Columbia conference reveals new media tips

Dec 16th, 2013 | By | Category: About Us
Fifth Formers Keonwoo Kim and Charlie Wu stand in front of the Columbia University library during the field trip. Photo by LMW

Fifth Formers Keonwoo Kim and Charlie Wu stand in front of the Columbia University library during the field trip. Photo by LMW

Compiled from staff reports

The media is an ever-changing landscape these days and keeping up with those changes isn’t an easy task.

The Pigtail and Cardinal News Network had the opportunity to travel to New York City for a high school journalism conference Nov. 4 offered by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and learn about some of the new things happening in media on a professional and scholastic level.

The conference is held annually at Columbia University and offers students an opportunity to attend five different workshop sessions on a variety of topics.

Two students, Keonwoo Rim and Yu “Charlie” Wu, joined adviser Ms. Lynn Mellis Worthington at the conference.

Both students said they learned a lot at the sessions they attended. One on staff management was impressive to both.

Keonwoo said one of the memorable ones was on design.

“It is hard to follow the trends (in design),” he said, but noted that it is important to keep up with the changes.

Use of social media is becoming a requirement for high school newspapers. Ms. Mellis Worthington said that several sessions stressed this and so when she returned to campus, she created a Twitter and Instagram account for the Cardinal News Network. She encourages students to connect with both accounts.

Any students who would like to write for The Pigtail or CdNN, take photos or create videos should contact Ms. Mellis Worthington.


Chaucer revisited again this year

Dec 7th, 2013 | By | Category: About Us, DC Class, South Kent Community, Student News

Video by Keonwoo Rim, DigCom I

Head Prefect Billy Hoadley watches and listens closely as each new student recites Chaucer. LMW photo

Head Prefect Billy Hoadley watches and listens closely as each new student recites Chaucer. LMW photo

The Digital Communications I class has examined the tradition of reciting Chaucer’s Prologue to the “Canterbury Tales.” This year was a historic one for the school, as students completed the Chaucer Challenge earlier than ever before with the Third Form and Post-Grads tying for first place in having each new student complete the recitation.

The Chaucer tradition is not one that extends back to the beginnings of the school. It was actually thought to have begun under the direction of English teacher Lester Wittenberg. Students had to learn to recite it for his English class and as those students got older they probably decided that it was something that all students should do, according to long-time faculty member Charlie Whittemore, from the Class of 1939.

The tradition dates back to the 1940s. Chuck Everett, Class of 1949, remembered in 2004 that it began while he was in school. He remembers coaching 30 new boys through the recitation. Back then, Chaucer was performed on Skit Night at the Playhouse. In between the skits, each new boy would get up and recite the poem. It was performed on Halloween and the next day was All Saints’ Day, which was a school holiday for the boys.
Video by Alex Popov


Digital Communications Classes

Nov 6th, 2013 | By | Category: About Us, DC Class

The Cardinal News Network was launched in 2010 as the product of South Kent School’s Digital Communications class. Students now publish their work from the class and it is designed to be a forum for the school community, a natural extension of the communication enjoyed for years through The Pigtail, the student newspaper.

Some years there have been two levels of classes producing work, Digital Communications I and Advanced Digital Communications. The instruction is designed to teach basic journalistic principles (such as objectivity, fairness and accuracy), while showing students how to put these principles into practice in print and online. Skills are developed in reporting, interviewing, writing and editing. Advanced DigCom adds new layers of knowledge about online communications and documentary video production. The web site is a vehicle to showcase the students’ work.

This year (2013-14) we’ve added a new class, Embedded Journalism, to the network to cover Center for Innovation (CFI) classes.

Our goal is to produce multimedia stories at least once per month. Students develop their own story ideas, research and report to “tell the story” in text, video and stills.

Video production is a major component to both courses and students learn skills in filming, editing and producing by shooting actual classes and putting together multi-segmented shows for viewing online.

Our school is an all-iPad school and the students are required to use the various forms of technology in their projects for the web site.

