Category Archives: Assignment

Shooting Assignment-Week 2

DUE: 9 a.m. Monday 8/10



Now that your camera workshop is done, find an event, location or situation you would like to cover. Go to that event or place and shoot at least 30 minutes of video. The shots listed on the checklist below should be done first. After you have completed the checklist, practice more of the shots until you have shot at least 30 minutes. Then you will go home, log your video and sound, and write a short news package based on what you have collected.


Use a tripod.

Hold each shot for at least ten seconds.

Check your audio; make sure you can hear the NAT SOUND and INTERVIEWS.

Make sure your auto-focus is OFF.

Don’t shoot into the sun.


Shooting Checklist

3 Wide shots that give viewers an overall sense of a scene.

3 Medium shots that focus in on a part of the scene from the wide shot.

3 Close-up shots (also called tight shots) that give a detailed view, such as a close-up of a face, a sign, a person’s hands,.

2 NAT SOUND FULL, such as horns honking, music playing, an exchange between two people, chanting at a rally.

3 Different angles of the scene you are shooting. Pick up the tripod and move to a different location.

2 Zoom in or out (wide shot zoom to close-up; or close-up zoom to wide shot). Make sure to keep the shot steady for 10 seconds at the start of the zoom and 10 seconds at the end.

2 Pans (from right to left; or left to right). Make sure to keep the shot steady for 10 seconds at the start of the pan and 10 seconds at the end.

3 Interviews of at least 5-10 minutes in length. Use a tripod and headphones (to monitor the audio). Do NOT just set up the camera and pull people in front of it. Shot the interviews with different backgrounds and angles (standing versus sitting) even if you stay at the same event or location.

3 sets of broll (cover video) – one for each interview subject. This is video of that person doing something that pertains to the story, walking, whatever. You will use this video to introduce the person or for covering audio edits. DON’T JUST INTERVIEW PEOPLE. ALWAYS TRY TO GET COVER VIDEO OF THEM.

Shoot a sequence that pertains to the event or location where you are covering.   Begin with an establishing wide shot, then get closer for shots that show the action. For instance, if you were shooting a farmer’s market, find a character to follow. Start with a wide shot of the farm’s booth, shoot medium shots of the customer or seller (or both), then close-up and/or medium shots of the customer picking out vegetables or fruit, the seller weighing them, close-ups of the merchandise, shots of the customer paying, etc.


Try some experimental shots. Put your camera in unusual places – or the ground, way high up, child’s eye view, etc.



Once you are done shooting, log the video and sound and write a news package using the material you have collected. The total length should be 1:30 to 2 minutes. You calculate the length of the piece by using your logs to time the length of soundbites and natural sound AND reading your reporter narration tracks out loud and timing them. Add the time for the soundbites, natural sound, and narration together to get the total running time (or TRT).

You should also write the anchor lead-in to your short package.

Email your script to your instructors in a Word doc using the split-screen broadcast format you were shown in class. Make sure your name is in the doc file title (example: TomSmithPkg) and that you put your name, the date, and the slug for your piece at the top of the script. A slug is one or two word label for your story (Examples: Circus or Bad Accident or Budget Talks or Dogcatcher).

IMPORTANT: Save all your video and sound to your external hard drive. Your instructors may request to see what you shot or may ask to use that material in class when they discuss the scripts.

This assignment is due by 9 a.m. Monday morning (8/10/15).

Is New Jersey the Least Liked State in America?

The website,, recently released a poll in which they asked Americans how they feel about each state. According to their research, 40 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of New Jersey. So we sent Ariba Alvi to see what students around campus really thought of the “Garden State.”

Looks like students at USC have mixed feelings about New Jersey, but its reputation isn’t all negative.

We heard from Lulu Gonsalez, Lauren Johnson, Jaden Sun, Abhishek Shah, Bobo Machila, Will Denton, James Marsen, Ryan (no last name), Nancy Ruiz and Eugenia Gordillo.


Weather in-class exercise

  1. Weather (Freeport on Tuesday)

The weather bureau said temperatures over the past 24 hours ranged from 75 at 5 a.m. to 108, the high, at 2 p.m. This was the third straight day of hot weather. This morning’s temperature of 75 was the highest low for August in 25 years. The all-time high for the date was in 1910, 105 degrees. The all-time low for the date was 59 in 1991. The forecast for today is for lows in the high 60s, highs in the 80s and an end to the brutal heat wave.


  • headline
  • text lead
  • broadcast lead


Hand-coded profiles

Add the URL to your hand-coded profile piece in the comments section.

