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Student Reporting Labs Curriculum

Here at PBS NewsHour, we believe that journalism and storytelling are “killer apps” that use the best practices of project-based learning to build engaged and digitally-literate young citizens.

The PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program supports teachers and young people to report on important issues in their community, creating impactful video reports for the national NewsHour audience.

Along with technical instruction on the use of cameras and editing equipment, this program also includes a meaningful focus on understanding the role of journalism in society and developing broader communication skills, including listening, asking questions, public speaking, and finding, analyzing and evaluating the quality of information.  

Our curriculum was developed with our partners at the Media Education Lab of Temple University as well as media professionals and high school teachers. The curriculum consists of three flexible units with a total of 10 lesson plans aimed at strengthening digital and news literacy competencies.

We’ve also taken a deep dive into the Common Core State Standards, ELA and ISTE to make sure that your students’ involvement in the program helps prepare them for college and career and builds life-long learning skills that translate to other areas of their lives, both academic and personal growth.

These flexible lessons can be used in the context of courses in English, social studies, or video production classes and include critical thinking, analysis and production activities. Each lesson is designed for a 50-minute class with engaging high-interest activities to nurture a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Unit Resources:

The curriculm, which can be downloaded in its entirety below, is divided into three units:

  • Unit 1: News Media 101
  • Unit 2: Constructing News
  • Unit 3: Putting it all Together

Video Tutorials:

A nine-part instructional video series can be found here.

More key resources for Teachers and Mentors:

Pitch Sheet - make sure that students fill in this pitch sheet and get feedback from the teacher, mentor or PBS NewsHour before continuing.

Student Release Form - Please send this release form home with your students and have their parents sign it if they are under 18. Because students' work will be displayed across the Web and possibly on television, it's important to make parents aware of the program and receive their permission. (Click here for a version in Spanish).

A Letter to Parents - Send this letter home with the release form to explain the Reporting Labs program to parents. Contact the NewsHour team if you would like a customizable Word version that you can add your own name or comments to.

Student Reporting Labs Media Guide