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Lesson | 2-6 weeks



23-24 prompts

Students will have many different ways to create stories this school year. Everything from fun, vertical social media videos, to exploring personal stories about teen life with SRL’s podcast On Our Minds, and in-depth video projects covering current events, like misinformation and social media for SRL’s digital series Moments of Truth. Selected student work will be featured on national news outlets and social media– including the PBS NewsHour’s broadcast and digital platforms.


NOTE: The SRL team evaluates pieces based on this criteria. Please be sure your stories incorporate these requirements.


  • On Our Minds: Season 4 topics: music; masculinity; gun violence; global stories; laws affecting teens; definitions of “success” Deadlines: throughout the school year. See full list of deadlineshere.
  • Ask On Our Minds: submit an audio voice memo about your life as a teen– what are you wondering about your own mental health or wellbeing?


#SRLShorts: Fun, lighthearted, engaging topics for students to create 60-90 vertical videos. Selected student work will be published on SRL’s TikTok and social media platforms, with new topics each quarter.

  • September - Back to School Takeover. Show us your school! Deadline: September 15, 2023
  • December - End of the Year Reset: As winter break approaches, it’s common to look back over the past year. It’s also a time when many people celebrate and take a break to spend time with loved ones. We want to hear about how you are saying goodbye to 2023! Deadline: December 13, 2023
  • March -What’s your journey to school look like? Do you walk, drive, take a bus, or public transportation? Show us your morning journey. Deadline: March 15, 2024
  • May - How do you take a break? What re-energizes you after a long school day/week? Deadline: May 10, 2024


Check out student-produced stories from the 2022-2023 school year:

All prompts were developed during the previous school year by SRL's Student Advisory Team. Students who are interested in participating on the 2023-2024 Student Advisory Team may apply here before September 15, 2023.


Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information.

Source: American Press institute


​​A subject or problem that people are thinking and talking about

Source: Cambridge Dictionary


Immediate, current information and events are newsworthy because they have just recently occurred. It’s news because it’s “new.”


Local information and events are newsworthy because they affect the people in our community and region. We care more about things that happen “close to home.”


Investigating and explaining, in a critical and clear-eyed way, how people try to solve widely shared problems. Solutions journalism focuses on responses to problems.

Source: Solutions Journalism


Awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation or intuitive cognition. A capacity for comprehension and understanding.

Source: Merriam Webster

Human Interest

People are interested in other people. Everyone has something to celebrate and something to complain about. We like unusual stories of people who accomplish amazing feats or handle a life crisis because we can identify with them.


People are attracted to information that helps them make good decisions. If you like music, you find musician interviews relevant. If you’re looking for a job, the business news is relevant. We need to depend on relevant information that helps us make decisions.

Story Angle

In news, it’s a story’s point or theme. It's the lens through which the producer or writer filters the information they have gathered and focuses it to make it meaningful to viewers or readers.

Source: ThoughCo.


The people who read, watch and consume news. Often, journalists think about audience and newsworthiness in similar ways. How will the news story serve their local or national audience? Who am I writing the story for and why?


A conversation between two or more people where the purpose is to gather information and facts. The interviewer asks questions and the interviewee provides information based on their knowledge about a specific topic or issue.


A digital audio or video file or recording, usually part of a themed series.

Podcast Segment

An audio story within a podcast episode


An account of past or current events. In journalism, stories are presented with a combination of people, facts, and typically includes a beginning, middle and end.


A person or other physical being in a narrative. Stories are made up of different characters who provide information and help shape the narrative with their knowledge, experience and perspective.


A description of what your story might be and WHY it’s important. An outline of your story idea and the steps to achieve your goal. A summary of what you hope to accomplish in your story


A document with transcribed (written-out) soundbites and voiceover narration. A VIDEO script is a two-column document with the audio (soundbites and voice over) in the right-hand column and a description of what the audience sees (visuals) in the left-hand column.

News package

Video stories about newsworthy issues and topics, factual information, balanced reporting, research, voice overs, soundbites, b-roll footage, infographics, reporter standup, nats (natural sound bites).

Video profile

The story of one person, has voiceover (VO), b-roll, pictures, nats (natural sound), interviews of family members or peers of that one person.

Explainer video

Narration and/or voiceover (VO) with a host, commentary, research, personal experiences, explanations, infographics, nats (natural sound), music, entertainment.

