TBS News Takes Center Stage


Mr. Crisafi

As a part of the eighth-grade class, Intro. to TV Broadcasting, Jasper Wright (mid-ground, right) helps Adam Braman with the camera as they get ready to film Anthony Pace and Antonio Gambino for a segment of TBS News.

It seems every year that The Benjamin School is expanding its curriculum, ranging from new teachers to new ideas to new buildings to new classes. This year, Digital Media Director Mr. Nicholas Crisafi has taken the lead with his new Introduction to TV Broadcasting class. Previously, Benjamin students could only have experience with broadcasting at the Upper School. Now, thanks to Crisafi, this is now possible in Middle School. This new year-long elective is only available to eighth graders who have previously taken Crisafi’s Introduction to Film & TV class. Because of this, there are only a total of five people in the new broadcasting class this year, but they produce TBS News, the Middle School’s official news broadcast which is a training ground for the Upper School’s BTV N3WS.

Head of Middle School Mr. Charles Hagy has had a plan to make this a class ever since Crisafi arrived at TBS. “Mr. Crisafi and I have had a vision for a fully implemented TV and film program in the Middle School since his arrival, that’s why he was brought here,” he said. “This TV Broadcasting Class is a big moment in Middle School history where for the first time we can really have our Middle School students doing what they want to do: present information in broadcast form. It’s a great 21st century skill that our kids are very adept at demonstrating.”

Like Hagy, Crisafi believes that this class teaches students important traits. “Knowing how to read off a teleprompter, knowing how to be professional in front of a camera, knowing how to write news broadcasts, how to edit them, that will all be beneficial as students move to the Upper School and continue with the broadcast journalism program there.”

There are a variety of topics that the new class covers.  “We make the weekly announcements a week ahead of time,” said eighth grader Jasper Wright. “We [also] make news packages [about relevant school topics]. Eric [Levine] and I [did] one about the new STEM Building.”

Students enjoy the camaraderie of having a class of just five people. “My favorite part about the class is having a small one,” said Wright. Just having five people in the class, and we all get to work together and have fun.”

Although the class is small, Crisafi recognizes the benefits of having only a few students. “I like how collaborative [the class] is,” he said. “The students help me plan everything from the production values [to] what it’s going to look like to the writing of the scripts to the news packages they are going to do. The students are very much a part of the process in all that we do.”

The students credit Crisafi for doing such a great job handling the class.

“Mr. Crisafi does a really good job at keeping everything organized, and the best part about that is how we can eventually get into a flow with everything and it’s just really fun,” said Levine.

The students also appreciate the opportunity to film and create news packages – two to three-minute reports that provide viewers with information about what’s happening in the Middle School. “I like filming people and learning information about the school and the cameras,” said eighth grader Antonio Gambino.

Crisafi believes that with the Upper School having such a strong program, the Middle School should have one of similar strength.

“I thought that for a long time we’ve not had a news presence in the Middle School, and it just seemed to make sense to offer that because the Upper School has such a robust program,” he said. “I think we need that  in the Middle School.”

Crisafi and his eighth-grade students – Adam Braman, Anthony Pace, Gambino, Levine, and Wright – do all of this without a full-fledged studio. So how do they create their broadcasts? “[The class] has been able to do it using [my] classroom, [a] green screen, and the cameras that we have,” said Crisafi.

While the broadcasting program in the Middle School may not have a dedicated studio like the Upper School, Crisafi and his students are not letting it slow them down. They have already put together three broadcasts during the first month of school and will roll out their first news package on Monday, September 24.

“The students are working hard, and hopefully the rest of the student body and the faculty enjoy what they are producing,” said Crisafi. “It beats reading announcements in the BPAC every week, which to me, was very 1950s.”