Kathy Beyer named 2007 Oregon Journalism Teacher Of the Year

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From an article on the McMinnville Rotary meeting on Feb. 8, 2013. 

Kathy Beyer has been teaching at McMinnville High School (MHS) for 22 years.  In 1998 she took over the high school newspaper.  Since then, MHS’ print paper, The Bruin, has won eight National Pacemaker Awards and has placed first in the state of Oregon 13 years in a row.

With the help of the McMinnville School District, Evergreen Museum and Local KOIN 6, Beyer began a new television and film production program called SOAR Productions, for broadcast journalism students at the High School.  SOAR Productions aired its first live show, “Live at the Blackbird” in December.

Beyer indicated that it was important to take the leap from print paper to an online version of The Bruin because journalism jobs for print paper are no longer available.  The online version can be found at mhsbruin.com; the website is updated with new information daily. Beyer estimated that approximately 80 percent of the students’ time is now focused on the website.

Beyer quickly realized that, to produce the online version of The Bruin, more videos were needed, students had to be trained, and equipment needed to be obtained.  Fortunately, Evergreen Museum wanted more videos in the museum.  This lead to a partnership between Evergreen and the School District.  Evergreen also connected the School District with Local KOIN 6, which willingly provided the students access to KOIN’s talent and engineers.  With the assistance of Evergreen and KOIN, the School District now has a fully operational TV studio designed by KOIN engineers.

Beyer next provided pictures taken during the production of “Take Flight”, a video that SOAR developed for Evergreen and that has been shown in Evergreen’s IMAX theatre. Beyer also provided us with the opportunity to view a SOAR production, featuring Mike Coste as News Anchor for the Top Stories of the day, including the inauguration of President Obama; a bombing and kidnapping in Algeria; and faculty changes and Diversity Week at MHS.  Sports Anchor Kurtis Cooper’s spot featured news on MHS swimming, wrestling, and basketball teams, and an update on the Notre Dame football player scandal.  A segment called “My Back Pages” featured a Michael Coste interview with Manny Humlie, an MHS musician.  Mannie talked about his musical influences and the challenges that go along with being an on-stage performer at an early age.  He then performed a fantastic acoustic rendition of Sting’s “Message in a Bottle.”

Beyer then introduced Will Worth, SOAR’s lead cameraman.  Worth values the experience he has attained by participating in SOAR and he has been able to parlay that experience into working on small projects for several companies.  Michael Coste, News Anchor, talked about the initial struggle with the “Take Flight” project and indicated that the hands-on experience is extremely valuable.  Kurtis Cooper, Sports Anchor, has had great experience doing play-by-play with both McMinnville Community Media (MCM) and SOAR Productions.

Beyer pointed out that students participating in SOAR have an incredible advantage in their future careers because of their experience working with the people at KOIN.  Beyer proudly stated that the kids write all the scripts and run all the equipment.  The “professionals” at KOIN recommended that each feature be recorded live – no second takes!  The best learning experience comes with producing the feature in only one take!

Beyer advised that we can go on the mhsbruin.com website, on the Live Broadcast tab, to find the schedule for upcoming productions or go to USTREAM/Live at the Blackbird.