Teachers

Featured School Papers:

Know Your J-Jargon

business reporter: A reporter that focuses on business-related beats, sometimes assigned by industry or company.

Learn more J-Jargon »

Lesson Plans




Establishing a Google Document System as Part of the Reporting Plan Process

 


Sam Bidleman
Bloomsburg High School
Bloomsburg, Pa.

Title: Establishing a Google Document System as Part of the Reporting Plan Process

Overview and Rationale
     
The obvious advantages of collaborative writing are well known. Everyone who contributes to a document enhances the knowledge base, the skills base, the level of understanding of how the document will be read by the audience and the community formed through the process.   In a scholastic journalism program, the collaborative effort of editors and reporters when crafting a story overview is essential to the success of  the effort. The Google Document environment is a perfect match for the Reporting Plan presented as part of the ASNE Reynolds High School Journalism Institute at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Goals for Understanding

Students will set up their Google documents and apply a collaborative model as part of  the Reporting Plan process.

Essential Questions

  • What is a Google Document?
  • How can student reporters and editors establish a collaborative model using Comments?
  • How can a Google Document become part of a four step Reporting Plan?
  • How can a Google Document become the foundation of our Reporting Plan?

Overview and Timeline

Activity 1

Have students view the video:  Google Docs in Plain English (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRqUE6IHTEA&feature=related).

Activity II

  • Have students setup a new Journalism Google Account. (As a teacher, you can choose to either distribute this activity as a handout or have your students access the instructions either through your Moodle account or other communication application. Online instructions are posted at:  How to Set Up a Gmail Account  (http://www.brighthub.com/internet/google/articles/1817.aspx).

  • Setting up a Gmail account through Google is quick and easy. Just follow the steps below and you will be ready to use your new email account.

Once you have finished these steps, you can personalize your Gmail settings and immediately start using your account.

        1. Go to www.mail.google.com to open your new Gmail account.      

        2. On the Create an Account page, start by filling in the following information: your first name, your last name, your desired login name (be sure to click on the check availability box to ensure you get the login name you want.)      

        3. Select an eight-character minimum password. There is a password strength indicator that can let you know how strong your password is. This is an optional step that you can take, but it will ensure that your password would not be easy to "crack".

       4.  Once you have decided on a password, you can check the "remember me on this computer" if you want Gmail to automatically insert your password once you have entered your login name. You can also check the "Enable Web History" box if you want Google to keep track of the sites that you visit most often. These options are best for personal computers not the ones we use at school.

       5.  Enter a security question from the drop down menu. Try to choose one that would not be easy for someone else to answer.    

        6.  Type in the answer to your security question.

        7.   If you choose, you can type in a secondary email account that will authenticate your Gmail account if there are ever any problems or if you forget your password. This is an optional step and can be skipped over if you do not have a secondary email or do not wish to enter it.      

        8.  Select your Country location from the drop-down menu.      

        9. Birthday      

        10. Type in the characters that you see for the word verification.      

        11. Review the Google Terms of Service. If you accept the terms, click on the "I accept. Create my account" button.      

        12. Accept. You now have a Journalism Gmail account that will be good for all our work this year.

Activity III

  • Create a New document. Click on New and then Document.

  • Title or Name your new document

  • Try typing and adjusting the font, the size, add a link

  • Observe the option tabs along the top

  • New Features button for those who have used the older version

  • By clicking in the box to the left of the document name, you activate options for
    the other buttons

  • Folders help organize your documents much like you would do on your desktop

  • Delete and Rename are self explanatory

  • More actions button

  • Sharing settings allow you to establish Permissions for each document.

    i. Private: Docs start out as private. When you first create a doc, you are the only person with access to it. From there, you can give
    access to other people.


    ii. Anyone with the link: If you set your doc to “Anyone with the link,” it’s like an unlisted phone number. In the same way that
    anyone who knows an unlisted phone number can call it, anyone who knows the web address or URL of that doc can view it.

    iii. Public on the Web allows anyone the ability to find and access that particular doc on the web. For example, you could create a flyer
    for a concert, save it as a public doc, post a link to it on your blog. Public docs are automatically indexed by search engines like
    Google, so they may appear in search results as well. iv. Or you can choose to Add people by typing in names, email addresses or groups.

  • Send message allows specific documents to be shared with only those
    selected by the user.

  • Email as Attachment does just that with each document. You can also find detailed steps at: Group Writing Projects, by Grace Fleming, About.com Guide (http://homeworktips.about.com/od/studymethods/ss/groupwriting_2.htm). As journalists in newsrooms, we want to share our story process with our editors easily and efficiently. The improvements in the latest Google version make sharing Docs easier while giving us even more control. Google provides an inclusive help list at: http://www.google.com/google-d-s/whatsnew.html. But if you are looking for the basics in sharing a document, here is the quick overview from Google:

    • Improved visibility options indicating how private or shareable a doc is: Google docs can be identified as: private; anyone with a link; or public on the web.

