Monday, November 13, 2017

Reviewing Midterm Plans of Action and Goals

This week your class assignment extends on what you did last week when you reflected on your course participation and teamwork (plan of action and goals).

You will look over the reflection you did on your individual participation and consider what you think your participation mark should be for the midterm report. As part of this process, you will write a short rationale explaining how you came up with your mark and sometime during this week you will discuss your suggested mark and rationale with the teacher.

In your teams, you will also review your plan of action and midterm goal(s). You then have the rest of this week to complete your work assignments.

NOTE: If you have incomplete class assignments, make sure to get them done as soon as possible this week. 

Instructions on how to help you determine your midterm participation mark. 

Click on the image to enlarge

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Work Assignments: Reflecting and Planning


You have been involved for about half the semester in your work assignments, so now is a good time to consider:
  • What you have done; what your team has done
  • What others are doing and how they do it (for example, professional journalists)
  • And what more you could aim to do and accomplish (plan of action with a goal)
This activity will essentially be a reflection on your team participation and work assignment. It will also be a plan of action where you will explore what is going on in the professional field and creating a team goal so you could enhance your work assignment to offer more to your audience.

Individually, you will also reflect on your own class and team participation as well as the contributions you have made to the work assignments you have been involved in.

You (and your team) will do this work online by completing submitted forms. It is expected that you get the work done today in class if at all possible, particularly the individual reflection.


Click here to complete the individual reflection. 
Once you have completed the individual reflection, work with your team to complete the team reflection and plan of action. 
Click here to complete the team reflection and plan of action.
Deadline: ASAP


Podcasting - School's In
  1. The in-depth style of writing news radio stories 
  2. Tips for writing news radio scripts
  3. Basics of writing for news radio
  4. Radio interview on CBC Information Morning - Fredericton
The Blackville Talon - Sports
The Blackville Talon - News/Public Relations/Entertainment/People's Picks
  1. Tips for Writing News Features
  2. Feature Writing
  3. Photo Techniques (Look at Techniques and also News and Feature Photos and People photos) 
  4. Story ideas
  5. Writing a Film Review
  6. Tips on how to make a video news report
  7. Story ideas
The Blackville Talon - Kids Korner
  1. Photo Techniques (Look at Techniques and also News and Feature Photos and People photos) 
  2. Interviewing children
The Blackville Talon - Video
  1. Student share opinions on video
  2. Opinions shared on a news report
  3. BuzzFeed Videos (One example with teenagers)
  4. Interviewing children
  5. Tips on how to make a video news report
  6. Story ideas
The Blackville Talon - Layout/Design/Social Media
Video Announcements
  1. Video examples 
  2. Look at other schools' video announcements
Yearbook - Business Manager
Yearbook - Editors

Monday, October 30, 2017

Caught in Lies

Below are links to articles on journalists who have been caught in lies. Read the two articles and complete a reflective piece (journal entry) based on the questions below. Include a creative title for your entry. Remember to look at how your work will be assessed. The assessment is below the questions. This assignment is to be posted and completed on your blog by next Monday, November 06.

The articles
Questions to use for your journal reflection:
  • Have you ever considered that the news you read (or watch or hear) may be factually incorrect or even fabricated? Explain why or why not.

  • What is your reaction to the two articles? Were you surprised to find out that professional journalists have fabricated news?

  • Journalist Jack Shafer writes “most liars make things up for the simple reason that they don't have the talent or the ability to get the story any other way.” Do you agree with Shafer's assertion? Explain.

  • Given what Shafer says, do you think that colleges and universities should make sure graduating journalism students can handle the responsibilities and pressures? Discuss your thoughts in your entry.

  • Do you think when issues of ethics arise that a newspaper ombudsman helps? An ombudsman is a professional journalist whose sole responsibility is to respond to reader complaints and provide an independent critique of the paper's performance. Explain why or why not. Read more here if you require additional information.
How you will be assessed on the following (5 pts each for a total of 20 pts):
  • Overall, the journal entry shows much thought and effort.

