My name is…

The students introduce themselves and their photo projects.

Example of an infographic created with Piktochart

I’ve decided that we should use Piktochart to create infographics. Although is growing in popularity, it’s harder to use than Piktochart and requires that you give them your credit card details to get a free trial. With Piktochart, you create the entire infographic on the web, then download the finished product as an image file.

This Ted Mosby infographic was inspired by Stephanie LaRue’s latest blog post about why she hates Ted Mosby, a character on “How I Met Your Mother.”


Important changes in class assignments and grading

As you know, we’ve been plagued by technical challenges throughout the term. Those have slowed us down considerably and forced us to focus on a few basic skills. Fortunately, I think you can do a lot with a few basic skills.

However, we need to revise the ambitious goals we set at the beginning of the term. Those changes, in turn, will affect grading. Here’s what we agreed on in class today:

  1. 50 percent of your grade will be based on your blog. At a minimum, the blog must include a written post, a photo or mug shot, a photo gallery, a photo slideshow, a video and an infographic. In addition, you must create a Soundslides Plus audio slideshow, which I’ll copy onto my flash drive. The final blog grade depends on quality, effort, difficulty of execution, and whether you followed basic multimedia principles, such as the five-shot rule of video.
  2. The remaining 50 percent will be based on your final project. The project will be a journalistic story of your choosing, subject to my approval. The minimum requirements will be a one-minute video, a photo slideshow and a text story. You can increase your grade by exceeding the minimum requirements, that is, by adding a mug shot, a photo slideshow, an audio slideshow or an infographic — or all of the above. You can also boost your grade by increasing quality, effort and difficulty of execution.

Meeting minimum requirements will earn you a letter grade of C. Exceptional effort, quality and difficulty of execution will earn you an A. Somewhere in-between will earn you a B. Of course, failing to meet minimum requirements will earn you an F.

Although we didn’t talk about Twitter in class today, I still want to encourage you to tweet with the hashtag #ccj111. Therefore, I’ll consider your tweets for extra credit. 

On Friday, come prepared to talk one-on-one with me about your final project. I’m excited to see what you come up with.



Free music! Free sound effects! And more!

Professor Mindy McAdams has a really useful list of audio resources on the Journalists’ Toolkit blog. Click on

Your audio slideshows and videos might also benefit from music. The following sites offer free music without the worry of copyright violations:

Audacity tutorials

Several good tutorials exist for those of you who want to review the basics or to delve into some of the more specialized functions.

Mindy McAdams, who teaches journalism at the University of Florida, created this one:

Ironically, the audio cuts out at times, but I think you can get the gist of what she’s saying. The video pauses at the end of each “chapter,” so you have to keep clicking the play button.

Audacity itself has several tutorials for common tasks, such as editing audio files and mixing narration with background music. You can find links to those tutorials at: