MEDPL 283 | News Video Reporting


MEDP 160 and MEDP 202

Course description

This newly updated course will teach you how to report and produce several types of news video stories from start to finish including: hard news, features, formal interviews, and live shots. You will build on the broadcast writing skills you learned in MEDPL 202 with a new emphasis on writing to pictures. Throughout the semester, you will research and pitch story ideas, considering from the outset how to tell a compelling story with pictures and sound. You will learn how to get good interviews, how to structure a story, how to choose the best soundbites and write in and out of them effectively, and how to use your voice and delivery to enhance the meaning of your words. You will be setting up and shooting your own stories, interviewing on camera, practicing stand-ups, writing scripts, editing with Adobe Premiere Pro, and delivering your stories in your best broadcast voice. At the end of the semester, you and a partner will produce and anchor a five-minute “Hunter News Break” that will showcase your best work of the semester. All of that work will be posted on your own domain and your capstone feature stories will also appear on “Hunter News Now” in the spring. By the end of the semester, you will feel confident in your ability to shoot, write, voice and edit hard news packages, feature stories and person on the street interviews in an ethical, engaging and informative manner.

Expected Learning Outcomes

By the end of the term, you should be able to:
1. Write to pictures in a clear, concise and conversational style using appropriate AP Style conventions.
2. Shoot and conduct POS (person-on-the-street) interviews on camera
3. Shoot visuals and audio that help tell a story.
4. Edit images and audio using Adobe Premiere Pro into a well-produced visual story.
5. Report and produce different types of news video pieces, including hard news stories, features, interviews, and a newsbreak.
6. Manage your own digital identity through a personal website where you will publish your work.

Method of Evaluation

This course will demand a lot from all of us. Please take your responsibilities seriously and come to class prepared each day. Complete reading assignments in advance, be ready for story meetings, know what is happening in the news and be prepared to participate in class discussions and critiques. This course is a major time commitment, so please make sure you make it a priority.

1. MOS Interview: First Cut 5 percent, Final 5 percent
This 1:30 piece will be a series of SOTs from Hunter students on a newsworthy topic.
2. Hard News Story: First Cut 5 percent, Final 10 percent
This 1:30 package will include three sources and a stand-up.
3. Feature Story: First Cut 10 percent, Final 20 percent
This 2:30 nat sound story will profile a Hunter athlete or artist, relying only on the interview audio and video with no reporter track.
4. Hunter College Newsbreak: 20 percent
A 5:00 newscast with a partner featuring an introduction to your hard news stories and/or MOS interviews.
5. Homework: 10 percent
There will be homework assignments, news quizzes and guest research questions.
6. Shooting Duties: 10 percent
Students will work in teams of two during the semester to shoot MOS interviews and stand ups and that person will evaluate you as a partner at the end of the semester.
7. Personal Website: 5 percent

Students will be building their own website as part of this course and judged on the architecture, presentation, accessibility and content of their domain.
Deadlines are taken seriously in journalism and this class. If you are ever absent, it’s up to you to post the assignment due that day by the start of class. If you don’t turn in your assignment at the start of class, you will lose a full letter grade (10 points) for every day the assignment is late. You are a day late if you turn in your assignment after the start of class on the day it is due, even if you turn it in later the same day, two days late on the following day, etc. After seven days, you’ll receive an F on the assignment.

Attendance and on-time class arrival are expected and required. Each student will be allowed two unexcused absences. Each unexcused absence after that will result in a 5-point deduction from your final grade. Only legitimate and documented emergencies and serious illnesses will be considered for an excused absence. Official documentation must be presented the day you return to class.

On-time attendance at every class is also expected, so habitual tardiness will lower your grade. Two unexcused late arrivals, after attendance has been taken, will equal one unexcused absence (or 5 points off your final grade). Given the nature of this course, no incompletes will be given.

Required Readings

Online subscription to The New York Times and to “theSkimm,” a free, daily and cheeky blog on the day’s top stories
Briggs, Mark. “Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing”
Papper, Robert. “Broadcast News and Writing Stylebook”
Tompkins, Al. “Aim for the Heart: Write, Shoot, Report and Produce TV and Multimedia”

Required Equipment

Portable USB 3 Drive: minimum 500 GB capacity and 7200 RPM (Good drives: Glyph and GTECH. Avoid Lacie.)
Headphones or ear buds

Weekly Schedule

WEEK 1 | Introduction and Class Overview and Shooting Video Basics
Monday, August 28: Class Orientation, review of syllabus and class introductions
Thursday, August 31: Tompkins, chapters 7-9. Review of cameras and shooting techniques. Homework: News Show Open. B-roll due 9/7 and edited show open due 9/14. Homework: Prepare questions for guest speaker on 9/7, Jonathan O’Beirne

WEEK 2 | Guest Speaker on Videography
Monday, September 4: NO CLASS
Thursday, September 7: Briggs, chapter 7. Guest Speaker: Jonathan O’Beirne, Photojournalist for CNN, Reuters, BBC and E! Review and critique of b-roll for news open. Homework: Re-shoot b-roll after feedback and edit to music.

