Many schools are interested in learning how to start a video-based school announcement program and are looking for school announcements examples. In fact, this topic was the #1 issue that came forth during a recent SchoolTube user survey. To help school leaders understand the steps and issues of creating a school news program, SchoolTube University hosted a webinar entitled How to Start a Video-Based Morning Announcements Program. This blog summarizes the key steps presented by, Don Goble, who is an in-classroom media expert and broadcast journalism instructor at Ladue High School in St. Louis plus we also included some top school announcements examples from SchoolTube schools. Be sure to watch the full webinar to learn more and see great examples of everything shared here.
Who. One of the first decisions that need to be made is, who will run the program and which students will be involved. If your school has a journalism or communications/writing class, the instructor and its students are a natural fit. But, if no such class exists, then you will need to find an instructor/teacher or administrator who has the time and a basic understanding of video technology. As for students if no journalism class exists, options include asking for volunteers, seeking recommendations from teachers, or offering the program as a club or extra credit program.
A morning announcement program can be run with surprisingly few people, 1-2 announcers, a camera operator, computer operator, and supervisor/instructor. In Don’s media class, for example, he has over 20 students, but only a few are involved in each broadcast, which airs daily. For those not working on the daily broadcast, they are given tasks such as writing and editing stories, interviewing teachers and students, set management and other related tasks. It is important to keep the students busy and on task when they are not actively involved in a broadcast.
What. Sources of school news include Events, Menus, Club News, Sports, PSA, Interviews, Birthdays, Staff Changes, Special Achievements & Recognitions, etc. Don stressed that it is import to create a uniform way of collecting news items (he uses a Google Form) and to set a firm deadline. It can be hard to say “No!”, but unless you have a firm deadline for collecting news, your daily announcement program will suffer from delays, poor quality, and irregular airing. When collecting news, just as we did here, you want to collect the Who, What, Where, When, and How elements and condense that down to no more than 3 sentences.
- FREE DOWNLOAD Sample News Collection Form.
Where: “Where” covers set-design. The “set” can be as simple as a desk or table in the back of a classroom to a dedicated room or area that contains lighting, backgrounds, and other features. Obviously, if your school already has broadcast facilities, that would be your first choice. As they say in the movies, only build what the camera sees, so your morning announcement set can literally be a desk in front of a wall.
- Lighting is very important. A video takes a tremendous amount of light to produce a quality image. There should be no backlighting from windows or other sources on your set, otherwise, the announcers will appear in shadows. Lighting fixtures can be as simple as a clamp on construction lights with 100-watt bulbs or more advanced LED set lights.
Don offered B&H Video Supply as a great source of lighting, set materials and cameras.
How. So let’s talk about equipment and process. In addition to your set, news copy, personnel, and good lighting, you will need a video camera, microphone, something to display the news copy, video editing software and a means to host and share your video production.
- Camera Equipment. Don suggests starting with an iPad with the camera mounted in a case. The case can then attach to a camera tripod for stability. Some cases are equipped with light and boom microphones which have amazing range and are great for on set or location recording. For cases, check out Iographer. Camcorders and higher end video recorders are also an option. The device needs to be able to save and export the recording, either by way of an app, internet download or removable scan disk. A smartphone can also be used, but again, put it on a stand for best results.
- Sound. Audio is key in a video. If you have poor sound quality the best set in the world will not help. Experiment with a good omnidirectional microphone placed in front of the announcers. If a single mic produces good sound, stop there – why complicate things! Clip-on microphones are also a good option, but if you have two announcers you will need an adapter ($4.95) or mixing board so that two mics can be plugged into the camera’s mic port.
- Copy Display. When starting out the news stories can be simply read from paper or an iPad placed on the desk. The announcers need to know the material so before airtime, they should read through the copy a few times. A more advanced way to handle copy is with a teleprompter, which can range from $100 on up.
- Editing Software. Unless you are live streaming your program (a whole other topic!), after the video is recorded, it can be edited to add graphics, special effects, and sound. Today’s editing software is easy to use and there are many free online tutorials for their use. If you use an iPad, iMovie is a great editing application and its FREE! For other editing tools, check out this guide for the best video editing software under $100. (Check out the school announcements examples below to see how editing software can be put to good use!)
- Promotion. Create a name and logo for your announcement program that reflects the school name, mascot, or mission. Use the logo as an opening graphic for each show. Promote your program across the school’s many channels including the school website, social media sites, newsletters, school app, and even in-school banners and displays. Parents love to see their students on TV so make sure to share the news!
- Sharing/Linking. After each program has been created, post the program to SchoolTube (open a free account) or other hosting sites. Then link each production to the appropriate page within the school website, or even better, create a dedicated webpage (using Weebly, WordPress or other easy-to-use site creation tool) for sharing your morning announcement program. SchoolTube also offers built-in sharing tools such as video URL links and special pages such as My School and My Channel which can be shared as a destination site. Create a set time for the program’s airing (usually during homeroom). If the airing of the program can be triggered centrally by the school office, do so, otherwise, you will need to rely on each homeroom teacher to open and play the announcement program.
When. Lastly, let’s talk about when and how long school announcement show should run. The total program length should be no more than 10-15 minutes and common frequencies include daily, once a week, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 3 shows per week. A good idea is to start with less and add more dates as needed. Since the production takes time (collection, writing, delivery, editing, sharing, etc) use the show to focus on the most newsworthy items.
As Porky Pig famously said, That’s all folks! Follow the above steps to start your video-based school announcement program and you will end with a quality result. Be sure to watch the full webinar to learn more and see great examples of everything shared here.
If you’re looking for school announcements examples, check out these popular announcements videos hosted on SchoolTube:
From Warren G Harding High School:
From Vintage Magnet School:
From Snowflake High School: