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Creating a multimedia feature story for the Web


This is designed as a culminating web project.  It is useful to do this after students have been taught how to write a feature, how to integrate multimedia elements into a story, and how to take photographs with captions to complement a story. A list of lessons to support this project is included in the lesson plan.

Students write a feature and create a multimedia element that complements it.  These elements are published together as one multi-level feature on the web.


  • Students will write a full-length feature.
  • Students will identify elements of stories that can be told through a different medium.
  • Students will create a multimedia element that complements the feature and highlights key information from the story.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.2.A Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.2.E Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
CSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grades 9-10 here.)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.


18-20 class days


JEA Curriculum Slideshow: An introduction to alternative copy tools

Rubric: Multimedia online feature

Handout: Multimedia Online Feature Pitch

Handout: Reflection Rubric for Multimedia Features

Handout: Peer Editing Rubric for Features

A personal account for the multimedia tool selected

Google Drive Account

Lesson step-by-step

1. Introduction — 10 minutes

Begin class by explaining to students that they are about to begin on a month-long project that will draw upon all of their skills.

Ask students:

  • What is an effective use of multimedia that complemented a story?
    1. Have students discuss in groups and share as a class
    2. Try using a think-pair-share with equity cards and hear from as many as possible.

If students seem to have a good grasp of the concepts, then you may skip the slideshow.  Otherwise, begin by showing students the slideshow “An introduction to alternative copy tools,” from the lesson “Interactive alternative copy tools for the web.”

Students should already have been introduced to these elements, and this is a refresher.

2. Discussion — 10 minutes

Lead a discussion of which tools are appropriate for different types of stories.  A recommended strategy is for students to talk in small groups and share with the class for a scenario to use each tool. You might consider printing the slides for each tool and allowing access to devices so students can explore the tools’ capabilities while they brainstorm.

3. Brainstorming — 10 minutes
As a class, brainstorm story ideas for these features. Remind students that these should meet all of the criteria for newsworthiness, but that these stories will not be published for a month, so they need to be aware of things that will no longer be timely.

4. Activity — end of Day 1 (20 minutes)
Once the brainstorming is complete, distribute the “Multimedia Online Feature Pitch” handout.
Students should complete this fully while considering which multimedia will complement the writing, and complete the online feature pitch for homework if not finished during class.

5. Day 1 Homework
Go online to find examples of multimedia that are similar to the idea pitched. Save these examples to a social bookmarking site (e.g. Flipboard) for inspiration.

At this point the lesson shifts into a month-long project that should follow this process –
Editorial staff reviews the pitches and makes comments and suggestions as necessary.
Once approved, students will complete their projects according to this timeline (adjust as needed):
Day 2
Create a Google Doc with a story slug and use it as a repository of links and research
Begin research and start identifying interview sources. Schedule as needed.

Day 3-5
Conduct Interviews
Depending on multimedia, begin planning the process
Create a storyboard and script for video
Write a script for podcast
Find usable elements for timelines, photo stories, etc.

Please review the following JEA Curriculum lessons for resources and teaching support:

5.1 Information or experience? Understanding the “why” in online package design

Activity: Package analysis and case study

Activity: “Other than honorable” package analysis

5.2 Planning a multimedia package (team reporting)

Activity: Plan a story package (group project)

5.3 Alt copy tools for the Web

Activity: Plan a story package part 2 (group project)

5.4 Data journalism

Activity: Plan a story package part 3 (group project)

5.5 Critiquing a multimedia package

Activity: Critique

5.6 Creating a StoryMap

Activity: Create a StoryMap

5.7 Creating a Timeline

Activity: Create a timeline


5.8  Creating and Embedding Infographics using Piktochart

Activity: Create an Infographic

Day 6

Draft check – have a well-written lede and all research completed.  Draft a tentative version of the story based based on the research done so far.  Include all completed interviews and list planned interviews.

Day 7-10
Work on feature and multimedia in class with support from the teacher and editors.

Day 11
Draft check – “Editor Draft” – Have a complete draft of the feature for editors to assess with the handout “Multimedia feature rubric for peer editing final draft” and comment on in Google Docs.  Have an original “Featured Image” for your story included as a link in the Google Doc.  Link all sources within the text.

Day 12-15
Revise and address all comments made by editors.
Complete multimedia element(s)

Day 16
Draft check – “Graded Rough Draft” – assessed by the teacher with the rubric
Written feature in Google Docs
Link to Featured Image
Link to Multimedia

Days 17-18
Students will revise their drafts based on feedback from the teacher.

Once done, students will return the rubric with comments to the teacher on what was changed.

Day 19

Draft check – “Final Draft for Publication”
Transfer to WordPress (or whichever content management system you use)
Embed Media (not links – use embed codes)
Hyperlink major sources
“Submit for Review” by Editors (using whichever workflow is typical on your newsroom)

Day 20

Students will complete the Multimedia Feature Reflection handout
Along with the deadline checks, the teacher will have one-on-one conferences with the writers to review the final draft on Day 21-24 with the Rubric

Depending on students’ skill level and available technology, they can work alone or in groups to complete the project.

Students may need more time and support to create the graphic and work with the tool.

  • Have advanced students work with others to support those who need help.
  • Have students sketch a draft of their graphic on paper before begin using the the online tool.

Advanced students can be challenged to come up with more than one multimedia element to complement the feature.