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 Posted September 27 - October 1, 2010
This week let’s talk about sports interviews. First, if you are interviewing away from the field or court (or locker room), have the player sit down for the interview. Ask about a favorite play or what play was practiced most. Ask detailed questions to get solid answers.
Speaking of sports, showing action over music is fine for the end-of-year sports banquet. For a news show, do voice-overs while showing highlight action and explain what’s going on. Set up the video and give detail: “Watch how Smith’s block opened a lane for Williams’ 45 yard run.” Friday’s video shows how to do game highlights.
This week’s featured videos:
On Monday, Marcus High School tells the story of vandalism in the school bathrooms. Nice interviews with a victim and school officials. Would like to see one interview with a student.
On Tuesday, it’s a hybrid show from Barlow High School. Effective quick opening. Anchors on location add interesting backgrounds and energy to the show. Format makes a jarring shift when local news is read in the studio using video from a local station. One note: Watch the interview with the coach. The photographer changes the camera settings while the interview is underway. Get your camera on the tripod, focused and white-balanced BEFORE the interview starts, then take your hands off the camera. If your settings are wrong, re-start the interview.
On Wednesday, Countryside HS gives a preview of the strong show it will become later in the year. Overall the show has a strong format, but the live show had some problems. The swiveling anchor was a distraction, but the co-anchor remained professional. Sports anchor did a set-up interview with fellow teammates and allowed way too much silliness at the end of the piece.
Thursday, Hanford High School offers one of the best announcements shows we’ve seen with multiple anchors, solid graphics, good writing and a fast-paced format.
On Friday, South Mountain High School has a mix of out-of-studio reports, announcements and a principal’s message. Sports coverage is strong with well done highlight videos of football and volley ball.
Originally posted: September 20-24, 2010
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring finalists in the National Scholastic Press Association’s Broadcast Pacemaker and Story of the Year competitions. HSBJ provided professional broadcasters to judge the contest, which was also co-sponsored by SchoolTube, which is collected all entries and is posting the winners. Winners will be announced in November at the fall NSPA/JEA National High School Journalism Convention in Kansas City.
SPORTS: On Monday, Ladue Watkins Horton takes the sports honors with its story on of a local boxer. Watch the camera work setting up wide, medium and tight shots. The interviews are strong and the script is carefully written.
NEWS: On Tuesday, Central High School in Springfield, MO, takes a USA Today/EPA national investigation of air quality in high schools and localizes it to point out troubling chemicals in the school. Solid interviews with a medical expert and several teachers plus great B-roll make this an important story to tell.
Many schools would not tackle this kind of story – about a potential health problem in the school. This is the very kind of story our students should be reporting. Central High’s broadcast staff, adviser and administration should be commended for their commitment to students’ Free Press rights.
FEATURE: On Wednesday Apple Valley HS handles a sensitive subject with just the right touch. Everybody on campus knows The Cowbell Guy – who plays the cowbell at hocket games, but there’s more to know about him. Nice anchor finish – thanking the subject and his parents for sharing the story. Note: This entry needed to watch the Rule of Thirds in the shooting – and put the subjects on the right or left third – eyes on the top third line.
NEWS SHOW: On Thursday, Blue Valley Northwest shows two different faces. The reporting and stories are solid, well shot, well written, certainly some of the best we’ve seen, but the anchoring is all schtick. There’s the falling snow, the Ray Charles imitation, the silly banter. For the last segment, the anchors quietly introduced an extraordinary story featuring an emotional audio interview with a dying student. This was incredible. The anchors’ introduction was perfect.
Anchors hold a show together. Their lead-ins set up the stories – often giving the who, what, where and when that lets reporters go into more depth on a slice of each story. Good anchors are vital. There should be interaction between anchors, but it shouldn’t be silly or forced.
NEWS SHOW: On Friday, Mira Costa High School’s news show is a treat to watch. Mira Costa is doing serious stories on important teen topics. There is no fancy moving background or over-the-top opening, just a solid news show. Announcements pop up as readable slates. That saves valuable air time.
The program is a “public forum,” meaning the students choose the stories and edit them. Their teacher is an adviser, not a news director. The teacher trains the staff and gives authority to student producers – of course watching for libel or any other inappropriate content. Post show advisers typically go over the production with the entire staff, pointing out the good and the bad and grading the students’ work. These public reviews are important “teachable moments.” Mira Costa’s students obviously study student First Amendment issues.
Posted Sept. 13, 2010
September 13 – 17, 2010
Going through dozens of videos this week, we were struck with the contortions that anchors can get into. This week we saw anchors gripping the arms of their chairs, wringing their hands and swiveling in their chairs.
Basic rule: If you’re using a teleprompter, sit at the desk and DO put your elbows on the table – and your forearms, too. Then just cross your hands and concentrate on the news.
Here are five schools that – even this early in the school year – are doing quality work.
On Monday, we start with a simple question and a simple answer from Deltona High. What happened to all the portable classrooms? Answer: “They went to portable heaven.” Watch the camera tilt up to the sky during that quote. Nice. Now I want to know what happened to all those extra students who disappeared, maybe interview some at their new
Tuesday’s announcement show from S C Lee Junior High shows a good example of how to deal with the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silence and a state pledge. Nice graphics in the intro. Graphics during announcements need to be larger and have more information.
On Wednesday Whitney High School covers its first game with cross-town rival. Nice stand up leading into game highlights. (Unless you are streaming live, use past tense in the your stand-ups). Good interviews with coaches and players after the game. Very good shooting throughout.
Thursday’s featured video highlights some strong writing from Countryside High. This is an announcements show that’s clearly ready to move up to using over-the-shoulder graphics and B-roll. Consider dropping the national sports and celebrity news and finding more local news in your own school and community.
Friday we’re back at Carlsbad High School for a primer on how to put together an announcements show. This show features strong over-the-shoulder-type graphics and interviews both in and out of the studio. It also includes a package on school construction. Clever concept on taking a German exchange student to his first American football game.