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Ithaca College | Roy H.

Park School of Communications

JOUR 48000 Mobile and Social Media Journalism – Fall 2019
Monday & Wednesday/Park 275
Section 1: 12-1:40 p.m.
Section 2: 2-3:40 p.m.

Anthony Adornato
Email: Office Phone: (607) 274-7022
Twitter: @anthonyadornato Office: Park 250
Class Website: Office Hours: MW 10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Twitter Class Hashtag: #ICParkSM (or by appointment)


This course critically examines how journalists and news organizations are using emerging forms
of social media and mobile platforms. Students gain hands-on experience by experimenting with
social media and mobile devices for newsgathering, distribution, and audience engagement.
Students produce a portfolio of multimedia stories and build their own professional journalistic
brand. An emphasis is placed on critically assessing the credibility and authenticity of user-
generated content. Students will also learn how to use analytics tools to monitor and analyze the
effectiveness of their mobile and social media activity. 4 Credits


Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. These are some of the social media tools altering how
journalists do their jobs and how people consume news today. This course prepares you to
evaluate and use social media and mobile devices as professional journalists. By the end of the
course, you will have the fundamental mobile and social media skills that news organizations are
seeking from today’s journalists. You will learn by “doing.” You will build your own
professional social media brand and produce a portfolio of stories using social media and mobile

You and your classmates are future industry leaders, so we will also critically assess future
developments related to mobile and social media in journalism. This course will foster your
ability to apply the core values of journalism to emerging media forms in productive, innovative,
and intelligent ways. The concepts and skills we will tackle include: maintaining a professional
social media brand; finding story ideas and sources via social media; using social media and
mobile devices/apps for newsgathering and production; social media ethics; audience
engagement; and analytics.


• Effectively use social media for newsgathering, distribution, and audience engagement.
• Research and locate reliable information from social media to enhance your reporting, and at
the same time, identify misleading and unbalanced content.
• Gain the technical skills of mobile newsgathering through the use of mobile devices and apps
to gather, produce, and distribute news content.
• Create and enhance your own professional brand on social media platforms.
• Collaborate as a news team to contribute original reporting to Ithaca Week and to manage its
Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
• Become an engaged and active participant of the online community of the beat that you have
• Use analytics platforms to monitor and analyze social media engagement and success.
• Evaluate the effectiveness of mobile and social media strategies and policies in news
• Understand the public’s active role in the news production process, and the resulting impact
on journalism.
• Understand the flexibility, innovativeness, and entrepreneurial spirit needed to be successful
in this evolving industry.
• Receive Hootsuite Certification.


• Mobile and Social Media Journalism: A Practical Guide (2017) by Anthony Adornato.
• You will be able to reserve, through PPECS, an iPad Mini for the entire semester.
• As a member of this class, you will have access to content developed by Hootsuite, an
industry leader on best practices for social media use. You’ll become Hootsuite certified in
this course.
• To be successful in this class and as a journalist, you must be well-informed about emerging
technologies and their impact on journalism. Here are my go-to sources to stay up-to-date on
the latest mobile and social media journalism trends, tips, and skills training. I’ve provided
Twitter handles, website links, and links for you to subscribe to e-newsletters.

@MediaShiftOrg and MediaShift Newsletter

@Poynter and Poynter Newsletter

Pew Research Center

@pewjournalism and Pew Research Newsletter

Nieman Lab
@NiemanLab and Nieman Newsletter

First Draft News
@firstdraftnews,, and First Draft Newsletter

NPR Training
@nprtraining,, and

BBC Academy
@BBCAcademy and


First, a note on promptness: I expect you to be on time. Tardiness is not tolerated in the
professional world or in this class. I take note of late arrivals. Tardiness is not a matter of degree;
you either are late or you’re not. A late student will be considered absent. I don’t allow you to
make up work you miss because of your tardiness.

Second, a note on attendance: I expect you to attend every class and to be in attendance for the
duration of every class. Excused absences include religious observances, documented illness,
death of a family member or loved-one, and pre-approved school-related activities. In addition,
each student will be granted two unexcused absences for any reason. Homework due on days you
are absent must still be turned in by deadline. For each unexcused absence beyond the initial
two, I’ll deduct FIVE points from your final grade. It’s your responsibility to let me know if
you’re not going to be in class.


