Week 6: Telling a basic multimedia news story


Wikimedia Commons

This week we will fully put our foundational learnings into practice by producing a brief video piece, accompanied by photos and text, to tell a story.

As we’ve learned with multimedia, preparation is key for any multimedia storytelling. So, you need to ask the following:

  • What is the story you want to tell?
  • What mediums do you want to use to tell it?
  • What equipment do you need to do the job?
  • What media assets do you need to gather?
  • What is your plan for executing on all of it?

Once you have laid out all of the above, you are ready to go! The purpose of our class is to learn about the gathering of Multimedia News, so we will work with realistic deadlines.

On Monday, we will work in teams to use the Kodak cameras to gather 5 video clips (a total of 5 minutes, including one 30-second interview) and at least 5 still shots for a story. Here is our schedule:

  • We will have a meeting from 9:30-9:45 to discuss our story ideas.
  • We will huddle in teams from 9:45-10:00 to plan out assignments.
  • We will go out to shoot our photo and video assets from 10:00-10:45.
  • We will import our assets between 10:45-10:55 onto the computer.

As a refresher of how to best tell stories in a video format, here is a Storify that has links to video best practice examples.

Here is a link to some resources by Professor Mindy McAdams that includes sample video clips for editing exercises.

>>> In Wednesday’s class, we will learn how to use Adobe Premiere video editing software with guest Instructor Chris Martin.

Instructor Martin has provided some sample video files that we can use for editing exercises, including an audio file.

>>> In Friday’s class, we will work in teams to edit our assets and put together our stories in a completed blog post format.

>>> Our Quarterly calendar has been updated with our Group and Individual Multimedia News Storytelling assignments


Week 5: Mobile and Breaking Multimedia News Coverage



>>Guest speaker confirmed for Wednesday’s class: Paul Suarez, Multimedia Journalist from Columbian.com, will come to our class and talk about his work as a breaking news Web reporter and multimedia storyteller.

Be prepared to ask Paul at least one question about the current state of Digital Journalism and where he sees it going in the future. Paul has a great skill set for today’s digital world. He is a graduate of Western Washington University.

The history of mobile news reporting, publishing and planning goes back more than a decade in journalism, even though the tools hadn’t really evolved at that time. It is important to understand that its origins emanate from the practice of what was termed, “backpack journalism.”

References to the idea of “backpack journalism” can be found back into the early 2000s, from a variety of sources both online and off. In “Backpack Journalism Is Here To Stay,” Jane Stevens, USC Annenberg, Online Journalism Review, was an early advocate of the concept and described herself this way:

“I am a backpack journalist. I use a video camera as my reporter’s notebook. I can put together multimedia stories that include video and audio clips, still photos grabbed from the video, as well as text. I can put together graphics information for Web designers. I can throw together a simple Web page. ….”

In other words, a “backpack journalist” is the concept of a reporter who is a multimedia journalist. There was great discussion/debate about what skill set was needed and what tools need to be placed into the hands of journalists. A bookend to Stevens’ 2002 article is “Defining Backpack Journalism, Again,” Bill Gentile (2012). There are many great resources outlining the tools of the trade for new media journalism, including mobile journalism. One of our recommended texts, “Journalism Next,” by Mark Briggs has a whole chapter on the topic. A focus on mobile tools has evolved naturally as mobile options have become more accessible.

However, the topic is much bigger than what tools to use and how to use them. The movement, as advocated by digital leaders such as Steve Buttry, is a discussion about the future of journalism:

We will try to cover it all this week, starting with an overview to hands-on lessons from our newsroom. Here is our schedule for the week:

  • M – An overview of mobile news reporting/publishing planning, workflows, Storify
  • W – Getting up close with digital tools, photos, video, audio, and using smartphones
  • F – Class live-blogging experience; we will cover a live event and publish it to our blogs
  • Assignment: Publish a post to your blog using the Storify platform

Week 4: Writing News for the Web


President Barack Obama – Wikimedia Commons

>>> In Friday’s class, we will check in on your blogs and ensure they are properly configured for publishing content to them for the rest of the quarter. We will also talk about posting content through social media and look at the platform Storify. Finally, we will check in on the Online News Association’s annual gathering (ONA 13) and watch a livestream of today’s keynote from Nate Silver.

Here is the Storify article I created for coverage through the first day of the three-day gathering.

>>> In Wednesday’s class, we will analyze a recent news story: President Obama and the budget crisis. Here is a link to a Washington Post story package that we will be reviewing in class as the basis for our editing and sourcing exercise:

>>> In Monday’s class, I want to discuss this link about a fake press release that saw the financial fortunes of a company rise and fall rapidly in a short timeframe. Very interesting…


This week we will revisit a core skill of all journalism: writing. We will do a brief review of the fundamentals of writing for specific audiences; how writing for the Web is its own artform (with a lot of science behind it); and how journalism writing differs in format and structure.

The topic of writing for the Internet in general has been the subject of articles going back nearly a decade, such as “The 10 Commandments of Writing for the Web” (2004).

There are a lot of great resources on the Web itself where experts in the field have shared their approaches and key guidelines to writing news for the Web. Here are just a couple:

>> Here is our agenda for the week:

  • M – Overview on how to write news for the Web, comply with AP style
  • W – In-class research & editing exercise; reliable sources and editing for the Web
  • F  – Publishing & promoting content on news, social media platforms

Week 3: WordPress and blogging as a platform


Here are some great WordPress resources, courtesy of Clark College Instructor Lorelle VanFossen, whom I mentioned in Monday’s class. She has provided us with the following sites to explore and advance our WordPress knowledge.

We will cover some advanced topics, as well as the detailed weekly class calendar on Wednesday.

This week is a short one – just two classes with the day off on Friday, Oct. 11. So, we will be packing a lot into it.

On Monday we work on getting our blogs fully set up, going over WordPress as a platform and some of its most basic (but important) features. At the end of class, you should have updated your shell blog account with the following:

  • A blog name (site title);
  • A blog subtitle (tagline);
  • A theme of your choosing;
  • A custom header image;
  • A default image for your blog profile; and
  • A basic first post, along the lines of “Hello, world.”

There are a tremendous amount of resources on the Web to learn about WordPress, but there is no substitute for spending quality time with your blog (especially the dashboard and admin side of it). Spend some time exploring it.

As we covered on Monday, WordPress is the creation of Matt Mullenweg and a bunch of open-source creators who have given people like multimedia journalists a powerful platform to communicate. We can carve out our own space on the Web and build out a website, hosted on wordpress.com or self-hosted on a custom URL powered by WordPress.

On Wednesday, we will go more in-depth into key WordPress settings. We touched on search engine optimization (SEO) and web coding of WordPress pages on Monday, but we will dive deeper into tagging, SEO basics, and blog settings. By the end of the class we will create a sample multimedia post that will include text, links, photos, and embedded video.

>>The final weekly schedule of classes is now published on our site  under the “Calendar” section