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It would be interesting to describe the trial from the point of view of the jury. After the verdict, we often have jurors talk to the press. You could do the same thing in your news report. Interviews with the jury would explain what they deliberated on, and what convinced them to convict him.
In addition to all the sound suggestions already given, you may wish to include the comments of the prosecutor and of the defender. [Mr. Gilman and Atticus Finch] Most news casts now have coverage of the two attorneys involved in the case. Miss Maudie's comment that Atticus has done the community a great service would make an excellent closing statement. That is, her statement in Chapter 24 in which she says that Maycomb paid Atticus Finch the highest tribute it could by trusting him to do right. And, he did by trying to give Tom Robinson a fair trial.
Great ideas! I don't know how extensive or elaborate your radio show can or should be, but it might be fun to cut away to eyewitness reports by some of the characters at the trial. Commercials advertising products of the day? The atmosphere in the town which preceded the actual trial? Fun assignment!
As you write your report, make sure to include a non-biased voice in your writing. By the end of our reading of the trial, most of us as a reading audience find frustration with the town. Be careful not to approach your listening audience with a view or perception that they would not appreciate; taking Tom's side, for example would hinder that audience.
Mention the details as reported by Bob and Mayella. Then mention the details shared by Tom. Note these details all conflict. Of great importance would be the fact that Bob Ewell appeared to be a dominantly left-handed person.
It might be fun if you get to record this assignment to approach it as if it was a sporting event, so you can give it a play-by-play feel.
In my opinion, you have to include the following things:
- You have to say who the people are and what the defendant is accused of. In other words, you have to say that Tom is a black man. You have to say that Mayella is a lower class white woman. You have to say he is accused of raping her.
- You have to include the major points of the testimony. You need to say that she and her father claim rape and that Tom claims he was never did anything wrong.
- You need to talk about the evidence that Tom had the withered arm and could not have attacked her the way he allegedly did.
- You have to give the verdict and sentence.
Radio news reports always start out with basic preliminary information such as Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why. After you answer those questions to give listeners the basic information of the trial, then you can move on to commentary and analysis. You should have a few quotes from both sides, and witnesses if possible, and also a few comments of bystanders or average people of the day. Their comments will give you a more person-on-the-street type of information so that you can have a view of the community in which it is taking place. Then at the end, you could have the comments or analysis of lawyers and judges or possibly civil rights people at the end of the broadcast. All of this can be accomplished if you have a few minutes and utilize your time efficiently.
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