The Ranger Report is on the air

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Linda Dillman
Hamilton Township High School student producers Olivia Taylor (left) and Josh Kennedy (center) along with advisor Byron Allgood (right) prepare for a broadcast of the student-led Ranger Report news show.

From a makeshift studio in a Hamilton Township High School choir room, the next generation of broadcasters is bringing news of the world and the school to fellow students on a weekly basis.

The Ranger Report is a student-run club, created by graduate Mariam Najeeb and junior Olivia Taylor, that develops and broadcasts four segments—school news, world news, sports, and an entertaining, fun segment—during a Friday free-period throughout the school.

“We began this club with a budget of $100 for props and materials, two iPhone cameras, an advisor who believed we could do it, and a burning passion to make our school a better place,” said Taylor. “The Ranger Report is strictly a club, and although we are only two years into making videos, talks of creating a class with credits and more expensive equipment are already in the works. It aims to create fun, diverse, informative videos catered to our students and staff.”

In 2022, Taylor said she and Najeeb realized students and staff were unaware of what was going on, most often by ignoring daily announcements whether it was spirit days, extracurricular and academic opportunities, or even days off.

“The majority of our school population, to put it simply, just did not know,” said Taylor. “Since eighth grade I noticed how confusing and chaotic the information in our school was passed around, and when I met Mariam my sophomore year, she felt the same exact way. We both also felt that our school had no idea of the current events that were happening at that time—any information on the Russia-Ukraine war—and so we put our brains together and took about three months to compile The Ranger Report and hold auditions.”

Teachers and students alike watch the show in their classrooms—they are broadcast on a YouTube channel after a final check by advisor Byron Allgood. Along with the news segments, there are also interactive aspects, such as online voting and student/staff interviews.

Allgood, who is the school district’s inclusivity coordinator, said the Ranger Report is truly a student-led endeavor and the only thing he does is look over the video content before it goes live on-air. Only a couple of times has he recommended changes.

“Liv and Mariam started talking about the lack of communication and I remembered the old Channel One when I was in school,” recalled Allgood. “I thought it would be a great idea. Just walking around, you could see people weren’t paying attention to the announcements. Now, students and teachers are paying more attention.”

Not unlike the work and research that goes into a professional newscast, a team of student researchers are tasked with ferreting out stories and citing sources. On Monday, videos are filmed with anchors using scripts created the previous week.

“We have two school news anchors, two world news anchors, two sports news anchors, and four fun segment anchors,” said Taylor. “The world and school news anchors switch every single week to ensure that we are including as many passionate people in this club as possible. After we film all of these clips, we send them to our editor so that he can begin to edit the video.”

Taylor and fellow student Josh Kennedy serve as co-producers and even pinch hit as anchors.

“From the moment our club was started, both Mariam and I valued the fact that we had created a platform to let our school population know of news–both locally and internationally,” said Taylor. “We were never shy to incorporate political happenings, humanitarian crises, and current events that even students our age should be aware of.”

Involved in 16 extracurricular activities at her school, leading isn’t something new to Taylor, whose post-secondary plans include a political science degree from The Ohio State University followed by a law degree.

She said her school experience helped her learn the depths of being a leader and what that responsibility fully entails. However, being a leader for the Ranger Report Club is entirely different, according to Taylor.

“This club is 100 percent student-run,” said Taylor. “We do everything ourselves. When one is asked to think of a leader, they usually imagine a mean, hard boss. While I can be hard on our staff with due dates and assignments, I genuinely put all of my trust into every single student in The Ranger Report. This was the most challenging aspect of being a producer, for sure.”

Taylor said it is easier said than done to delegate power and to trust those to whom you are delegating. She said she was afraid to trust other people with something she cares so deeply about, but once Taylor realized they cared just as much as she does, trusting everyone in the club became a much easier task.

Because of his involvement in The Ranger Report, Kennedy plans to major in communications at Ohio University with the hopes of becoming a director or producer in a broadcast newsroom.

And although her experience with The Ranger Report is not leading Taylor to consider a career in communications or journalism, being a part of the club has taught her how to manage a heavy workload, delegate power to those she trusts, and be a part of something bigger than herself.

Watch the current and past episodes of The Ranger Report on YouTube at HTHS News.

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