Join Our Broadcast News Team!
Got a tape recorder? A microphone? An idea for a story? If so, you're potentially a member of the Canadian TeenLine staff.
What We Need
Your Responsibilities as a Journalist
Getting The Story
Getting the Story To Us
What We Need (top)
We're looking for story ideas, interviews, editorials, and correspondents across Canada. You don't need any experience, just an interest in people and a nose for news. Auburn Air specializes in helping other teens do real journalism. We're already teaching our course by correspondence and offer workshops at sports events such as the Milk Energy Cup.
If you're interested, we want to establish a SchoolNet News Network student broadcasting team with three jobs:
If You're Interested, It's Time For:
- To find stories in your part of Canada of interest to other teens in other regions and around the world.
To establish a list of regional reporters we can call on when a national teen story breaks in your area. For example, the broadcasting class of Steve Wilcox at Canterbury High in Ottawa has already volunteered to be the School News Network capitol bureau.
To give news of teen life around the world to Canadian teens. We've already got former Auburn Air exchange students and media partners lined up in Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Germany, England, and the U.S. Midwest.
Broadcast Journalism 101 (top)
Yes, this is ridiculous. We can't make you a broadcast journalist in 10 minutes. Or can we? Read on!
Your first job is to spot an event, person, or point of view that has news potential (called Newsworthiness). It must have some of the following. The more and the stronger the rating, the bigger the story. Check any idea you have against this list. Give it a value out of five. Be honest. Ask someone else if they agree.
|Aspect of Newsworthiness
|6- Prominence (person)
|8- Human interest
|11- Available sound and/or
Stop! Earlier this year, Auburn Air's Danita Daye interviewed wheelchair marathoner Rick Hanson as he began his Man in Motion Ten-Year Anniversary Tour. We rated her story like this:
Prominence..................||4||(Rick Hanson is well known)|
Uniqueness..................||3|| (A tenth anniversary comes only once)|
|Updating.....................||3||(Many people will be interested in what he's been doing.)|
|Available S and P........||5||(Danita got the interview live at his press conference, with fans, with pix for graphics)|
|Proximity.....................||3||(He was in our home town)|
|Human Interest............||4||(Around the world in a wheelchair?)|
|Timeliness....................||5||(We were there at the official start of the event)|
That's 27 points! A definite major item. (Actually, it won Danita our award for best interview of the year and helped her get a summer job with CBC Radio!) You don't need that much. If your story idea rates a 12, we want to hear about it. Over 20, you've probably got a lead item! Remember: People make news! We're interested in people!
Your Responsibilities as a Journalist (top)
Canadian TeenLine operates under the same laws of slander, libel, privacy, and fair play that all broadcasters do. A good way to stay within them is to ask yourself if you've met all these public rights and expectations in your story:
If you need help, phone or e-mail Auburn Air or SchoolNet News and we'll be there.
- - objectivity
- - fairness
- - accuracy
- - attribution of information and statements
- - clarity
- - completeness
- - identification
The golden rule that saves reporters many problems:
"When In Doubt, Leave It Out"
Getting The Story (top)
(A few tips in no particular order of importance)
- - Use a decent mike, even with a lousy tape recorder.
- - NEVER use the condenser mike built into the tape recorder.
- - Always check your batteries BEFORE you leave for the interview.
- - Carry extra batteries, an extra cassette, and if possible a power cord or AC adaptor in case you need it.
- - Always use regular sized (not mini) cassettes.
- - Avoid interviewing in the wind or with a noisy background unless absolutely necessary. (Sometimes it can add to the atmosphere of the story.)
- - Test your record levels if your tape recorder is capable. Make sure your microphone is on and plugged into the correct hole!
- - If possible, wear a headset jacked into your recorder so you can hear if you have sound and how good it is. Or better still, have another person hold the tape recorder, listen on the headset, and ride the levels while you interview.
- - Make a fist just below your chin. Stick up your thumb until it touches your chin. The bottom of your fist is now the correct distance for your mike from a person's face during an interview.
- - Let the person talk. Don't interrupt, don't argue, and don't mutter along in the background!
- - Know your topic and your interviewee. The person you're talking to will relax if you immediately show you know what you're talking about. They will likely be flattered that you thought enough of them to do research.
- - Listen! Don't go in with a set of prepared questions that can't be changed. Look at the person you're talking to! The best interview is a good conversation!!!!
- - Be friendly and be on time!
- - Start the interview by having the person say their name and spell it on tape. That way, you have their name right and you have proof that they are the person on tape. In a crisis news situation when there is no time for that, you say their name into the mike before you ask them the first question.
- - If you have a difficult question for the person to answer, save it for last. You'll have a feel for how the interview is going and whether it should be asked. You'll also have at least something on tape if they don't want to answer!
- - No matter how newsworthy you thought the story would have beenbefore you did the interview, listen to the tape after the interview and see if that has changed.
- - Write a 30-second reader (copy that starts with the "5Ws", then goes through the "How" and other important details) that sums up the story. It doesn't need to be good, it's just for our use. Thirty seconds of copy is roughly fifteen lines hand written or eight lines typed.
- - Write a point-form summary of the interview.
Getting the Story To Us (top)
- - E-mail us the reader and the summary. We'll advise you on their newsworthiness and what form your final story could take.
- - We'll work with you from there. Your final item could be:
....a feature Q and A interview.
....a voice report by you with actuality (sound clips)
....a voice report by you without actuality.
....actuality from your interview used in a newscast.
....a telephone discussion with one of our hosts about a news item you witnessed/knew about. (For example, we did one of these last Spring from a school pay phone with a girl displaced by the Manitoba flooding.)
- - If you have material for us, you can mail the cassette to:
Auburn Drive High School
300 Auburn Drive
If you have a very important story, we can show you how to send it over the phone. No equipment for this? All you need is a tape recorder, an old touchtone phone with the type of mouthpiece that can be screwed off, and a half-meter length of phono wire with a mini jack at one end, and either two bare wires or two alligator clips at the other.
Remember: If you're in the middle of something really important that Canadian teens should know about and have a cell phone or phone booth handy, call us (902-462-6996). If we don't answer, leave a report on our machine. If we enter it in an awards competition and you win, it could be worth the phone bill! Always tell us who you are and where we can contact you to follow up!
And remember! Auburn Air and Canadian TeenLine have media contacts across Canada who believe in what we do. For example, CKNW Radio in Vancouver and The Western Information Network as far east as Toronto are always interested in teen issues. We advise and help teens in many places with media relations. If you have a story anywhere, we can help you get it out!