Syllabus

JOURNALISM 111 – MULTIMEDIA NEWS SYLLABUS

Jeff Bunch, Adjunct Professor | jbunch@clark.edu | @jeffreyrbunch

This 5-credit class will introduce you to the concepts of multimedia journalism.

We will start out the class with a two-week overview of the field of Multimedia Journalism, learning best practices and viewing work by professional journalists.

You will then learn four broad skill sets:

Writing for the Web 

  • Blogging on WordPress
  • Tweeting on Twitter

Mobile news reporting/publishing 

  • Live-blogging and live-tweeting
  • Using Twitter and Storify as reporting tools
  • Digital photojournalism
  • Digital audio reporting
  • Audio slideshows
  • Video reporting

Data journalism 

  • Creating map-based graphics
  • Creating infographics

Multimedia storytelling

  • Using a variety of media – for example, video, text, a slideshow and a map – to tell a single story.

We will also have guest speakers throughout the quarter, both virtually and in-person. You are expected to attend these sessions, and to be ready to interact with our guests.

Prerequisites: You must have completed JOUR 101 with a grade of C or better, or have the permission of the Instructional Unit. Concurrent or previous enrollment in JOUR 121 or a subsequent College Newspaper course would be helpful.

Recommended (Optional) texts:

  • “Journalism Next,” Mark Briggs, Amazon (Paperback only)
  • “The Digital Journalist’s Handbook,” Mark Luckie, Amazon (Paperback, Kindle)
  • “The Multimedia Journalist,” Jennifer George-Palilonis, Amazon (Paperback)

I will provide you numerous other readings from online sources.

Required materials: Following are the required online accounts. Click on the hyperlink for each for a free sign-up.

Dropbox
WordPress
Google (YouTube, Gmail, Google+)
Twitter
Storify
Infogr.am or Wordle

Equipment

You will need some sort of ability to capture audio and video. It is acceptable to use a smartphone with a built-in camera and video-camera capability; a digital camera; a digital voice recorder; or a digital video camera.

If you do not have your own equipment, you will be able to check out the college’s equipment, including cameras, recorders, microphones and headphones (signed form required). Please see me if that is your preference.

You will be able to use lab computers (PCs and Macs) in The Independent’s newsroom (PUB 255), both in and outside of class. Outside of class, however, the student staff of The Independent has first priority with lab computers. Fortunately, your own PC’s and Macs should be pre-loaded with Windows Movie Maker and iMovie. Also, the course relies on free software and Web-based tools that can be downloaded or accessed from any computer with Internet access.

Class participation: The fewer classes you miss, the more successful you will be. Most learning will take place in class, at the keyboard, behind the microphone or behind the camera. We will study and analyze examples of multimedia journalism in class. We will also devote class time to completing some short assignments, such as blog posts. We will work cooperatively in class and rely heavily on peer review and discussion.

Homework: I will assign regular reading from from web materials. You will also be required to complete some assignments between classes for review and discussion in class. We will have regular pop quizzes during the quarter.

Professional conduct: As you work on assignments for this class, you likely will interact with faculty, staff and other students on campus as well as with people off campus. When working on those assignments, you must always identify yourself as a multimedia journalism student at Clark College and explain the intent of your interaction. Good interviewing requires that you be thorough and tenacious, but also polite and respectful of the subject’s views and time. You must always adhere to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

Academic honesty: You will never be penalized for coming to me with any problem and discussing it like the adults that we are. In fact, I welcome the chance to help you any way I can. If, however, you violate the trust of your classmates and me (that is, through deception, cheating, plagiarism, fraud or similar transgressions), you will jeopardize your standing in the class, up to and including an F for the entire course. Those transgressions include any violation of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

Deadlines: This is a journalism class. Journalists live and die by deadlines – with no exceptions. Late assignments will not be accepted and will receive a grade of “zero” (0).

Expected learning outcomes: Above all, this is a journalism course. That means you will be reporting news fairly and accurately in accordance with the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, regardless of which medium you use.

By the time you complete the course, you should understand the strengths and weaknesses of each digital technology, as well as when it is appropriate to use each medium. Specifically, you should show proficiency in:

Blogging: You should be able to post text, photos, a photo gallery, a photo slideshow, an audio slideshow, an audio story, a video story and infographics to your WordPress blog. You should be able to live-blog a news event.

Social media: You should be able to use Twitter and Storify to gather news, present it and share it. You should be able to live-tweet breaking news.

Digital photojournalism: You should be able to shoot news photos using the Rule of Thirds, shoot a three-photo package and create a photo gallery, a photo slideshow and an audio slideshow, using Flickr and programs such as Soundslides.

Audio journalism: You should be able to create an audio story with natural sound, at least one interview and a voiceover, using Audacity or similar.

Video journalism: You should be able to shoot a video story using the Five-Shot Rule, at least two interviews, a voiceover and Lower Thirds. You should be able to edit the video using either iMovie or Windows Movie Maker and upload it to YouTube.

Data visualization: You should be able to create a Google Map with custom map pins containing photos, videos and/or text. You should also be able to create an infographic using Infogr.am and a word cloud using Wordle.

Multimedia storytelling: You should be able to create a story package that incorporates at least three of the above elements – that is, a written blog post, social media, photos, audio, video and data.

Assignments
Fifty 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
• An infographic.

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.

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 (with opening and closing credits with lower-third titles to identify parties on video)
• A photo slideshow (produced in the program of your choice, e.g. Flickr, SoundSlides or similar).
• A text story and headline (500-1,000 words) with at least three sources interviewed and notes kept.

You can increase your grade by exceeding the minimum requirements, that is, by adding a mug shot, a photo gallery, an audio slideshow, a Google Map, or an infographic — or all of the above. You can also boost your grade by increasing quality, effort and difficulty of execution.

Final projects should be underway by the end of Week 4. It’s never too early to get started on a concept and to begin outlining it. Proposed topics are due by Week 2 and your outline of the project must be approved before starting it.

Grading

• 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 the above will earn you a B.
• Failing to meet minimum requirements will earn you a D or an F.

Class attendance and participation will dictate whether a student receives a “+” or a “-” added on to their letter grade.

NOTE: This syllabus will be supplemented by weekly class plans and assignments that will be published as blog posts to this site. Students are required to regularly check this site for updates, as it is our primary mode of communication.

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