Sat, 09/24/2016 - 18:23

Posted by Belinda Alzner on August 27, 2012

By Matt Demers, ScribbleLive Digital Journalism Specialist

 

This document can be used to give educators an idea of some of the assignments they can give a journalism or media class to teach real-time reporting, as well as the marking scheme that can supplement it. These three exercises can be used as a baseline, or to give you ideas for your own. Any journalism schools that are interested in a donated account can contact Matt Demers at Scribblelive.

Publishing vs Private:

When considering the exercises your students will perform, you must also figure out whether their liveblogs will be published, or kept private (either in the platform back-end, or on a private web page). Both have advantages, which are outlined below:

Published

  • The public can participate in comments and questions
  • The liveblog can be published in partnership with student or local publications, potentially earning money
  • The liveblog can be used as portfolio/experience examples
  • Due to the pressure of it being “live”, editors will be more diligent in editing/posting

Private

  • More control is offered in private postings, especially if a student isn’t ready to have their posts published quite yet.
  • Allows for a quarantined environment, free from outside comments.
  • Allows for testing of features without the pressure of being live.

Recommendation: As students pick up this platform, transitioning from a private to a public model is advised. As you would transition students from handing in assignments for editing to getting published in student/online/local publications, consider doing the same for your liveblogs.

 

Starting Out

In order to iron out any kinks that may happen before the coverage of an “actual” event, a suggestion is to play a recording of an event that has taken place in the past. Examples include a city council meeting or keynote speech. This allows students to approach the concept of a liveblog with the seriousness of a real event, but you can “pause” it to go over key concepts, check up on progress and analyze what’s going on.

There’s also an advantage of being able to verify quotes that are posted since you can check the recorded videos. This keeps people honest, and helps with marking.

However, students are eventually going to want to move onto a live event environment; the exercises below are there to serve as an example of what you can assign to them. Feel free to append or modify these in any way you see fit!

Help Desk Articles:

Creating an event

Publishing an event

Inviting writers

 

Exercise One: Live Event Coverage

Groups: Three students (one editor at a computer, two reporting from mobile apps or laptops)
Equipment: Smartphones for the students (their own, preferably) and a computer workstation for the editors. Internet/data connection is integral, which makes this exercise suitable for events happening on campus: they can use the campus’ WIFI signals to minimize the 3G data used for uploading media from their phone.

The Exercise: Find an event that is happening, such as a press conference, question period, town hall or speaker series. These events tend to go on for a long time (one to two hours), giving students time to get comfortable with the format. Send two students to the event, and have the third stay in a classroom as an editor. Have the students cover the event in real time, including pictures, video and audio, and have the editor proof, manage user comments and assemble LiveArticles.

Key Concepts:

  • Students attending the event will contribute updates to the minute-to-minute goings-on of the meeting. They can quote key lines, summarize passages, take pictures and video, and record audio. One student can be designated as a photographer/media producer, while the other can concentrate on reporting quotes verbatim and summarizing.
  • The editor will be able to correct any speed-based errors (which may come with the emphasis on timeliness). You will be able to see any posts that have been edited, as well as who edited them.
  • Any reader comments that come in can be dealt with by the editor. This depends on whether the event is published and publicized. You can have readers ask questions, or have the editor pose questions to the reporters to have them answer.
  • Twitter comments about the same event can be searched for and brought in by your editor. This allows for gaps in reporting to be filled and media to be brought in, as well.
  • Students can use LiveArticle in order to summarize the event that they just witnessed, using the posts they contributed. This allows them to flesh out a “regular” article with rich content. Editors can also edit and update this LiveArticle during the event, as well; this will keep him/her on her toes, giving readers context.
  • Video streams running through sites like uStream can be embedded at the top of your ScribbleLive liveblog

Questions to consider:

  • How often are the students updating?
  • What do these updates contain? Direct quotes? Summaries? Photos? Videos?
  • Is there a good balance to their coverage? Are they providing potential readers with pertinent information to the event? Is there a variety in length?
  • Are they providing enough multimedia to avoid a wall of text?
  • Are editors editing posts with the goal of increasing clarity? Are they disrupting quotes? Are they adding attribution and links? Outside sources to add context? Past images?

Help Desk Articles:

How to post images to your event

How to embed YouTube videos to your event

How to include livestreams in your event

 

Exercise Two: The Q&A

Groups: One-to-two “interviewers”, one “editor”, one “social media” editor (optional, can be combined with “editor”).

Equipment: Computers and internet connections. Webcams on laptops optional for video conversations or questions.

The Exercise: The two interviewers are to interview a subject remotely, using ScribbleLive to conduct the interview. A good bank of questions should be built up beforehand, especially if interaction from the public is limited by interest or lack of publicity. While any of these exercises can be completed in a  vacuum, away from the public, it may be worth opening things up to questions once your students have gotten a feel for the platform.

Using the Q&A menu will help your students manage the questions and bank them up beforehand; they can be then posed to your subject at your leisure.

