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ABC 27 teams up with Leon High students for News Literacy Week project

Posted at 5:23 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 17:23:45-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The News Literacy Project, ABC 27, and The E.W. Scripps Company are teaming up to launch a national public awareness campaign to promote news literacy and the role of a free press in American democracy.

This comes as information – and misinformation – surge around recent national events.

As part of The News Literacy Project, ABC 27 teamed with Leon High School journalism students, Chamber Miller and Peyton Gallant to tell the story of food insecurity and its impacts on children in the Big Bend.

ABC 27 talked to the aspiring journalists to get their take on what they've learned while participating in the project.

First Question: You are both student journalists with your high school paper, what made you join?

Leon High Senior, Chambers Miller

Writing is the first thing I ever remember feeling passionate about and so in 9th grade, I joined The Leon High Life. It was in room 226 that I learned how to tell, not just my own stories, but those of the community around me. I became captivated by the idea that I could use my voice as a writer to give a voice to someone else’s experiences.

[The] Newspaper also provided me with an outlet to express my own opinions and engage others in important conversations about them. I believe that journalism at every level is crucial to the function of society and helping to facilitate that in the Leon community helps foster that same understanding in my peers. Journalists have the power to bring awareness to struggle and injustice in a way that no other occupation does.

For me, writing is the perfect combination of expressing my own passion while educating others and helping to make the world a better place.

Leon High Junior, Peyton Gallant

I joined [the] newspaper at Leon after being in my middle school's journalism program, as an anchor for our morning news, and this led me to joining the Leon High Life Newspaper because I enjoy interviewing and learning about everyone’s story because everyone has a story to tell and being a journalist serves as a medium for telling the stories the world needs to know.

Q: Why did you agree to be part of this project?

Leon High Senior, Chambers Miller

This project offered me an incredibly unique experience that I was so excited to be a part of. It’s always been my dream to work as a journalist after college and next year I start that journey as a student at The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs.

This partnership with WTXL is one of my first experiences with journalism in the “real world” and offered me a great opportunity to learn from professionals. Additionally, food insecurity in the Tallahassee community is an issue that I have great knowledge of and feel passionate about solving.

This story is an important part of increasing awareness and ultimately helping all of those that are struggling.

Leon High Junior, Peyton Gallant

I agreed to be a part of this project because I felt not only was the issue so important to highlight and inform the community about but using the angle about food insecurity in children, from the perspective of fellow students, can create a perspective that otherwise could be lost.

Q: What have you learned that you didn’t know about childhood hunger?

Leon High Senior, Chambers Miller

While I did have a lot of prior knowledge on food insecurity because of my mother’s job as the director of a non-profit, I never knew the heartbreaking amount of youth in our community that struggle with it. Hearing those numbers was really shocking.

Leon High Junior, Peyton Gallant

I always knew that childhood hunger was an issue, but I never realized the scope of the issue and how widespread and difficult it can be for the organizations who want to help these children to actually do so. I also never knew how big the stigma around the acceptance of charitable food was for children.

Q: What do you hope people will gain from your story? What do you want them to learn?

Leon High Senior, Chambers Miller

I hope that this story reflects not just the incredible need that so many community members have for relief from food insecurity, but also the dedication of Leon County organizations and leaders to providing that relief. I want my peers to gain a deeper understanding of just how close this issue is to home and I want to inspire them to join the fight because no one deserves to go to bed hungry.

Leon High Junior, Peyton Gallant

I hope people will gain as much as I did for this story, I hope they will use the information they learn to better themselves by helping if they can, and if they are in need of the resources we talked about, I hope they learn where they can get help and realize that it’s ok to sometimes ask for help.

Their story will air on ABC 27's 6 p.m. newscast on Friday, January 29, 2021.