Small-town news exposed by group of high schoolers

Hillsborough — In the private, small town, a group of kids fresh out of middle school are on a crusade to provide news to a community that is often shut off from the rest of the county.

Sixteen Burlingame and San Mateo high school students who attended Crocker Middle School in Hillsborough have launched a community television news show featuring stories about their town. Resident and recently elected U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier was interviewed and featured in their premiere broadcast in April.

Morgan Babbs, 14, and her group say they hope the publicity created by their cable television show will help turn around the stereotype that Hillsborough is a private, nothing-going-on sort of town.

“It’s really exciting to bring it out into the whole community,” said Babbs, a San Mateo High school freshman. “It’s just something different. Nothing like it’s been done before.”

The kids, who are mostly freshman, perform all the filming, interviewing and do some of their own editing. They take turns filling each role and let one another know about upcoming shoots in typical 21st-century teenager fashion.

“If they need a cameraperson, they text each other, ‘Hey can you come over?’” show co-chair and parent Adrienne Leigh-Schubiner said.

The 15-minute show, called “Hillsborough Community News,” runs twice daily on cable channel 27 in Hillsborough, with a new episode airing the first day of each month.

The group formed after most of them worked on a similar news show at Crocker.

The show has alreadyhighlighted Crocker eighth-graders’ community service program to help homeless, profiled an 18-year-old former Hillsborough student who wrote a book about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and filmed a story on Burlingame High School’s reusable water bottle program.

“In Hillsborough there’s not a lot of breaking exciting news because it’s a quiet town,” news team member Haley Hirai, 16, said.

“Each story has to relate to Hillsborough in some way, and we try to do stories that promote the town and encourage the residents to get involved in community service and volunteer and things like that,” Hirai said.

The students typically find time for tapings between after-school programs such as sports and drama.

Leigh-Schubiner said the group originally thought it would be difficult to find stories in the community of 11,000 residents and no businesses, but so far they have more ideas than they know what to do with.

“We’ve found a lot of stories that we didn’t even know were there,” she said.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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