September 18, 2014

The First Interview

Such an exciting and eye-opening project for my budding Broadcast Journalism class. This is our school's (American International School Riyadh) first year at our new campus. It being a completely new structure, built for our school, we're still working out some kinks and getting things in place. One of which is the television studio where we will eventually conduct our classes and grow the "Eagle News Network (ENN)". So, until that space is learning-ready, we have great opportunity to focus on research and on-the-ground journalism skills before we dive into the challenges of media production.

The students' first subject-driven assignment has been to conduct a first interview to inform about some aspect of the "New AIS-R", be it a comparison between old and new, existing/evolving programs/procedures, or slice of life pieces that characterize the student experience. The big question here is, "What do you want to know more about AIS-R?"

The assignment has been scaffolded into a three-part set:

  • Stage 1
    • Identify what they want to know more about
      • This should be presented in the form of a question
      • The question should produce an open-ended response
      • The inquiry must be related to school and its purpose will be to inform an audience
    • Conduct background research
      • History of the subject
      • Alternative experiences in other schools
      • What makes this inquiry important or useful?
    • Prepare interview questions
      • Questions should be designed to produce the desired information
      • Questions should NOT suggest a response from the interviewee (avoiding rhetoric and bias)
      • Questions must NOT be confrontational
  • Stage 2
    • Conduct interview
      • Arrange time to meet in advance!
      • Record the conversation
      • Transcribe the conversation
  • Stage 3
    • Compose final story using content from research and interview to support your story's objective to inform an audience about the subject.
Today's lesson was a effort in drafting questions that drew required information in an ethical manner. It was a hard reality for many students to grasp that not everyone thinks as they do. Even more challenging was being able to see how their questions and manner of inquiry could effect the outcome. This resulted in fantastic conversations with students. Can't wait to read their stories!

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