JO 351 Writing and Reporting with Audio and Video
Fall 2012, Thursday 1-4
Professor Anne Donohue
Work phone: 617-353-3418
Home phone: 617-489-4334 (emergency only)
Office: COM Room 302. Hours: Tuesday 10-12 and 2-4 ,Wednesdays 1-3, Thursday 9-11 and Monday by appointment.
Welcome to the world of broadcast news!
The purpose of this class is to introduce you to writing and reporting using audio, video and the web. We will spend the first third of the semester on audio, the rest of the term will be spent on video. In both cases, the emphasis is on the writing, reporting, accuracy and fairness of the story. I will treat this class as a professional newsroom, i.e. with real deadlines and seemingly impossible expectations of getting a news production done — with little time, few resources, and technical snafus all around. It should be fun! Two essential ingredients are required to make this course (and a career in journalism) a success: preparedness and a sense of humor.
You will be using digital audio recorders and HD cameras, Audacity audio editing and Final Cut Video editing to produce your assignments. This class will also provide you with experience using the APENPS software used in many television and radio newsrooms today.
Course Outcomes: Students finishing this course should be able to research, report, write, record, shoot, and edit news stories using audio and video. Students will be able to write accurately on deadline. Students will study the fundamentals of journalism and interview a practicing journalist about the profession.
Be prepared! I was never a Boy Scout, but that is the motto of every good journalist. You never know what story you will be assigned, so you MUST have a working knowledge of everything in the news. You are required to read a daily newspaper and monitor radio and television newscasts and news websites throughout the day, every day.
There will be frequent quizzes at the start of class on current events. You will be treated as professionals and are expected to meet all deadlines and complete assignments on time.
–Daily newspapers, The Boston Globe and/or New York Times. READ.
–Daily radio — NPR/WBUR 90.9 Morning Edition 6-9 am, All Things Considered 4-7 pm. WBUR.org, NPR.org. Listen every day for at least a half hour. Or WBZ all news radio. Set your alarm clocks! or get the iphone app and LISTEN.
–Daily television – one local and one network newscast every day. WATCH.
The Elements of Journalism by Rosensteil and Kovach. If you haven’t read it, please do.
TEXT: Aim For The Heart, second edition, Al Tompkins
An external hard drive to save all your material
A 2G SD card to record Audio onto
An 8G SD Class 6 card to record video onto.
Interview a journalist whose job you aspire to have some day and write a brief summary (one page typed) about that person. You must interview them in person, or on the phone (no email). You must have a confirmed subject/person by the end of September. We will have oral reports sprinkled throughout the semester. Everyone should be ready to roll after Halloween. Five minutes max. You should ask them how they got into the business, what is good and bad about being a broadcast journalist, what was their best and wost stories/experiences, where is the profession headed, etc.
Tardiness and absenteeism are not acceptable. In the event of a personal or family emergency, please notify me that you will not be in class BEFORE CLASS BEGINS and make arrangements with me to make up the time/work. Work missed during unexcused absences will be given an F grade.
NO LATE WORK will be accepted. NO excuses. This is the news business. Deadlines are very real. I will however, consider a re-write or re-production of a completed piece that was handed in on time, for a POSSIBLE upgrade.
In class writing, participation, commitment, attitude, teamwork: 10%
Quiz/test grades – 15% (your worst quiz grade may be dropped).
Audio/Video projects – 75%
Also, if you stumble upon spot news (fire, accident, crime) with your camera or audio recorder, ….record and report it. That can replace any of the canned assignments listed below.
Each of the assignments will be given three grades: the pitch, the script, and the final product.
The Pitch: 20% – how creative and well researched your story ideas are, who you will interview, what you will record (pictures and sound scenes). How well you sell the story — your editor will always ask, why should I care, why should an audience listen to this story? You need to have a compelling answer. KEEP A FILE OF POTENTIAL STORY IDEAS.
The script: 30% – editorial content: fairness, balance, accuracy, story structure, writing, use of tape, pacing.
The final product: 50% How did it all come together? Visuals, audio, pacing, story-telling, delivery.
TO PARTNER OR NOT TO PARTNER? I have tried this class both ways, working in partners and working as one-man-band. What seems to work best is a hybrid — ask a classmate to help you when you are shooting, especially interviews and stand-ups. But you must pass in a different story from your partner. You will get the grade for the entire story, it is your individual research, reporting, writing and editing that will be the primary basis of your grade. By the end of the semester your final assignments will hopefully be done solo. This is the way the world is evolving, for better or worse.
Please review Journalism Department guidelines carefully.
Do not copy the words, graphics, audio, video or music created by anyone else. Plagiarism of any kind will lead to serious consequences, including the possibility of expulsion.
Please do not use any one else’s audio or video, except with permission and attribution from me and from the source of the tape. Don’t ask friends or roommates to pose as interview subjects. Don’t “double-dip”, submitting an assignment produced for another class or media outlet. Your work must be your own, produced for this course.
Week 1 – 9/8 – Introductions, Syllabus, Terminology, APENPS. Your news diet, becoming a news junkie.
Developing a database of contacts. Story idea files: issues, profiles, features
In class workshop: Basic Audio Recording. Interview classmates, write and deliver story.
