Filming this video was a lot of fun for me. I never get the chance to create media since I am always advising or instructing, so I really enjoyed being behind the camera and polishing my video skills.
I haven’t had any formal training in video, so I felt like I stumbled a bit here and there. For example, I have a lot of clips I couldn’t use because they were too dark or not in focus. I had trouble getting B-roll I felt I could use; it just seemed like all of the moments needed a face connected to them.
Apart from the actual recording, I really enjoyed the editing process. I like creating videos and adding music and transitions and photos. The only think I don’t like about shooting and creating video is how time consuming it is. I felt like I would sit down and spend an hour on editing but in reality it had been nearly 3.
Overall, I am really proud of the final product and I think my students and our publications would benefit greatly from incorporating more video projects on our website.
For my final project, I decided to do a lesson on how to use Knight Lab’s Timeline and create interactive timelines to accompany web stories. My students have struggled to make our web content more engaging, and I think this tool would be a great help for us.
The lessonwalks students through deciding what kinds of stories would be good to include timelines, as well as how to create the timeline. Students will work in pairs to come up with a topic; they will then write a story and collect photos, videos and audio to go along with their timeline. Students will present their story and timeline to the class before publishing it to our website.
Someone asked me the other day if I thought print newspapers would ever officially go out. I signed and said, “Yeah, I think so.”
Then they asked if I ever thought school newspapers would ever officially go out, and I laughed and said, “Oh, absolutely not.”
Maybe I am comparable to the older generations who still pick up their bulky newspapers each morning and take the time to enjoy some coffee while slowly perusing though the morning paper, but I certainly hope not. I hate the idea that school newspapers will every switch to fully online.
In terms of our own coverage, we have certainly made some jumps. Rather than covering news stories either a week too early or a week too late, we are more focused on feature stories, investigative reporting and entertainment in our school newsmagazine, while we have moved our news reporting and sport previews and recaps online where we can update within minutes.
My students blur the lines between their job titles on a daily basis. Next year, we are teaching everyone on staff the basics of camera use, InDesign and how to post to the web because having one niche isn’t cutting it anymore.
As the future of journalism becomes less and less clear about what it actually will be, my class has become more all-encompassing to help prepare students as best as possible. I think we are in an exciting and terrifying moment for journalism as more tools come out to make reporting easier and faster, but less values and regulations seem to be followed as citizens pick up their cameras and flood social media with bias reporting.
I often happily explain that I love my job because journalism and the news are always changing and evolving, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of what journalism could evolve into. I think now, more than even, journalists needs concrete values that are capable of adapting to the constantly changing media that is modern journalism.
I really love the idea of having my students educate the public about media literacy. As a teacher, I am fully aware of how much you learn while teaching others.
A few months ago, one of the local high schools held a panel discussion of women on the crime beat and it was open to the public. I brought some of my students and we listened as a moderator asked questions from the audience to five ladies who work on our local newspaper reporting crime. Not only was the discussion fascinating, but I was pretty surprised to see how many people came to listen and participate. It wasn’t just students or parents of high school children; people from all over the community came and listened.
The discussion gave the audience a look behind the curtain on how crime is reported in our community, and it also helped the ladies to gain community trust because they were speaking directly to them about how they do their job. It humanized the reporters and helped the community to understand how dangerous of a job these ladies have and how impactful their stories are.
Ever since then, I have been mulling over idea after idea of how my students could do something similar. I know I left that panel feeling more informed and more trusting of our local reporters. Imagine if we did something similar for our students, teachers and community? I would love for everyone to understand the work my reporters put in to researching, interviewing, reporting and considering the consequences of publishing their work.
Apart from educating the public on how we work, it would be great to further that to how newsrooms work, how social media reporting works, and how to diligently read the news with those new understandings.
Creating the infographics for this assignment was both challenging and fun. Each site had a bit of a learning curve, so it took some messing around to get the infographics to look how I wanted. The map was a bit more challenging for me because I have created polls and timelines before for other assignments, so I had a better idea of what I needed to do there. Below I have included some tips and instructions for how to create the inforgraphics. I will say I struggled quite a bit to embed the infographics, which was really frustrating and a bit surprising to me. Usually it is really simple to embed a link on WordPress but my links kept turning into hyperlinks rather than showing the graphics I created.
