AMI Media Lab


In the fall of 2011, WMMT partnered with the Appalachian Media Institute (AMI), the Appalshop’s media training program for central Appalachian youth, for AMI’s Fall Media Lab.  Founded in 1988, AMI uses the technological and artistic resources of Appalshop to help young people explore how media production skills can be used to ask, and begin to answer, critical questions about themselves and their communities.  Each semester, AMI accepts a small number of local middle and high school students as interns for a ten-week Media Lab, an after-school training program that grants interns a stipend to learn and produce specific kinds of media.

The Fall 2011 Lab was made possible, in part, with support from a grant from the National Center for Media Engagement’s American Graduate program, a public media initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), to help students stay on the path to graduation and future success.  Our local AMI interns participated in this initiative, creating radio pieces about issues surrounding dropping out of high school.  Their pieces aired originally on WMMT’s Mountain News & World Report, and were also presented to the public in a semester-ending event in the Appalshop theater.  You can stream or download their work pertaining to drop-out issues below:

1 – Pregnancy

Producers Brady Caudill, Cheyenne Collie, Brook Hampton, and Katelyn Sexton focused on the issue of teen pregnancy, its relation to high school dropout rates and what options teen mothers are given to complete their high school education. This piece contains the voices of mothers who have both dropped out and remained in school.

2 – Reasons

Producers Alexis Fields, Matthew Mullins, and Katie Ross explored the reasons why students drop out, and what resulting issues arose from their decision. In this piece we hear the story of Matthew, a gay teen who is pressured into quitting because of bullying, and Norma, a teen mother who dropped out of school in the 8th grade.

3 – Epic

Dustin Hall, Jared Sexton, Austin Little, and Oakley Fugate produced this story, which deals with the increased disparity of punishments over the years in public schools, as well as the issue of neglect to certain casts of students. We hear the voices of Oakley’s father, who recalls his experiences as a high school student in the 1970s, Justin, a Junior at Letcher County Central, and Tony Sergent, former high school teacher and current principal at a local Elementary school.

AMI Mountain Talk 12-14-11

Our producers join host Sylvia Ryerson on WMMT’s weekly community conversation program, Mountain Talk.  At the conclusion of their semester-long Fall Media Lab, our AMI interns discuss drop-out rates and the creation of their audio pieces.  Special guest Butch Chaltas also joins the program.

For more work created by AMI interns, including more radio pieces from the 2011 Fall Media Lab and an extensive archive of video and audio projects from over the years, head to AMI’s website.