Short documentary

Narration and/or voiceover (VO), scene reconstructions, archival footage, nats (natural sound), b-roll, images, research, lengthy interviews, soundbites.


When a television reporter appears in front of the camera to narrate part of a story – most often at the beginning to set up the story, in the middle as a transition or if there is no good b-roll to cover voiceover, or at the very end.

Source: Berkeley Advanced Media Institute


Narration done by a broadcast reporter, usually reading from a script. The reporter's voice is recorded over a sequence of video clips that tell a story.

Source: Berkeley Advanced Media Institute


A sequence is a series of shots of an action or scene. A classic action sequence consists of a combination of at least three shots of an action in sequential order.

Shot List

A document with the details of each shot of the scene or action sequence you plan to record. It contains the Shot Number, Composition/Angle, and Description.

SOT (Sound on Tape)

Generally considered to be audio captured from an individual who is on camera, like an interviewee and may also be referred to as a soundbite.

Extreme Long Shot

Commonly used as an establishing shot.

Long Shot / Wide Shot

Full shot of the person or location. Full body.

Medium Shot

Half body, normally from the waist up.

Close Up

Close Up of the face including neck and shoulders in the shot. Also used for objects.

Extreme Close Up

Shows parts of a person or object in detail.

Over-the-shoulder Shot

Shows a person’s back of head and shoulder looking at someone or something.

Creative shots

These can include low/high angles, dollies, POVs (point-of-view), rack focus, etc.


A short extract or clip from a recorded interview, chosen for its relevance to the story, pungency or appropriateness.


The primary video and audio that drives your story from beginning to end.


A selection of separate sections of video that form a continuous, edited piece.

Video Portrait

A short video clip that captures the interview subject in their natural state. It involves a person looking into the lens for a few seconds. It’s like a still photo but video!


The availability of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid


A person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.


Something that is known or proved to be true.


A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.


An investigation into and study of sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.


A source is an individual, company, document or more that can provide information to fuel a new story. In order for a story to be considered verified and to maintain a reputation as a news outlet, it is important to have a credible source.

Natural sound

Sounds produced in their actual setting. Natural sound, commonly known as NAT sound, puts the viewer in the place the story was told by enhancing the scene(s) with video containing rich audio such as a musician singing at a train station, a storm approaching, or the sound of a tractor plowing the field.


A word-for-word document of what was said in a conversation or interview


Free from mistake or error. Coverage of topics and facts in appropriate detail.


Journalists should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story so a reader draws the reporter’s desired conclusion.


A conversation with someone who is relevant to your story. Typically done over the phone or through video conferencing, but they can be done in person, too.

Follow-up Question

A question that comes after an interview subject responds to an initial question asked by the interviewer. A good follow-up question derives from listening to what the interviewee is saying and determining how best to help them elaborate and share more information.


The supplemental footage used to visually support your A-ROLL.

Search: broll.

Writing - Research to Build and Present Knowledge

Innovative Designer

Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions. (ISTE)

Speaking and Listening - Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Empowered Learner

Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences. (ISTE)

Knowledge Constructor

Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others. (ISTE)

Historical Sources and Evidence

Historical inquiry is based on materials left from the past that can be studied and analyzed. (NCSS D2.His.9.9-12 - D2.His.13.9-12)

Demonstrate writing processes used in journalism and broadcasting media.

Demonstrate the use of basic tools and equipment used in audio, video and film production.

Writing - Text Types and Purposes

Creative Communicator

Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals. (ISTE)

Global Collaborator

Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally. (ISTE)

Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence. (NGSS HS-LS4-1)

Constructing Compelling Questions

Explain how a question reflects an enduring issue in the field and explain points of agreement and disagreement experts have about interpretations and applications of disciplinary concepts and ideas associated with a compelling question. (NCSS D1.1.9-12 - D1.2.9-12)

Gathering and Evaluating Sources

Whether students are constructing opinions, explanation, or arguments, they will gather information from a variety of sources and evaluate the relevance of that information. (NCSS D3.1.9-12 - D3.2.9-12)

Plan and deliver a media production (e.g., broadcast, video, web, mobile).

Demonstrate technical support skills for audio, video and film productions.




Stereotypes and Misconceptions

Race and Justice

Video Production


Media Literacy


Digital Literacy/Citizenship

Gun Violence

School Safety


Mental Health

Social Media

Broadcast News

Active Prompts








Camera or Mobile Phone


Mobile Phone


Estimated Time

2-6 weeks