Students at Ithaca College are expected to attend all classes, and they are responsible for work
missed during any absence from class. At the beginning of each semester, instructors must
provide the students in their courses with written guidelines regarding possible grading penalties
for failure to attend class. Students should notify their instructors as soon as possible of any
anticipated absences. Written documentation that indicates the reason for being absent may be
required. These guidelines may vary from course to course but are subject to the following

• In accordance with New York State law, students who miss class due to their religious
beliefs shall be excused from class or examinations on that day. The faculty member is
responsible for providing the student with an equivalent opportunity to make up any
examination, study, or work requirement that the student may have missed. It is
suggested that students notify their course instructors at least one week before any
anticipated absence so that proper arrangements may be made to make up any
missed work or examination. Any such work is to be completed within a reasonable
time frame, as determined by the faculty member.

• Any student who misses class due to a verifiable family or individual health emergency,
or to a required appearance in a court of law, shall be excused. Students should
communicate directly with the faculty member when they need to miss a class for health

or family emergencies, for court appearances, etc. Faculty members who require
documentation of student absences should communicate directly with their students. On-
campus residents who will be away from campus for an extended period of time should
notify the Office of Residential Life of their absence from campus by e-mailing and including their building and room number in that message.
Students may need to consider a leave of absence, medical leave of absence, selected
course withdrawals, and so on, if they have missed a significant portion of class work.

A student may be excused for participation in College-authorized co-curricular and

extracurricular activities if, in the instructor's judgment, this does not impair the specific student's
or the other students' ability to succeed in the course.

For all absences, except those due to religious beliefs, the course instructor has the right to
determine if the number of absences has been excessive in view of the nature of the class that
was missed and the stated attendance policy. Depending on the individual situation, this can
result in the student’s being removed from or failing the course.


Your success in this course will depend, in part, on good communication and understanding
what’s expected of you and when, which is to say meeting deadlines.

Sakai/Class Website/Facebook page: Course information, updates, and messages will be

posted to Sakai, as well as our class Facebook page and website. You’re expected to frequently
check these platforms. We’ll also use Sakai for submission of some assignments.

Email: You’re expected to regularly check your Ithaca College email. Failure to do so puts you
at risk of missing important class instructions and announcements. We’ll use email for one-on-
one communication.

Social Media: This class is all about being social media savvy—as a journalist. Our class
hashtag on Twitter and other social media platforms is #ICParkSM. You’ll use the class hashtag
for most assignments, and I’ll use this hashtag when tweeting information relevant to this course.
So, make sure you are following the conversations by regularly searching for #ICParkSM.

A little bit of friendly advice: Many employers “mine,” meaning investigate and collect, those
things that you have posted on your Facebook page, on YouTube, or on other social media
outlets. So, yes, anything you say electronically can and will be held against you down the road.
This will be an important topic of discussion in class.


I want to stress these points:

• Laptops and mobile devices are to be used for class purposes during our meetings – not for
personal social interactions.
• In-class critiques of your classmates’ work will be constructive. Feedback should be about
the work and never personal. Be respectful of each other’s effort.


Deadlines are exact—just like in the news business. If you turn any assignment in after the
assigned deadline, you’ll receive an “F” for the assignment.

Multimedia Packages (35% of grade): You will produce four stories. At least two must be
focused on your beat. For each story, you will use a mobile device and apps for the majority of
newsgathering and production. You will also be expected to use social media tools to engage
with your online community during the reporting process. I will post a weekly to-do list on our
website so that you know how many times and the type of content to share on social media while
you’re in the field reporting. Before going in the field, we will hold in-class editorial meetings.
You must explain why the story matters, who is impacted, potential interviewees, and how you
will use social media and mobile apps in the newsgathering and production of the story, among
other items.

On the days your packages are due, you will:

• Have at least two classmates edit your story.
• Uploaded to Sakai the template submission form that I will give you for each reporting
round. The document must include: final text of the story, the link to the story on your
website, a list of sources consulted, and the names of your editors.
• Create a Wakelet that contains all the social media items required during the reporting
process. Include the Wakelet link in the template Word document you post to Sakai.

Only select stories will be published on Ithaca Week, and selections will be made depending on
their quality and appropriateness.

