Week 5 – Defining news and “untouchable” stories

This week in my Social Role class, I have been tasked with exploring the definition of news.  While designing my activity and project, I was able to think about this concept and how different the definition of news has changed over the years.  With the advent of the Internet, news outlets feel like they have to be more immediate.  That has changed what news actually is because now it is more important to be first, then to have a full, accurate account of what happened.

This week in our discussions we talked about “untouchable” stories regarding scholastic media.  Now, I don’t believe that there should be anything that scholastic journalists should be able to cover, but I do think that there needs to be a strong, well-thought-out protocol for how different stories are covered.

As I continue my work in this course, I am constantly being pushed to think about things that sort of come automatically.  But, now that I am forcing myself to think about why things are done the way they are, I believe that I will be able to more effectively advise my students.


Week 2 – Compromising Journalistic Integrity

This week in my Social Role course, I have been considers the ramifications of compromising journalistic integrity, and considering how to keep from losing journalistic integrity within my scholastic publications. There were two topics that I feel particularly strong about, so that is where my focus will be for this post:  prior review/prior restraint and fake news (and filter bubbles).

I believe that prior review/prior restraint poses the biggest issue for journalism programs.  When a school views its publications as PR for the district, integrity is thrown out the window, along with most content that I would think is meaningful.  As an adviser in a Hazelwood state, I have a hard time motivating my students to tackle issues that are effecting our student body because they are afraid of not having their article or segment published.  This directly effects the content we produce, and the integrity of our program.

The article, “The author of The Filter Bubble on how fake news is eroding trust in journalism,” from “The Verge” was particularly interesting for me.  I use the TED video in two of my classes that discusses the concept of  a filter bubble, and I really like how the author really dives in to its effect on the dissemination of news, both truthful and fake.  The reality of fake news has been around for more than a century, but the technology of today has made it much easier to spread to the masses.  I believe it is vitally important, as a journalism educator, that I continue to teach my high school students about the reality of fake news and filter bubbles.  It is only through awareness that we can effect change, and change will bring integrity back to the practice of journalism.

Week 1 – The Social Role of Media

As a high school student I loved the idea of becoming a journalist.  The allure of traveling all over the world and telling important stories was like a distant dream.  So, when I went to college, I knew exactly what I wanted to be, a journalist.  That was 18 years ago.  And as life has a tendency to do, priorities change.  My changing priorities changed in my last semester of my undergraduate degree, when I realized that I actually wanted to teach.

Over the last 10-15 years,  I have been on this adventure in teaching, which led me to Kent State University.  By now I have an bachelor’s degree in Mass Media & Journalism, a master’s degree in Education, and this year I will have a master’s degree in Journalism education.  My journey through the master’s program at Kent has been one of my favorite educational experiences, yet.

As a journalism teacher and adviser I have struggled with the role my students play in our school and community.  It is hard for me to get my students to understand the importance their role of student journalist can be, and I hope I can get a better grasp on this throughout this semester.



Let’s add podcasting to our toolbelt

For my final project in my Teaching Multimedia course, I have chosen to create a lesson for podcasting.  Of all of the forms of media I have tried this semester, I think this is the one I am the most excited about for next year!  I cannot wait to have my students try out podcasting for the first time.  For this lesson, I started small.  Just like we did in this class.  A single interview, with a single subject.  I think that my students won’t be as intimidated about trying out this new form of media since I have given them their choice in subject matter and the interview requirement is for only one person.  I just hope they can enjoy podcasting as much as I did!


Michelle Kennedy

Grain Valley High School

Grain Valley, MO

Creating a Podcast using Audacity

Overview and Rationale:

Students will conduct an interview to create a podcast that will be edited in Audacity.


  • Students will conduct interviews.
  • Students will learn to record interviews using the recording app audioBoom.
  • Students will learn to edit recorded footage with Audacity to create a podcast.

Overviews and Timeline:

Activity 1 (One 50-minute class)

The teacher will introduce the class to podcasting by having students individually listen to each of these podcasts:

My Example

Lori King Example

KC Star Example

While listening to these podcasts, they will be responding to these discussion questions posted in Canvas: At the beginning of each podcast, what does the reporter do? What is one thing you liked about each podcast? What is something you would change about each podcast?