Please include a GOOD portrait photograph of your subject, which has been worked (cropped and resized) in Photoshop. The portrait CANNOT be more than 750px wide (landscape) or 600px tall (portrait).

The inforgraphic should also be resized in Photoshop… no taller or wider than 600px.

Your photo at the bottom of the page should be cropped to be 200px x 200px. Here’s a video that walks through cropping to a specific size (PROTIP: Add “px” after you enter the size so you crop in pixels… if you don’t, it make crop/resize into inches)

DEADLINE: Wednesday, 9AM.

Jasmine Kianfard: Television Host in Training

Irick - Digital Footprint Infographic FinalBy Whitney Ashton

Jasmine Kianfard is sitting in the lobby of a multi-million-dollar, 88,000-square-foot converged media center in Los Angeles.

“To be honest, I really don’t need to be here,” she says while reclining in the lobby’s modern accent chair.

Even though she is already a working journalist at ABC7 in LA, Kianfard just began USC Annenberg’s nine-month M.S. in Journalism degree program.

“I just feel like I haven’t learned everything that there is to learn. And I know I will never learn everything … But I want to get trained.”

The technologically transformative Wallis Annenberg Hall at the University of Southern California houses the journalism programs, laboratories and equipment for student journalists. Kianfard hopes to utilize these resources to further her professional career.

The 22-year-old recently graduated from California State University, Fullerton, where she majored in broadcast journalism. During her time as an undergraduate, Kianfard was heavily involved in Titan Communications and Media, the home of Cal State Fullerton’s digital media center. She hosted a show on Titan TV in addition to doing field work as a reporter for the station, which broadcasts locally.

After interning at KTLA5 in LA for nearly three years while she was a student, Kianfard was offered a position on the assignment desk. She consulted her mentor at the station about whether or not she should take the job.

“I felt really burnt out. I’ve been doing this since I was 18 … I was tired,” Kianfard recalled.

She declined KTLA’s offer and took about a month off. Kianfard called ABC7, where a news assistant position was open. She was hired and recently relocated from Orange County to LA to be closer to her school and job.

Although she is now a full-time graduate student, Kianfard works part time at ABC7 where she helps gather and transfer archived footage and user-generated content.

Why go to USC if she already has a job in the journalism field?

“I feel like I’m not confident enough in myself and in my skill set,” she confides about her aspirations to be a TV host.

Upon graduation from Annenberg, Kianfard hopes to land a job hosting her own show focusing on entertainment journalism.

The move hasn’t been easy for Kianfard and she’s living on her own for the first time. She misses her family and her cat, Tiger, which she affectionately refers to as her “fur baby.”

But she’s not leaving Annenberg’s Media Center any time soon.

“I really want this. This just makes me happy. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything as bad as I want this.”



Jasmine Kianfard recently began USC Annenberg’s nine-month M.S. in journalism degree program, even though she is already a working journalist at ABC7 in Los Angeles.

“To be honest, I really don’t need to be here,” she says while sitting in the school’s multi-million-dollar Wallis Annenberg Hall.





An evolving adventurous spirit: Erin Germain

A tangle of limbs: branches, arms and legs hovers above a green lawn under the Southern California sky. Flesh skims tree bark, soon to blush into bruises that will become badges to mark this young, blond girl as an adventurer.

Erin Germain grew up in 1980s Oceanside, California, a diverse town kissed with sea air. A place where aircraft from the nearby military base frequently buzz the coast. Perched high in the backyard avocado trees Germain took it all in.

Her parents instilled an inquisitive spirit through rambling family road trips and generous stacks of books. Germain brokered a deal to graduate early from high school by writing a novel, about an adventurous girl looking for her place in the world. This achievement gave Germain confidence that extended to her media studies at Chico State University, from which she also graduated early.

Germain left for Chicago in 2003 to launch a career with “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Of her three-years as a researcher for the program, she says, “That curious side of me came out and I realized I was really good at research. It was like a puzzle and the puzzle wasn’t solved until you found the information you needed. Research is the biggest tool that has helped me succeed in everything else I’ve done in life.”

Germain went on to produce documentary, travel and talk shows for a variety of broadcast platforms: ABC, TLC, Discovery, BBC America, Yahoo, and Ovation.

Germain’s sandy blond hair lands in a casual bob above her shoulders and her eyes welcome engagement from behind red and black glasses. “I like doing nice things for good people. When you’re working with people who are doing interesting projects and have a really great story but also have something to gain out of the experience of telling their story, it’s nice to help them through that process,” she says.