When creating the map on Arcgis, the first step is to choose how you want the designated area to look. You will click on the basemap button to select which map style you like best. Make sure you choose one that makes sense for what you are using the map for. You can add shapes to highlight certain areas and you can add lines to connect the areas or show a path from place to place. Make sure you include a description for you map and you explain what each place is. Including the address is helpful for the viewer as well. Once you have your map how you want it, get your embed code and paste it into the HTML area on your blog post.
For Poll Daddy, it is pretty simple to create the questions and options for your survey. Make sure you select survey rather than poll (a poll will only allow you to ask one question). When creating survey questions, be careful with your wording; you don’t want to word one option more favorably than another because that will skew your data. Once you have entered your questions, you will have the chance to mess around with the design of the poll before you get the embed code. Get your embed code and paste it into the HTML area on your blog post.
For Timeline, you will need photos or videos to add to your posts, so make sure those are collected and ready to rock. I decided to put all of my files into a Google Drive folder so that I could easily link them. You will make a copy of the Google Sheet and follow along with the directions on the website after you fill in the form. You will simply put in the dates for each event, a headline and description and then link your photo or video and add a caption. Make sure you retitle the sheet! Before you get the embed code, you will need to publish the sheet to the web. This is a very simple step. Just click on File on the top left and then click Publish for Web and click OK. Lastly, get your embed code and paste it into the HTML area on your blog post.
Up until this year, my staff’s use of social media was pretty limited. We really just used Twitter and Instagram to notify students about yearbook sales and deadlines or to promote our journalism program and get kids to sign up for the introduction classes. In short, we weren’t using social media the way a publication should.
This year, we have upped the game by requiring all staff members to post on Instagram once a month with a photo and descriptive caption. So far, the response has been astounding. The number of followers went from pretty much just those on staff to over 250 in a few weeks. While the feedback has been mostly positive, I have noticed a few issues that need to be addressed if we are going to accurately portray our school.
For starters, some students do not understand how to properly caption a photo. This is partially just the fault of circumstance, as not all staff members took the writing course that explains caption writing. However, this issue certainly had me creating new caption writing lessons for those students who have managed to avoid it over the years. Additionally, students love filters on Instagram, which when you are covering news is a problem. We have had to create clear rules and guidelines for using our Twitter and Instagram accounts this year to make sure things are consistent and in accordance with our staff’s standards.
I think our main job as journalists is to ensure we are putting out truthful, transparent and important news to our readers, and social media shouldn’t lower those standards. It’s hard to convince the students that these platforms can be sources for hard-hitting journalism because they have grown up with social media as a place to find silly videos or share pictures with their friends.
After last week, I was excited to get to work on my second podcast and to actually interview someone. It took me a while to decide on whom to interview because there were so many options at my school. I considered interviewing another teacher who works with students in leadership, but I wanted the focus to stay on journalism students. I debated between a newbie and an older editor, but since my newer students are currently going through the editor selection process for next year, I figured some wise words from an exiting senior would be helpful.
I knew I wanted to focus of the interview to be on what the student had learned over the years in the publication room and what advice she had for new editors, so coming up with the questions was a pretty simple process. Setting up the interview was also pretty easy going as well. Once we started the interview, asking follow up questions came pretty naturally because I was just genuinely intrigued and wanted to know more about Lily’s experiences. Like I noted in the podcast, I did tear up a few times because Lily has been such an amazing editor and such a wonderful person to get to know. The thought of her graduating in a few months hit me kind of hard during the interview, which I wasn’t expecting.
Editing this piece on audacity was much more involved than my first piece. I decided to add some theme music, which was fun to pick out, but a little tricky to learn how to fade in and out. I also had to edit the interview a lot because both of us took some lengthy pauses and said “ummm” a few too many times. Also, we did the interview in my classroom and at one point, there was an announcement made over the classroom speaker I had to edit out. I was pretty surprised at how easy it was to edit out the moments where we misspoke; it really made me thing about how much editing must go into the podcasts I listen to on a daily basis. Getting the timing to be exactly 10 minutes was a lot a bit of a task, but with the help of the music, it was certainly doable. I did find that my interview wasn’t as long as I would have wanted, so I had to add in a lot of background information and my own personal views at the end, which was something I wasn’t planning to do originally. Overall, I really love the way the piece turned out because it become a lot more nostalgic and personal for me.
In the future, I would definitely recommend asking more questions than you plan on using and clarifying your interviewee’s answers throughout the interview. Also, we placed the phone between us to make sure our voice levels we even, but Lily was a bit soft spoken at times. I wish I would have asked her to speak up a bit, because if I tried to turn up the volume in audacity, my voice would be too loud.