Matthew Bentley (’13), Asher Bohmer (’13), Christopher D’Angelo (’13) and Alessandro Joabar (’13) sit around the table, animatedly discussing the latest controversy at ASL. The four seniors speak with undeniable passion; their ideas flow seamlessly. As the executive producers of the Journalistic Integrity Network (JIN), the school’s newest student organization, a satirical television program, they are planning their upcoming episodes.
Last April, when many students in their junior year were studying for upcoming exams, former Media Services Technician Reinhardt Sosin approached these students for a school television project. “Reinhardt had been trying to do something like this for a long time, and he approached me and Alex to see what we wanted to do with it,” said Bentley.
Inspired by publications like The Onion and The Slanderd, the seniors decided to do a satirical news show. “It’s taking the structure of real stories and injecting satire and sarcasm into them,” explained D’Angelo.
“One of the things that makes The Slanderd funny is that it pushes the boundary. Let’s see what we can get away with,” Bentley said.
The group filmed a pilot episode at the end of last year in order to work out the smaller details. On the Tuesday of the last week of school, while other students were enjoying the day off after a grueling week of final exams, Bentley, Joabar, D’Angelo and Bohmer met with Head of School Coreen Hester at 8:00 a.m. with a five-minute pilot episode and a 25-page proposal. “If we hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t be sitting here today,” D’Angelo said.
Each of the producers presides over different parts of the production process; Bohmer oversees the script-writing process as Head Writer, Joabar organizes advertising, market and general organization as Head of Logistics, D’Angelo directs the technicalities of production as Technical Producer, and Bentley is in charge of the presentation and on-screen elements as the Creative Director.
Despite the wealth of experience on the table, “One of the big things we are trying to do is get as much of the community involved as possible,” Bohmer said. The producers are looking for a range of talent, from video editors to publicists. “For the JIN, you can love music, you can love filming, graphic design, acting, or writing,” D’Angelo said. “Whatever your passion is, we want it, and there’s going to be something that we can do with it,” Bentley said.
This year the four producers, along with their advisor, English Teacher Stephan Potchatek, want to develop the program further, in hopes that it will continue past their graduation. “We put in the work and we’ve done all the groundwork and the foundations so that this has the potential to be really spectacular,” said Bohmer.
They also hope to improve the quality and professionalism of their episodes. “We have spent hours and weeks and months, planning how we are going to reach that level of professionalism. I think that we’re ready to put it into play,” said D’Angelo.
The Journalistic Integrity Network aired on September 28, and was distributed both online and for viewing on the plasma screens in the High School. “The most entertaining thing for us is seeing other people enjoy what we do, and seeing them enjoy what they do,” D’Angelo said.