Syllabus

Professor Barbara Nevins Taylor

Spring 2021

MCA 34300

Mondays 3:30 to 6 p.m.

In-Person in Room 462 Shepard Hall

Syllabus for Television/Video Journalism MCA 34300 

by Barbara Nevins Taylor is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Prerequisite: MCA 333 or department consent

Office Hours: One hour before or after class. Text or email for appointments during these hours and at any other time.

barbaranevinstaylor@mac.com, bnevinstaylor@ccny.cuny.edu

917 678 6069

ConsumerMojo.com @consumermojo

COURSE DESCRIPTION

We share a mission with journalists in New York City, throughout the U.S. and the world to tell video stories that have meaning and impact. This is a difficult time for all journalists and it’s important to remember the challenges we face. I’ll talk more about that, but first I hope that you will think about video journalism as an exciting, creative and sometimes magical opportunity.

In this class you’ll learn to report using video, the techniques of live reporting, the important crafts of writing for video, interviewing, shooting, and editing. We’ll also take a dive into the history of TV news and the cultural shifts that produced the evolving technology and practices.

You will become a maker, a creator of a short form video that tells a relevant journalistic story in a minute or two. This short form of video journalism easily translates to every platform and social media, and we’ll tailor videos for all possible uses. But our emphasis will always focus on journalism and the facts that you gather.

In some of our classes, we’ll have a TV/video professional Zoom in as a guest speaker to share their experiences with you. I’m going to get serious in just minute. But I want to emphasize how much fun video reporting and this class can and should be.

We also want to be mindful of what is happening outside of our classroom and how that affects video journalists. Journalists with cameras are easy targets.

In August 2021 an independent video journalist was attacked by anti-vax protestors.

 In Portland, Oregan leftist protestors attacked photojournalist Maranie Staab. She was maced, knocked to the ground and her camera and phone were damaged. She told the Willamette Week, “If we’re on a public street. and a newsworthy event is occuring you’re not going to tell me what I can and cannot film.”

Here in New York during the summer of 2020 at least one video journalist was a target of protestors.

And on January 6, 2021 the mob turned on video journalists covering the insurrection.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker found  that at least 16 journalists were targeted during the Capitol riot. And throughout the country in 2021, 140  journalists were assaulted. This includes a parent attacking a journalist at a Michigan school board meeting. 

What does all this say? Many continue to pursue careers as journalists and to fulfill the mission enshrined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to inform the public and hold the powerful to account.

So many things seem personal.

Objectivity may seem impossible when it feels like events conspire against us. But it is a basic of principled journalism and I ask you to do your best to keep it in mind and put it into practice in your reporting. The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) offers an excellent code of ethics.

Journalists, TV and video journalists especially, find themselves in an important role during this historic and fraught time. We need to tell the stories of life as we are living it now, of the politics dividing our nation, of the science and the doubters and other important issues.  But we also need to make sure that we remain safe and do not endanger anyone else.

TV and video journalists continue to do an excellent job, perhaps better than ever. They offer examples of grace under pressure and the ever-challenging job of being in the center of things, while commenting as an observer.

That’s where you and this class come in.

READING

We will use the class website CCNYtelevisionjournalism for our reading material. The website features instruction for writing, shooting and editing. It will substitute for a textbook and offer us more flexibility. This class is part of the CUNY Open Educational Resources (OER) program.

Download the Associated Press – AP app. It’s free

Download the Spectrum News app. For now it’s free and it offers NY1 stories, which are worth following.

WHAT YOU NEED

You’ll need a notepad for reporting.

We have USB flash drives for you to save your work and will get them to you as soon as possible. It is better to use a portable hard drive.  You will each get an iPhone 12 and other gear to keep at home so that you can shoot video when you need to report.

KEEPING UP WITH THE NEWS AND VIEWING AND LISTENING

This is a news class, and it helps to watch the news to understand how producers construct a newscast and how reporters create video stories and report live. Please begin to watch and view WNBC 4WCBS 2, WPIX 11, WNYW-Fox5 , : NY1, News 12, NBC News, CBS News, ABC News, PBSNewsHour as well as CNN, MSNBC, FOX News,  BBCWorld News America and Vice online.

The syllabus May Change

Because this is a news class, the syllabus may change to reflect events. Journalists are flexible.

