Off-Campus Field Trip

Provider: Suncoast News Network

Contact: Blanca Diaz

Starting cost per student: $0

Additional Info:

Max. Capacity: 25

Transportation Needed?  Yes

Who Arranges Transportation? Teacher

Is Financial Assistance Offered?  No


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 “Local broadcast TV, in this digital world, is still a staple used by consumers to access local news.”

TV still works as a business; it works for advertisers; and it works for viewers. Local TV stations like SUNCOAST NEWS NETWORK (SNN) visibly contribute to their communities, and in doing so have established a level of credibility and trust…viewers are able to catch up on local or breaking news with minimal effort (Walker, R., “The Importance of Broadcast TV in Local News Consumption, 2015). According to The Guardian, when we think of esteemed journalists like Peter Jennnings, Diane Sawyers, and Julie Chen, they bring to the profession a sense of glamour…in spite of the long “unsocial” hours, hard work, and tough competition. Peter Jennings dropped out of high school to become one of television’s most prominent journalists. Although Diane Sawyers blazed a path for women in broadcast journalism, she began as a “weather girl” who, late at night after her shifts, learned how to operate cameras and edit text. Hard work accompanied the myriad of accolades she received, and led her to being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of fame. Julie Chen who anchored CBS Morning News began her career as an intern answering phones and copying faxes for distribution.

… and then there was SHARYL ATTKISSON who graduated from Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida,

and in 1982 earned a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Florida!

ATTKISSON began her career at the age of 22 as a reporter at WUFT-TV, the PBS station in Gainesville, Florida!  From 1990 – 1993 Attkisson was an anchor for CNN, and at that time also served as key anchor for CBS space coverage in 1993. Her accolades include the following: Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Finalist for her piece on “Dangerous Drug Days in 2000” and the TRNDA-Edward R. Murrow awards in 2008 for overall excellence in investigative reporting. She also co-authored a college textbook entitled, “Writing Right for Broadcast and Internet News“.


Attkisson continued to receive numerous awards and accolades for her tremendous contributions in investigative reporting, especially during 2010 – 2017, even though several of the works produced created tremendous political controversy.

“Journalism can never be silent; that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak,

immediately while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph,

and the signs of horror are still in the air.” ~ Albert Camus

So what are the steps to becoming a broadcast journalist? Many aspiring journalists first gain experience by taking high school journalism courses and getting involved  in their high school newspaper and news programs. Discussions often occur with career advisors regarding what trends in online video and radio might produce the most promising opportunities. While earning a Bachelor’s degree in college, students take classes in production, scripts, newswriting, media studies and mass communications, including social networking media like podcasting. In practicum courses students frequently work in on-campus studios, radio stations and editing suites where they practice all aspects of contributing to news programming. Internships both in college and after are critical in sharpening skills and building resumes.




Possible Activities Include…

  • touring a facility tour that will help students to understand the many variables involved in operating a local news station , ranging from technology to personnel.
  • simulating an actual news broadcast using scripts and teleprompters.
  • delivering the weather via the “green screen”.
  • observing the simulated broadcasts from the Control room.


Most students, be it in middle school or high school, struggle with choosing careers they are interested in. Those who do have an idea of what career they would like to pursue believe that they must make a choice between interests. But oftentimes those interests can be merged. For example, even a surgeon has the potential to become a journalist in that medical staff oftentimes publish or report on the latest advancements in medicine. They may even host a television show focusing on medical issues. Possessing the ability to write and speak lends itself to a myriad of careers that can be “connected”. According to The Guardian (“So you want to work in Television”), the skills needed are diverse and include:

  • an interest in people, news, current affairs and a good general knowledge
  • excellent written and oral communication skills
  • the ability to work under pressure, both within teams and individually
  • excellent interviewing and listening skills
  • tenacity, persistence, resourcefulness and creative problem solving
  • the ability to generate original ideas and the confidence and skills to promote those ideas

Understanding the connections between desired career paths and what is being taught in the classroom are essential to both increased student achievement as well as to the development of a trained community-based workforce. Relevance is key! When teachers, students, and parents can assess meaningful connections and transfer that knowledge from class to real world, everyone benefits.

THE EDUCATION FOUNDATION OF SARASOTA COUNTY is serving as the coordinating organization for the EdExploreSRQ Interactive (or Experiential) Career Series. 


SC.68.CS-PC. 2.6, SC.68.CS-PC 2.8, SC.68.CS-PC 1.1, LAFS.68.RH.1.2, LAFS.68.RST.3.9, MAFS.K12.MP.3, MAFS.K12.MP.1.1, SS.8.FL.1, CIP.0614130100, Program #: 8401100

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