Create a Companion Website for In-Depth Projects or Programs

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 9.11.07 PMHere is a great assignment for broadcast journalism students who work on in-depth projects or programs:  Have them create a “companion website” to go with their main video, a separate site with its own URL.

It is a perfect way to get students working with various media (print, photo, video, etc.) in a meaningful way, providing extra information that their original video could not include.

We have done this the last two years after completing special editions of our monthly broadcast, “HTV Magazine,” which lives on our main website, htvbuzz.com.  The idea was to include short clips not used in the final program, plus additional information about our topic, and our production process that might be of interest to other schools considering producing a special, in-depth show.  We even included short clips of our staff members discussing the impact the project had on them.

It is a creative project that can go a number of directions.  Let the students handle the particulars.  I wrote some reflections at the kids’ request that they used on their companion site, but almost everything contained is “bonus” coverage that dovetails nicely with the original program.

Homeless in the Heartland
Homeless in the Heartland

In 2013, we produced “Homeless in the Heartland,” and you can see the companion site here:  http://htvhomeless.weebly.com

Spare the Child
Spare the Child

The 2014 special was called, “Spare the Child.”  Here is the bonus site that goes with that show:  http://sparethechild.weebly.com

We used Weebly because it is very, very easy, but you can always use WordPress, or whatever software you use on your regular site.  For me, as a teacher, it was especially rewarding to see the kids take their presentations beyond the standard broadcast format, and really provide extra material they felt was important, or educational, for those who wanted more.

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