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Journalism with the Professionals

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This post was originally published on the HS Bits Blog, which was active from 2008-2013.

Clay Burell beat me to it, but this information bears repeating.

YouTube has begun a project called the Reporters' Center, which enlists media professionals to give mini-lessons on journalism and related topics.

As Burell points out, some are more useful than others. He's posted five that he's vetted -- four useful ones and one "stinker." However, it doesn't take much thinking to come up with ways in which this site could be used in the AP® Language or Journalism classroom, as well as for media studies in other courses.

One of the useful videos Burell includes in his post is of NPR's Scott Simon, on "How to Tell a Story." Right away, I can see applications for this short (3:30m) segment in just about any class on writing effectively. But a nice twist is the focus on the differences between written and spoken communication: tone, structure, and vocabulary. You might have your students listen to and transcribe a radio report of a current event, finding the print report of the same event in a newspaper to compare and contrast composition styles.

Simon then goes on to point out that YouTube itself is an excellent medium for storytelling. Why not have your students put his advice into practice and compose and film short news or personal stories of their own, to be posted online and shared with classmates, who could then provide feedback in the comments or during a classroom viewing? I've had students write "This I Believe" essays, which they love sharing. This year, they were keen to record them as podcasts after having submitted the written version, but time got away from them and it never happened. If I do this same assignment in the future, I plan to require an audio-recorded version, with the printed version considered a transcript, spending as much time on discussing what makes a compelling oral story as on what makes it work on the page.

I hope to take some time to browse the site to see more of what's there and possibly come up with some further suggestions for using specific segments in the classroom.

In the meantime, anyone have suggestions of their own?

®AP is a trademark registered and/or owned by the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.