Area students learn about media, public service

A panel featuring Nicole Vargas, a media specialist for the Pa. General Assembly; Pat McKenna, editorial page editor of the Scranton Times-Tribune; and Andy Mehalschick of WBRE-TV discuss the relationship between media and the government and field tough questions from the audience at the Youth and Government Forum Friday at Keystone College. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

A panel featuring Nicole Vargas, a media specialist for the Pa. General Assembly; Pat McKenna, editorial page editor of the Scranton Times-Tribune; and Andy Mehalschick of WBRE-TV discuss the relationship between media and the government and field tough questions from the audience at the Youth and Government Forum Friday at Keystone College. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

BY PAT FARNELLI

More than 200 students across the region converged on Keystone College Friday to learn about state and local government, public service, and the role of the media at a Youth and Government Forum.
Organized by Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, whose legislative district includes Factoryville, the students from eight local school districts learned about the media’s role in government, job creation, and campaigns, as well as the electoral college and issues facing youth in the future.
Wyoming County was represented by about 14 students from Lackawanna Trail High School, with their teacher Mike Bluhm while Susquehanna County had students from Forest City Regional High School teacher Christopher Wade’s AP government class and a “great group of kids” from his tenth and eleventh grade honors history class that he hopes will take AP Government next year.
The students seemed keen on the media and electoral process panel discussions, while the trades and job creation activities were also very popular.
During the media seminar, Andy Mehalschick of WBRE TV told stories of his pursuit of news stories thrioughout the commonwealth, including the day he was the first to show up on Joe Paterno’s doorstep.
Pat McKenna, editorial page editor of the Scranton Times-Tribune, had a lot to say about the often adversarial role the media takes with elected officials. “We don’t think of these stories as negative, we see them as what you need to know,” he said.
Students came prepared with questions on the corruption probe in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the turnpike scandal, and how the press influences the vote.
There were seminars on job creation, government activities, and political analysis.
College recruiters made themselves available, noting that this is a source of the best and the brightest among the state’s high school students, for jobs in civil service and political campaigns.
After the breakout panel discussions, the students re-convened for an open forum with all of the panelists.