WTOL produced a video specifically to encourage Toledo Public School students to show up and do their best during the state's standardized test week. The video never aired on broadcast; but, after posting to social media, it went viral and received a mix of criticism and snark around the country. And, that's dumb when you know the entire story.
Melissa Andrews, morning anchor for WTOL11, came on The Scott Sands Show this week to explain the entire story. Watch it!
The video, which did NOT air on TV by WTOL prior to going viral, was produced - at the request of Toledo Public Schools - to encourage students to show up and be ready for state testing this week. Why? TPS has had two consecutive failing grades on the state report card. Many students don't even show up for the test; so, administrators are worried another failing year could lead to a state takeover of the TPS district.
WTOL General Manager Brian Lorenzen explains, “The intent from the very beginning was to help TPS students take the tests and to get the district the funding it needs. “This was one of several messages provided by area leaders and media outlets meant to show support and provide encouragement.”
“It’s all about the kids and being relatable to them. We wanted to do something encouraging and fun,” said Steven Jackson, WTOL Morning Traffic anchor. “By doing this, not only are we empowering students, but we’re strengthening our community.”
While the video was admittedly “cringe-worthy”, that was by design.
Melissa Andrews, WTOL Morning Anchor, further explained, “We know as journalists, community leaders and human beings that we can’t just report on problems in our communities. We have a responsibility to try and help. When we heard what was on the line, we felt like we had to do something different to connect with these kids. This was an effort to reach kids where they are—on social media and to give them a laugh at our expense.”
Melissa will be on The Scott Sands Show right after 3:00pm Friday afternoon to "spill the tea" on the country's reaction to this video.