CPBN’s Media Lab Competing for the Pepsi Refresh Project

Release Date: 07/28/2010

Engaging Connecticut's Young Minds

The CPBN (Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network) Media Lab recently passed the first stage of a nation-wide competition called “The Pepsi Refresh Project” – launched by Pepsi, encouraging people to do good for others. With the help of Pepsi’s “Refresh grants,” ranging from $5,000 to $250,000, individuals, businesses and/or nonprofit organizations can create and later submit project ideas demonstrating how they will contribute time, skills and resources for the betterment of their local communities.
 
The CPBN Media Lab decided to make the most out of this opportunity and participate, aiming for the top competitive grant of $250,000. The goal is to expand its media education program for middle school students by creating satellite media labs throughout Connecticut. If the Media Lab pilot program acquires the most votes in the online nation-wide contest, it will provide free professional equipment, training and mentoring to three middle schools in Connecticut.
 
The grant will be used to purchase equipment including lights, microphones, tripod, a Sony EX-3 HD video camera and a dual monitor Dell computer with Adobe CS5 Production Premium suite software, which includes industry standard design and motion programs, Photoshop and After Effects, along with the non-linear editing program Premiere Pro. With these tools, along with professional training and mentoring of teachers and staff, students will learn how to undertake their own media projects over the course of a year, producing, shooting and editing their work. The extensive resources of CPTV, long recognized as Connecticut’s storyteller, will be made available to the students to enrich their stories.
 
“Media is like magic to students today.” said Paul Pfeffer, CPBN’s manager of online content. “Having grown up in this media age, they have had countless opportunities to see how authority figures look, sound and communicate. When they adopt those roles they measure their performance by that standard. To succeed, students will study harder, research more thoroughly, and learn to present their ideas more clearly, life skills that will enhance their classroom performance in their core curriculum. Texting, tweeting, photo-sharing, and a never-ending compliment of online tools make communication of the mundane and profound deceptively easy. What is often communicated is opinion. What is often missing is context; context that truthfully, fairly and accurately reports. In essence, what is missing is the application of the tools of the journalist.”
 
The CPBN Media Lab proposal targets middle school students because they have already had communication experience as “digital natives.” The pairing of new technology and time-tested journalism techniques for this age group will have countless benefits. Earning the Refresh grant would also aid the Media Lab’s goal of developing ethical, professional journalists for the 21st century.
 
Using the grant, the Media Lab will provide on-site and online support to these schools, offering technical “boot camps” and giving students and staff tours of the CPBN Media Lab in Hartford. Students’ work will be displayed online and at the CPBN Media Lab Student Film Festival.
 
The CPBN Media Lab’s desire to extend the use of technological tools to students throughout Connecticut’s school systems stems from our dedication to education, collaboration and community engagement.  Children in this program will gain professional experience, from immersive hands-on learning, which they otherwise would not have the opportunity to receive.
 
If approved, the CPBN Media Lab’s satellite project idea will be ready for viewing and voting by the public starting August 1, 2010. Votes can be submitted online at www.refresheverything.com.
 
About the CPBN Media Lab
The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN) Media Lab’s goal is to create 21st century journalists. It is a service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN), parent company of Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) and Connecticut Public Radio (WNPR). Over the past two years, the CPBN Media Lab has provided real world technical and journalism training for over 200 Connecticut students, from undergraduate and postgraduate college students in our internship program and through seminars, workshops and Media 101 courses for high school students and the Future Producers Academy for middle school students. The CPBN Media Lab has produced multi-part web original series on metal bats in Little League baseball, Foul Play; the history, facts and the promise of young voters participating in the democratic process, Youth Vote; and the history and effects of political corruption in Connecticut, Corrupticut. Online features include, Working in Paradise, the story of a naturalist in Bonaire and Human Cloning, a report detailing the medical and ethical issues and profiles of the Newington Children's Theatre Company and the UConn Pep Band. The Media Lab produced a documentary airing on the Connecticut Sports Network (CTSN) about four Connecticut based high school teams and their efforts in the FIRST robotics competition called RoboNation: CT FIRST. Current projects include the Outdoor Enthusiast and (I)NTERVIEW, a series of conversations with Connecticut’s most recognizable people – literally, “names you know, stories you don’t.”
About Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network
The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CBPN) includes CPTV and WNPR. CPTV, a media service of CPBN, is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women’s Basketball, original documentariesand educational programming. CPTV has built a reputation as a leader in children’s programming, including playing an historic role in bringing Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™ and Thomas & Friends™ to public television. The station offers 11 hours of positive, nurturing children’s programs each weekday, reaching 50,000 to 70,000 households daily.
 
CBPN also includes WNPR, an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. WNPR serves over 200,000 listeners weekly in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island with news and information. Its award-winning local programming includes The Faith Middleton Show and Where We Live. Overall, the network brings a broad spectrum of public affairs, entertainment, sports and educational programming to viewers, listeners and readers. For more information, visit www.cpbn.org.
 
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