Contact the Cardinal News Network at

Online Comments Policy

Nov 6th, 2013 | By | Category: About Us, DC Class

We encourage readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of the Cardinal News Network and The Pigtail. Comments will be pre-moderated by the advisor and may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy.

Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article they are about. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is not permitted.

A comment will be deleted if:

  • The comment attacks a name or identified person or group unreasonably;
  • The comment makes readers unreasonably uncomfortable on the basis of one’s race, gender, religion, disability, ethnicity, and sexual orientation or otherwise.
  • The comment attacks personally any school employee.
  • The comment contains obscenities or sexual explicitness.
  • It is determined the comment was made under a false name or uses another person’s name or email address.
  • The comment threatens or encourages violence.
  • The comment encourages illegal behavior.
  • The comment violates copyright or privacy protections.

Embedded Journalism joins CdNN

Oct 1st, 2013 | By | Category: About Us, CFI, Student News
Fifth Former Mickey Watson interviews members of the Blacksmithing class at CFI.

Fifth Former Mickey Watson interviews members of the Blacksmithing class at CFI.

A new course offered through the Center for Innovation, Embedded Journalism, will be adding to the reports from the Cardinal News Network (CdNN). Students are working to create video documentaries on six different CFI classes.

Kieran Bracken is featuring a look at Environmental Watchdogs, which is led by Mr. Brian Newsome. Mickey Watson is doing a report on Blacksmithing, which is led by Mr. Loren Sanborn and Mrs. Emily Sanborn. Trail Building with Mr. Tim Henderson is being covered by Avery Steele.

Farming and sustainable agriculture with Ms. Tonya Taylor and Mr. Kasey Clark is being featured by Weijia “Brian” Ren. Keonwoo Rim is directing his report on Alternative Energy Systems, led by Mr. Steve Zoeller. Zachary Sanchez is exploring (Open Source Software Development (OSSD) that is being led by Mr. Marcus Cooper.

Two writers honored by CSPA for columns

Apr 8th, 2013 | By | Category: About Us, South Kent Community, Student News
Wikipedia was one of the web sites that went "black" Wednesday as a form of protest.

Wikipedia was one of the web sites that went “black” in 2012 as a form of protest against SOPA.

Two student writers were honored by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association  for their work in the digital media category of the 30th Gold Circle Awards program.

In the category of “non-fiction column” two writers for the Cardinal News Network/The Pigtail were awarded.

Miguel Rojas ’12 won third place in the category for a column he wrote,”Concerned by SOPA and PIPA.”  It can be seen at

A Certificate of Merit  was awarded to Jake Cho ’13 for his column, “Experiencing challenges,” on his experience at High Mountain Institute.  His article can be read at

cspa-logoThis year there were 5503 entries in the CSPA contest from work produced by students at colleges, universities and secondary schools throughout the United States.

Judges cited a total of 755 winners for either First, Second or Third Place or for Certificates of Merit for those deemed worthy of honorable mention in a category.

Entries were accepted from student digital media publications published from November 2, 2011 through November 1, 2012. Student journalists working on these print or electronic media chose from 51 digital media categories for individual or staff entries.

For the complete list of awards, see



DigCom students create driving PSAs

Feb 17th, 2013 | By | Category: About Us, DC Class, Student News

The group of videos created as Public Service Announcements on teen driving.

The group of videos created as Public Service Announcements on teen driving.

Students in the Digital Communications I classes were challenged to create 25-second Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to enter into the state of Connecticut’s annual Safe Teen Driving contest. Students were required to address two driving laws and feature two teens in their video and the theme was “Teen Safe Driving: Are You In?”

A panel of judges on campus helped select the winner of the SKS internal contest. Senior Cam Loomis of Morris, CT, earned top marks, followed by post-grads Braiten Madrigal and Brandon McCarthy. Cam won a $25 iTunes card.

Which do you think is the best?

Click the link above to see the playlist of videos created. You can also click on the thumbs up in the YouTube frame to vote.

