Students from eight schools across the island have so far participated in a School Outreach Programme organized by the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ).
Implemented in September 2011, the programme is designed to sensitise students about developments in the local broadcasting industry; new media such as social networks, text messaging, blogs and the impact on broadcasting; the switchover from analogue to digital transmission in 2015; and as well as educate them about the Commission’s role and mandate.
“We touched on new media versus traditional media and its impact on them and what it means to young people working in this new economy,” said Information and Public Relations Officer of the BCJ, Nicole Morrison.
“We examined topics such as payola, managing your digital self, careers in the digital economy and at the same time, we educate them on the role of the Broadcasting Commission and how they can play a part in the regulation of the electronic media,” she told JIS News.
Students targeted are from grades 5 and 6 in the primary schools and grades 10 and 11 in the high schools.
According to Miss Morrison, the one-hour long session with the students involves a multi-media presentation followed by a lively 30-minute question and answer segment led by a representative of the BCJ.
“The students are allowed to discuss whatever it is that comes up, whether it relates to the presentation itself, or just the Commission or anything about electronic media,” she added.
Miss Morrison noted that while primary school students are more interested in career opportunities in a digital economy, students at the secondary level were keen on learning more about payola, which is paying disc jockeys for playing songs or music videos.
“The high schools students, surprisingly, they are very interested in the effects and the impact of payola. We seem to have a lot of students that are interested in the music industry and that kind of business, so they are very interested in payola and the effects and what the Commission is doing in terms of getting legislation against payola,” she informed.
Miss Morrison said the Commission is aiming to visit some 16 schools by the completion of the first segment of the programme at the end of March.
The schools that have already participated in the programme are: Lawrence Tavern Primary, St. Andrew; Half-Way-Tree Primary and Papine High in Kingston; Kensington Primary in Portmore, St. Catherine; Troy Primary, Trelawny; Ruseas High, Hanover; Knox College, Clarendon; and St. Thomas Technical High, St. Thomas. The next visit is scheduled for Oracabessa High School in St. Mary.
By Elain Hartman Reckord, JIS Reporter