AT 11:30 A.M., THE TRILL OF A siren blurts out over the teacher’s last-minute-pertinent-statement. Uncertainty and skepticism fill the classroom. The silent yet collective, resounding question: will INfocus actually be on air or will lunch be 5 minutes longer? Students reluctantly plop back into their seats. INfocus has pulled through. But what is this? Who is this fair-haired, spry, youthful yet well-spoken underclassman perched behind the anchor table? It is none other than Palo Alto High School freshman Griffin Carlson.
“The anchor’s job is to be the face of the show,” INfocus reporter Alexia Garcia says.
The privilege of anchorman is usually earned through commitment and a devotion to spreading awareness about pertinent events.
“If viewers feel like the anchors are not excited or are not well prepared for their job, then students will not watch the show,” she says.
Carlson is largely influenced by Paly 2011 graduate, Wes Rapaport, who he calls a “reporting legend.” Carlson describes his influences as confident and experienced peers who made a mark on the Paly journalism scene, such as Ethan Cohen and Wes Rapaport among others.
“Working with people like Wes inspired me,” Carlson says. Whether it be in the camera’s eye, on the set, or on the field, Carlson is attracted to the idea of making a ripple in the student body and making a name for himself.
In addition, Carlson gleaned fundamental skills after working with the Jordan Middle School’s “Jordan Television” news broadcast class and the Palo Alto Media Center.
Carlson had a unique rise through the ranks in that he was able to learn the ropes of Paly’s broadcast journalism in less than six months time. Carlson accumulated skills through work directly on the field, such as his film segment covering the departure of the Hobees restaurant. Along the way, he enjoyed the encounters with individuals that he would not have otherwise met.
Although he just joined INfocus less than a semester ago, it didn’t take long before Carlson gained a shot at the news anchor role.
“I was hoping to become an anchor but didn’t think that I would actually get a spot this early,” Carlson says. When the opportunity came around, however, Carlson expressed no hesitations.
“Rowan [an INfocus anchor] wasn’t feeling well, and the INfocus staff asked me if I wanted to be anchor.” Carlson says, “I thought, ‘well, why not?’”
Carlson expresses satisfaction with his performance on air, particularly after he was met with positive feedback.
“People I never knew said ‘good job’ and were interested in the stories that I presented,” Carlson says.
In the work environment, Carlson displays an energetic yet focused work ethic despite his tender age. As he checks on the progress of his current segment through the corner of his eye, Carlson says that he was quick to begin creating video segments upon starting INfocus and diligent about adhering to proper guidelines.
Come production week, the young reporter can be found scurrying about the lab. Although one might have suspect that he was training for his upcoming cross-country meet by the way he buzzes around, in fact, he is efficiently shifting between his computer and his editors, making edits and alterations to his news segments.
“Production week is actually my favorite part of the whole process,” Carlson says.
A brief episode of scoffing, eye rolling and grumbles commence among some nearby staff members. Carlson’s efficient nature makes him well-suited for the cooperative and active climate of production cycles.
“Productions are times when the staff is able to bond and work together. It creates more of a family feeling,” Garcia says.
By maintaining connections with INfocus alumni on a monthly basis, Carlson keeps himself up to date with technical and journalistic strategies. Carlson often consults current and veteran INfocus staff members, either to shoot the breeze or to discuss segment-making software.
Carlson also benefitted from his relationships with fellow staff members, such as senior Arthur Rogers, who has mentored Carlson in the video segment-creating process.
“Arthur helped me to understand what to do when I was starting out,” Carlson says, adding “I try to work efficiently, I’m not afraid to ask for help since I know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on.”
Carlson hopes that, like his upperclassmen peers, he too will eventually be able to work at a higher position and employ what he feels are necessary changes to the news network.
“Everyone loved INfocus when it was funny. I think that we should bring back the humorous segments,” says Carlson
Carlson believes that Infocus has the potential to inject more humor into their broadcasts as well as the Paly community. In addition, he plans to address technical errors, a feat he feels won’t be too difficult in light of the soon-to-be-completed media building. Senior staff members have faith in their freshman journalist. In the meantime, he has plenty to learn and offer the INfocus team and Paly community.
“I am confident that he is the kind of person INfocus needs to function efficiently and effectively,” senior INfocus staff member Rowan Thompson says. “He is positive and productive, exactly what INfocus needs.”