  • There are fewer than three grammatical errors or sentence structure issues in the entry.

  • Each question provided for the entry has been effectively addressed.

  • The entry was completed on time and includes a creative title.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Hard News vs. Soft News

Read the following two explanations on what is hard news versus soft news (media).
  1. Find one news articles that you consider is definitely hard news and explain why (include the characteristics of what a hard news article is). Provide a link for the article.
  2. Find one news articles that you consider is definitely soft news and explain why (include the characteristics of what a soft news article is). Provide a link for the article.
  3. Find one news article where you think the line between whether it is hard or soft news is blurred. Then make a decision on how you would categorize the article based on the tone of the article and its purpose. Provide a link to the article.
  • Deadline: Next Monday, October 30
Some sites that you can use to find your news articles:

This article on the People site, "Meet the World's Longest Cat, Stewie," is definitely soft news. It is amusing and includes an entertaining photo. The article is casual in its presentation (headline), and it is a human-interest story. Or, should I say, a pet-interest story? The story has some of the characteristics of a hard news story, as it presents the basic information. However, the quotations from its sources are more entertaining than useful, and the article does not go into any depth on the issue it is covering. This is one soft news story where the type of story it is can be based solely on the topic and the headline.


5 pts each for a total of 20 pts
  • All the work is complete and includes one soft news and one hard news and one in the "blur zone"
  • There is evidence of much thought and overall effort in the selection of the articles and the reasoning behind the chosen categories
  • The student shows a clear understanding of hard vs. soft news
  • There are less than three grammatical errors or sentence structure issues

Sunday, October 15, 2017

What is Newsworthy?

You have looked at how a news story is structured, and in journalism class you started work on your job assignments. Every job assignment we have - from the yearbook to podcasting to the online school newspaper - deals with how newsworthy the story is. Whatever we are covering, we have to ask ourselves what is newsworthy to our audience.

Read the following article "What Makes a Story Newsworthy". This article provides a list of five factors that make a story newsworthy:
  • Timing
  • Significance
  • Proximity
  • Prominence
  • Human Interest
Find two news articles online from news sources like CBCHuffington Post, or VICE News, and using a scale from 1-4 (1 being the least, 4 being the most), grade each story on how newsworthy it is. Your score will total up to 20 points (5 factors X 4 points each).

Include in each score a summary explaining your mark for each factor. Also make sure to provide a link to each news story. NOTE: If you do not complete this assignment in the same day, make sure to get your links from the selected stories so you can easily access them the next day. See below for an example of this assignment.

You will be assessed on:
  • Overall effort
  • Spelling/Grammar/Mechanics
  • Strong summary for each factor
  • Links to each news story, story headlines and final marks are provided
Deadline is next Monday, October 30. 

An Example:

Chilean miners' rescue capsule works in test

Timing - 4/4
This is a news story that has been in the public eye since August when the 33 miners were trapped. It is the latest update in the rescue mission which will begin on Wednesday to free the trap miners. I gave it a 4/4 on timing, because it is an update on the rescue attempt of these trapped miners.

Significance - 3/4
While the number of miners trapped is not in the hundreds, 33 miners is a significant number. It has grabbed the attention of not only the people of Chile, but everyone around the world.

Proximity - 3/4
The geographical proximity is not close for a Canadian reader, but Canadians can connect to this story as we have had our share of mining disasters. It is a story that connects to Canadian history, and it a story we hope has a happy ending.

Prominence - 2/4
The story has prominence because of the number of miners and the unique rescue attempt that is being made. I gave it a lower mark because few would have known who these miners were even in their own country, let alone in the world. Although they are well known now because of their dire circumstances.

Human Interest - 4/4
This story appeals greatly to emotion as people hope and pray that the 33 miners are rescued successfully.