CLASS ETIQUETTE

Please come to class on time. Please do not text or use devices in the class for anything other than class work.

 CRITICISM

We’ll be viewing and analyzing the work of classmates, and your courtesy and participation is required. Please remember that criticism is not a personal attack. We will talk about the work candidly and this will help your professional growth.

Benny’s Food Pantry

Students who find themselves experiencing difficulties obtaining food every day or who lack a stable and safe place to live are urged to come to Benny’s pantry for assistance (https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/bennysfoodpantry). Benny’s pantry is located on the ground floor of the North Academic Center (NAC) and is open to anyone within the CUNY community (students, staff, faculty) in need of support. The pantry is open from 10am to 6pm and is self-serve. Additional emergency support for financial, health and housing needs are also available through Benny’s. Please contact Dee Dee Mozeleski at dmozeleski@ccny.CUNY.edu or Charles Ramirez @cramirez@ccny.CUNY.edu for additional details.

ATTENDANCE

Attendance is mandatory. Broadcasting operates on deadline, so you have the chance to begin to develop good habits. We’ll treat our class professionally as we would treat a job in broadcasting, so attend all classes. Again, please arrive on time. Your attendance, punctuality, and class participation will be considered in your grade. If there is an emergency and you cannot attend a class, please email me. If you are absent four times, you will fail.

Two unexcused absences will result in a lower grade.

Four or more absences and we will ask you to withdraw from the class.

You must email a note from a doctor, a court of law, a fire fighter, or a funeral director for an excused absence.

Students who must miss class or be late because of religious beliefs will be accommodated.

DEPARTMENT OBJECTIVES AND COURSE OUTCOMES

STUDENTS WILL LEARN:

Social history as they explore the creation of broadcasting and evolution of television news.

How to use analytical skills to evaluate how news stories and newscasts are constructed.

How to work ethically to find the truth, pursue accuracy, fairness, and diversity, and report strong news stories.

How to think creatively, independently, and critically about local and world events.

How to gather information, synthesize complicated details and craft a succinct, logical story with a beginning, middle and end.

How to develop interviewing skills and use them effectively.

The crafts of writing, reporting, shooting video or visuals, editing, and presenting a news story.

How to work as part of a team and collaborate with others to produce and report news stories.

LATE AND INCOMPLETE ASSIGNMENTS

In journalism deadlines count. You need to complete your work and assignments to meet every deadline. Please consult with me if you have a problem making a deadline. But remember, in life excuses can’t compete with excellent work.

TESTS AND QUIZZES

Because we plan to cover a great deal in a short amount of time, we’ll have a quiz or test at the beginning of every class. It will cover news, readings from the website and whatever I provide to the class.

Your video work and writing assignments will be graded as tests and your final TV news package will serve as your final exam.

GRADES

Attendance                  Required

Punctuality                   Required

Reading                       Required

Participation, Tests and Homework                20 Percent

Writing                                                             20 Percent

Reporting, Shooting, Editing and Producing   20 Percent

Your video stories                                           40 Percent

Course Calendar

Week One 

Monday, January 31

Meet and greet to learn what our class offers.

The responsibility of the individual journalist. Ethics, copyright and how it affects the material you use in a video.

The Language of TV news = TV Key Words

Types of TV Stories

    1. Package – Video Example

    2. VO – Example

    3. VO/SOT – Example

    4. Live-Shot — Example

How do we tell stories with video?

NBCU Video shooting video with your phone.

Setting up a shot to get the best image.

Shooting an interview.

Shooting sequences.

  1. Homework: Read Video Storytelling on CCNYtelevisionjournalism.com

     Try to familiarize yourself with the TV Keywords. It will help you as we move forward in the class.

You will each get an iPhone 12 Pro Max, a microphone, a shoulder pod, and a bag to put the gear in.

You’ll also receive tripods and flash drives.

Week Two

Monday, February 7

News Quiz and quiz on keywords.

Video examples of good news stories: Breaking news.

We’ll go over how to use the gear

Shooting in 5-shot sequences – Video examples

  1. class exercises.

Homework:

Pick a simple task that has movement: unpacking the groceries and putting them away, or someone in your family throwing out the trash and maybe separating the recycling.