    • Private: Docs start out as private. When you first create a doc, you are the
      only person with access to it. From there, you can give access to other
      people.

    • Anyone with the link: If you set your doc to “Anyone with the link,” it’s
      like an unlisted phone number. In the same way that anyone who knows
      an unlisted phone number can call it, anyone who knows the web address
      or URL of that doc can view it.

    • Public on the web allows anyone the ability to find and access that
      particular doc on the web. For example, you could create a flyer for a
      concert, save it as a public doc, post a link to it on your blog. Public docs
      are automatically indexed by search engines like Google, so they may
      appear in search results as well.

    • And with Google Docs most recent revision, several new features are available.
      1. Access viewable at a glance: Visibility options for your docs now appear next to
      every doc title and in the docs list. You can easily see the full list of editors and
      viewers by clicking on the visibility option next to the doc’s title or on the Share
      button.
      2. A cleaner, simpler interface: Google removed the three tab interface and replaced
      it with one dialog that lets you see who has access, manage access and invite
      others.
      3. Resettable doc URL: For a doc set to “Anyone with the link,” you can reset the
      doc’s URL at anytime, which helps you better control who has access to your doc.
      4. Bulk changes in the docs list: You can now modify the sharing settings of
      multiple docs at a time by selecting multiple docs and selecting Share > Sharing
      settings.
      5. If you and another collaborator are editing the same document at the same time, a box
      with the name of the collaborator appears at the top of the screen.
      If other people are editing a document simultaneously with you, you'll see their edits in
      real time. You can also see their names listed at the top. Click the arrow to the right of the
      names to open a tab where you can chat with other editors within the document.
      50 people can edit a document at the same time. You can share a document with up to
      200 people.

  • Adding Comments in Google Documents

Editor feedback is an essential part of the Reporting Plan process. Once your reporters have established their online story document, editors can type directly into those documents. But using the Comments feature provides editor feedback without arbitrarily changing the story, which builds a good relationship between these collaborative partners. The following instructions are provided by Google at:
http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=52527 Comments are a handy way of adding notes to your regular document text and are visible to viewers and collaborators. These can be invaluable for communicating with collaborators about specific parts of the document, as well as making notes about changes you've made or would like to make.

a.) To add a comment to your document, follow these instructions:

1. Place your cursor where you'd like your comment to appear.
2. Click the Insert drop-down menu.
3. Select the Comment icon.
4. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+ M (Cmd+Option+M for Mac)
to insert a comment.
5. Type your comment in the box that appears to the right of the document. Your
username appears by default in the comment.

b.) Working with comments:

1. Replying: You can reply to a collaborator's comment by clicking the reply arrow at the top right of that comment..
2. Minimizing: If you press the 'X' at the top right of a comment window, you can minimize the comment. To re-open the comment, place your cursor on the relevant highlighted text in the document.
3. Deleting: To delete a comment, simply click the trash icon in the comment box.

Activity IV:  Completing a sample Reporting Plan

Have reporters and editors use their new Journalism Google accounts to complete their
Reporting Plan.

TEACHERS: Paste the following Reporting Plan into a Google Doc for anyone with the
link. Title it J1ReportingPlan. Once reporters have opened the document, have them
change the name of the doc to their story slug title and invite their editors who will use
Comments to guide the process. This is just one of many Reporting Plan formats, but it is
a good place to start.

Journalism I – Sample Reporting Plan
Every story we cover this year must establish several key points upfront, and each reporter’s page
editor must approve this plan.
Using our new journalism Google Doc accounts, open J1ReportingPlan and detail the plan
sections. Once you have finished, share this with your editor, who will use Comments as part of
this process.

Journalism Reporting Plan
Reporter’s Name:
Editor’s Name:

Working Slug:

Pitch

Share your story idea and explain how you will connect it to our readership. Stay neutral and list
why you think this will be the “best” story in this issue.

Sources: Who are on your “must interview” list and why are they on that list?

Impact
Tell your editor how this story will affect our readers. Unless you can explain why our readers
would care about this issue, the story will probably end up wrapping fish so be specific. What
questions need to be answered to fully explain the impact this story should have on our readers.

Sources: Who are on your “these people will surely contribute to why this is an important topic”
list. What do they need to explain for their interviews to make it into your story?

Background
What do you need to explain so that our readers will understand the topic and how it relates to
them? Think of our 5W and H coverage.

Sources: Where can you find this type of information? Include phone numbers here if calls need
to be made. Check schedules for availability. What are the best sources for data?

Elaboration
What other stories need to be told to illustrate this topic? How can you personalize the story
through those involved?

Sources: Who could provide the best anecdote? Who could provide you with another anecdote
that would offer another point of view


 


 


Archived Lesson Plans »