After an eight-month hiatus, hsbj.org is back with a new year-end News Literacy PSA Contest called REALLY?
REALLY? is the first word that should come to mind when your students receive information -- from a text, a Tweet, their best friend, the New York Times, their mothers.
After that there are five quick questions that can help separate truth from fiction in the the deluge of information we have today. Before you believe (and expecially before you pass along) any information, ask REALLY? Then ask:
1. Who Said It?
2. Can I Trust That Person?
3. Is That Person Prejudiced on This Subject?
4. Am I Biased on This Subject?
5. Where Can I Get More Reliable Information to Make My Own Decision About the Subject?
We've put together new lesson plans to go with the Al Tompkins REALLY? Webinar -- with lots of good video stories that would have never been broadcast if someone had just asked REALLY?
Contest Deadline is December 20, 2011
But Wait There's More...
Candace Bowen of Kent State University has produced a new, NewsU course using the REALLY? approach. There are interactive lessons and lots of examples. Check it out.
-- Carol Knopes
Originally published December, 2010
You could watch this video a dozen times and see something new each time.
At its most basic, this is a simple two-interview story, but just look at what Hillcrest High School did with the B-roll. There are in-school and out-of-school shots here.
Black and white shots start to appear in the early interview with Nicole. That black and white theme will be played out in re-enactments -- some of them very dramatic -- throughout the story.
Note the use of still photos, including photos from Nicole's day with her family.
But there's a surprise here, the story isn't just about Nicole. As a matter of fact, the deep emotion here comes from the interview with her teacher.
Right to the last frame, there are topics to discuss. Just consider the very last freeze frame. What does that say?
HSBJ’s featured videos are chosen each week those submitted to SchoolTube. To have one of your school’s videos considered, send the SchoolTube link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published: October 11 – 22, 2010
When should you use background music in a video?
The basic rule of thumb is that news stories don’t use background music – unless the music is natural sound that is part of the story. Some features can use a bit of background music, but it has to be the right music – at the right volume – and it shouldn’t last through the entire segment.
No amount of music – whether it fits or not – takes the place of including solid facts as Voice Over or as graphics in the video.
On Monday, S C Lee Junior High uses soft dissolves between well-read items. These dissolves may give a more dynamic look to the show, but adding graphics showing times and places would add more information. The music plays on. The math segment is solid, but barely can be heard over the music.
On Tuesday, Wakeland High has a terrific interview with a former student from Frisco, TX, during segregation when there wer black schools and white schools. The sound bites and historic photos are strong. Loved the use of sepia. Music in the lead-in works, but it should have been dropped when the former-student started talking. Is there any nat sound that could have been used instead? Could the script have been written to eliminate the questions-as-graphics approach?
Wednesday it’s a season classic: football highlights. Pleasant Grove High School’s video is first rate and it needs some first-rate voice over explaining what’s going on. Some lower-thirds showing us the changing score would have added a lot. There’s some nat sound at the beginning, very good. But in the big plays you don’t hear any cheering, just the music going on and on.
On Thursday we feature another sports story – this time an overview of the Track& Field team at James E Taylor High School. This shows enterprise in the number of interviews. Is the music necessary through the interviews? Could the interviews have been done outside the parking garage or could the interview shots be closer (with the mic out of sight, held by the reporter).
Finally on Friday, the right music in the right place. This is a PSA for National Principals Month from Ladue Horton Watkins High. Nice job. Good B-roll and sound bites from principal.
Carol Knopes, email@example.com
Originally posted: October 4 - 8, 2010
One anchor? Two anchors? What works best? Each format can work with the right mix of camera angles, graphics and strong stories. Here are four examples:
On Monday Lee’s Summit West High School shows how to shoot swimmers in the water. Note the last shot at water level.
Tuesday’s announcements show from Whitney High School in Rocklin, CA, features two anchors and coverage of that morning’s pep rally – from the local station. You can hear some of the behind the scenes conversations. Nice credits. Good teaser for the video magazine show.
Wednesday features a single-anchor announcement how from St. Thomas More Prepatory School. The single-announcer format puts a lot of pressure on the announcer. Graphics add interest, but these should include the time, date and place for each item. Recording some out-of-studio interviews would add interest. Loved the final seconds when the anchor broke a smile.
On Thursday, Lopez High School offers a mix of announcements and features that lets the single-anchor format work. The “Open Mic” story showed off lots of student talent, but it needed a reporter’s voice to give context and tell us what’s happening.
Friday’s video is the Carlsbad High School Live Show. Two anchors add energy to the show. Nice story on Student of the Week who creates apps for iPhones. (Listen closely to the teacher’s interview about the student. You expect him to say what an outstanding student he is, but he puts him in his to 100.) Music piece at the end had good sound and camera work.