LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In November, Natalie Atamian, who is a junior at Bishop Gorman High School, was selected to be part of our National News Literacy Project - joining other high school students around the country.
She hit the ground running, developing a story that she felt was not only timely but deeply important to our community.
"I just noticed that a lot of my friends and peers at school they’ve all been dealing with this same issue of vaping. It’s spread not only in my school but all over the country, maybe even the world," said Atamian.
WATCH: Addressing the vaping epidemic:
Natalie said she was driven by the opportunity to inform her peers.
"They don’t know what’s being put into their lungs and how to recover especially because I’m sure kids would be watching at home, they’ll see different ways to recover and move out of their situation," said Atamian.
Working closely with KTNV-TV Channel 13 managers and reporters throughout the news gathering process, Natalie spoke to public health officials, doctors, vape shop owners and young adults who vape. She wrote a compelling script, combining facts about what has become a public health epidemic with people's real life experiences. In learning how to report a story step by step, Natalie was also refining a valuable skill -- how to discern trustworthy news in an oversaturated market.
"I feel like people just say their first opinion and don’t have facts to back it up and I feel like everyone should have the right to their own opinion but to be informed is the most important thing that young adults need to learn, especially in school," said Atamian.
Teaching the next generation of journalists and news consumers the difference between fact and commentary is a priority for Atamian's broadcast teacher - Jason Valle.
"10 percent of these kids might work in the industry, they might go out there and get a job in television, the other 90 percent - they’re going to go off and do something else," said Valle. "If they can get the experience in this class where they understand how the media works and how it’s all put together, even if in their normal life they just look at the news and realize, that no, the news doesn’t have an agenda. Commentary, that’s a different story."
Atamian's story will air on KTNV-TV Channel 13 on Jan. 27.