Syllabus

Television Journalism and Video Reporting

Professor Barbara Nevins Taylor

Teaching Assistant Sarah Bellingham

MCA 34300-26570                                               barbaranevinstaylor@me.com

Mondays 3:30 to 6 p.m.                                        bnevinstaylor@ccny.cuny.edu

Shepherd 462                                                       ConsumerMojo.com

Requirement MCA 33300                                     @consumermojo

3 credits                                                                917-678-6069

Prerequisite: MCA 333 or department consent    s.b.bellingham@gmail.com

Office Hours: one hour before class                     508-564-8810

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Visionaries back in1939 realized that they could use new technology to report the news with images and sound. That’s when NBC launched the first TV newscast and innovations in delivering the news began. Many things have changed. Today, for example, when you turn on cable news, it’s mostly all about the sound. So let’s tune that out for this class and concentrate on images and storytelling and the best ideas in video reporting.

While fewer people make an appointment to watch TV news than they did in the last twenty years, TV continues to play a big role in American life. Journalists who work in TV news fulfill the First Amendment mission to keep the public informed and hold truth to power.

In 2017 50 percent of Americans got their news from local TV broadcasts, according to the Pew Research Center. Fortunately for those of us who want to use video to tell stories, the newscasts rely heavily on video storytelling and good journalists. In addition to local news, millions tune in to network news broadcasts, which for the most part also use video storytelling. And an increasing number of serious news organizations including The New York Times, Vice, VOX, Buzzfeed, Quartz and many others use various forms of video storytelling techniques to help keep the public informed and entertained.

All of these news outlets use reporters, videographers and producers who swoop onto the scene of a story, synthesize what’s going on and figure out what video they will need to tell the story. In breaking news situations, they have to get it right the first time.

Video reporting challenges them every day, and this class will challenge you.

Video reporting and storytelling for news requires you to use basic journalism skills and so much more. Good video journalists report, gather information, conduct interviews and shoot well-framed video sequences and interviews to illustrate what they will write and talk about. Once a video journalist gets the information and shoots the video, good writing comes into play.

The best journalists use dynamic language. They write TV, radio, digital, and increasingly, print stories in the active voice. You’ll work on active writing and match the writing to your video to craft a script. Then comes editing. Good editing requires that you carefully match images to the words or the ideas in your story as you assemble it.

And when you accomplish all of that, you’ll present your work live or on camera.

I hope you accept the challenge.

*We’ll visit Vice in Brooklyn early in the semester. So please watch Vice online and on HBO.

 

READING MATERIAL

Broadcast News Writing & Stylebook, Sixth Edition or earlier, by Robert A. Papper, published by Pearson.

Written text prepared by Professor Barbara Nevins Taylor

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

WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING

You’ll need a notepad for reporting.

Please bring headsets to class so that you can concentrate on your work without disturbing your classmates. You’ll also need the headsets when you work in the field.

It’s also a good idea to purchase a portable hard drive to save your work from week to week. Don’t count on your work remaining on the desktop.

KEEPING UP WITH THE NEWS AND VIEWING AND LISTENING

You need 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 Vice online or on HBO at least twice a week. Local news stations: NY1, News 12 WABC-7 WNBC 4, WCBS 2, WPIX 11, WNYW-Fox5 , as well as CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, BBC.

CLASS ETIQUETTE

The word multitasking dates back to 1996 as computer terminology and maybe to 1954 in non-computer language, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. But in practical terms most of us can only do one thing at a time. We can sequence tasks and do one thing after another and remember when we should do it, but we need to focus on one thing at a time.

In this class, we need to apply total focus to tasks at hand, including lectures.

Please turn off your phones and devices when class starts.

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.

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. 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 bring 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 must 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 book, what appears on our class website, information that I provide and what we discuss in 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, August 27th

Meet and greet to learn what our class offers.

The responsibility of the individual journalist.

How do we tell stories with video.

Setting up a shot to get the best image.

Shooting sequences.

Shoot sequences on campus with your phone, or device, to tell a :40-1:00 story.

Bring the video back to class and we’ll show you how to bring it into your hard drive or flash drive and open Premiere Pro.

Homework: Chapters 1 and 2 in Papper.