Social Media Activity/Portfolio (30% of grade): You will develop your own professional
social media portfolio during this class. Your portfolio will include a blog as well as profiles and
engagement on social media sites. Part of your social media activity involves becoming active in
the online community of your beat. You should consistently engage with related social media
users (RTs, replies, and @ mentions) and use hashtags associated with your beat. During the
semester, we will conduct peer evaluations, so you and your classmates can give each other
feedback. Analytics will help to shed light on your effectiveness. At the end of the semester, you
will present your portfolio to the class. I will post a weekly to-do list on the class website. All
items must be completed by 11:59 p.m., Saturday. For this class, the week runs from Sunday to

Blog Posts (20% of grade): During the weeks that stories are not due, you must complete two
blog posts (250-400 words each). The topics of the posts will vary. Sometimes you will have to
address a specific question related to social media, other times you’re free to post about any topic
related to your beat or mobile and social media journalism. The goal is to develop your own blog
voice and thoughtful discussions. Your blog posts will also allow you to reflect on your work in
this class.

Editor Role (10% of grade): You will be assigned to a team of editors who will manage the
Ithaca Week social media platforms during a specified period. The team of editors will develop
and execute a social media plan for Ithaca Week. During this reporting period, you will not be
responsible for producing an individual story.

Teaching Moment (5% of grade): This is your opportunity to teach us! Each student will lead
one 10-minute class presentation/discussion about a current topic related to mobile and social
media journalism. Weekly course readings and e-newsletter content (MediaShift, Nieman, and
First Draft News) will provide you with potential ideas. Topics might include how a news outlet
uses social media, an ethical issue related to social media and journalism, or ideas on how
journalists could use a particular mobile or social media tool. You must post a preview of your
topic to our FB group page and write a blog entry about your topic/discussion (this is in addition
to other assignment due the week you present).


Below is the basic grading criteria. For each major assignment, I’ll provide more detailed
grading criteria/rubric in class. Generally, you’ll be graded on clarity, organization, accuracy,
fairness/balance, completeness/omissions, grammar, spelling, and ability to meet deadlines. My
grading in this course will also take in to account your creativity and innovativeness.

As with many classes in the humanities/social sciences, grading for this class is not objective.
It’s very subjective. In the journalism business there are no absolutes. Some things may work,
others may not. It’s my duty to determine your effectiveness in turning an idea (the abstract) into
a finished project that will be acceptable by industry standards. You have to rely on my
experience in the industry, and academe, to provide you with the most accurate representation
and feedback of what you will get in “the real world.”

A 95-100% | A- 90-94%
Mastery of course content at the highest level of attainment. Accurate, clear, and comprehensive
work. Stories are well-written and require only minor copy editing (i.e., they would be

B+ 87-89% | B 84-86% | B- 80-83%

Strong performance demonstrating a satisfactory level of attainment. Stories require more than
minor editing and have a few style or spelling errors or one significant error of omission.

C+ 77-79% | C 74-76% | C- 70-73%

Needs work. Stories need considerable editing or rewriting and/or have many spelling, style or
omission errors.

D+ 67-69% | D 64-66% | D- 60-63

A marginal performance. Work requires excessive rewriting and has numerous errors, and should
not have been submitted.

F 59% and below

An unacceptable performance. Work failed to meet the major criteria of the assignment, has
numerous errors, or both. A story that has even a single factual error that is material to the story
merits an “F.” Example: you get the street name wrong in a story about an accident. That will
mean an “F.” Proper names, locations, and titles have to be accurate and spelled correctly.


Never tell an interview subject your story will only be seen in class. Your work will be
published on your professional website, and it may be published on the Park School website,
among other public platforms. Also, copies of the work you produce in this class may be used in
future classes.


There will be regular in-class critiques of your work. Everyone participates in the in-class
critiques. You should offer constructive, honest comments on a project as it’s shown in class.
Pay close attention to the comments I make during class critiques. Take notes. My remarks often
can be applied to your work, even if it’s someone else’s work that’s being reviewed.


The Department of Journalism Plagiarism Policy is a supplement to the Ithaca College

Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty Policy. Department of Journalism students are expected to
review and understand both policies.

Plagiarism is the cardinal sin of journalism. It undermines your integrity and that of the
profession. The Department of Journalism does not tolerate plagiarism. A committee comprised
of Department of Journalism faculty will review each case of plagiarism. The Dean’s office at
the Park School will also be made aware of each case.

Penalties for plagiarism can include:

• a failing grade for the plagiarized assignment
• a failing grade for the course
• suspension
• expulsion

Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s work without giving credit. Use of words, phrases,
sentences, ideas, photos or other kinds of content without proper attribution and copyright
permission is plagiarism. This is true whether you do it intentionally or not. If such credit is not
given for another’s work, it’s considered plagiarism.