Homework: Read Tompkins Introduction, and Chapters 1, 4, 5 and 6. Assignment #1: Audio Story. Record interviews on a controversial, newsworthy topic with experts and/or MOS (man on the street) or I prefer the French VOX (voice of the people). Come to class next week with audio SD card and have your audio logged (transcribed).
Week 2- 9/15 – Writing for broadcast. Using expert and MOS tape. Go over book. Readers, voicers, wraps. Scripting around sound. Broadcast news writing – tight, bright, and right. Writing for 24 hour broadcast/web. Story idea file check.
Homework: Read Chapters 2, 3 and 11. Write Assignment #1 Audio: a wrap with interviews (SOT/Actuality)
Week 3 – 9/22 – Current events quiz. DUE: #1 Script for Reporter WRAP. Email it to me by 2PM WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.
In class workshop: Basic audio editing, Audacity. AP Prime Cuts. Writing from wires, newspaper sources. Narration, delivery, unleashing your inner actor!
Homework: Read Chapter 14, 15, and 16. Edit wrap and put final tape of story into DONOHUE/351 folder BEFORE CLASS. Write up a pitch for #2 Video political story.
Week 4 – 9/29– Current Events quiz. #1 audio wrap DUE. Critique #1. Pitch #2 Video political story.
Introduction to the Camera: How to use the HD camera, what to shoot. Interviewing skills. Thinking visually. Scripting a two column Video Story. Access with a camera. Gathering Natural Sound
How not to get into legal trouble: Libel, copyright, wiretap laws, crime, and courts.
Homework: Working with a partner to help you with shooting, you each will report, shoot and Write #2 Video Political Story. Send two column scripts to me by 9am Thursday. Bring scripts and Video SD CARD to class. Read Chapters 7, 8 and 9.
Should have lined up subject for oral report: talk to someone whose job you want.
Week 5 – 10/6 – Current Events Quiz. DUE: Script for #2 Video Political Story.
In class: Final Cut Pro demo with Susan Walker: Importing Video, organizing and labeling files, basic edits into a timeline. In class copy editing.
Homework: Import, and do basic edits with video. Put a rough sequence of SOTS on the timeline. MUST VISIT FCP lab one night this week and have the TA check off that you were there and understand the basics. Put stories into Donohue folder BEFORE CLASS. Read chapters 12 and 17.
Week 6 – 10/13 – DUE: rough cut on Final Cut Pro
In class: FCP demo #2: Sandy Hooper: Recording Voice Tracks, audio levels, exporting.
Homework: Finish assignment #2 on FCP. VISIT THE FCP LAB!! Prepare pitch for #3
Read Book Chapter 10
Week 7 – 10/20 Current Events quiz. DUE: assignment #2 and Pitch for Assignment #3: Video controversial issue package and vo/sot story.
In class: VIEW #2. Sandy Hooper trouble shooting. Television terms, writing and scripting, anchor vo, vo/sot, vs. reporter package. The logistics of finding and covering television/video news. Ideas for next stories. Developing a beat/specialty: health, sports, business, consumer, politics.
Homework: With a partner helping you with the camera, Shoot #3 and write scripts for controversial news package and vo/sot. Send script to me via email by 9am Thursday. All oral reports should be complete and ready to share with the class in November. Five minutes max.
Week 8 – 10/27.
DUE: Script for #3 Controversial story: Anchor vo/sot and Reporter Package
In class.Final Cut Pro demo: Sandy Hooper, graphics, lower 3rds, other effects.
Homework: finish editing #3 vo/sot and package tape. Put them in the DONOHUE/JO 351 folder BEFORE CLASS
Week 9 11/3 – Current Events Quiz. DUE: #3 Controversial story, Anchor VO/SOT and Reporter Package.
In class: deliver vo/sot (possibly in studio). A few oral reports.
Specialty reporting: Business, (innumeracy). Medical (junk Science), Crime/law, consumer, politics, international (mid-east primer). Global-local connections. Environment.
Homework: Revisions of #3 if necessary. Prepare pitch for #4 the BEAT story.
Week 10 – 11/10 – Current Events/Writing/Book Terminology Test. DUE: Pitch #4 Beat Reporter Package. Mock or real Press conference. Covering LIVE events. A few oral reports.
Homework: If necessary, with the help of a partner, Shoot and Write #4 Beat Report vo/sot and reporter package. Send me scripts via email by 9am Thursday (include anchor lead and tag on reporter package). Read chapter 13.
Week 11– 11/17 – DUE: Script for #4 Beat Story.
Current events quiz.
In class: Working Online. Possible guest.
Ethical issues: privacy, taste, decency, advocacy, crossing the line from observer to participant. More Oral reports
Homework: Read Chapter 18.
Edit #4 Beat Reporter package and anchor vo/sot. Put final package and vo/sot in DONOHUE/351 folder BEFORE CLASS. Pitch #5, the Feature, send via email.
11/24 THANKSGIVING! NO CLASS, but send pitch idea for feature via email before you leave town for Turkey. LOOK AHEAD. USE THIS TIME TO START REPORTING ON FEATURE STORY.
Week 12 – 12/1. Current events quiz. DUE: #4 Beat Reporter Package. Discuss Features, writing with style, characters, crazies and cool. Know the city you are working in: LOCAL HERO.
In class: More oral reports
Homework: Working solo, report, write and edit #5 Feature Story.
Week 13 – 12/8 –Last Class. NO QUIZ! Critique #5 Feature. Last oral reports. VACATION