The Newspaper Evolution Project is a multi-stage assignment designed by Dr. Noah Arceneaux that culminates in a 2-to-5-minute video presentation analysis of a newspaper’s evolution. The project pushes students to make thoughtful observations of the evolution while improving media production skills; including script writing, audio recording, and video production. The project was part of a digital portfolio built over the course of the semester. Below are presentations of the work by three students; June Vincent, Christine Lam, and Zahra Hasoun.
Stage 1: Selecting front pages
The first stage of the assignment asks students to select one newspaper and pick four front pages from different years. The students are instructed to make selections that demonstrate signs of evolution over time, such as uses of new technologies and journalistic practices.
After selecting the front pages, the students answer questions about content such, as the ratio of editorial and advertisement, as well visual components such as photographs/illustrations and design.
Stage 2: Script writing
Script writing is an important component of the assignment. It is here where the students organize and expand their analysis. It is also where they best learn to understand the affordances of the technologies they are using to present their work.
The students are encouraged to write for listeners. That is, among other techniques, using simple vocabulary and short or uncomplicated sentences. They are also asked to keep in mind the planned visual components of their presentation when writing their narrative in order to better combined both elements.
Stage 3: Video production
Students often have limited exposure to video production experiences. The video portion of this project is a good introduction without forcing them to produce complex video content, as they are simply using their front pages for the visual component. They are encouraged to organize a coherent narrative while also linking their audio to their images.
The result is a simple video that combines the duties of a typical class presentation with different elements of content production.