Key Concepts:

  • With the Q&A menu, students will be able order the conversation in the way they want.
  • How have you briefed the subject? They can either contribute from the back end of the platform, or sign in from the front end and be auto-approved for a very simplified way of adding text. Adding people to the back end can require some education, but allows for a richer experience in the posts they make (media, webcam, etc)
  • The addition of questions or comments from social networks expands the students’ scope without taking things out of their control. Leveraging your interview subject’s social networks for audience and questions helps, as well.
  • Subjects and readers can use webcam comments to ask questions or answer them

Questions to consider:

  • How does the liveblog look? Does it read well? Can someone discern the Questions, answer, question, answer format?
  • Who would benefit from reading this conversation in this format?
  • Is there a variety of questions from numerous sources? if not from readers, from journalists?
  • How long is the subject taking when answering the questions? Can the questions be edited to be more succinct?

Help Desk Articles:

How to use the Q&A menu

How to use a webcam to comment

How to use a webcam to post

 

Exercise Three: Sports

Groups: Two reporters at the game (one for text, one for photo, though this can be modified, or one can do both). One “editor” working from a lab, or at home if the event is at a later hour.

Equipment: Computer with Internet for the editor, and smartphones for the reporters. For advanced photographers, consider an EyeFi SD card to upload images to Flickr directly, which can be brought in automatically. EyeFi is limited to venues to WIFI, so school gyms (basketball, volleyball) are ideal due to coverage.

The Exercise: Sending students out to cover a sports events allows them to take advantage of an ever-changing environment which can benefit from outside media, as well. By taking pictures along with text updates, student reporters can give a good picture of what’s going on for people that might not be able to make it.

Key Concepts:

  • Balance is key in this exercise. Making sure there’s a good variety in updates keeps viewers from getting overloaded from minute-by-minute updates. However, updating too little can bore readers, or make them lose focus of the game at hand. It is up to students to refine their tone and schedule in order to make the event worth reading.
  • Having a running scoreboard pinned to the top of the liveblog allows people to get an idea of how the game is progressing. You can have this update as many times as you wish, or at quarters; having more than one person at the game (and one dedicated to doing this) can prevent any crossed wires.
  • Using LiveArticle and the Advanced Content Module to leverage posts into galleries or summaries of the event can work in your favour. Consider having the editor assemble halftime/quarter/period summaries.

Questions to consider:

  • How often do you update the scoreboard/running total?
  • What’s better used for breaking updates? Text,or video/pictures?
  • For students with sports expertise, how do they provide analysis without it seeming dated by the other minute-to-minute updates?
  • Is it worth providing timestamps in game-time?

Help Desk Articles:

How to use LiveArticle

How to use Advanced Posts

How to automatically bring in photos from Flickr

Sample Rubric

Grade

Criteria

90-100

●     Student has achieved exemplary use of minute updates for important points and longer updates when needed.

●     They have also included media when needed, capturing important moments with images, audio and video.

●     Editors have explained on concepts unknown or foreign to the reader.

●     Extra links or videos have been provided as supplementary material.

●     Editors have cleared up spelling/grammar errors (check timestamps). There are no errors in the liveblog, in terms of quotes or supplementary material.

80-89

●     Student has achieved advanced use of minute updates for important points and longer updates when needed.

●     They have also included media when needed, capturing many important moments with images, audio and video.

●     Editors have explained most concepts unknown or foreign to the reader.

●     Extra links or videos have been provided for most supplementary material.

●     Editors have cleared up most spelling/grammar errors (check timestamps). There are almost no errors in the liveblog, in terms of quotes or supplementary material.

70-79

●     Student has achieved adequate use of minute updates for important points and longer updates when needed.

●     They have also included media when needed, capturing a some moments with images, audio and video.

●     Editors have explained on some concepts unknown or foreign to the reader.

●     Some extra links or videos have been provided as supplementary material.

●     Editors have cleared up some spelling/grammar errors (check timestamps). There are some errors in the liveblog, in terms of quotes or supplementary material.

60-69

●     Student has achieved mediocre use of minute updates for important points and longer updates when needed.

●     They have also included few extra media when needed, capturing few moments with images, audio and video.

●     Editors have explained few concepts unknown or foreign to the reader.

●     Some extra links or videos have been provided as supplementary material.

●     Editors have cleared up spelling/grammar errors (check timestamps), but some are still present. There are errors in the liveblog, in terms of quotes or supplementary material.

50-59

●     Student hasn’t achieved exemplary use of minute updates for important points and longer updates when needed.

●     They have also ignored media when needed, capturing minimal moments with images, audio and video.

●     Editors ignored concepts foreign to the readers.

●     No extra links or videos have been provided as supplementary material.

●     Editors have ignored spelling/grammar errors (check timestamps). There are numerous errors in the liveblog, in terms of quotes or supplementary material.

 

Journalism schools are already doing great things with ScribbleLive through our donation program; again, if you have interest in the program yourself, feel free to contact ScribbleLive. At Ryerson University in Toronto, the Ryersonian has used our platform to cover a number of weekly events on their campus, including rallies, sporting events, conferences and townhall discussions. Also in Ontario, Loyalist college hosted a discussion between locals and municipal figures in a discussion about a local air force base, and its impact on the community.

In the UK, Elephant Student Media has used ScribbleLive to cover student elections, protests and other events. On the West Coast, UC Berkeley's student paper, the Daily Californian, reports on events like the UC Board of Regents meeting, and the associated student protest. For more ideas and examples about how ScribbleLive is being used to change the world of real-time journalism, feel free to follow our Twitter and blog

 

J-Source and ProjetJ are publications of the Canadian Journalism Project, a venture among post-secondary journalism schools and programs across Canada, led by Ryerson University, Université Laval and Carleton University and supported by a group of donors.