In 2013 Germain founded For Example Media, a film production company that makes branded content features. She is proudest of their community focused projects, including establishing a computer lab for homeless youth and providing a child the tools to build a braille printer.

A similar intention influenced Germain’s ten-months of volunteer work teaching English in Ecuador. “I went in thinking I was going to make people’s lives better, and I came back realizing they had made my life better.”

Dedicated to crafting thoughtfully produced stories, Germain comes to the University of Southern California to join the graduate journalism class of 2016. With the zeal that once brought her to the top of the backyard trees, Germain continues to move up through the branches of life.


Ivana Nguyen: A Modern-Day Renaissance Woman


It’s 3 o’clock in the morning, the moonlight fills the sky, and most of Los Angeles is asleep.

Ivana Nguyen is at the gym, pumping iron and dripping sweat.

Her day has already started and it’s far from over. After the workout, Nguyen readies for an hour-long commute from her home in Diamond Bar to the University of Southern California. She is a graduate student working toward her goal of becoming a professional reporter.

“I knew I wanted to be a reporter since I was four-years-old,” Nguyen said. “I have an innate curiosity and I love meeting new people.”

Nguyen’s style and pizazz combined with her desire to succeed in the journalism world has already put her way ahead of the game. She has accumulated a solid amount of experience interning at various news organizations throughout her undergraduate career at Cal State Fullerton, including CNN and ABC7.

Nguyen prides herself on being a jack-of-all-trades journalist; whether it’s writing, editing, shooting video or producing, she can do a little bit of everything.

Nguyen’s true passion is entertainment reporting. She started to develop her interest while working as a personal assistant for George Pennacchio, ABC7’s entertainment reporter.

“He was a mentor to me,” Nguyen said. “He helped me become the journalist I am today and really develop my passion for entertainment.”

When she’s not busy reporting from the red carpet, Nguyen loves giving back to the community. She has visited orphanages in her parent’s home country of Vietnam and her love of dogs has inspired her to open a no-kill shelter when she gets older.

Nguyen credits much of her success to her parents and the struggles they went through in Vietnam when they were her age.

“They always told me stories of when they were fleeing communists in Vietnam,” Nguyen said. “It made me appreciate being born here as an American citizen and having that freedom.”

Nguyen wants to inspire other young women just as her parents inspired her. She participated in the 2015 Miss California USA Pageant, representing her hometown.

“I thought I could represent the Asian community very well, but more than that, I wanted to inspire people,” Nguyen said. “No matter what stereotypes that you’re facing or what roadblocks may be in the way, just go out and do it. Just do it.”

Even if it means getting up at 3 a.m. for your workout.


360 Degrees of Journalism

Whitney Ashton

Whitney Ashton is a California blond with a soft spot for hard news. Joining USC by way of Malibu, Ashton graduated from Pepperdine University in May with a degree in journalism and a clear passion for reporting. Her bright smile and confident voice give Ashton, 22, the camera-ready poise of a veteran reporter.

Time at Pepperdine was formative for Ashton, allowing her to develop skills across multiple platforms.

“You learn by doing in this job. You can sit in a classroom and read all day long, but the best training your going to have is outside of the classroom.”

Ashton was a cornerstone of the campus newsroom, Pepperdine Graphic Media, where she oversaw a 60 student staff as the first female president of the organization. She also anchored Pepperdine’s G-News for five seasons and created “Malibu After Dark” with the campus radio station KWVS.

She was an early member of Pepperdine’s Society of Professional Journalists and continues to work with the national organization on ethics and representation issues in the field.

During her sophomore year Ashton met life coach Sherry Gaba and the pair instantly connected. Ashton started managing Gaba’s social media, writing about addiction in Hollywood for several health and wellness sites. She said her hard news approach focused on mental health rather than entertainment.

“It was very different doing that type of writing, but I also think those are some of the best articles I’ve written.”

Ashton joined the KNBC newsroom in 2014 as a digital news intern where her new media skills continued to blossom. In January 2015 she returned to the internship, racking up over 100 bylines and first-hand experience shadowing reporters in the field.

At KNBC, Ashton got to take a seat in the iconic NewsChopper 4 while investigation helicopter noise in La County. “It was the highlight of my life,” Ashton said, “My life is a completed checklist.”

Ashton embraces journalism with all of her energy and has a 360 degree philosophy to the craft.

“I like to see and do all aspects of journalism. So that if i’m behind the camera I know what the anchor needs from me. If I’m in front of it, I know what I expect from a producer. I like to sit in all the seats so I can do my job the best and other people can too.”