Department of Journalism students are required to produce original work without plagiarizing
previously published work, including: online and print articles, broadcast stories, scholarly
publications, and other students’ assignments.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following:

• Directly copying content from online sources and pasting it into your own work without
proper attribution.
• Paraphrasing content from online sources and pasting it into your own work without
proper attribution.
• Copying quotes from stories produced by someone else and using them in your own
work. You are expected to interview sources on your own.
• Passing off another student’s work as your own.
• Submitting the same piece of work to instructors in two or more courses.

The best practice to follow: Whenever in doubt, cite the source and ask your professor for


Whether intended or not, plagiarism is a serious offense against academic honesty. Under any
circumstances, it is deceitful to represent as one's own work, writing or ideas that belong to
another person. Students should be aware of how this offense is defined. Plagiarism is the
unacknowledged use of someone else's published or unpublished ideas, whether this use consists
of directly quoted material or paraphrased ideas. Although various disciplines follow styles of
documentation that differ in some details, all forms of documentation make the following
• That each quotation or paraphrase be acknowledged with a footnote or in-text citation;
• That direct quotations be enclosed in quotation marks and be absolutely faithful to the
wording of the source;
• That paraphrased ideas be stated in language entirely different from the language of the
• That a sequence of ideas identical to that of a source be attributed to that source;
• That sources of reprinted charts or graphs be cited in the text;
• That all the sources the writer has drawn from in paraphrase or direct quotation or a
combination of paraphrase and quotation be listed at the end of the paper under
“Bibliography,” “References,” or “Works Cited,” whichever heading the particular style
of documentation requires.

A student is guilty of plagiarism if the student fails, intentionally or not, to follow any of these
standard requirements of documentation.

In a collaborative project, all students in a group may be held responsible for academic
misconduct if they engage in plagiarism or are aware of plagiarism by others in their group and
fail to report it. Students who participate in a collaborative project in which plagiarism has
occurred will not be held accountable if they were not knowledgeable of the plagiarism.

What, then, do students not have to document? They need not cite their own ideas, or references
to their own experiences, or information that falls in the category of uncontroversial common
knowledge (what a person reasonably well-informed about a subject might be expected to know).
They should acknowledge anything else. Other Forms of Academic Dishonesty

Other violations of academic honesty include, but are not limited to, the following behaviors:
• Handing in to a class a paper written by someone else;
• Handing in as an original work for a class a paper one has already submitted to another
• Handing in the same paper simultaneously to two courses without the full knowledge and
explicit consent of all the faculty members involved;
• Having someone else rewrite or clean up a rough draft and submitting those revisions as
one’s own work.
These offenses violate the atmosphere of trust and mutual respect necessary the process of


Students are expected to follow the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics in
this class. I expect that you’ll be exceedingly honest, fair, and responsible. As you produce
stories for this class, remember that you represent Ithaca College and the Park School. View


When arranging and conducting interviews for class, you must act professionally. Address
people on the phone or via email in a courteous, business-like manner. When contacting them,
use your Ithaca email, not your personal email address. When you go out in the field to cover a
story, dress appropriately. By conducting yourself in a professional manner, people will take you
more seriously and afford you more respect.


It’s important to broaden your journalism experiences, with guidance from me, by including in
coursework ethnic, racial and religious minorities, people with disabilities, gay men and lesbians
and other similar groups and issues that affect these groups. This includes, but is not limited to,
developing sensitivity to language and images. The intent is to ensure your work reflects the
diversity of the community and that you’re exposed to diverse ideas and perspectives.


In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with
Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodation will be provided to students with documented
disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Students must register with Student Disability Services and
provide appropriate documentation to Ithaca College before any academic adjustment will be
provided. You’re also welcome to contact me privately to discuss your academic needs, although
faculty cannot arrange for disability-related accommodations.


You must respond to and report conditions and actions that may jeopardize your safety, or that of
other people and/or equipment. Report to the responsible College employee. During class
sessions that person would be your instructor or lab assistant. Outside of class the person might
be your instructor, lab supervisor, co-curricular manager, equipment and facilities manager, or
one of the engineering support staff. You must be aware that misuse of equipment or use of
damaged equipment can create the risk of serious injury, infectious contamination, and expensive
damage. You may be liable for damage or injury resulting from such use. Unsupervised use of
facilities puts you at risk. Failure to be alert to safety problems, or to report them, may have
serious consequences for you or others.


Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, or
problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance. The
source of symptoms might be related to your course work; if so, please speak with me. However,
problems with relationships, family worries, loss, or a personal struggle or crisis can also
contribute to decreased academic performance. Ithaca College provides cost-free mental health
services through the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to help you
manage personal challenges that threaten your personal or academic well-being. In the event I
suspect you need additional support, expect that I will express to you my concerns and the
reasons for them. It is not my intent to know the details of what might be troubling you, but
simply to let you know I am concerned and that help (e.g., CAPS, Health Center, Chaplains,
etc.), if needed, is available. Remember, getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do—for
yourself and for your loved ones.


(This schedule is a flexible outline of the material we expect to cover in this class. Expect
changes, additions, and deletions as the needs of this class and other circumstances dictate.)

WEEK ONE (Aug. 28)

--Forces at the Gate: An Active Audience
--Managing Change: The Mobile-First Newsroom
--Your Social Media Brand: Who Do You Want To Be?
--Digital Skeletons: Social Media Audit
--Finding a Niche/Beat

*Read: Chapters 1-3
*Hootsuite Academy: The Fundamentals of Using Hootsuite
*Weekly To-do List

WEEK TWO (Sept. 4)

--Introduction to Hootsuite
--Blog Set-up
--Social Media Platform Basics
--The Mobile Journalist and Must-have Apps

*Read: Chapters 4 & 5
*Hootsuite Academy: Advanced Uses of Hootsuite
*Weekly To-do List

WEEK THREE (Sept. 9 & 11)

--Social Media Platform Basics Continued
--The Mobile Journalist and Must-have Apps Continued
--Social Newsgathering and Listening: Story Ideas, Sources, and Content
--Social Collaboration and Curation: Crowdsourcing
--Social Media Scavenger Hunt

*Read: Chapters 6
*Hootsuite Academy: Hootsuite Enterprise Courseware
*Weekly To-do List
*Two blog posts next week and three story pitches

WEEK FOUR (Sept. 16 & 18)

--Social Media Engagement and Optimization
--Audience Analytics
--Using Mobile Devices and Social Media During Live Events/Breaking News

*Weekly To-do List
*Package due next Wednesday

WEEK FIVE (Sept. 23 & 25)

--Mobile-friendly Story Layout
--Readable Videos and Social Graphics
--Package due Wednesday

*Read: Chapter 7 and
*Weekly To-do List
*Two blog posts next week and three story pitches

WEEK SIX (Sept. 30 & Oct. 2)

--Social Media Policies and Ethics
--Verification and Authenticity of Information

*Weekly To-do List
*Package due next Wednesday

WEEK SEVEN (Oct. 7 & 9)

--Emerging Forms of News Engagement: IGTV, 360-degree Video, Wearables, etc.
--Revisit Managing Change in Newsrooms and Evolving Business Models
--Package due Wednesday

*Weekly To-do List
*Two blog posts next week and three story ideas

WEEK EIGHT (Oct. 14 & 16)

--Location, Location, Location: Geo-location Apps and Social Media Sleuthing

*Weekly To-do List
*Package due next Wednesday

WEEK NINE (Oct. 21 & 23)

--Social Media Analytics Revisited
--Package due Wednesday

*Weekly To-do list

*Two blog posts next week and three story ideas

WEEK TEN (Oct. 28 & 29)

--Emerging Mobile and Social Media Jobs in Newsrooms

*Weekly To-do List
*Package due next Wednesday

WEEK ELEVEN (Nov. 4 & 6)

--Package due Wednesday

*Weekly To-do List
*Take Hootsuite Certified Professional Exam
*Two blog posts

WEEK TWELVE (Nov. 11 & 13)

--Guest Speaker
--Discussion of your social media brand and analytics

*Weekly To-do List
*Two blog posts

WEEK THIRTEEN (Nov. 18 & 20)

--Website check-up
--Discussion of your social media brand and analytics

*Weekly To-do List
*Three story ideas due after break

No Class – Thanksgiving Break

WEEK FIFTEEN (Dec. 2 & 4)

--Discussion of your social media brand and analytics

*Read: Chapter 8
*Package due next Wednesday
*Social Media Portfolio Memo due Monday
*Weekly To-do List

WEEK SIXTEEN (Dec. 9 & 11)
--Mobile and Social Media in Your Career
--Landing a Job with a Newsroom’s Mobile and Social Team
--Package due Wednesday