Spring NewsTeam wrap-up: Inside WCCO and the Teen Tech Center

End of the school year already? Believe it.

Our spring after-school NewsTeam wrapped earlier this month with an awesome field trip to WCCO in downtown Minneapolis. Our visit coincided with a day of breaking news — more terrible April weather (OK, maybe not so “breaking”) and a shooting incident in Eden Prairie. Our students watched from the control room as editorial decisions were made on-the-fly before heading to the floor for the rest of the 6 p.m. newscast.

Afterward, Frank Vascellaro, Amelia Santaniello and Jason DeRusha graciously took time to field questions and share insider tips about their craft. We also watched them tape Minnesota Wild playoff promos — which ultimately didn’t help the team beat the Chicago Blackhawks — but were still pretty cool to see!

Chatting with the wonderful WCCO team was the culmination of a nine-week Journalism 101 class that hopefully instilled a greater love of writing, interviewing and researching in our class of eight amazing students. Six of them also contributed their first piece to our May print issue.

It was a perfect marriage, really. Our class was held at the downtown Minneapolis Central Library, which recently opened its new Best Buy Teen Tech Center. Our students spent two weeks inside the TTC observing staff, talking with teens and brainstorming multiple angles for a collaborative feature. Also, because of Mother Nature’s continued cruelty on several snow-covered Thursdays in April, they also learned how to adapt and improvise like a true journalist.

Special thanks to the Minneapolis Central Library staff (especially Teen Central librarian/snack provider Cynthia Matthias), StarTribune features reporter Katie Humphrey and ThreeSixty volunteer/parent extraordinaire Joe Pastoor for all their generosity. And a HUGE shout-out to our fantastic NewsTeam students: Thomas Aldrich (FAIR Minneapolis), Rachid Chiboub (Columbia Heights), Ellie Colbert (Washburn), Gabrielle Cordes (Delano), Jessica Enwesi (Southwest), Hannah Gordon (Washburn), Elizabeth Hogshire (FAIR Minneapolis) and Megan Johnson (FAIR Minneapolis).

We hope you enjoy their continued work for us!

— Thomas Rozwadowski, ThreeSixty editor