This capstone class incorporates all the skills you have gained in journalism classes to date to produce a live newscast from the planning stage to the actual broadcast. In addition to learning how to set up a rundown and line produce a live show, you will also produce editorial content and rotate through multiple newsroom positions, giving you invaluable experience directly relevant to internships and jobs in broadcast journalism, as well as a personal reel. The newscast produced by this course, “Hunter News Now,” will also serve the Hunter College community by concentrating on news, issues and events of interest to a Hunter College audience.
Expected Learning Outcomes
By the end of the term, you should be able to:
1. Write and produce a live television newscast
2. Anchor a television newscast using a teleprompter
3. Find, research and develop a wide range of story ideas with a news peg (hard news, feature, arts scene, college sports) for a Hunter College audience
4. Produce news content (scripts, visuals, and audio) for a Hunter College newscast
5. Find, research and book live guests relevant to a Hunter College audience
6. Use social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat) to break news and promote our stories and newscast
7. Demonstrate sound news judgment to achieve fairness, balance and diversity in all the coverage generated
Method of Evaluation
1. Packages: 30 percent
You will research, pitch, report, write and produce three 1:30 stories relevant to a Hunter College audience. (10 percent each)
2. Show scripts: 15 percent
During the semester, you will write 15 scripts (readers, VO’s, VO-SOT-VOs, guest intros, sports segment, arts segment) assigned by the weekly producer. (1 percent each)
3. Producer Performance: 20 percent
Each student will serve as a co-producer of our weekly newscast or the producer of the sports and arts blocks. You will be graded on your ability to lead an editorial discussion, story planning and news judgment, show rundown, script editing, leadership before and during the broadcast and the final on-air product.
4. Newsroom Duties: 20 percent
You will be evaluated on your performance in various newsroom positions and your ability to think on your feet and pitch in when things don’t go as planned.
5. On-Air Presentation: 10 percent
You will be evaluated on your on-air delivery as a newscast anchor or sports anchor or arts anchor.
6. Homework: 5 percent
There will be three homework assignments early in the semester to prepare you for your various newsroom duties.
Given the nature of this class, anyone’s absence will deleteriously affect our newscast. Each week is a team effort. There are no excused absences for this class except in the case of a documented family emergency or serious illness. 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. Each unexcused absence will result in a 5-point deduction from your final grade. If you miss more than three classes, you will automatically fail this course.
In addition, if you are ever absent, it’s up to you to email me and the weekly producer as soon as possible so your responsibilities can be reassigned. It’s also important that you complete your packages and scripts even if you are absent since the producer is counting on that content. 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.
On-time arrival at every class is also expected and required given the demands of our live broadcast and coordination with the MEDP 282 class, so tardiness will lower your grade. Each late arrival after attendance is taken will reduce your final grade by 2.5 points.
Online subscription to The New York Times
Subscription to The Skimm
Green, Susan. “News Now: Visual Storytelling in the Digital Age”
Papper, Robert. “Broadcast News and Writing Stylebook”
Hunter College Calendar of Events
Roosevelt House Events
WEEK 1 | Course Introduction, Camera 101 and What is Hyperlocal Journalism?
Thursday, February 2: Review syllabus and class expectations. Lecture on Hyperlocal Journalism and Anatomy of a Newscast. Homework: Prepare a critique of a newscast of your choice due 2/9. Camera 101.
WEEK 2 | Broadcast Writing for Newscasts and Packages
Thursday, February 9: Green, chapters, 7-8, 10. Papper, chapters 12-13. Writing Workshop on scripts for a newscast and news and feature packages. Homework: readers, VO-SOTs, and guest intro scripts due 2/16 and story pitch for package #1 due 2/16.
WEEK 3 | The Art of Creating a Rundown
Thursday, February 16: Papper, chapters 15-17. Green 1-6. Lecture on Rundowns and Story Meeting package #1. Homework: Package #1 script due 2/23 and edited package 3/2. Guest Speaker: Julia Bottles, Editor DNAInfo and former producer, News12
WEEK 4 | On-Air Delivery and Live Shots
Thursday, February 23: Green chapter 9. On-Air Delivery Workshop. Guest Speaker: Jane Hanson, Former WNBC Anchor. Story Meeting Package #2 Group A.
WEEK 5 | Editorial Meeting and In-class Writing and Production for Newscast #1
Thursday, March 2: Editorial meeting and rundown. Script preparation. Homework: Package #2 Group A script due 3/9 edited story 3/16.
WEEK 6 | Newscast #1
Thursday, March 9: Last minute updates for A-Block. Dry run and Newscast #1!
WEEK 7 | Editorial Meeting and In-class Writing and Production for Newscast #2
Thursday, March 16: Post mortem Newscast #1. Guest Critic: Phil Rosenbaum, Producer CNN Headline News. Editorial meeting and rundown. Script preparation. Story meeting Package #2 Group B. Homework: Package #2 Group B script due 3/23 edited story 3/30.
WEEK 8 | Newscast #2
Thursday, March 23: Last minute updates for A-Block. Dry run and Newscast #2.
WEEK 9 | Editorial Meeting and In-class Writing and Production for Newscast #3
Thursday, March 30: Post mortem Newscast #2. Editorial meeting and rundown. Script preparation. Story Meeting Package #3 Group A. Script due 4/6. Edited Packages due 4/27.
WEEK 10 | Newscast #3
Thursday, April 6: Last minute updates for A-Block. Dry run and Newscast #3.
WEEK 11 | Spring Break
Thursday, April 13: NO CLASS
WEEK 12 | Spring Break
Thursday, April 20: NO CLASS
Week 13 | Editorial Meeting and In-class Writing and Production for Newscast #4
Thursday, April 27: Post mortem Newscast #3. Guest Critic: Mike Cahill. Editorial meeting and rundown. Script preparation. Story meeting Package #3 Group B. Script due 5/4. Edited Packages due 5/11.
WEEK 14 | Newscast #4
Thursday, May 4: Last minute updates for A-Block. Dry run and Newscast #4.
WEEK 15 | Editorial Meeting and In-class Writing and Production for Newscast #5
Thursday, May 11: Post mortem Newscast #4. Guest Critic: Andrew Heyward, Former President CBS News. Editorial meeting and rundown. Script preparation.
WEEK 16 | Newscast #5 and Class Party
Thursday May 18: Last minute updates for A-Block. Dry run and Newscast #5.