Saturday, January 19, 2013

Broadcasting live from our school studio!

I am really proud of our school news show.  I started out without a clue, but things have turned out nicely after four years of winging it.  I thought I'd share a little bit of how we run our live school news show in hopes of helping out anyone else that finds themselves in the same situation I was in a few years ago (new to working in a school environment without any prior video or technology experience and knowing zilch about putting together a news show.  Yea, that was me :)).

Our school news crew is made up of seventh and eighth grade students.  At the start of the school year, students interested in becoming part of the school news team pick up an application and teacher recommendation form.  I schedule interviews with the technology crew applicants and auditions for anchor applicants.  Once the students are selected, I create a rotation schedule for the anchors and technology crew members.  I rotate my anchors every 6-8 weeks.  I usually rotate my technology crew members by semester.  The exiting news crew members trains the incoming news crew members.  Once a news crew member completes his/her turn on the news show, I may call on them to fill in whenever another crew member is absent.

The nice thing about having seventh grade students on the news team is that I ask them to start the news show the first week of school during their eighth grade year.  These same students also train the new students that join the team that school year.  The students run the news show and I'm there to make sure everyone stays on track and nothing too crazy happens.  So far, I've been really pleased with how responsible and professional our students are about the news program.

Here are the roles and tasks for the news crew member:

News anchors: These two students write the weather announcement and national/world news announcement each morning.  I proofread their announcements before we go live on air.

Teleprompter technician: This student transcribes all of our announcements onto PowerPoint slides that the news anchors will read from.

Video technician: This student creates the visuals that will accompany the announcements.  He/She will also be responsible for transitioning between the our news anchors, special guests and visuals (videos and images).
Sound technician: This student controls the mics and sound board.  I usually place a second year news show team member in this role.  Each year I usually have at least one student that does not stop showing up for the news show and he/she has also taken the initiative to learn all three technician roles.  Having this student on the team really helps because I'm confident that things will go well with the news show even when I am away.

Equipment & tools:

  • Desktop computer to create & display visuals
  • Small TV monitor to see what we are displaying to our audience
  • Sound board
  • Video mixer to transition between our desktop and video cameras
  • Two video cameras
  • wireless microphones and hand held microphones
  • Two laptops (one for the teleprompter tech & one for the news anchors)
  • TV set
  • Google Docs
  • Gmail 
  • Thumbdrive- we use one very important & precious thumbdrive to hold our videos, pictures & music for the news show.

When I first started working on the news show, I trolled the web for ideas.  The Daring Librarian Gwyneth Jones has a wiki with lots of information.  Check it out!

Google docs has been a great tool because I can easily create, update and share information with the news team.  The news team accesses a Google doc for the script where I collect announcements sent via email to me from our school staff.  I also use our school newsletter to collect news.  The news anchors update the script each morning with the weather report & news piece.  The teleprompter tech creates a Powerpoint from the script all the while everyone is able to edit/view without having to print out a new script.  I also use a Google Form to collect song requests from our school community (I stole this idea from the Daring Librarian :)). My video technician checks a separate Google doc titled 'BMS Music Sheet' to learn what song to play each day.

We play music and videos each day on the news show.  I use the thumbdrive to hold the songs and videos for each week.  We play a booktrailer each Thursday.  I may use a booktrailer from Youtube or a student  may submit a video he/she created.  I play Animoto videos that I create to advertise different events in our school.  (With an educator account in Animoto, I'm able to download my Animoto video as an .mp4 file.)  Sometimes I give the news crew a flip camera and a question to ask their fellow classmates to create "Word on the Street" videos.  I only have five minutes (maybe seven minutes if I push the envelope) of air time, so I can't get too crazy.

If you run a school news show, I would love to hear about what you do!


  1. Lorena, this would be a GREAT SCASL Conf, SCMiddle School Conf, or SC Edtech session, especially since you've taken a standard program to high tech. Congrats on a well run program.

  2. Oh my gosh! This exactly what I needed! Thanks so much for sharing! I'm just starting out and I feel clueless how to manage it all. Thanks!