I want my students to feel the deadline pressure. The news business has constant deadlines and your ability to meet and beat those deadlines is a skill that will serve you professionally regardless of where life takes you. Employers want staffers who they can trust with deadlines. They depend on people who can manage them well.
I challenged the students in my BC 312 (Broadcast Journalism II) class to take a story assignment, set up interviews, shoot the story, write it, edit it and post it online under an eight hour work day schedule. They could pitch the story idea, but I had the power as the assignment editor to accept it or give them another story to cover.
I was pleased to see all students beat the deadline. They also walked away with television news packages to use on an updated demo reel. This deadline assignment also gained me acceptance on the highly competitive, peer-reviewed BEA Ignite panel at the Broadcast Education Association’s 2015 Conference in Las Vegas. I joined 11 other vetted faculty presenters on a panel showcasing enterprising teaching.
The most common query I fielded about this deadline project was how students were able to fit this eight-hour news shift into their busy schedules. This is how I tackled that issue. I offered the opportunity to have it declared a “field trip requirement” so I could have their other instructors release them from class for the day. However, most students opted to work around their other classes and were able to complete the video packages in less than six hours. This is great because most reporters must turn multiple stories during a regular shift.
You can watch some samples of the stories my students produced in the BC 312 class.
The BC 312 students agreed the deadline project was challenging and they learned a lot because of it. They also reflected about something they learned from the experience on Twitter using #WCNdeadline so I could find it and share it. Here are a few of the responses.