Even a crusty old sports writer knows that a news website has an obligation to engage its audience in a different way than a print publication.
The Knight Lab, devised by Northwestern University’s journalism department, provides tools for you to do just that.
The Knight Lab features four different products — Juxtapose, Timeline, Soundcite, and StoryMap. Each offers a unique embeddable “interactive” (yes, some use that as a noun nowadays in the biz) to complement a story… or even to be used as the primary element of the story.
This lesson is designed for student journalists to explore these programs and then apply one of them to their own work at our publication, The Smoke Signal.
I also recorded a Camtasia screencast showing some of the basics. Suffice it to say that the crusty old sports writer isn’t as digitally engaging as the Knight Lab suite… but I had fun messing around with the program. It’s actually a little similar in functionality to iMovie. I even used some copyright-free music and figured out how to fade it in at the beginning and end.
Here is the lesson plan. Please note that the homework assignment with rubric are linked from it.
Pascack Valley High School
Title: Lesson Plan — Knight Lab Suite
Overview and Rationale:
A news website has an obligation to engage its audience in different and unique ways compared to a print newspaper. The Knight Lab website was created by Northwestern’s journalism department. This lesson provides students with an introduction to the four digital storytelling tools at Knight Lab suite that create embeddable interactives, which they can use to enhance their digital storytelling.
Goals for Understanding
- How does print engagement differ from online engagement?
- How can a journalist use the tools at Knight Lab to heighten digital engagement?
- What types of stories pair well with Knight Lab tools?
Overviews and Timeline:
Activity 1 (One 50-minute class)
Students will be placed into four “focus groups.” Each will be assigned one of the four Knight Lab tools and will analyze its usage using this graphic organizer.
The sampling that each group will explore:
Kentucky Derby hats
Activity 2 (One 50-minute class)
Each group will present/explain its assigned Knight Lab tool in detail, show examples, and share its analysis. The presentations will be used to foster class discussion.