Radio News and Production Workshop

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Posted By:
John Dinges
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

The syllabus describes a 15 week course, graduate level, 6 credits, in high-level radio news writing and reporting, with emphasis on use of sound, narrative structure, audio editing and mixing, and live studio production. The course would be easily adaptable to undergrad courses if you are able be schedule large blocks of time. I teach the course with a 2-hour lecture-instruction session on Thursday and an 8-hour production session of Friday, which includes a live webcast at 4 pm ( Class size is 15-18, and larger class size is better because there is so much production work to do. Each student is assigned a reporting beat (i.e. politics, city services, sports, arts, health, technology, etc.) and reports and writes about six-seven radio pieces in the 2-4 minute range, plus a final documentary project (with audio slideshow) in the 6-8 minute range. For the final project the students are teams of two, with one taking responsibility for photos and slideshow production. All students have production jobs each week (for each broadcast). All jobs are done by students, who are trained for all production tasks. E.g. executive producer, senior producer, senior editor, board operator, studio producer, line producers, web producer, and various assistant position. All students are hosts and newscasters at least once or twice, and all students report, write and produce a "day of air" news story at least twice during the semester.