Missouri Interscholastic Press Association

Challenge #2 proves challenging to judge

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The results for the second of three Challenges for this school year are back from the judges. To say it was a “tight race,” is an understatement.

In this Challenge, scholastic journalists were asked to produce an editorial or a broadcast feature package based on the theme.

Editorial Challenge: 

No honors given. 

Judge’s Feedback: “Given the subject matter and time allotted to write the piece, this editorial category should have been a tight race. Missouri is known for having strong secondary journalism programs and thus should be able to turn out staff editorials concerning a topic that is relevant to their peers. The FDA’s work against JUUL and VAPE addiction is incredibly timely and of great importance to Missouri teens. Also, this is not a feature story category. Don’t write editorials like a feature story. I wish all print journalists the best and I am hopeful future print contests will have a stronger showing.”
MIPA Members, we will try the Editorial Challenge again during Round #3 in January. Please consider having your staff participate. 
 

​Broadcast Feature Story:

Judge’s Feedback:
 
I would like to make suggestions based on the submissions I viewed.
* Attention to detail matters.
* If there is wind cutting into the mic, move. Get out of the wind.
* Holding a lapel mic will cause it to render HOT audio. Don’t do that. It’s a lapel mic not a handheld mic.
* If you take huge inhales/exhales during voice work, fix it in edit or simply record yourself not doing that.
* If you are doing a standup that is too long to get through, don’t speak faster and faster as it goes on. Perhaps break it up by making part of it a stand up and the other part a voice-over with a graphic.
* Always use a tripod.
* Less stock photos and footage, please. Be original.
* Always mic interviews.
* Jump cuts are not professional looking. They make a piece look unpolished.
* If someone refuses to be on camera, don’t speak for them. Find someone to speak on camera. Considering the topic provided, there are many sources out there willing to speak.
* Everyone is the same height on TV. Heads should hit the top of the frame when framing interview shots and reporter stand ups.
* Back to jump cuts, even with a dissolve, they don’t work. You aren’t fooling anyone.
* Use broll that follows a shot sequence.
* Audio levels matter! If the reporter is louder or softer than the interviews, that is distracting.
* Keep graphic font consistent.
* Graphics are nice, but strong aroll with broll to smooth out jump cuts speaks volumes!
* Music isn’t always needed. Natural sound is missing from many entries.
* If the viewer becomes distracted by bad audio or video, you will lose them.
* Think of creative angles to a story. Most of the submissions tried to cover the “whole enchilada” of this epidemic, while others got more creative and tried to find an angle to focus on that made their stories stand apart from the rest.
I wrestled between First and Second Place for weeks.
I love that the KNET staff focused on the unique angle of advertisements, but at times I wanted less flash and graphics, and more reporter voice work to set up (or bridge) the soundbites. I think the two stand ups are excessive. One shorter stand up would have been enough. A part that could have been added and explored in place of the long reporter stand ups is how Instagram influencers promote this product to teens. There’s a lot of strong editing and an excellent “angle” to this piece. It’s unique storytelling.
On the flip side, I love that the Blue Jay Journal TV crew interviewed students from all over America to stress that this is a NATIONAL epidemic. Hearing students from different schools in different states relate similar tales about this issue really made an impact. It’s one thing to say that this is a national epidemic and interview local teens, it’s another to say that this is a national epidemic and interview teens from all across the nation to support that statement. ​While their graphics aren’t flashy, the storytelling is strong as the reporter’s voice work bridges the soundbites together beautifully. However, where KNET devoted too much time to reporter stand ups, Blue Jay Journal TV didn’t use a single stand up. I think even a brief stand up – perhaps outside one of the shops filmed – would have been nice. It’s nice to see the face of the reporter.
One day I would put KNET first, the next I would put Blue Jay Journal TV first. After a few days, I called in support. I asked a few of my coworkers and friends to watch both stories. That didn’t help break the “tie” because for every person who thought KNET’s piece on advertising was #1, another person felt Blue Jay Journal TV’s piece illustrating that this is a true NATIONAL problem was #1. The two programs have storytelling styles that are very different, yet effective because they reach audiences and keep their attention while reporting on a topic that people of all ages need to learn more about. A blending of the two program’s storytelling styles would be interesting to see! This is why I finally decided that both stories will share the title of First Place and I eliminated the Second Place honor.
All schools who entered, this could have been a much tighter race if there was more attention to detail and the ability to find a “unique angle” to the topic. See my notes above and hopefully find ways to improve your visual (and AUDIO, audio matters!) storytelling. I see great potential for Missouri HS students in the Broadcast area. Impressive! Every team and school who entered should be happy with what they are doing, but don’t get too comfortable! Please, continue to strive to improve. America needs strong journalists!

1st Place (tie):

Kaden Meyer, Emma Piar-Shaw, Megan Duncan, Brennan Randolph

Kaden Meyer, Emma Piar-Shaw, Megan Duncan, Brennan Randolph

Washington High School

Blue Jay Journal TV

and

 

 

 

 

 

Ripley Knold, Natalie Federoff

Ripley Knold, Natalie Federoff

Liberty North

KNET News​

 

3rd Place:

Colton Souders, Adina LaBeaume, Grace Bryson, Emma Duncan

Washington High School

Blue Jay Journal TV

 

Honorable Mention:

Tayler Gilber, Madison Gabbert

Liberty North

KNET News

 

Honorable Mention:

Tatum Lierman, Chance Jeffrey, Kate Hunter

Park Hill South High School

PHSTV’s SouthSide Scoop

 

 

 

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Challenge #2 proves challenging to judge