As this project is part of the final year of my degree, there are certain requirements which I must meet in order to achieve a grade.
Documentaries are a 7-minute package. Your aim is to come up with a piece of original journalism that is investigative or expository in style.
Your piece will need to be ambitious and creative. You must have solid technical skills.
The documentary should raise an issue or give voice to a person or a community that is under-represented. It does not need to be hard-hitting news, but it does need to be original. It could also be experimental.
Your pitch will demonstrate why your documentary idea is important and how it matches your target strand on the TV or radio. You should have an awareness of different genres of documentary and where they fit in terms of current broadcast strands.
For radio, you should listen to BBC Radio 4, the BBC World Service and the one-off documentary programmes on 5 Live.
Your ONLINE MULTIMEDIA BLOG must be a combination of text, video and audio that adds context to your documentary and explores the production process. It should be a creative reflection of the production of your documentary and reflect on key moments. You could write about difficult challenges or explain your choice of character, for example. The blog could also include extra material, which compliments and elaborates on the core content covered in the documentary. There are no rigid requirements regarding the duration of your blog, but you must agree your plans with your supervisor in advance. You will also need to show how you have used social media to engage an audience..
Marks will be awarded for the following:
- Ambitious and creative storytelling
- Broadcast quality production skills
- Suitability of the story for the chosen slot and audience
- Solid research
- An understanding of the documentary genre
- Use of interview and narrative structure
- Use of core journalistic skills
1000 words, 10% of overall mark. You may wish to examine the following:
The journey: Re-visit the pitch materials and the feedback you received from the pitch. Consider how the final project conforms to the original ideas in this presentation and how you have responded to feedback and how your own thoughts have developed through the experiences of making the project. This should be evaluative, rather than descriptive.
The audience/market: How have you made this something that they want to read/watch/listen to? How do you hook them in and how easily can they navigate their way around? Consider the chosen angles on the story and how you have ‘unpacked’ the original idea to produce material for all the different platforms. Show that you listened to/read/watched the target publication/programme and that you engaged with the website that you are pitching your own project at.
The cast list and research process: Why did you interview the people that you did and how did you find them?
Editorial issues: e.g. did you interview children? Consider impartiality remit of BBC, editorial guidelines, taste and decency, etc Refer briefly to these if relevant to your project, to show that you have considered your responsibilities to the story, the interviewees and the audience.
Creative/production issues; how did you make this a creative piece of work and how and where is it original?
Looking to the future: How have you improved upon the existing publication/website/programme? How might you develop a mobile format for this work e.g. an app?
And finally: How does the whole piece hang together? How is your voice heard? What do you bring to the project as a journalist?
Style and tone: remember this is a critical evaluation, so it should be reflective and critically analytical, rather than descriptive. You should reference any academic books or editorial guidelines that you refer to and list websites (e.g. BBC Editorial Guidelines) that you have accessed in a short bibliography at the end.
It is worth also adding a list of your online extras/added value, so we can be sure we’ve seen everything.
Featured image credit: Lewis Clarke