WEEK 3 | Broadcast Writing, VOs and the VO-SOTs and CUNY TV Newsroom Tour
Monday, September 11: Broadcast Writing Tompkins, chapters 4-5. Papper, 3-7. Broadcast Writing: leads, readers, VOs and VO-SOTs. Homework: Shoot, write and edit a VO-SOT due 9/18
Thursday, September 14: News Open due. Newsroom Tour CUNY TV

WEEK 4 | Interviewing and Critic’s Corner on Shooting Video
Monday, September 18: VO-SOT due. Papper, chapters 9-10. Tompkins, chapter 6. Interviewing techniques for MOS and formal interviews, choosing SOTs and writing in and out of SOTs. Homework: Assignment #1: MOS raw video due 9/28, package due 10/5, re-do due 11/2
Tuesday, September 19: Critic’s Corner News Open and VO-SOTs.
Thursday, September 21: NO CLASS

WEEK 5 | Editing an MOS Package and Story Meeting Hard News Package
Monday, September 25: MOS raw video due. In-class editing workshop. Homework: Prepare a story pitch for hard news package due 9/28.
Thursday, September 28: Papper, chapters 12-13. Writing and formatting hard news packages. Assignment #2: Hard News package. Script due 10/16, edited package 10/26, re-do due 11/27. Papper, chapter 12

WEEK 6 | Voice, Delivery and Stand-ups and Hard News Story Structure
Monday, October 2: Story Meeting hard news package.
Thursday, October 5: MOS package due. Primer on voiceovers and stand-ups. Homework: Shoot your hard news stand-up by 10/19. Papper, chapter 12

WEEK 7 | Hard News Story Structure continued
Monday, October 9: NO CLASS.
Thursday, October 12: Tompkins, chapters 1-3. Papper, chapter 8. Story structure continued.

WEEK 8 | On-Air Delivery and Teleprompter Training and Guest Speaker on Stand-ups and Delivery
Monday, October 16: On-air delivery and teleprompter training. Homework: Prepare story pitch for nat sound package due 10/26. Prepare questions for guest speaker Mary Civiello.
Thursday, October 19: Hard News package script due. In-class critique and stand-up workshop. Guest Critic on Stand-ups and Delivery: Mary Civiello, Former WNBC anchor and CEO of CCG

WEEK 9 | Features Story Structure and Story Meeting
Monday, October 23: Papper, 13. Tompkins, chapters 7-9. Nat sound story structure.
Thursday, October 26: Hard News edited package due. Story Meeting Assignment #3: Nat sound package. Script due 11/9, edited package due 11/20, re-do due 12/11.

WEEK 10 | Nat Sound Story Structure continued and Guest Speaker Nat Sound Stories
Monday, October 30: Tompkins, chapters 11-12. Nat sound story structure continued. Homework: Prepare questions for nat sound package guest speaker Magdalena Doris.
Thursday, November 2: MOS re-do due. Guest Speaker, Magdalena Doris, WCBS reporter. Homework: Prepare questions on social media videos for guest speaker Coralie Carlson.

WEEK 11 | Guest Speaker on Videos for the Web and Social Media and Nat Sound Editing Tips
Monday, November 6: Social Media Videos Guest Speaker: Coralie Carlson, Web Editor, WNBC
Thursday, November 9: Nat Sound script due. Visual storytelling: sequences, nat sound, editing tricks and tips. Homework: Prepare questions for guest speaker George Lerner.

WEEK 12 | Hard News Package Critiques and Newsbreak Workshop
Monday, November 13: Critique of hard news packages with guest critic George Lerner, former producer, CNN, PBS, ABC News, and Al Jazeera. Re-do due 11/27.
Thursday, November 16: Hunter College Newsbreak Workshop. Team assignments. Rundown and scripts. Newsbreak scripts due 11/27. Homework: Prepare questions for guest speaker Jane Hanson.

WEEK 13 | Anchoring Workshop and Happy Thanksgiving!
Monday, November 20: Nat Sound package due. Anchoring Workshop. Guest Speaker: Jane Hanson, former WCBS anchor. Homework: Peer Review Nat Sound package, due 11/27.
Thursday, November 23: NO CLASS

WEEK 14 | Critic’s Corner Nat Sound Packages and CNN TOUR
Monday, November 27: Newsbreak scripts due. Hard News re-do due. Peer Review Nat Sound packages. Guest Critic: Phil Rosenbaum
Thursday: November 30: Peer Review continued. Guest Critic: Mike Cahill
Friday, December 1: CNN Morning Tour

WEEK 15 | Newsbreak Taping
Monday, December 4: TV Studio 4th floor
Thursday, December 7: TV Studio 4th floor

WEEK 16 | Showtime and Class Reflections!
Monday, December 11: Nat Sound Story re-do and personal websites due. Class par-tay!