1 Project Start | Introduction | Get Topic Approved |
2 Pre-Production | Organize | Google Doc | Approval |
3 Production | Interviews
| B-Roll |
4 Post-Production | Organize | Sound Bites | Transcript |
Reporter Track | Complete the Script | Voice-Over | Stand-Up |
| Graphics | Final Edit |
5 Distribution | Excerpt and Promotion |

Once you have a topic approved for your story, you need to complete pre-production.  This part of the process includes planning when will record and what you will record.  The steps below use as an example a story about how our education system has changed during our shelter-in-lace.


A. Organize Your Project

Create a folder for your project within your class Google Drive folder with the name News-TITLE-NAME and substitute one or two words for TITLE that summarize what your approved story is about, and substitute your first and last names for NAMES. Make sure you do not use any special characters in the folder title, except for hyphens between each word.
For example: News-Education-Changes-Mr-Yacco


B. Create a Pre-Production Google Doc

Save the document as News-TITLE-NAMES-Pre-Production in your project folder using the same substitution as above.
For example: News-Education-Changes-Mr-Yacco-Pre-Production


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 family history story:

Grandpa Shoe was born in another country but his life here in America was a great foundation for the generations that followed.

Early Life

His legacy


3. One sentence listing the people you intend to interview. List the names of specific people if possible. Plan on recording three good interviews with people who are credible sources for your topic.  Here is an example for a story about how education has changed.

Mr. Polk
Mr. Foster
Students from my classes.


4. One paragraph describing the video 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.  (You may use photos if you are unable to obtain video for historical parts of your story.) Here are some examples depending upon the type of story you are producing:

Our home before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grandpa’s photos growing up; early home life.
Grandpa at work
Grandpa and his family through the years

Teacher and students in a Zoom meeting.
Screen shots of Google 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:

4/12 – Family interviews
4/22 – Video of family at home: working; completing school assignments; having fun; taking care of chores

4/21 – Grandpa Interview
4/22 – Videos and photos from Grandpa

4/21 – Teacher and student interviews
4/22 – Videos from teachers and students


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 example: family members (grandmother, aunt, uncle, daughter, son, brother, sister, etc.)
For a story about education: The teacher’s name and the subject they teach.  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:
Where you you born and when?
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 your life since shelter in place started?
What was your life like growing up?
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?


C. Get Your Pre-Production Approved

Submit an email message to the teacher using the subject: News Pre-Production.  In the message body include your first and last names, your class period, and a link to your shared Pre-Production Google Doc.

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