For homework, students will respond to a discussion thread in Canvas requiring three potential topics for a podcast story that they would like to do.

Activity 2 (One 50-minute class)

Students will come to class with at least three ideas of potential podcast stories they could create.

As the teacher conferences with each student, they will begin to flesh out each of their podcast ideas. They will begin considering subject/subjects for interviewing and questions for interviewing.

By the end of this class students will have at least one subject chosen and interview questions decided.

For homework, students will interview their subject(s) using audioBoom. Once the recordings are complete, they will be uploaded to the users online audioBoom profile.

Activity 3 (One 50-minute class)

Students will come to class prepared to edit their podcast during this class period. The teacher will share a tutorial of Audacity, so that they can understand how to put their footage together. The teacher will also share an article with resources for royalty free music, “Avoid copyright and use royalty-free music for video production,” via a link on Canvas.

For homework, students will finish creating their podcast using Audacity.

Activity 4 (One 50-minute class)

Students will come to class with their podcast finished in Audacity. Working in groups of four, they will peer coach each other’s podcast, using the Podcasting Peer Coaching Form. Once each student has coached with two peers, they will make revisions to their podcast, and upload the finished podcast to their online audioBoom profile, so they can share it with the teacher.

For homework, students will finish editing their podcast, if necessary.


Students will record an interview with at least one person on the subject of their choice.  Students will record that interview using audioBoom, edit the recordings using Audacity, and submit the finished podcast after uploading it to their online audioBoom profile.  Grading will be based on the attached rubric.


Goble, Don (2012). “Avoid copyright and use royalty-free music for video production.” Retrieved from: http://www.jeadigitalmedia.org/2012/07/06/royalty-free-music-for-video-production/

JEA Curriculum, “Lesson: Audio for Multimedia Broadcast.” Retrieved from: http://curriculum.jea.org/lesson-audio-for-multimedia-broadcast/




Podcasting Peer Coaching Session

Does the podcast include an introduction to the interviewer and the subject?               

Is the podcast under five minutes?                                                                                             

Does the podcast have smooth transitions?                                                                             

Is the audio in the podcast too loud or too quiet?                                                                   

Can background noises be heard during the podcast?                                                        

Did the podcast include music? If so, was the music placed well or was it a distraction? Be specific.                                                                                                                                     



Please list THREE things you liked about this podcast.




Make notes from your coaching session here: (During this time, you should discuss your podcast.)




Podcasting Homework Sheet

Activity 1 Homework: Due Tuesday, Sept. 26

Students will complete Canvas discussion, entering at least three potential podcast topics.

Activity 2 Homework: Due Wednesday, Sept. 27

Students will conduct an interview with at least one subject for their podcast. They will use the interview questions developed during class time.

Activity 3 Homework: Due Thursday, Sept. 28

Students will complete the initial editing process in Audacity.

Activity 4 Homework: Due Friday, Sept. 29

Students will complete the finally editing process in Audacity, if necessary.


Podcasting Rubric                              Name: _____________________________________  

(Adapted for SBG from JEA curriculum)


CATEGORY   Proficient  
Overall interview concept




  The interview has an introduction and conclusion.  
Interview quality





  The interview appears to be well planned and has no mistakes or inconsistencies.  
Audio leveling






  The audio is level and music doesn’t appear to be louder than others unless done so intentionally.  

My intro into video editing (and a plug for Photo I)

Next year I will be co-teaching a multimedia class, and I feel like this video assignment has given a bit of exposure to the work that my students will be doing. Now, I feel like I can at least help my students with the basics of video editing.

For this assignment, I chose to work at school with Adobe premier because that is what my students will be expected use. Working in Adobe Premier was quite a bit easier than I thought it would be. After working in Audacity for podcasting, the similarities between the two programs really helped me edit my video for this assignment.

Adding video and audio to Adobe Premier was seamless. I was able to pull my necessary footage into the project and cut the video with ease. Fading in and out of the video and audio was also easy in Adobe Premier because it is just an adjustment to add with a right-click.

The editing portion of this assignment was something I was really worried about, but it turned out to be the easiest part. The hard part was getting footage. I don’t know why, but I thought getting footage would be easy. I was wrong. I had a lot of technical difficulties in the beginning, especially when I tried shooting with one of my DSLR camera. My footage was unusable. The audio was terrible, and I couldn’t get enough light through the lens to make the footage salvageable.

