CHS Pulse Popularity

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Each week, CHS students gather excitedly around the library computers, plug in their headphones, and get ready to watch the newest edition of the Pulse. 
The Pulse is a student run video production that airs every week. You may have heard about it in your senior English class, or you may have seen a camera crew roaming the halls. If you haven’t, you’re missing out. The Pulse is usually only about ten minutes long, and it features interviews with students and faculty, as well as segments about recent events at CHS. Recently, the popularity of the Pulse has skyrocketed, so I interviewed Chatham students and teachers to find out why.

Seniors were the most enthusiastic people I talked to. Many students loved watching it in Ferg’s class, and they also loved seeing their friends on the show. Laura Francesco said, “I look forward to it every week!” When asked why she thought people were so interested in the Pulse, she remarked that, “People love the fame.”

One of the main reasons that seniors like the Pulse so much is definitely thanks to Mr. Ferguson, who teaches Honors and Regular English for only seniors. He shows his class the Pulse videos every week, greatly contributing to its popularity. I asked him why, and he told me, “For good or for bad, intentionally or unintentionally, the Pulse seems to focus on upper-classmen, especially seniors.  As I teach all senior classes, a healthy percentage of my students appear in the Pulse in nearly every episode. I think students appreciate recognition in contexts outside of the classroom, and I'm willing to sacrifice some instructional time towards that end. From an educational standpoint, the Pulse provides a multimedia nonfiction text that we can deconstruct.”

The segments on the Pulse are another thing that draws in viewers. Each week, students are asked by the Pulse crew some question, whether it be, “What would you do if you had a million dollars?” or “What’s your favorite Thanksgiving meal?” This segment is one of Ferg’s favorites: “Student Spotlight is always a winner. I like the Pulse because it is created by students for students, so I believe the focus on students is important.”

Many students, in all grades and classes, would love to watch the Pulse with teachers other than Mr. Ferguson. However, Ferg himself had something to say about that: “I suppose a teacher could use the Pulse occasionally as an educational tool, but unless students are clearly invested in the program, it might not be wise.  As I stated above, the show features a lot of seniors, I teach a lot of seniors, so it makes sense.  As an analogy, the senior slide show used to be shown to underclassmen years ago.  Eventually, the school changed that practice for the reasons I mentioned above.  Another analogy:  do you go home and watch the Akron, Ohio news broadcasts on the internet?  No.  You're not invested in Akron, so you don't watch the news there.  Though one could argue the show might foster a sense of awareness and community, especially amongst the freshman, let's face it:  if they can't pick their garbage up off the floor during lunch, what will they really learn from a hard-hitting news outlet like CHS Pulse?”

Regardless of how popular it becomes and who watches it, the Pulse is an excellent production that CHS and its students should be proud of. As Ferg would say, “Good on ya, Pulse!”