Write a three-paragraph, 200-250 word essay to answer these questions:

Who am I?

Where am I from?

Where am I going?

****You will need to bring your flash drive or hard drive to every class.

 

Week Two

Monday, September 3rd, Labor Day- No Class.

Wednesday, September 5th

Bring the video you shot on campus to class. Make sure you bring your flash drive or hard drive.

News Quiz and more: Papper, class discussion and notes on website.

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

Elements of a good video story with examples.

The language of TV news and visual journalism.

Forms of a TV story.

How to create a script for your story using the template provided.

Write your story.

Open Premier and bringing in the video and edit.

Homework:

Chapter 3 in Papper

For a shooting exercise, find a story on campus or in your neighborhood that you can report and shoot. Use the script template and write a story 1:00-1:30 in the active voice. Send me the script for approval by September 10th at 5 p.m.

Bring the script and video to class. Remember your flash drive or hard drive.

 

Week Three

Monday, September 10th– No class

 

Week Four, September 17

News Quiz and more: Papper, class discussion and notes on website.

Make sure you bring your script and the video you shot for your exercise. You will need your flash drive or hard drive.

Edit the story you created for your exercise.

Homework: Chapter 4 in Papper

 

Week Five

Monday, September 24

News Quiz and more:  Papper, class discussion and notes on website.

Video examples.

The art of interviewing. Observing and listening.

The principles of shooting and framing shots, including the right way to shoot an interview. Hands-on exercises.

We learn how to use the Canon XA-10

Shooting exercises.

Homework: Review material from Professor Nevins Taylor and Chapter 5 in Papper. Writing to video exercises.

 

Week Six

Monday, October 8th, College Closed. No Class.

 

Week Seven

Monday, October 15th

News Quiz and more:  Papper, class discussion and notes on website.

How newsrooms gather news.

How do you find a good story for video? Who are your sources?

The reporter and the set-up sheet.

Review of VO and VO SOT with video examples.

Write a VO and VO SOT from the material you shot for your exercise.

You edit a VO and VO SOT using your exercise video.

Homework: Review of material from Professor Nevins Taylor. Read Chapters 6 & 7 in Papper.

Bring in an idea for the story that you want to report and produce for your main project. Write a story pitch of 250 words.

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

Create a set-up sheet for your story.

 

Week Eight

Monday, October 22nd

News Quiz and more:  Papper, class discussion and notes on website.

Video examples.

Review of your story ideas.

Covering a breaking news story with examples.

Reporting a live event. Presenting on camera.

You get to make a “live” presentation.

We’ll record your presentation and analyze it.

Homework: Begin to work on your story.

Homework: Read Papper 8 & 9.

 

Week Nine

Monday, October 29th

News Quiz and more:  Papper, class discussion and notes on website.

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

What do you need to move your story forward?

Ethics, copyright and how it affects the material you use in a video.

A look at business reporting with examples.

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

Review of your script and begin to edit.

Homework: Continue to work on stories. Shooting should be complete

Camera review and shooting exercises.

Homework: Review the website material.

 

Week Ten

Monday, November 5th

News Quiz and more: Papper, class discussion and notes on website.

Writing to video with examples.

Video review with examples of good editing.

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

Finding the lede. Looking for the beginning, middle and end.

 

Week Eleven

Monday, November 12th

News Quiz and more: Papper, class discussion and notes on website.

Investigative reporting. Sources, examples of strong investigative reporting.

Bring your video, flash drive or hard drive to class. We’ll look at what you have so far.

Review of writing to video.

Story logic and organizing your report.

Begin to write your script.

Homework: Continue to report your story and transcribe your video.

Your script is due November 16 at 5 p.m.

 

Week Twelve

Monday, November 19th

News Quiz and more: Papper, class discussion and notes on website.

Using data and graphics in your story.  How to make a graphic in Premiere.

Work on your stories in class.

Homework: Continue to work on your story. The deadline is Monday, December 3rd for a finished story.

 

Week Thirteen

December 3rd

News Quiz. Review stories and make necessary editorial changes.

Homework: Final work on your story.

 

Week Fourteen

Monday, December 10th

Show your story to the class.  Thanks for studying TV journalism.