The state contest winners will be announced in March.

Students in DigCom and CFI create promo videos

Feb 17th, 2013 | By | Category: About Us, DC Class, Student News


Some of the students in the CFI class.

Three students, who are in both the Center for Innovation (CFI) class and the Digital Communications I class, were challenged to create a promotional video to encourage donations to a funding project to raise $100,000 to build a large timber frame building on the CFI campus.

Kevin Butler, a sixth former from Bridgewater, CT, earned the top marks in the internal contest held to encourage the students to do their best work. He was presented with a $25 iTunes gift card.

The other two entries were from Brian Farrell of Boca Raton, FL, and Devon McLaughlin of New Milford, CT.

The video requirements were 2 minutes or less in length and they were to be designed to enlist financial support.

The school plans to launch a page on Kickstarter or another crowd-source funding type of site to help raise the funds and Kevin’s video will be featured.

DigCom classes visit FoxCT station

Feb 12th, 2013 | By | Category: About Us, DC Class, Student News

DigCom students from SKS that attended the FoxCT workshop Feb. 7. LMW photo.

The Digital Communications classes had a unique opportunity to visit a television news station and a print/web newsroom and hear from professional journalists about how to improve their multimedia stories.

On Feb. 7, 12 students and two faculty members traveled to FoxCT in the heart of Hartford, CT, for a workshop offered to high school students in the state.

Greg Davis, a post-grad from Piscataway, NJ, said he found the information presented useful.

“I learned a lot of information about video editing and tips that I can use to enhance my videos in making them better,” Greg said. “I also learned that I can’t use an entire song piece without the approval from the rightful owner. I can break it up into segments, but overall not (use) more than 30 seconds worth.”

One of the most popular parts of the presentation was when news anchor Erica Arias spoke to the students. Several mentioned that they learned a lot from her.

Nolan Long, a post-grad from Waterford, CT, said he found her use of Twitter interesting. She is @EricaAriasFoxCT.

“She tweets all the breaking news stories when they actually happen,” he said. “If you have Twitter, and you follow her, you can get the news before the actual news comes on the TV.”

Braiten Madrigal, a post-grad from Los Angeles, CA, was one of the students to have a Twitter conversation with Arias.

Shane Rector, a sixth former from Bronx, NY, also found Arias’ talk useful.

“She knew the game very well and broke down certain things and shared with us certain things regular students wouldn’t have the source of knowledge to find out themselves,” he said.

Kevin Butler, a sixth former from Bridgewater, CT, said Arias gave them a glimpse into the role of a professional reporter.

“It was the unexpected that sold the South Kent boys, when Erica, Fox’s morning news anchor, gave the down low about the rigorous lifestyle of a reporter.”

Several students remarked on the candid information shared about how being a professional journalist is not a 9-to-5 type job. Arias said she is at the office by 4 a.m. and is on the air by 5 a.m.

“You’re constantly working and also working on weekends and holidays. There’s no set time for news and there’s news stories breaking every second,” said Greg. “If you want to be part of that business you have to be willing to make sacrifices and work hard if you want to be successful.”

Braiten, said he learned quite a bit from Mike Piskorski, who is the director of photography at FoxCT.

“Mike Piskorski is an example of a guy who has worked his way up and has had a lot of different experience in different jobs that are needed on the news set. He gone from interviews to cameras to writing and creating scripts,” Braiten said. “He gave a very well put together presentation, which told us the importance of things like being professional, being punctual, and creative.”

There was also technical information shared with students.

“He taught us the proper way to film an interview and keys to making your interviewee feel more comfortable and also different angles to film at, so it’s not the same way the whole time,” Braiten said about Piskorski.

Regarding videos for the web, it was recommended that 90 seconds is now considered too long. Students were told they should be aiming for 30-45 second videos.

“Shorter videos are more appealing on the web and grabbing the reader’s attention early is a key to trying to keep someone on your site,” Shane said.

Social media was also one of the topics.

