Teaching Students Media Skills
While most agree that interacting with the news media
on campus and in the community can be a highly effective
strategy to communicate the benefits of diversity, few
resources provide ways to integrate media assignments
into diversity courses. Hence, students fail to learn
ways to articulate issues of diversity to the media.
Here is an example of how to generate media stories
through course assignments.
This example was used at the University of Maryland,
College Park in an Asian American Studies course called
Asian American Communities: The DC Metro Area, taught
by Dr. Daniel Hiroyuki Teraguchi. Teraguchi adapted
his news story exercise from Dr. Peter Nien-chu Kiang’s
course assignment used in Boston’s Asian American
Communities at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
The goal of this exercise is to teach students how to
create news stories to educate the public about a critical
issue in an Asian American community.
Creating the Story Line
The initial task is for a team of students to agree
on an important issue, idea, or question related to
Asian American communities in the DC Metro Area, and
then (re)present it for the class to see/hear/ understand/appreciate.
To begin generating stories, Teraguchi asks students
to write down five emotions. He then poses a series
questions for students to contemplate. Questions include:
Which emotions do you want to portray in your story?
What emotions do you want to draw on to engage your
Then students are asked to work in teams to determine
a particular conflict or tension within the vast, pan-ethnic
Asian American community. Teraguchi then takes students
through a series of tasks to help them further explore
and clarify their story lines through different forms
Task One: Students can talk among themselves to prepare,
but they cannot speak during their presentation. Each
group must create a silent “human sculpture”
to represent an idea/issue/question. Students must portray
the conflict/tension through a silent demonstration
Task Two: To further clarify the focus of their news
story, each student team creates a mural to “illustrate”
the idea/issue/question. No English words can be used.
The mural must also reflect the identity of each member
in the group. This identity can be hidden or obvious.
Each team must explain the symbols, objects, and drawings
portrayed in their mural to the class.
Task Three: Each team produces a two-minute skit to
imitate a network news story. Students may be either
at the news desk or on site investigating an idea/issue/question.
The group must represent the voice of the Asian American
community they are studying through their news story.
Task Four: The group is instructed to write a publishable
article for a student, campus, or community newspaper.
After edits from the professor, students have the option
of submitting the articles to their newspaper of choice
Final Thoughts: This assignment generally spans a 3-week
period with each task due subsequently. Many aspects
of this assignment may be adapted in a variety of diversity
courses to enhance student communication skills and
widen the public’s understanding of diversity