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Scripts, rules and rubrics

Scripts, rules and rubrics

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Scripts, rules and rubrics

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  1. JEANC Oct. 15, 2011 Scripts, rules and rubrics

  2. Me • High school features editor • College radio news director • CNN newswriter • The mommy years: campaign press secretary, restaurant reviewer, union newsletter editor, freelance education writer • Recovering public relations writer • FINALLY! Journalism adviser

  3. The program at Davis High • Journalism 1 (fall semester: 3 articles + sports game story + review go on website) • ROP Journalism 2 Multimedia (spring semester: video and radio packages up on website, radio also goes to KDRT community radio) • ROP Journalism 2 HUB (full-year: produces HUB, KDRT “Dirt on Davis,” and

  4. AtulGawandeThe Checklist Manifesto

  5. AtulGawandeThe Checklist Manifesto Two kinds of errors: • errors of ignorance (mistakes we make because we don’t know enough) • errors of ineptitude (mistakes we make because we don’t make proper use of what we do know)

  6. The answer? Checklists! • Even experts need checklists to walk them through the key steps in any complex procedure • Pilots, pit crews, surgeons… journalists?!

  7. Gawande’s Harvard address • Two million patients pick up infections in American hospitals, most because someone didn’t follow basic antiseptic precautions. Forty per cent of coronary-disease patients and sixty per cent of asthma patients receive incomplete or inappropriate care. And half of major surgical complications are avoidable with existing knowledge. It’s like no one’s in charge—because no one is. The public’s experience is that we have amazing clinicians and technologies but little consistent sense that they come together to provide an actual system of care, from start to finish, for people. We train, hire, and pay doctors to be cowboys. But it’s pit crews people need.

  8. Doug LemovTeach Like a Champion • The big idea: let’s normalize error to maximize learning

  9. Make getting it wrong and then getting it right normal • Wrong answers: • don’t chasten: “We already talked about this!” • don’t excuse: “That’s okay. That was a tough situation.” • Lemov: “It’s better, in fact, to avoid spending a lot of time talking about wrongness and get down to the work of fixing it as quickly as possible.” • Right answers: not too much fuss or praise

  10. What does this have to do with journalism? (Answer: everything.) • Lemov: Kids won’t answer a question because they’re afraid of being wrong • Wilkerson: kids won’t take a risk because they’re afraid of making a mistake and getting screamed at

  11. And, finally, Malcolm Gladwell… • The 10,000 hour rule (It takes 10,000 hours to get good at anything!)

  12. My brain… • Lots to learn…and more all the time with multimedia • By definition, our students aren’t anywhere close to reaching the 10,000 hour threshold • Everything we do is a complex task

  13. Garden variety news story • Get an idea • Focus on an angle • Find an expert • Write a business email to request an interview with an adult expert • Find sources who aren’t my friends • Conduct an informative, ethical interview • Take notes

  14. (and there’s still more!) • Evaluate interviews and decide what to include and what to delete • Write a summary news lead • Choose a structure that best fits the story • Know “news style” • Know AP style • Avoid legal and ethical transgressions • Revise • Proofread

  15. (and that’s not counting all the life skills…) • How to work with other people • How to reassure reluctant sources • How to take criticism • How to stand up to those in charge • How to get the courage to do something scary • How to get your story done by deadline • How to roll when things go wrong

  16. We ask a lot out of ourselves Let’s give our students a fighting chance by breaking down complex tasks Gawande-style by using: • SCRIPTS • RULES • RUBRICS

  17. Scripts • What could you use a script for?

  18. YOUR FIRST INTERVIEW • Prepare • Introduce • Listen • Check

  19. PREPARE • Research the story using friends, colleagues, Internet • Ask the basics • Use “gentle commands” to get stories, not just facts

  20. “Gentle commands” • Tell me about… • I’m curious about… • Describe your reaction to… • I’ve always wondered about… • Talk to me about… • I can’t imagine how that made you feel. [Then pause a long time.] • Take me back to five minutes before it happened and walk me through it. --Don Ray, Investigative Journalist

  21. INTRODUCE: Steps to an ethical interview • WEAR YOUR PRESS PASS Not optional…this gives a visual signal to your interviewee that you’re now a journalist, not a student or classmate • ASK PERMISSION Hello, do you have a moment to talk? • INTRODUCE My name is _______________. I am doing an assignment for my journalism class at Davis High School. Can I talk to you for ____ minutes about _________.

  22. INTRODUCE: Steps to an ethical interview • BE UP-FRONT AND ETHICAL “Okay, I’m going to start the interview now. And I want you to know that everything you say from this point on could end up in the school paper or web site.” • ESTABLISH RAPPORT

  23. LISTEN • Don’t interrupt • Let silence be your friend • Listen hard enough to be able to formulate follow-up questions

  24. CHECK • Glance quickly at notes • Clarify names, places, dates • Read back important quotes • Confirm important/suspicious information • Get contact information for further follow-up

  25. Emails to adults • A stranger • A referral from someone else • An acquaintance

  26. RULES • Beginners like absolutes • We’re all beginners

  27. Interviews during class • Wear a press pass • Never disturb a class if a lecture is in progress • No shout-outs to kids in the class • Ask teacher permission to interview a student • 5-minute rule: anything that takes longer than five minutes needs to happen outside of class

  28. RUBRICS as a teaching tool

  29. Checklists as part of peer editing

  30. Even “experts” need CHECKLISTS NEWS BRIEFS • Is topic newsworthy? (using this criteria: timing, significance, prominence, proximity, human interest). • Did you interview at least two people to find needed details? • Have you ensured that absolutely everything in your brief is accurate, with no assumptions on your part? • Have you included at least one quotation, using a proper speech tag? • Does your story consist of 4-5 short paragraphs (1-3 sentences each)? • Do you begin with an interesting lead (no “when” or “where” starts!) that tells the news? • Have you suggested a headline? • Does it follow AP and HUB style?


  32. The HUB needs MORE scripts, rules, and rubrics • Sample letters for business manager • Script for handling a difficult interview • Script for handling request to approve article before printing • Portfolio checklists • Steps to creating an online portfolio • Sources for data



  35. Back to Gawande… • Recently, you might be interested to know, I met an actual cowboy. He described to me how cowboys do their job today, herding thousands of cattle. They have tightly organized teams, with everyone assigned specific positions and communicating with each other constantly. They have protocols and checklists for bad weather, emergencies, the inoculations they must dispense. Even the cowboys, it turns out, function like pit crews now. It may be time for us to join them.