As we near the end of April, professors at universities all over the nation give students one final project before the semester ends. This class is no different.
My group decided to create a multimedia story about Columbia’s public schools and how the funding each school is receiving relates to the quality of education in those schools. We are measuring the quality of education by the test scores produced by the schools as well as how the teachers feel about the resources made available to them.
With this structure, the story depends on the willingness of teachers to have candid conversations about their profession. As with most stories, the quality of this story will come down to access. I wrote about the importance of access in a previous post.
We held our first interviews last week, meeting with the principals of Battle High School and Oakland Middle School as well as a science teacher at Battle. Our group is still working on arranging more interviews with teachers from other schools in the district. It is important that we interview teachers from these other schools because they will provide a very different perspective than the teachers at the schools north of Highway 70 provide.
My biggest remaining concern with this project is that we will never be able to gain access to these other perspectives. If this is the case, our topic is large enough that we should be able to slightly mend our pitch to focus on more specific topics that the educators we did speak to discussed.
Another one of my concerns is how my group’s idea will be effectively split into different types of media. My emphasis area is Print & Digital News Reporting, so I’ve volunteered to write the article portion of our group’s project. This is how we split up our group’s duties. Kristen, more comfortable with her editing abilities than I am, will be putting together the video. I think this collaborative method will work as long as each person comes through with the item they are responsible for.
My only concern with this plan is that it may result in our different pieces of media not working together well. To make sure this doesn’t happen, our group will need to communicate well. We must tell each other exactly what our piece of media will focus on so that each item we create builds onto our story.
At the moment, our written story is going to be used to build the ground work for our story. In this story I plan on providing context about Columbia’s public schools and also present the standardized testing scores. Our video story will highlight the interviews with the teachers as viewers will be able to see exactly what the educators had to say. Our other pieces of media will then build on the areas that the first two aren’t able to reach.
In the end, I still love our story idea overall, but I realize that we still have questions to answer. It all begins with setting up interviews with the teachers who have different perspectives.