Connecting the community behind the scenes

Editor Rose Everingham sat down with Seniors Riley Suckling, Katie Campbell, Mackie Munsey, Zoey Locke, and Juniors Owen McClain and Colin Rowe to learn the process behind AM@CM.


Senior Producer Katie Campbell edits her class’s packages before submitting the final show to Mr. O’Brien for publication.

By 4:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, most Cheyenne Mountain high schoolers have made their way home, to practice, or to the local Dutch Bros. But in the video production room, two producers type furiously, working to piece together packages for Wednesday’s broadcast of AM@CM.

The team consists of producers, crew members, cast members, graphic designers, and advisor Mr. O’Brien. This year AM@CM is composed of two different class periods, which means two entirely different teams. The entire class acts as camera men, editors, and on-camera reporters. The only assigned, recurring roles are sports, tech crew, head anchor, producers, and graphics. Each class airs on a biweekly basis.

The creative process starts with a Wednesday or Thursday class viewing and critique of their most recent show, and a general meeting about goals and ideas for the coming week. Senior producer for AM@CM2 Riley Suckling explained, “Mackie and I really like to watch the show and pause it for general, full class critiques. Then we pull each person or group in to meet one-on-one and tell them what they specifically need to work on.”

Senior Producer for AM@CM1 Katie Cambell elaborated, “In first period, Collin and I just pause it after each package and give our critiques. The entire class can chime in, so it kind of becomes a big class review and discussion.”

From there, Friday, Monday, and Tuesday are dedicated to storyboarding, scripting, and getting approval. Riley continued, “We really just try to strike that balance of making the best show possible while also trying to keep the process enjoyable. It’s a student-run class so we are really the ones teaching it, and I think it comes through in the final product when a show was enjoyable to make.”

Wednesday through Monday are spent filming and editing individual packages to be submitted to producers Tuesday. Sports and anchoring are filmed two to three days before the show airs, to keep the information as up-to-date as possible. As the only student in both classes, Senior Head Anchor Zoey Locke explained her role: “I write the script for the anchors each week. I review a lot with the cast to make sure I can properly introduce every package. I also have to train two new head anchors for next year.”

The senior staff believe the lessons learned and memories made will last them a lifetime. Riley explained the responsibilities of upperclassmen: “A big role producers have is managing the personal relationships in a class. We sometimes have younger students who are good friends, but really don’t work well together. We need to step in and help lead them, whether that means assigning specific duties, splitting the workload, or fully separating a group.”

Senior Producer of AM@CM2 Mackie Munsey agreed, “ AM@CM has really taught me that if I want to, I can be a leader.”

AM@CM also provides a creative outlet and a glimpse into the world of filmmaking, Mackie explained: “I enjoy film, and AM@CM has just introduced me to a different form of film. Before, I used to just make short films or videos, but learning about news production is an entirely different road.”

Junior Producer of AM@CM1 Colin Rowe agreed, “If you have an interest in film, AM@CM is great. I want to pursue a job in the film industry later in life, and this is just a great look into what that looks like. If you miss a deadline, it’s not that you failed that grade – you failed your whole cast.”

Mackie emphasized the importance of students learning to make broadcast media: “media is such a big part of our world today. We find out most of our information just from the news, so I think it’s important to understand how it’s made and the process behind it. It’s also important to learn how to express yourself in the medium that works best for you.”

The AM@CM team works to put together weekly shows updating the school on current events, student achievements, and community highlights. Junior Anchor Owen Mcclain put it best: “It’s really all about connecting the community. There’s a lot of people we highlight, maybe with a special talent, and you would never see that without AM@CM. So, we really shed light on students’ stories and inform the school about what’s going on within Cheyenne.”