and Dylan Field ’17 and included a segment titled “Are you smarter than a freshman?”

The ability to generate an extra weekly JTNN show has been serendipitous: This school year, due to the onset of Campus Master Plan construction, Jesuit has two homerooms weekly instead of the customary one – and thus two opportunities for the student body to watch JTNN Live.

The introduction to each JTNN Live episode recently has featured a Jesuit-ized version of the opening to classic TV sitcoms such as “Full House” and “The Office.”

The class is producing occasional JTNN Live specials as well. Prior to the biggest football game of the season to date, vs. Jefferson on Sept. 23, the students produced a 30-minute ESPN GameDay-like preview with Thomas Chadwick 17, Royal Doolittle 17 and Nouss anchoring, a slick intro created by Justin Raab ’17, and many segments and interviews. It ran continuously on the big screen in the cafeteria that day, prior to the Tigers’ 44-23 win over the Dragons.

Since the Digital Communications class is seniors-only, the JTNN club has been retained to allow underclassmen to contribute. As the school year progresses, Lennox said freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in the club will have opportunities to get involved with JTNN Online and JTNN Live.

In this booming age of technology, most assume that the younger generation automatically knows everything about each technological application. However, Lennox said learning how to navigate all of the technology elements required, such as video editing and recording equipment, can be challenging even for the iPad-savvy generation.

“Ultimately, our goal is to compete at a national level at the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) conference,” Lennox said. “We want the quality of our work to contend for awards on an annual basis.”

View a photo slideshow of the Digital Communications class below, and go to to check out JTNN Online and view JTNN Live video.

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