GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Dec. 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Fully-reclined, with cucumbers over their eyes, three figures spread seaweed masks over their faces. With soothing zen music piped in over a loudspeaker, the scene could be lifted from any number of spas across the country. In this case however, the location was a conference room at Vermilion High School in Northeast Ohio, with the three figures being head Sailor basketball coach, head soccer coach, and the district superintendent, who were being interviewed about their careers and the upcoming Winter Sports season. The sketch was one of the latest for the school's VIA Social Media group, which also include a marching band send-off for an athlete headed to the Ohio State Competition and a cookie-eating competition with members of the local police station.
2,000 miles west at Agua Fria High School in Arizona, "OwlFeed" writers take a more straightforward approach, releasing a profile of their long-time athletic trainer alongside a preview of the Arizona Swim Championships (where two Owl Varsity Girls swimmers would compete). In Georgia, at Jackson County High School, another group of students interview Panther Athlete of the Week, Russel Hendley, a cross-country runner, while covering the hiring process of the school's new head football coach.
While student journalism isn't a new concept, nor is the role of young influencers on social media, the work of these three programs represents the latest in a growing trend of high school content creators who are contributing to and often leading their athletic department's digital initiatives. Going beyond football and basketball to more sports than ever before, students are now producing content with a unique touch, speaking to this generation of parents, athletes and fans through new distribution channels like that of sports media company VNN, which are being embraced by athletic departments across the country.
"We think what we're doing with VIA is incredibly meaningful and will help many students find their voice as part of their school community," said Vermilion VIA Social Media Advisor Jason Sockel. "The goals are to connect students to responsible use of social media; and to provide a platform for them to represent themselves as a brand, while learning the keys to content creation and much more."
Other notable student sports writing teams across the country include Los Angeles' Glendora High School, Kansas City's Staley High School, Orlando's Maynard Evans High School, and San Diego's Crawford High School.
About VNN: VNN is America's largest and fastest growing high school sports communication platform. As the exclusive partner of over 15% of all US high school athletic communities, VNN connects the high school sports experience onto a single platform for 19-million passionate parents, athletes, fans, software providers, and athletic professionals across the country.