Video journalism/Produce a news story

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Data Center operators verifying network cable integrity

In the previous assignment, you identified a news story and explained your intentions and aspirations with that story. By the end of this assignment you will have further researched the news story, written a draft script and had it reviewed by a Chief of Staff, refined the script to a paper edit, and then produced the video news story ready for publication.

Researching a news story[edit | edit source]

In the previous assignment you identified a news story idea that you feel has the potential to work on.

Now take this story and check, verify and double check, all factual claims. Note any new facts or information and begin to arrange them into your own news story sequence with your own angle. As you work, read the first three topics and the resources available in this study schedule.

According to your chosen and informed angle, arrange video and audio samples into the story, but do not edit or manipulate them in any way. These components will eventually be made ready to paste into the news script template, available in the next assignment section.

Your raw clips must not have special effects applied (unless crucial to conveying meaning). The story must be written so that brevity, clarity and news-worthiness have top priority.

In this process you should consider the resources available in this part of the schedule. Consider the news script and how it is sectioned, consider how news in the mainstream broadcast news services is constructed as per the script template. Consider camera angles in the interview, consider framing, search the Internet for technical advice on such matters and consider the critical component of using only good clear audio, free of background noise or distortion. Consider informed consent of interviewees and in doing so, read topic one. Consider the necessity of a signed release form - if you are obtaining original interview material (see template for a release form in Resources).

You might also, in script analysis of the developing work, reflect closely on structure and composition. You might try the exercise of compressing your scripts to a presentation of your main elements as even shorter news items. What happens to the meaning? The superficiality of the short news item at times distorts accuracy and this type of very brief video news is often seen on the commercial networks throughout the world. You might compare the nature of these news components back to your longer script in terms of news values, pitch, structure, genre and narrative. How do these elements affect the potential for spin and obfuscation?

In writing your scripts later in the schedule, you will have to repeatedly consider what stylistic and structural additions, changes and edit reduction choices are available to improve rhythm in the edit sequencing, with the aim of getting the script down to around a running time of one minute.

  • Five Ws
  • Newsworthiness
  • The News Manual - The News Manual is a free online resource for journalists, would-be journalists, educators and people interested in the media. It has developed from the three-volume book 'The News Manual', which was published with the help of UNESCO as a practical guide to people entering the profession and to support mid-career journalists wanting to improve their skills.
  • Make Internet TV : Shoot, Edit, Publish and Promote Your Videos - This is a guide with step-by-step instructions for recording and publishing internet video.
  • Produce a video news story in a day - "Produce a Business News Video in a Day" was a specialized training session during the Society of America Business Editors & Writers 2010.

Scripting a news story[edit | edit source]

Use the Script Template to prepare a video news script. Take the elements from the first assignment and paste them into the Script Template. Read over the first three Topics as you progress.

Submit a final draft on your blog (Website) of your video news script for review and sub-editing by a Chief of Staff Reviewer (COS). The Chief of Staff Reviewer will provide feedback on structure, clarity, through line in the story, even legal and ethical considerations to the story.

As this schedule is currently under construction, the Chief of Staff Reviewer (COS) is not yet available. Eventually though, when this schedule is active, the COS will be on standby to receive your scripts as uploaded to your blog. The scripts will be subbed and commented upon in an open forum, so you will need to be very much aware of best standards before your final submission is made. This schedule is also designed so that you could work without the COS, and with motivation, work out for yourself how to best write news scripts, edit news, write current affairs scripts and documentary.

Further, review your intentions and aspirations for this study schedule, by writing an extension of the reflection you prepared in the first assignment.

The aim of a freelance video journalist is to shoot and research quality news stories, to maximise exposure of the story and issues, giving best a chance for your work to be exposed as news, current affairs and even documentary development. When shooting material, use a tripod, use headphones, use a good microphone, and shoot a range of establishing shots, action shots while making sure the audio is of the best possible quality.

Based on the review and sub-editing by the Chief of Staff Reviewer, prepare a draft paper edit that includes time references (in and out points) of clips that you have selected for use in your script. Be aware of copyright. If you already have your own footage, use that. Write time references to describe the proposed sequence and duration of video in the story. Using the Script Template, carefully sequence the paper edit into the script that you prepared earlier.


Editing and developing a news story[edit | edit source]

With a script that has been reviewed by the Chief of Staff Reviewer, and developed into a paper edit, you are ready to begin producing your video news story. Continue to read the first three Topics in this study schedule.

Often, you will have to engage the help of others, and this is why the script is so central. Not only does it discipline your own processing of the story, it helps everyone who will be involved in final production and publishing to understand your vision.

As you work towards providing an edited video from the paper edit news script, research and build a synopsis (300 words) for the next assignment - developing a more in-depth current affairs story out of this initial video news story.