1 Project Start | Introduction | Get Topic Approved |
2 Pre-Production | Outline | Research | Production Plan |
3 Production | Interviews |
4 Post-Production | Organize | Sound Bites | Transcript |
| Reporter Track | B-Roll | Graphics | Final Edit |
5 Distribution | Export | Promotion |

Project Folder

To keep your news story project organized, create a News folder within your Google Drive class folder.  Keep all digital elements for your project within this folder.



Once your story topic has been approved create a new Google Doc with the title TOPIC Outline NAME replacing TOPIC with one or two words that summarize what your story is about.  Replace NAME with your first and last names.

In the body of your document type an outline as if you were planning to write a five-paragraph essay.

  1. Thesis statement
  2. First supporting topic
    1. Detail
    2. Detail
  3. Second supporting topic
    1. Detail
    2. Detail
  4. Third supporting topic
    1. Detail
    2. Detail
  5. Conclusion

This outline will not necessarily reflect your final story, but it is one way to create a roadmap for how to develop your story.



Create a second Google Doc and name it TOPIC Research NAME replacing TOPIC with the same one or two words you used for the outline. Replace NAME with your first and last names.

Refer to your outline and find credible sources for information about your topic.  As you find information, make notes in your own words about the key points that can help tell your story.  Also note the source of the information, including a link to where your found it.

Find at least two sources for each fact you research.  If you find something that is controversial, find sources that support each side of the issue.

You should have at least one full page of quality research and no more than three full pages.
(Each source of information should be described in no more than one line on the page.)

Get Your Outline and Research Reviewed

Send an email message to the teacher using the subject: News Story.  In the message body include:

Your first and last names, your class period
I have created an outline for my story and have researched the topic.  Here is a link to my project folder that contains the Google Docs: (PASTE LINK)

While you are waiting for the teacher to review your outline and research, work on your Production Plan.


Production Plan

Create a third Google Doc and name it TOPIC Plan NAME replacing TOPIC with the same one or two words you used for the outline. Replace NAME with your first and last names.

Include the following:

1. A one sentence summary of what your story will be about that can serve as an anchor lead-in.  When stories are shown as part of a newscast, a studio anchor usually introduces them.  The “Lead-in” is what the anchor says before the story starts.  Sometimes a rhetorical question will work. Here are some examples:

The COVID-19 pandemic affected our lives in many ways, including how we were able to learn.  Here is Jim with one story.

How was your education affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?  Here is Jim with a story about how it changed a class and its students here at Logan.

2. A brief outline of how you envision your story: the beginning, middle and end.  As you type this, imagine you are watching your finished story.  If you have ever written a 5-paragraph essay, your story outline can be similar:  The beginning is like a thesis statement with supporting topics.  It introduces your story in an interesting way.  The middle is similar to the body paragraphs.  They supply details about your supporting topics.  The ending is your conclusion that summarizes key story points and leaves the viewer with something to think about.  Here is an example for a story about Logan Live:

Logan Live provides information and entertainment

Produced by Students
Appreciated by some
Not appreciated by others

Will it change?

3. One sentence listing the people you intend to interview. List the names of specific people if possible. Plan on recording at least three good interviews:  One credible expert; two students affected by your story topic.  Here is an example for a story about how education has changed.

Superintendant Thompson
Students from my Logan classes.

PLEASE NOTE:  According to the Wikipedia definition,  an expert is “a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study.”  Make sure whoever you plan to interview as an expert on your topic qualifies as one.

4. One paragraph describing the video and photos you need to use as B-roll footage.  The name B-roll comes from a time when a reel of film containing interviews (the A roll) was played back on one projector, while a second reel that contained footage of an event (B roll) was played in sync on another projector.  The term now refers to any footage shown while someone off-camera speaks.  It is best when related to what is being said at the time.  Here is a B-roll example:

Teacher and students in a Zoom meeting.
Screen shots of Canvas Classroom and assignment tutorials.
Photos of students and teachers working from home.

5. A one-paragraph production schedule listing what you plan to do. For example:

10/12 – Superintendant Thompson
10/13 – Student Interviews
10/15 — B-roll clips and photos

6. A list of interview questions for each subject you plan to interview.

Qualifying questions: These are used by the reporter while finding people to interview for the story.  If the people you are talking to are obviously part of your story, you may not have to ask them a qualifying question.  For a story about your family, ask them if they are willing to participate.

Background questions: These questions provide information used to identify the speaker.  If you were recording a typical story you would ask their name, how they spell it, and their affiliation (how they relate to the story.)

For this modified news story you may not have to ask any background questions. You most likely already know each person’s name and how they spell it.  You probably already know their affiliation.  For a story about education: The expert’s name and their title.  For classmates, their name and the year they are graduating. (A student will not always be a freshman, sophomore, etc., but they will always be part of their graduating class. For example: Class of 2020)

Topic questions: These are used to get information that tells your story.  You may have different sets of questions for different people, based upon how they are related to your story.

Use short answer questions only to gather facts.  For example:
How many students have been participating in your online class?

Use open-ended questions for sound bites: phrases and sentences that provide details.  For example:

What has been the biggest difference in education since distance learning started and how has that affected students?
How different are virtual class meetings from meetings before the current crisis?

Remember, interview questions are used to GET THE PERSON TO TALK!  Before the interview, check your topic questions.  Here are some ways to turn a short-answer question into an open-ended question: Add “and why?” or “Please explain your answer.”

As you listen to an interview answer, make sure you hear information that will help tell your story.  If not, be ready to ask a follow up question, such as
Please tell me more.
What do you mean by …?
How does that affect you?

Get Your Pre-Production Approved

When you are done with your Production Plan, submit it to Canvas, then send an email message to the teacher using the subject: News Story.  In the message body include:

Your first and last names, your class period
I have submitted my Production Plan to Canvas for approval.

When the teacher has approved your pre-production,
you may start to Record Interviews.