- Keywords: Media, journalism, communication
- Learner English level: Intermediate to advanced
- Learner maturity: University
- Preparation time: 20 minutes
- Activity time: Two to three class sessions
- Materials: Mobile phones, editing software such as iMovie
Television and videos are ubiquitous in the lives of many students. But while most learners have seen a news report, few know how such stories are constructed. How are scripts written and interviews done? How does one shoot and edit video into a final product?
Completing a professional-looking news report is not difficult, especially considering the availability of user-friendly editing applications such as iMovie. However, learners still need to follow specific steps to construct a news report properly. In this lesson, students learn the news reporting process by forming reporting teams and turning their mobile phones into cameras and editing stations. All the while, they improve their pronunciation and fluency in English.
Students view several newscasts at home prior to the first session. They should then bring smartphones to class and have access to free mobile phone editing applications such as iMovie.
Step 1: Begin with a brief audiovisual analysis of television newscasts, explaining the various elements of a news report. This would be accompanied by a handout and sample news script, detailing terminology specific to television news.
Step 2: Students gather into groups of four and decide amongst themselves who will perform the following tasks in their reporting team: reporter, videographer, video editor, and interview subject.
Step 3: Students then determine a storyline featuring their interview subject, under the title: “Life as a University Student.” The instructor should check in with each group to ensure the various roles are defined and offer advice on developing effective interviews and story-telling narratives.
Step 4: Students begin conducting pre-interviews with the subjects and determining locations for shooting video outside of class. Possible locations could include the subject’s residence, part-time job, preferred study location, or favorite places to interact with friends.
Step 5: Students set up their cameras and conduct their first interviews. The instructor visits each group to ensure the videographer has framed the subject and is shooting correctly, and that the interviewer is asking effective questions.
Step 6: Groups bring the first interviews to class for review. Students show their raw video to their classmates and the instructor for feedback and analysis. The instructor might offer suggestions on creating more fluent interview dialogues at this stage.
Step 7: Students continue to shoot more video outside of class. If necessary, initial interviews are re-shot for better sound, locations or video quality.
Step 8: The instructor provides a brief demonstration of how to produce a voiceover and edit video with iMovie. Groups are then given time to practice editing their reports.
Step 9: Students complete the final voiceovers and editing of their news reports and upload their finished assignments to YouTube.
Step 10: Groups share their final reports with their classmates, providing feedback, and reflecting upon language skills developed in this exercise.
This activity helps students develop language and communication skills, while allowing them to learn technical skills in video and news production. As they complete interesting and enjoyable assignments, students are constantly reviewing and analysing their work. The final product gives learners the opportunity to reflect upon their pronunciation and language fluency, building confidence in their use of English.
Richardson, B. (2006). The process of writing news. Retrieved from: https://processofwritingnews.wordpress.com/chapter-five-writing-for-broa...
The appendices are available as a downloadable PDF file below.