Deciding a Storytelling Medium
Twenty-first century journalism gives students dozens of ways to tell stories. This lesson will help students decide the right method for telling the stories of the year and create deliverables to help the whole staff make the best decision.
- Students will examine different ways to tell one story.
- Students will create a set of criteria for decision making.
- Students will create a deliverable for the decision-making process, selecting a medium that best fits their objectives.
- Students will use test the deliverable during story-planning sessions.
Common Core State Standards
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.7||Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.|
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.3||Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.|
|CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1||Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.|
Two 90-minute blocks/four 45-minute blocks
Materials / resources
Projector and speakers
Handout: Conveying Purpose Effectively
Handout: “Students Participate in Day of Silence”
Udvar-Hazy Museum stories:
Cultural Food Taste Test:
tjTODAY: https://issuu.com/tjtoday/docs/tjtoday_volume_2_issue_4 (pages 12-13)
TJTV: Cultural Food Taste Test: Pani Puri: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvcijCIXmO0
Black History Month:
tjTODAY: https://issuu.com/tjtoday/docs/tjtoday_issue_5 (page 16)
TJTV (promotional video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsJRQIaigvM
tjTODAY: https://issuu.com/tjtoday/docs/tjtoday_volume_2_issue_5 (page 14)
TJTV (promotional feature): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiU_oLX5ukE&t=2s (:49-1:40)
https://issuu.com/tjtoday/docs/tjtoday_volume_2_issue_5 (pages 12-13)
TJTV (PSA): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAPp6ESu6pc (1:11-1:55)
Introduction and Brainstorming – 15 minutes
1. Teacher (or editor, depending on class level) should lead the class in an initial brainstorm to refresh students’ memory of the different types of written stories they can utilize. Responses include (but are not limited to):
Once the initial list has been created, put students in small groups and have them discuss why they would choose one mode over another. Have them make a list of the different criteria and let them know that they will return to that list.
2. Conduct the same brainstorm with multimedia modes of communication. Make sure that students know that there is no right or wrong answer. Responses include (but are not limited to):
- Broadcast feature
- Broadcast news
- Public service announcement
- Snap Story
- Live Tweet
- Live Stream
Once this list has been created, put students back in their groups and have them discuss why they would choose one mode over another. Have them make a list of the different criteria and let them know that they will return to that list.
Examining Examples – 30-40 minutes
3. Hand out printed copies of the text of “Students Participate in Day of Silence” (included). This handout should include ONLY the text. Give students ten minutes to read and annotate the article.
4. Teacher should lead a brief discussion of the article, focusing on its purpose. What message is the author trying to get across? How are they attempting to achieve this purpose? Is the purpose achieved? How effective is the article? What could make this article even more effective? If there is a lull in conversation, have the students go back to their multimedia brainstorm lists. Are there any mediums on that list that would help make this article more effective? As readers, what would they like to see included?
5. Pull up the online version of the article. The first thing students will see is art that accompanies the online article. As you scroll down, students will seen an embedded video. As students watch the video, have them make a list of the ways the it enhances the article. They should mark specific places in the article where the video makes the text more effective. Discuss the effectiveness of the combination of the two pieces as a class.
6. Project on a screen the Udvar-Hazy article from tjTODAY.org. Have a student read the article aloud. Have the same discussion as above:
- What message is the author trying to get across?
- How are they attempting to achieve this purpose?
- Is the purpose achieved?
- How effective is the article?
- What could make this article even more effective?
- As readers, what would they like to see included?
7. Following the discussion of the article, show students the Udvar-Hazy vlog (video blog). What does the vlog add to the story that the article did not get across? What message is the vlog trying to get across? Is it effective? Why or why not? Which piece is more effective? The article or the vlog? Why? What would have happened if the two had been paired together?
8. Project on the screen pages 12-13 from the tjTODAY December 2016 issue. What kind of story is this? Continue to discuss purpose and effectiveness. Point out the note at the bottom of the spread that sends readers to tjtoday.org for a video on how to put together Pani Puri, a traditional Indian treat.
9. Project Pani Puri video and play for students. What does the video add to the print piece?
10. This next step could either be homework or a continuation of the class discussion depending on timing/class length.
In small groups, using either laptops or mobile devices, students should examine the three remaining examples from the materials list and complete the “Conveying Purpose Effectively” handout.
Creating a Decision-Making System – 90 minutes
11. Once students have examined multiple convergent examples, the teacher should put students into small groups to analyze their notes and come up with a list of criteria that will help journalists make decisions regarding story form.
12. After compiling the list of criteria, students should make chart that will help reporters decide what form of media they should use in order to achieve their desired purpose. This chart could take any number of forms:
- Any other medium students might find effective
13. Once the deliverables are complete, groups will switch and the teacher will hand out slips of paper with different story ideas on them. Students will use the deliverables to develop a coverage plan for their topic.
For classes of mixed ability levels, consider creating heterogeneous groups where more advanced and/or experienced students can demonstrate leadership skills and mentor students who are new to the class and/or broadcast.
For students who might need more support in the assignment, consider modifying the “Conveying Purpose Effectively” handout, limiting the exercise to one or two examples for analysis rather than three.
For students who are advanced, consider an extension activity where students can analyze professional publications in order to explore new and creative ways that professional journalists are incorporating multimedia into their stories. If they come across an example that they would like to implement into their publication, have them come up with a pitch presentation for the editors and/or producers.