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ValleyPBS seeks to educate, entertain viewers

As a multimedia corporation, PBS’s goal is to educate people of all ages nationwide. PBS created 15+ well-known kids shows such as Sesame Street, Arthur, Cyberchase, Wild Kratts, Barney and Friends, Caillou and Super Why. However, PBS also provides a broad horizon in education which includes various news outlets and adult through teen shows. 

Connor Jens | The Feather Online

Sarah Soghomonian, production manager for ValleyPBS is an Emmy award-winning newscaster.

In addition to the children’s shows, PBS carries programs for older audiences which includes shows such as Sherlock, PBS Outdoors, Rick Steves’ Europe, PBS NewsHour, Masterpiece, Frontline and The Vietnam War.

Founded in 1969 in Boston, Massachusetts, by Hartford N. Gunn Jr., PBS is a private, nonprofit corporation which started out by taking many of the operations of its predecessor, National Education Television. Evolving over the years from an only television station, to the multimedia corporation that exists today.      

The ValleyPBS station broadcasts shows to Central Valley viewers. Employed by ValleyPBS as the digital services manager, Shatera Sangster monitors what happens with on-air messaging once it displays on social media and agreed to be interviewed by The Feather Online in studio, Nov. 19.

Her job includes strategically guiding certain aspects of ValleyPBS’s on-air messages to the media outlet where they receive the most attention. For instance, a message may be taken more seriously on Twitter than Facebook. Sangster then takes the message and makes sure the news airs on Twitter and not Facebook.

Sangster speaks of the details and excitements of her job. She also says that people think of PBS and they see the TV station. However she states that people need to see what else the company operates in.

“People don’t see the different programs we do with the community,” Sangster said. “We are not just TV, we are learning programs. We also have family programs where we set up events for families in the communities. In performing my job, my favorite part is that I never know for sure what I’m going to do. Nothing is ever exactly the same.”

ValleyPBS digital services manager Shatera Sangster shares her role and the importance of engaging audiences, offering tips to high school publication.

PBS also serves a resource used by teachers and students for education. Offering education lessons for five age areas: pre-K, early elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school; as well as the following subjects: science, social studies, mathematics, English language arts, engineering and technology, health and physical education, preschool, professional development, the arts and world languages.

Christian Living I and II teacher Aubri Foster uses several PBS clips/shows in her Children’s Lit. class at FPU (Fresno Pacific University) to explain concepts to her students.

“My favorite show from back in the day is Reading Rainbow to show the differences between multicultural literature and global literature,” Foster said. “I personally enjoy the travel segments as well to make historical teaching come alive. Showing visits to Israel and other parts of the world when teaching about them helps understand the Bible in color. The places we read about jump off the page in ways that help students connect with the text that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

ValleyPBS as the digital services manager, Shatera Sangster shares with senior Connor Jens the importance of on-air messaging on social media while visiting The Feather, Nov. 16.

Production manager for ValleyPBS Sarah Soghomonian is an Emmy award-winning newscaster (with CBS47). Soghomonian started out as the newscast producer for CBS47 for six years before taking her skillset to ValleyPBS where she has been working for since 2013.

Last year, Soghomonian shared insights with Feather journalists in the lab at Fresno Christian.

Within local production, Soghomonian does a little bit of everything. She writes scripts for commercial spots, produces videos, specials, and documentaries. One of her bigger projects was the documentary “Valley of Hope: The Armenian Journey from Terror To Triumph”.

“I produced a two-hour documentary here about the Armenian genocide called the Valley of Hope,” Soghomonian said. “That’s something that I would not have had the opportunity to do if I had stayed at CBS47.”

Born and raised in Fresno, Soghomonian appreciates being able to work in a familiar environment as well as tell stories about the Central Valley.

“I love telling stories about the Central Valley,” Soghomonian said. “That’s why I got into journalism. I could be doing what I am doing anywhere. I have the experience to work in LA or New York or San Francisco in a big media market. However, I choose to stay here in Fresno because this is where I am from. It is really important to me to be able to tell the stories of my community to the people who live here. So it is fun little human interest stories that I enjoy telling.”

Connor Jens interviews production manager Sarah Soghomonian in the ValleyPBS studio, Nov. 19.

Student Brynnor Poplin, ‘22, remembers PBS shows he watched as a child. Poplin reminisces on the aspects that PBS instilled in his young mind. These aspects include service to others as well as education.

“I will remember PBS for their cool kids shoes that I watched growing up,” Poplin said. “Some of my favorites were Dinosaur Train, Wild Kratts, and Word Girl. These shows taught me to help others along with various educational aspects.”

Connor Jens | The Feather Online

Digital services manager Shatera Sangster monitors what happens with on-air messaging once it displays on social media.

ValleyPBS as well as PBS adapt to remain relevant, according to Soghomonian. PBS aims to provide quality information and entertainment. Take Sesame Street for example and the diversity of guests that have been on the show.

“They (PBS) have been able to stay at the top by staying relevant,” Soghomonian said. “They bring on a lot of celebrities, musicians, people that are recognizable. There are a few reasons they do that- number one it is to stay relevant so that the parents watching with their children see people they can relate to as well.

“Also, all these people grew up watching Sesame Street,” Soghomonian continued, “and these celebrities were once little kids watching Sesame Street. So coming on the show is a way for them to give back in a way.”

ValleyPBS currently put into effect a website called PBS Learning Media California. This website offers education resources for five age groups, pre-K, early elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school.

All of these groups contain resources in science, social studies, mathematics, English language arts, engineering and technology, health and physical education, the arts and world language. On the site, students find articles, videos, and more to discover more information about certain subjects.

For more Feather articles on PBS, Silent Sacrifice: ValleyPBS documentary exposes truth of the past. For more articles, Campus groups perform in ‘Lessons and Carols’ Christmas concert.

Slideshow below includes images Connor Jens took while in the ValleyPBS studio, Nov. 19.

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