Explorer Post 5: Initiative and Resourcefulness

Never discount youthful initiative and resourcefulness.

The Explorer Post 5 Advisor team was reminded of that during our first ever virtual season of WRAL Post 5.

None of us expected this version of Post 5 to be extraordinary, we just wanted what everyone else in an organization going through a year of “unprecedented events”… we wanted to maintain as much normalcy as possible.

What we found instead was that meeting in a virtual format allowed the members to do more than they could before.  Case in point:

Post 5 members were asked to come up with story ideas.  Things they thought were important and needed to be reported on – they came up with two topics, “Student Resource Officers in Schools / Pro or Con” and “Student Mental Health and the Stigma Surrounding It”.

Meredith Bateman

Meredith Bateman (a freshman at NCSU) conducts an interview via Zoom about Student Mental Health.

Then we challenged them to find subjects on both sides of the SRO topic, as well as people who could speak on Student Mental Health issues.  And they answered that call very well!

We counseled them on dressing in a professional matter, and dealing with guests in our Zoom meeting with respect and courtesy.  This resulted in a first for WRAL Post 5.

Student led interviews recorded in a “live” fashion, for editing and insertion into a report that they can write and produce themselves.

Now that’s the kind of “unprecedented event” everyone wants to be a part of!

But there’s more:

Jared Dixon, a student at Southeast High School in Raleigh, made history over the weekend… He became the first Post 5 member to ever shoot a breaking news event, deliver footage and all of the important details to the WRAL Newsroom.  That story aired on the WRAL 6pm News on Saturday, August 24th.

Post 5 Story

A shot from Jared’s story as it aired on WRAL’s 6PM News.

Jared, who follows Raleigh Wake 911 on Twitter, saw that the accident had just occurred.  And that it wasn’t far from where he lives.

“Jared showed tremendous initiative not only in getting the surveillance video and gathering great crash scene shots, but also providing us with contact info for one of the crash victims,” Erin Semankis, WRAL TV Weekend Assignment Editor said. “It was all edited so well, we used it on air as is to tell a good visual story. The weekend producer was so impressed, she made sure to get into the 6pm.

What’s even more impressive is the tremendous initiative Jared used by getting a copy of the actual car crash from the convenience store surveillance camera. He impressed us with his maturity, treating first responders on the scene with respect, and operating with the care and professionalism of someone with years of experience.

Convenience store footage

Jared worked with the owner of the convenience store and shot footage of the surveillance camera.

“I follow Raleigh Wake 911 on Twitter, and I didn’t hesitate when I saw that first responders were there,” Jared recounted his experience to members at the latest Post 5 meeting, “and there were no other TV stations there either, so I went ahead and set up across the street.”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Ken Smith, a Post 5 Advisor, remarked to those in attendance, “I want you to know what a big deal this is.  For a high school student to get his video played on the news.

“I mean,” he continued, “this is not some access channel that we’re talking about.  This is WRAL, and we only put quality video on the air… you (speaking directly to Jared now) broke the story young man, and the news was basically following you!”

Jared Dixon

Jared Dixon, a freshman at Southeast High School, tells Post 5 members on Zoom about his breaking news story.

“I’ve wanted to be a news photographer for a long time,” Jared was clear on his plans for the future.

The Post 5 team is clear on that as well!

“This is a big year of ‘firsts’, 2020 may have been bad because of the pandemic, but it definitely has been a breakout year for Post 5,” Post 5 Advisor Steve Elizondo is quick to point out, “this is an amazing group of young people.  They’ve taken what could have been viewed as a detriment to their experience and have made it better.”

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Steve Elizondo for this Capcom story & these Capcom photos.

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