Using your phone, shoot a series of 5-shot sequences that tell a story. They should tell a story without narration.

3.  Download your video. See the instructions on the website. https://ccnytelevisionjournalism.com/2020/01/25/how-to-bring-in-footage-from-your-phone/

 *Film students. Edit the sequence to make a coherent story. You don’t need narration. Just let the video do the job.

For non-film students. There’s no need to edit. we’ll show you how to download and bring the video into Premiere at our next class.

Edited work for film students due September 17 at 5 p.m.

Week Three

Monday, February 14

News Quiz

Examples of good video stories.

We’ll go into breakout groups. Film students with Premiere Pro background will work on writing.

All others will learn to bring video into Premiere Pro and begin to learn to edit.

Open Premier and bringing in the video.

Learning Premier Pro https://ccnytelevisionjournalism.com/2018/09/05/premiere-pro-editing-2/

Homework:

Read: Writing TV News Stories on the class website.

Read: How we write on the class website

Read: Clunky words and phrases to avoid.

Monday, February 21  College Closed

Week Four

Monday, February 28

News Quiz

Investigative reporting. Sources and resources, examples of strong investigative reporting

Discussion of investigative topics.

Where to look and who to contact.

Guest speaker possibly from NBC4

Using the writing templates, write a VO and a VO/SOT for the video that you shot.

Edit the video in class, or at home to match the script.

Homework:

Edit the video at home if you haven’t done it in class.

Read: Interview Techniques on the class website

Week Five

Monday, March 4

News Quiz

Video examples of good interviewing.

Interviewing exercise

A quick and dirty guide to the history of TV news.

Editing Review.

Homework:

Read:  What Makes a Good Story on the class website.

Think about the story that you would like to report for your big story.

Week Six

Monday, March 11

News Quiz

Covering Sports

Guest Speaker: Anthony Tart from SNY

Story idea discussion.

We want to borrow an idea from the film industry and write the logline of the story in one sentence. What is your story about?

  • What makes it a news story?
  • Why is it relevant?
  • Why would we watch it?
  • Who will you interview?
  • What footage will you shoot?

Resources for story contacts.

Homework:

Research your story idea. Come up with a plan for shooting. Write a brief set-up sheet that outlines

  1. Who you will interview?
  2. What b-roll will you shoot?
  3. Where will you shoot?
  4. When will you shoot?
  5. How will you stay safe?

Week Seven

Monday, March 14

News Quiz

Discussion of your story ideas.

What it takes to be a good live reporter. Video examples.

Guest speaker possibly from NBC4 or Telemundo.

Homework:

Prepare to do a “live” report via Zoom during class. Pick something simple to report about. You will talk directly to the greenlight on your computer. No video is needed.

Read information about Reporting Live on the class website.

Week Eight

Monday, March 21

News Quiz

Video examples of live reporting.

Now it’s your turn. You’ll do live reports from where you sit or stand.

Review of stories and suggestions for shooting, interviewing, writing, and editing.

Homework

Work on your stories.

Week Nine

Monday, March 28

News Quiz

Writing to video.

Reviewing your video and logging

Story logic and organizing your report.

Create an outline for your story.

Homework: Begin to work on your story.

Week Ten  

Monday, April 4

News Quiz

A review of video stories. What video have you shot?

What do you need to move your story forward?

Using graphics and data in a video story for trends and surveys.

Editing — How to make a graphic in Premiere.

Homework: Continue to work on stories.

Week Eleven

Monday, April 11

News Quiz

Guest speaker possibly from NBC4 or Telemundo.

Script review. Is your script ready? Have you shot everything you need for your story?

Make sure you bring video that you have shot for your story and we’ll talk about constructing your stories.

Finding where to start your story. Looking for the beginning, middle and end.

Homework: Continue to work on your story.

Spring Break April 15 – April 22

Week Twelve

Monday, April 25

News Quiz

Rough draft of your story is due.

We’ll review your stories and suggest necessary edits and changes.

Week Thirteen

Monday, May 2

News Quiz

Last minute story tweaks.

Week Fourteen

Monday,  May 9 — Last day of class

Final presentation of stories. Your stories will serve as your final exam.

Week Fifteen

Monday, May 16

If stories need to be reworked, we will all return for a final class on May 16. But I hope that we can finish on May 9

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