Students invite media companies, top politicians for live streamed debate

Published 19.11.2018
- The students run everything, from manning the live stream cameras to moderating the debate. We just keep in the background, ready to catch them if they fail, says teacher and co-organizer Erik Aarebrot at the Metis High School.

It is difficult to find a free seat in the Metis High School's main auditorium this Thursday morning. Students are manning the live stream cameras as the music and intro start rolling. Social sciences and media students run the entire show, and thanks to a collaboration with TV 2 and Screen, the event is live on the educational channels TV 2 Skole and Elevkanalen. The Metis High School is an active member in the Media Cluster. Previously, they have organised their own media festival, together with students and a good handful of member companies. 

When the first pair of moderators enter the stage and start introducing the politicians, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a professionally run TV debate.

Moderators Elisa Parnefält Størksen (left), and Stine Smith-Strøm (right) kick-starting the debate. (Photo: Maylinn Byrknes / Metis)  

- We are just a school, so this is a totally safe place to fail and learn, says Aarebrot. 
- Our students have worked late nights and weekends for this, but when you ask them if it feels like homework, they say no. 

Jeanette Syversen from the Red Party, and Audun Lysbakken from the Socialist Left Party both agree to one of the questions asked by the moderators.  (Photo: Maylinn Byrknes / Metis)  

Student moderators
- We worked a lot over the weekends to prepare ourselves for this debate, says Amandus Sanden Mørk, one of four moderators on stage. 
- A lot of time went into researching the different political parties, and what they stand for. Good moderators are well prepared, and know what to say next.  

The students underwent coaching with SpeakLab, a company in the Media Cluster that run training courses in everything from public speaking to moderating conferences and debates.

In total, there were four student moderators that made sure politicians stuck to the topic and stayed on time.

Except for the Christian Democrats, all major political parties were represented. The Mayor of Bergen, Marte Mjøs Persen was also there, representing the Labour Party. Students had voted over the topics for the debate and landed on abortion and climate change.

- Politics is an unfamiliar territory for most students in this school. What we hope to achieve with this debate, is to provide and inroad for people to help them see how interesting politics really is, says moderator, Erlend Haukeland Moe.    

Moderators Amandus Sanden Mørk (left) and Erlend Haukeland Moe (right), showing how it is done. (Photo: Maylinn Byrknes / Metis)  

Student election
On Monday November 19, all students at Metis High School voted in their very own student election.

- This is part of an effort to teach the principles of democracy in a very practical way. Our students really must think about concepts like election observers and secret ballots, and what this actually means, says Aarebrot. 

- We have also invited ourselves to visit the major TV channels to see how they operate on the inside, says Rolf Næss, Head of Department for Media and Communications studies. 

- Since we are a school, trial, error and learning are integral parts of our culture. We would like to invite our local business community to join in our efforts. If someone has a project that is a bit too risky to run in-house, come and see us. I believe we can be a safe place to fail, not just for our students, but also for the cluster companies. 

Rolf Næss preparing Audun Lysbakken (Socialist Left Party) for the debate. (Photo: Maylinn Byrknes / Metis)  

Article by Hilde Gudvangen