When I switched to using a handheld Canon camcorder from our broadcast department, I immediately noticed an improvement. Using a microphone to conduct my interviews definitely helped with my audio, but I noticed that my students liked to hold the microphone really close to their mouth, so I had to make adjustments to some of their audio in editing.

To conclude, this lesson taught me a lot. First, getting a good shot is not easy, and sometimes you have to work with what you have because another opportunity to get that same shot may not present itself. Also, adding effects to the videos can make the video look and seem more finished. Finally, I have realized that sometimes what scares me most can actually be a lot easier than I thought it would be. (But still not something I’m an expert at.)

Maps, timelines, and polls… Oh my!

Over the past few weeks I have been working in the world of interactive journalism tools.

To begin, I decided to create a map of the Grain Valley School District. This seemed like a simple task. And it was, after I realized that I needed to create the map from my Google account. I know that sounds like a rookie mistake, but I have only used Google maps to find get directions, so I didn’t realize that I could create a map with plotted points and save it to my account.

At first, I didn’t really see the relevance of this assignment, but after it was completed I started to see where this feature could be applied to my publications. Especially when we go live with our website next year! I can see it now… When we go to JEA/NSPA in Dallas, we can map out all of the cool places we go, and include that in a slideshow. I know there are probably more ways to incorporate this feature, but right now I’m just happy that I’ve figured out how to use it.

After getting my map complete and posting it to my blog, I began to work on my timeline. I tried to use the website Tiki-toki, but I just couldn’t figure it out. So, I went with Dipity. Which, after much Google searching, kept linking me to Time Toast. This site was much easier for me to work in. Once I tracked down all of the staff photos I have taken over the years, actually putting the timeline together was a snap. I thought adding text and uploading to the site were really easy. I did have trouble getting the timeline to embed in my wordpress blog (even though I paid for a month long membership), so I’m still working on that.


Creating a poll was a task I saved for last, I’m not sure why though because it was the most simple thing for me to do. Using polldaddy was really easy. I think it took me longer to set up my account then it did to actually create the poll. It also was really easy to embed on my blog, which was a relief after the timeline fiasco.

All in all, this adventure in to interactive journalism tools has been somewhat eventful. I’m pretty excited about the new skills that I’ve learned, and I can’t wait to show my students how to use all of these tools.

Preparing students (and myself) for 21st century journalism


As I continue to work through this course, I cannot get over how much I am learning. While coming to terms with the amount of knowledge I am accruing, I also can’t help but be overwhelmed by the reality that I have not been the journalism teacher I once thought I was.

I can navigate the world of print journalism with ease, but as I move in to the multimedia aspect of this world, I’ve found that I am just a beginner. I wish I could say that I’m a beginner with enthusiasm, but my apprehension keeps me from getting too excited. Don’t get me wrong, the more I learn the better I feel, and the more excited I get, but sometimes my fears and apprehension keep me from starting my assignments when I should, leaving me with less time to make my productions as good as I probably could.

The assignment I have been struggling with over the last few weeks is my podcast interview. Coming up with a topic and questions for this podcast was easy. The reality of completing the interview was something completely different. I’m old school. I bring a notebook to interviews. I hand write EVERYTHING. So, when I showed up with only my phone to record this interview, to say I was nervous was an understatement.

The topic of this podcast came easy. Marcee McElwain and I have been working out the details of our new class for months. So, when I needed to choose someone to interview, I naturally thought of her. That was the easy part. In our casual conversations, we can discuss this course at length. But, during this interview we were both incredibly nervous. I hope that this is something that will get better with time. Especially since I have to do a video segment before the end of this course.

For my first time at creating a podcast with my own content, I am somewhat pleased with the work. I recorded video in too many places, so there are inconsistencies with the tone and background noise, but that is something I will definitely take in to account when I try this again. However, it will be awkward to ask all of my interview subjects to sit in my car with me in my garage because that is where I got the best sound.

I am hopeful that what I am learning throughout this course is preparing me to be better for my students. And I will continue to push forward because my students need to be prepared for the journalism world of the future, not the comfortable world of my past.