This has to be one of the most SOLID television productions I have seen come from any high school in all my years of teaching.
HTV Magazine/HTV Buzz out of Springfield, Mo totally knocked this out of the ballpark. (Yes that's cliche' but how else can I describe it? Words escape me here.)
I encourage any Journalism adviser, child advocate, etc. to take the time to watch this production over Child Abuse.
I've seen it 3 times now, and each time it doesn't lose the impact it has upon my heart.
Originally posted on the Academy of Scholastic Broadcast blog on March 3, 2014
Another day. Another question. That same annoying question. Yes, I am once again asked to describe my studio set up, equipment available, and what not.
Seriously? Of ALL the things to pick my brain about after 16 years of teaching Broadcast, THAT is the question I am most often asked?
More and more in the gizmo gadgetry high-tech world, all Broadcast teachers seem to want to talk about is the equipment, the technology, the budget, the this, the that... and I find myself utterly annoyed.
What do I want to discuss?
I want to talk about finding good stories. I want to discuss dealing with hurdles like trying to promote a JOURNALISM class and not a Public Relations course (seems like once video gets involved, it's all about "PR"). I want to talk about how to recruit and retain strong students. I want to discuss which story was the most challenging for your students to tell and how did they rise (or fall) to occasion. I want to talk about how to really drive home the importance of strong visuals and NAT sound. I want to talk about the process not the gadgets.
I know that cameras, and lighting systems, and these things called TriCasters apparently really matter to a lot of folks, but in the end I can honestly say not one of my former students who now work in Television, Radio, Advertising, and (yes, I dare say it) Public Relations go on and on about how their education was horrid by not having a digital-set or a teleprompter.
What my former students go on and on about are these things: they learned to find good characters and dig deep into topics that they found a passion for while reporting on them; writing is important; and being honest in your reporting is critical. Good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end... and often it is really hard to do that attention-getting opening, and the end can be just as much of a challenge. They go on and on about the stories, the characters, the lessons learned in and out of the edit bay while constructing the story, and more. They rarely bring up what computer was used or video camera make/model.
Our lower thirds stink. I admit it. We can't use a green screen to talk in front of a graphic about the Polar Vortex. I know that's true. So what? We try and try again and again to find memorable characters, tell strong compelling stories, and create a television show that people feel was worth their time to watch. Do we always succeed? No. But when we do pull that all off, it's a feeling like no other.
So, all these discussions, forums, applications, and forms that constantly ask about budgets, equipment, and studio set up (what's a studio? I have a classroom!), slightly get on my nerves.Isn't it time to ditch those questions and go a little "old school" and get back to basics in Broadcast? Did Edward Murrow need all those graphics to report? Do people even remember who Edward Murrow was? Do our students know who he was? Let's talk about that next time we gather around to talk shop. Please. Maybe I'll be the only one excited to jump in the conversation...but maybe I won't.
This was originally published on JEA Digital Media (by me!) on Sept 3, 2014
For the longest time, I was one of very few teachers who used technology in my classroom on a daily basis, especially in Broadcast. However, this year especially within my school district, the push for teachers to implement technology into their daily routine is bigger than ever. Online tests and quizzes, discussion boards, creating video presentations, slide shows… the list just keeps growing.
However, we need to be mindful to not forget the humanity involved with teaching and with modeling very “human” behaviors to help our students become successful adults.
The biggest problem I am catching today’s students having, and it really harms them in Broadcast or any area of journalism for that matter, is eye contact.
In the past five years, I have noticed more and more students comment on how much I look at them. Some are happy about it, and even say they feel like too many people stare at screens and not each other. Others hate it. They feel I am “picking on them” and it makes them uncomfortable when I speak to them and look them in the eye daily.
However, for any of our students to conduct a true heart-to-heart interview and connect with that person, they are going to have to make eye contact.
I often steal an idea I got from Les Rose (great cameraman for CBS), and tell my students they need to not have a bunch of video cameras and gadgets with them when they meet someone for the first time before an interview. They really should just be seen as a human being. Make eye contact with the subject, talk to them, LISTEN to them, and also scout out the location for the best lighting for an interview and for possible b-roll shots.
Yes, leave your phones and your cameras in the car, in the classroom, anywhere but on that initial meeting. They have no business there. I want them to be seen as human beings first.
When my students actually follow these tips and use what I try to model daily in my own classes (eye contact), it actually helps their stories. More people open up to them because trust is built. There’s a human connection.
Beyond the interview, I think these skills are important for any of our students and something we shouldn’t lose sight of as we become more and more screen-driven as a society. I have had a lot of my students from all different classes tell me they can tell I actually care about them, because I actually look them in the eye. This is the kind of behavior we should focus on modeling more and more for our students, as less and less people in the world seem to do so.
Starting year 25 as a Journalism educator. Photographer. Mom. Nature-Junkie. Super Fan of Missouri State Parks and Conservation Lands. As a wise BJJTV alumni says, "Treat People Like People."