MEDPL 28400 Radio Reporting and Podcasting


MEDPL 20200

Course description

This course teaches students how to report and write a variety of audio news stories and podcasts for a live radio newscast.

Students will be required to produce news content for a live radio broadcast. Each student will report, write and produce three audio stories as well as scripts for a one-hour live newscast produced by a team of four students. This newscast will showcase student work and air live on Hunter College’s radio station, WHCS (Where Hunter College Speaks). In addition, students will publish their work on their own website and use social media (Twitter: #hunterjourpgm, Instagram: hunterjourpgm, Facebook, and Snapchat) to promote their podcasts and team newscast.

Expected Learning Outcomes

  At the conclusion of this class, students should be able to:

  • Research, report, write and produce a wide range of podcasts including hard news, features and opinion journalism geared to a Hunter College audience
  • Write and produce a live newscast
  • Research and interview relevant sources 
  • Record nat sound and nat pops in the field
  • Edit and mix sound elements with Adobe Audition to produce audio news stories
  • Use social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat) to break news and promote podcasts and the live radio broadcast
  • Demonstrate sound news judgment to achieve fairness, balance and diversity in all the coverage generated

Method of Evaluation

1. Hard News Podcast: 10 percent (5 percent-first draft, 5 percent-final draft)

You will research, pitch, report, write and produce a 1:30-2 minute podcast on a current and newsworthy issue or event that is relevant to a Hunter College audience. 

2. Feature News Podcast: 10 percent (5 percent-first draft, 5 percent-final draft)

You will research, pitch, report, write and produce a 3-3:30 minute feature story that focuses on the arts or athletics at Hunter College and incorporates multiple sources and sounds to bring this story alive for the listener. 

3. Opinion Journalism Podcast: 15 percent (5 percent-first draft, 10 percent-final draft)

You will research, pitch, write and produce a 4-4:30 minute opinion journalism podcast in the style of “This I Believe” on an issue relevant to a Hunter College audience. You will be required to meet one on one to review this podcast and talk about your final project during Week 12.

4. Quizzes: 5 percent

There will be five pop quizzes on current events, lectures and reading assignments worth 1 percent each.

5. Homework: 10 percent

There will be 10 homework assignments worth 1 percent each. 

6. Final Project: 40 percent

You will work in a four-person team to produce a one-hour show for a live radio broadcast on Hunter College’s radio station, WHCS. You will be graded on the organization and quality of elements of your 15-minute individual segment: opening, taped or live interview, scripts setting up one or two of your podcasts, and a close that introduces the next host of the show. Your grade will also reflect the overall quality of the team broadcast. 

7. Personal Website: 10 percent

You will publish all your podcasts and your team’s newscast on your personal website and include written introductions and visual elements to introduce and complement your audio.

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, so tardiness will lower your grade. Each late arrival after attendance is taken will reduce your final grade by 2.5 points. Attendance is expected and required. Each student will be allowed two unexcused absences for a class that meets twice a week. Each unexcused absence after those 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. 

Required Readings: 

Alexander, Ray and Stewart, Peter, Broadcast Journalism: Techniques of Radio and Television News, Third Edition, Routledge Press (2016) chapters 16-19 on Blackboard

Geller, Valerie, Beyond Powerful Radio, Second Edition, Focal Press (2011)

Papper, Robert, Broadcast News Writing Stylebook, McGraw Hill Education (2012)

You are also required to listen to a wide range of radio programming on a daily basis, including NPR, SiriusXM, local radio and at least one podcast of your choice like “This American Life”, TED Radio Hour or Planet Money or Radiolab. 

Date Weekly Topic  Readings Assessments
Week 1:    
Course Introduction and Overview

History of Radio from Marconi to Present Day
Watch Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio (director Ken Burns) and read Pew Research’s State of the News Media Report on Podcasting, Audio, and Public Broadcasting Attendance and Participation 

Homework #1: Write a 500-word essay on the state of the radio industry. 
Week 2:     Writing tor Radio

Guest Speaker: WNYC reporter
Listen to Debatable on 

Geller, chapter 17, 23 Papper, chapters 3-7
Attendance and Participation

Homework #2: Write three news stories in broadcast style.
Week 3:
Soundbites and Interviews Geller, chapter 15 Papper, chapters 9-10 Alexander, chapter 17 Attendance and Participation

Homework #3: Record three interviews on a Hunter College issue
Week 4:              Audio Editing: multitrack non-linear editing
Guest Speaker: Sirius XM Engineer and Producer Anthony Smizaski
Alexander, chapter 18 Attendance and Participation 

Homework #4: Edit sound from your interviews into three soundbites
Week 5: 
Voice and Delivery Geller, chapters 18, 24 Attendance and Participation

Homework #5: Prepare a pitch for your hard news story
Week 6:
Hard News Story Structure and Hard News Podcast pitches  Papper, chapters 8, 11 Alexander, chapter 16 Attendance and Participation
Homework #6: Prepare a pitch for you feature story podcast
Week 7:
Sports and Entertainment Programming and Feature Story Podcast Pitch Papper, chapter 28 Attendance and Participation 
Homework #7: Write a 1-minute sports or entertainment segment for a newscast
Hard News Podcast due

     Week 8:
In-class Critique Hard News Podcasts


Attendance and Participation

Homework #8: Prepare a pitch for your “This I Believe” podcast
Week 9:   Talk Shows and Opinion on the Radio and “This I Believe” Podcast Pitch Geller, chapters 1-6 Attendance and Participation

Feature Story Podcast due. 
Week 10:
In-class Critique Features Story Podcasts 

Guest Speaker on Powerful Radio: Valerie Geller, author of Beyond Powerful Radio

Attendance and Participation 

Week 11:

Newscast Programming: Morning and Afternoon Drive
Geller, chapter 19, 25 Attendance and Participation

Opinion Journalism Podcast due
Week 12: 
Workshop on Final Project: Creating a rundown and writing scripts for a live broadcast
Mandatory one on one meetings during office hours to review “This I Believe” podcast and discuss final project
Geller, chapter 11-12
Attendance and Participation

Homework #9:  Submit a rundown for your team newscast and schedule your live broadcast at WHCS during Week 14. 
Week 13: 
Tour of WHCS and Rehearsals for Live Broadcast Alexander, chapter 19 Attendance and Participation
Homework #10:  Submit scripts for approval for your segment of your team newscast.

Week 14: 
Tour SiriusXM

Integrating Social Media into your podcasts and newscasts
Geller, chapter 28 Attendance and Participation

Final Drafts of all Podcasts and Team Newscast due (must air before last class.)

            Week 15: 
Class Party and re-broadcast of Live Newscasts during slot scheduled for final exam
Attendance and Participation