Final Newsworthy Mark - 16/20

Friday, October 6, 2017

Writing the News Articles

In the last assignment, we looked at the basics for writing a news article, and then you selected three news article so you could analyze the writing structure. Today you will write your own news article to get a sense of how it is done. If you need to review the basics, click here.

Most of the time finding a news idea to write about is not hard, but for this assignment you will be creating your own news. You will be provided with a few photos and you have to determine what is happening in the photo and then report the news in a written article. You will also create a headline for your article.

Below are a few images you can choose from for your news article. Once you have selected your image, brainstorm the following:
  • Who, what, when, where, why (and, if applicable, how)
  • What sources are used (quotes, statistics, etc.)
  • What other details are important about the news story?
  • Which information is most important and should be place first?
  • A short attention-getting headline
  • A strong lead (beginning)
Remember to keep your paragraphs short and make every effort to create a lead that draws the reader's interest and attention. The deadline is next Monday, October 16.

You will be graded on the following (5 pts each, value: 25 pts):
  • The lead (the first and maybe second paragraph) contains who, what, when, where, why
  • The lead is effective and draws the reader's attention and interest
  • The article is written in inverted pyramid style
  • The article includes at least two sources
  • The headline is an attention grabber
  • Fewer than three grammatical or sentence structure issues
Below are the photos you can select from. There is also an example of a news lead and the first few paragraphs that was created for one of the photos.

Example of a lead and the first few paragraphs (photo of little girl on the slide)

Special surprise on first day of school for elementary students (headline)

Students at Betterville Elementary School were all smiles this Monday when their brand new playground was officially opened.

With support from the local home and school association and various fund raising events, the playground received over $25, 000 in new equipment.

The poor condition of the playground forced the school administration to prevent students from using it. But that situation changed this week when students returned to school and discovered the new equipment.

"The students could hardly contain their excitement all morning," said Principal Violet Blueberry. "There was certainly a lot of discussion among the staff and students over the new playground equipment," she added.

Students from kindergarten to grade five swarmed the renovated playground at morning break and again at lunch time. Grade two student Sally Smiles said that her favourite playground activity was sliding.

The article would continue...what else would be included that would be informative to the reader, but not as important?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Starting with the Basics

Writing News Stories

Whether you are writing for newspaper, radio or television, there are some basic guidelines that most journalists follow when reporting news. Click on this link to get a very concise formula for a well-written news article.

Notice the basics:
  • Who, what, when, where, and why
  • Try to catch the reader's attention (the news lead and/or hook)
  • Use quotes (sources)
  • Strive to be objective (remember our code of ethics)
  • Tell the interesting information first
Now let's take some of this basic information and add to it.

Check out this link to see information about the inverted pyramid and writing news. The inverted pyramid is a writing style used by journalist to remind them to tell the most important and interesting information first.

Watch this video to view some tips on how to write a lead or hook (the first paragraph of a news article).


Today's blog assignment is very basic, but it is important because you are deconstructing the style of newspaper writing. You need to understand the style in order to do it yourself.

You will find two news stories online (consider sites like CBC, Vice News CanadaThe Huffington Post, and The Globe and Mail). Read each story and in your blog entry describe the basics. Do not use Q and A (question and answer) format, write your findings as a summary.

Include the following for each news article:
  • Who, what, when, where, and why
  • Is the lead effective? Give reasons why you think it is or isn't.
  • Identify one quote and who/what is the source.
  • Is the most important/interesting information told first? What was it?
  • Does the story have a good ending? Explain why/why not.
  • Create a link to each news article you analyze.
You will be graded on the following (5 pts each, value: 20 pts)
  • The entry effectively addresses the points outlined in the assignment. 
  • The entry shows evidence of an understanding of the style and format used in newspaper writing.
  • The entry includes two examples and provides two links.
  • The entry was completed on time with less than three grammatical or sentence structure errors. 
Deadline is next Monday, October 02