“I learned about social media and how social networks are becoming the new sources of information. It’s quick and available to the public. Anybody can use it and its very useful in spreading news around very quickly,” Greg said.

One of the highlights was a tour of the newsroom and the control room.

“It was awesome to see behind the scenes of a news station that my family and I watch all the time,” Nolan said. “One of the things that interested me the most was the control room, with all of the TV’s and computers, where the producers tell the anchors everything through their ear pieces.”

The television news set has remote-controlled cameras.

“I had no idea there were that many cameras on a news set. There had to be over a dozen cameras!” Nolan said.

The format of the workshop did not appeal to all of the students, as the presenters gave powerpoint presentations that did not allow for much interactivity or hands-on type learning.

“The whole workshop could have been improved if they had us moving around a little more, for teens it really becomes a challenge to stay focused after sitting in the same seat for a three-hour time frame,” Shane said.

There was general agreement that much of the information was helpful.

Richard O’Shaughnessy, a sixth former from New Milford, CT, remarked that some of it was not new.

“Most of what we heard today was reiteration of what Ms. Worthington has taught us.” said Richard.

Advanced DigCom student Anil Ozer, a sixth former from Turkey, agreed.

“Almost all of the information they presented are the things that we have covered in the class either last or this year,” Anil said.

Most agreed that it was a worthwhile field trip.

“Overall it was a great experience for the Dig Com class to attend this event and we definitely got some valuable information that will help us in our future videos,” Braiten said.

(Contributions to this story were from Kevin Butler, Greg Davis, Nolan Long, Braiten Madrigal, Anil Ozer and Shane Rector.)

Learning from pros and profs

Oct 29th, 2012 | By | Category: About Us, DC Class, South Kent Community, Student News

Digital Communications students attend Symposium

A group of eight DigCom students traveled to Norwalk for the Sixth Annual High School Journalism Symposium Oct. 12.

Inspirational talks and funny videos were the order of the day for Digital Communications students Oct. 12 when they took their first field trip of the year.

Students in the Digital Communications classes attended the Sixth Annual High School Journalism Symposium, which was hosted at Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, CT. There were over 200 journalism students in attendance representing 13 different high schools in the state.

“The symposium was a great opportunity for DigCom students to meet other high school students in the state who are also covering their school communities in student newspapers and web sites,” said Ms. Lynn Mellis Worthington, DigCom instructor. “The students also got to learn from a variety of professionals.”

The event was coordinated by Professor Lori Soderlind, the college’s Humanities chair and Communication Arts Program coordinator.

Students were enthralled with New York Times columnist and technology writer David Pogue, who delivered the keynote address. Mr. Pogue candidly admitted that he didn’t start out as a journalist. Over the years he was presented with a lot of opportunities and he grabbed them.

“I said yes to everything and figured it out later,” said Mr. Pogue. He encouraged the young journalists to be “polytalented.”

In recent years he has moved into creating videos and that led to jobs hosting a NOVA program on PBS, “NOVA Science Now.” He is also the author of a number of books. He closed his talk with a medley of songs that he sang, having inserted new funny lyrics.

Each students attended three different workshops. The topics ranged from broadcast to sports writing. Presenters were professionals and college professors who shared their experience in a variety of areas.

Matheus Oliveira said the session on Photojournalism was his favorite workshop “because you can go take pictures of mostly everything.” Patrick DeAngelo also enjoyed the one on photos.  “It was my favorite because he talked about the tools that photographers need and their mindset when taking the picture,” Pat said.

Ryan Dematteo said he enjoyed the Entertainment writing session.  “Entertainment writing is writing articles about celebrities and having to interview them to get out some interesting information about them that no one has already covered,” Ryan said. “I think it would be a good job to have, because you get to meet celebrities and learn more about them and share what you have learned about them with anyone who comes across your story.”

Anil Ozer said he enjoyed the Editing workshop.

