After an eight-month hiatus, hsbj.org is back with a new year-end News Literacy PSA Contest called REALLY?
REALLY? is the first word that should come to mind when your students receive information -- from a text, a Tweet, their best friend, the New York Times, their mothers.
After that there are five quick questions that can help separate truth from fiction in the the deluge of information we have today. Before you believe (and expecially before you pass along) any information, ask REALLY? Then ask:
1. Who Said It?
2. Can I Trust That Person?
3. Is That Person Prejudiced on This Subject?
4. Am I Biased on This Subject?
5. Where Can I Get More Reliable Information to Make My Own Decision About the Subject?
We've put together new lesson plans to go with the Al Tompkins REALLY? Webinar -- with lots of good video stories that would have never been broadcast if someone had just asked REALLY?
Contest Deadline is December 20, 2011
But Wait There's More...
Candace Bowen of Kent State University has produced a new, NewsU course using the REALLY? approach. There are interactive lessons and lots of examples. Check it out.
-- Carol Knopes
Want to know where magazines are going? What we should be teaching our students? Check out Wired’s new iPad App. http://mashable.com/2010/02/16/wired-magazine-ipad-demo/. This is a sophisticated approach to magazine/print layout and interactivity.
I believe this is the future of print journalism – newspaper, magazine and yes, eventually yearbook. Our video newscasts will have to be more graphically pleasing and offer a companion website with more depth.
It just proves that all students need to know the new storytelling techniques: how to interview, how to write, how to shoot and edit video, how to put together Web packages – and how the layout must make it easy for readers and viewers to get the whole story. Doing quick, unedited videos on websites is not going to cut it.
As the first semester of classes winds down at Hillcrest, so does our first semester of producing the school’s new website. This seems like a good time to take stock and share what seems to be working, and what we still need to figure out in the second half of the school year.
It has been our mission from the beginning to update the lead story, at the top of the home page, each weekday. I am happy to share our success, thanks mainly to our site Editor-In-Chief Chelsea Peebles. She oversees the production of that story and even takes the photos now and then. Other members of our HTV staff are now taking over production of the lead story each Wednesday, giving Chelsea a much-deserved break. One thing we did not do that we should have is set up the page to archive the lead stories, short as they are, so the public could re-visit them. We are working with to make that happen. The rest of the site is archived.
The story at the bottom of the home page, our “Spotlight” feature, is more in-depth and only changes each week, usually on Tuesday. It has been popular, especially for the photo galleries that go with it. Never underestimate the value of posting lots of photos with each piece. We plan to step that up even more in the weeks ahead. We have also decided to start posting more video clips with the “Spotlight” story in the future. More art, more video. That message comes through loud and clear in the feedback we receive from students and staff.
I did not want to get eaten alive by sports coverage in the early stages of our Web development. Sports news can take over a website like ours if you let it. First, we made it clear to the staff we would only post scores of varsity events. On our “Sports” beat page we do run longer features and video clips. That seems to be working, but we need to provide more features, more photos, and more videos in the weeks ahead.
Our beat coverage has been lighter than I had hoped. First, we do produce a TV show as well as the website, and to be honest, beat stories get pushed aside when other deadlines are bearing down on us. Also, some of the beats are challenging our reporters because there is not as much “news” to cover as we had originally hoped. So in the second semester, we plan to consolidate a few of the beats. For example, instead of the band and choir having their own separate beat pages, we are creating a new “Music” beat for all of the instrumental and vocal music groups. If you go with beat coverage on your page, my advice is to consolidate as many as you can instead of having pages that will not be very active.
Our short little sidebar column called “The Buzz” (we are the Hillcrest HORNETS, after all) has been a big hit. It’s a place to get the very latest items of interest, including reminders about games, plays, schedule changes, and other activities. It is also a great place to recognize Students of the Month and other award winners. We also link from there to our principal’s monthly newsletter. He likes that a lot.
I give my kids a strong “B” for their first semester of website management and production. Feedback has been positive, and we know people hit the site every single day. As we go along in the second semester, I will let you know how readers react when we start tweaking things. Part of any successful website, I think, is consistency. People want to know what they will find when the arrive at “hillcresthornets.org.” So while some changes are coming, nothing too earth shattering will take place. We like our format, and the flexibility of WordPress has been wonderful. After the initial learning curve, I have found it to be very intuitive and user-friendly.
OK, it’s a given that high schools are moving their school newspapers and TV news shows to the Internet.
Want to know where it’s going next?
Start with the new tablet readers – the next generation of Kindle-like devises. Add news and video in a magazine format, and you have the next generation of news delivery. To see how it will work, check out this Sports Illustrated video.