Last week, The Harriton Banner, was ecstatic to receive a phone call from Jennifer Lynn, a journalist, producer, and announcer at Philadelphia’s own WHYY. She had read Sydney Soll’s, our feature editor, article about studying for midterms, “Surviving Midterms: Tips from a Pro Test-Taker,” and wanted to follow up with a few more questions…on air. This would mark the Banner’s first venture into professional journalism, let alone broadcast journalism. “I was kind of surprised because I didn’t think too much of the article when I wrote it,” said Sydney, “but it was great to be recognized and have a chance to go on air!”
Sydney spoke with Mrs. Lynn on Friday over the phone (Mrs. Lynn was calling from a recording studio), offering her perspective on midterms’ purpose and some study tips for the dreaded exams. She confirmed that midterms are a valid assessment of how much a student has learned thus far, but contended that the tests should not be as stressful as many students make them out to be.
As an IB student with an arduous course load, it may seem surprising that Sydney would actually encourage others to relax a bit during midterm week. Yet, she remarked that she does her best studying when relaxed, citing going out to lunch after school and taking naps as ways that students could unwind during this otherwise-strenuous week.
“Midterms are a time to see what you’ve learned, study, and put it all out there,” said Sydney, during her interview. She also made the point that teachers do want students to do well on these exams, and after weeks of much preparation, “at this point, it’s all in the hands of the students.”
After Sydney and Mrs. Lynn’s conversation, all of which was recorded to air Tuesday morning on WHYY’s news, The Harriton Banner was able to ask Mrs. Lynn a few questions ourselves. For starters, how did she find Sydney’s article?
As it turns out, Mrs. Lynn actually spotted Sydney’s article in Ramblings, the weekly parent newsletter in which The Harriton Banner is featured. As a radio broadcaster, “we have the luxury to use sound to tell the story,” Mrs. Lynn commented, mentioning Sydney’s article’s thoughtful voice and “advice-column”-like style as features that piqued her interest for the radio.
We also asked Mrs. Lynn how she became involved with radio. Though she was not on her high school’s newspaper, at the time she had wanted to take photos for the publication and there were already students doing so, she began her reporting career in college at Boston University. She advised aspiring journalists to be well versed in all mediums of journalism in today’s competitive job market. Photography, videography, and of course writing itself; today, news and radio stations expect journalists to know how to use every channel of news.
Considering The Banner’s recent transition to an online daily, our staff also asked Mrs. Lynn if and how she has seen the Internet impact broadcast journalism. She mentioned that WHYY’s website has brought a whole new audience to the station, as anyone can listen to the recordings of each show online.
And finally, what advice did she have for a humble high school newspaper trying to engage its students? Continue to utilize social media and try and connect your stories to larger-picture issues, said Mrs. Lynn. She also encouraged every student at Harriton to pay close attention to the news. “If you don’t follow the news, you’re really walking through life with blinders on,” she said. “News is a way to hear the world, find perspective, and find a place in the world.” We could not agree more.
To listen to Sydney’s two clips on WHYY, click on the audio players at the top of this article. Be sure to tune in to WHYY (FM 90.9) morning news. Of course for all Harriton news, visit The Harriton Banner online.