“The editing workshop helped me to improve how to write more efficient articles for The Pigtail and Advanced DigCom class,” Anil said. “It taught me what kind of information is crucial for the article and what kind is detrimental. Also, now, I know how to write a better lead paragraph as I know what it takes to create an impressive lead: making it precise, to the point and interesting.”

Brandon McCarthy said that he learned “when you interview someone you want them to feel comfortable so they open up and tell you interesting things, (and) open-ended questions are the best way to help do this.”

Capturing views of campus

Oct 29th, 2012 | By | Category: About Us, DC Class, South Kent Community

The Digital Communications I classes had a recent assignment to use their iPad cameras to capture still images on campus. Take a look at what they took.

DigCom students investigate Chaucer tradition

Sep 27th, 2012 | By | Category: About Us, DC Class, South Kent Community, Student News

Geoff Smith recites Chaucer. Photo by Brian Farrell.

Members of the Digital Communications I class have created their first videos of the year on the SKS tradition of Chaucer. New students recite the first 14 lines of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in front of the entire school. There has been a big push this year to complete the task and three forms tied Sept. 24 to be first to get the challenge completed. The Third, Fourth and Sixth Forms will all be treated to a pizza party celebration of the accomplishment by Head of School Andrew Vadnais and his wife, Ms. Nancy Lyon.

A description of the challenge can be found on the school’s web site.

Video by Nolan Long

Video by Cameron Loomis

Video by Braiten Madrigal

Video by Devon McLaughlin

Video by Ryan DeMatteo

Video by Zach Brown

Video by Kamall Richards

Video by Greg Davis

Video by Shane Rector

Video by Brandon McCarthy

Video by Brian Farrell

Video by Kevin Butler

Video by Patrick DeAngelo

Video by Mattheus Oliveira

Cardinal News Network and The Pigtail awarded silver

Sep 18th, 2012 | By | Category: About Us, Pigtail

The Pigtail student newspaper and the Cardinal News Network were awarded a Silver Medalist honor by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for last year’s publications. This speaks to the hard work and dedication that the students put into the two publications. The publications were submitted for a detailed critique, which was returned today.

The judge in the comments stated the following, “It is obvious how much hard work and time are devoted to the multiple elements of The Pigtail and Cardinal News online. The staff is building a strong foundation both digitally and in print. Congratulations on publishing a very good print and digital newspaper and your Silver Medalist honor.”

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association helps guide student editors and faculty advisers who produce student newspapers, magazines, yearbooks and online media. CSPA is owned by Columbia University and operated as a program affiliated with its Graduate School of Journalism. In 2011 digital media was added as part of the critique process.

The Pigtail and the Cardinal News Network were judged as a hybrid publication, joining the print and online mediums.

“It is wonderful to get the national recognition for the work our students are doing. Our publications are being judged against student publications in much larger schools with substantially larger staffs,” said Lynn Mellis Worthington, who is the advisor and teacher overseeing both.  “I look forward to reviewing the suggestions with the editors of The Pigtail and students in the Digital Communications classes to see where we can make improvements to the publications.”

Congrats to all the students who contributed to the publications!

Cardinal News Network website

The Pigtail issues

CSPA web site

Get ready for ‘The Cardinal Feed’

Apr 7th, 2012 | By | Category: About Us, DC Class, South Kent Community, Student News

A sneak peak from Danny DeRocco, Ben Welton and Ben Lussier of Advanced DigCom of the new weekly broadcast from the Cardinal News Network called “The Cardinal Feed.”

Promotions of South Kent School

Apr 7th, 2012 | By | Category: About Us, DC Class, South Kent Community

Photograph courtesy of South Kent School

The Digital Communications I classes were given the assignment to create 30-second commercials to promote some aspect of South Kent School. Their results are below:


By Jalen Harvey

By Oscar Chang

By Jesse Schwartz

By Jacky Han

By Keegan McCarthy

By Alex Poulin

By Anil Ozer

By Kevin Golden

By Joe Zaccara

By Haofeng Li

By Miguel Rojas

By Chenshu Rong

By Zach Carrano

By Kyle Wehmhoff