Churchill County High School student body president Blane Merkley will appear on the 11th annual Teen Edition Opportunity for Nevada NewsMakers on Christmas Day. (KRNV-TV-Channel 4 Reno: 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Nevada NewsMakers, hosted by Sam Shad, is a half-hour news and public affairs program that runs Monday-Thursday on various Nevada television and radio stations.
Merkley said his government teacher told his class about the upcoming Teen Edition Opportunity for the show, and Merkley he decided to apply for it.
“When I found out that I was selected for the show, I was very excited,” Merkley said. “Students from all around Nevada apply for the show, and only a few get selected, so I was thrilled to be one of the few. I felt reassured that I wasn’t completely incompetent and could do it”
CCHS history teacher Kelly Frost said she is very proud of Merkley.
“Blane is a great kid. We sent in about 10 applications from CCHS,” Frost said. “I am proud and excited for Blane to have been chosen. The students are not told what topics they will be discussing, so they can’t prepare ahead of time. They must be able to think on their feet, and many people don’t know how difficult it can be to speak extemporaneously on a topic. Blane was able to meet students from Northern Nevada, tour the studio, and have a nice lunch. Often times, students who have this opportunity get excited about politics or journalism.”
Merkley said when they arrived at the Reno studio, students were given a tour and showed how the control room worked and what work went into making a television show. He said while Shad sat down to interview the first three students, Merkley and his team were able to watch the interview in progress.
“I believe the whole purpose of students on the show is to give adults a youth perspective,” Merkley said. “Kids can have such a fresh, different outlook compared to adults, so I think it gives adults another view on how to look at a situation. A few of the questions we were asked were on the riots going on in Ferguson, Mo., and the Immigration Law. So I think adults like to see we know what is going on in the world and how we perceive things.”
Merkley said it was a good experience for him. He said it was interesting to see why other students got chosen and that it was a cool experience being on television. He said Nevada NewsMakers was a good stepping-stone for him and his career goals.
Being on Nevada NewsMakers helped Merkley become more comfortable in front of a camera and broke down his hesitation walls. He said the only thing he could have done better was to have sharper answers. Merkley said Shad did not give the students the questions in advanced because the host wanted the students to think on their toes.
Merkley said nine students from across Nevada were chosen for the show, but only six showed up due to rough weather that canceled their travel plans.
“I was a little uneasy with being asked questions on the spot without a lot of time to thing about the answer and having it taped,” Merkely said. “I would recommend for my classmates to take the opportunity for the show if they had it. It was a great experience and I took a lot from it.”
Merkley, a senior, is also vice president of the FFA, president of the Nevada FFA Western Zone and is involved with Interact and National Honors Society. During the fall, he runs cross country.
Merkley plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, when he graduates. He said he would like to obtain a double major in political science and agricultural science.
Visit www.nevadanewsmakers.com to find the schedule for air times and stations for the show.