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COM 450 MULTIMEDIA JOURNALISM

Fall 2016 (TTH, 10:30 a.m. 12:10 p.m.; McEwen 209)

How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest
shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it
so easy for you to be remarkable?
-- Seth Godin from Seths Blog

Professor: Colin M. Donohue


E-mail: cdonohue@elon.edu
Web Site: www.cdonohue.com
Office Phone: (336) 278-5850
Office: Elon News Network Office (third floor of Elon Town Center)
Office hours: MWF: 10-11 a.m.; T: 2-3 p.m.; and by appointment. E-mail
and Twitter are the fastest and easiest ways to reach me.

Please read the syllabus carefully. NOTE: Actively check your e-mail. I will
often send class notices via e-mail.

Catalog Description

Students gather and present news and information in a converged media


environment that combines text, graphics, photojournalism, audio and
video. Students work as individuals and in teams to write, report and
produce online multimedia products. Capstone course in the Journalism
major. Prerequisite: COM 315.

Course Goal

Sharpen the skills of critical thinking, reporting, writing and multimedia


production under deadline.

Course Objectives

Throughout this course, students will be able to:

Plan multimedia projects, conduct audience analysis, select resources,


gather information and create content in appropriate forms (text,
audio, graphics, animation, video, interactivity).
Write clearly and effectively using appropriate styles.
Employ the tools of technology to produce multimedia projects.
Determine appropriate manners of technical dissemination with
consideration of file size, speed of delivery, linking and search-engine
optimization to maximize effects.
Use computer-assisted reporting to gather data, apply numerical
concepts and present information.
Engage in ethical ways of reasoning and apply professional standards,
such as truth, accuracy, fairness and attention to the diversity of
domestic and global audiences.

Course Materials

Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual (2014 or 2015 edition),


Norm Goldstein, ed.RECOMMENDED
Reporters NotebookRECOMMENDED
Readings as assigned (via Moodle)

School of Communications Professional Standards Policies

The School of Communications has adopted the following minimum policies


to provide students with a clear understanding and consistent application of
course expectations, since journalism and communications are disciplines
with rigorous professional standards. Teachers may designate more
stringent policies on their course syllabi.

Attendance Policy: Students in the School of Communications are


expected to attend all classes. Just as professionals go to work each day, we
expect students in a professional school to come to class on time and be
prepared to work. A student who misses more than 20 percent of scheduled
classes in a term (more than eight absences for classes meeting three times
a week, more than five absences for classes meeting twice a week)
automatically receives an F because the student has missed too much
content and participation to pass a course in a professional school. Teachers
will lower the final grade in a class for each absence beyond the equivalent
of one week of class (three absences for classes meeting three times a
week, two absences for classes meeting twice a week, and one absence
during winter term or a summer session) as indicated in the course syllabus .
An exception may exist for a student who misses more than a week of
classes for a sanctioned university activity, such as presenting research at a
national forum, class travel or university athletic travel . Students
participating in such events must submit a written request in advance to the
professor.

Coursework: If students miss a class because of illness, participation in a


university-sponsored activity, job interview or other causes, they have
missed valuable content and engaged learning. In this sense, excused and
unexcused absences are no different. To ensure that students avoid gaps in
the progression of a course, professors may assign additional work. For
example, a professor may require a student to write a 400-word summary of
material covered in a missed class session or complete an additional lab
assignment that demonstrates comprehension of material covered.

Tests and Examinations: If students miss a quiz, test or examination they


must submit a written request for a makeup to the professor. Students who
miss a final examination must secure permission for a makeup from the
department chair. As indicated in the Elon University Faculty Handbook,
students are not guaranteed permission to make up examinations and have
no guarantees about the impact of the absence on their fi nal grade for the
course.

Assignments: Professionals meet deadlines. All assignments should be


submitted on time, and they are due on the assigned date, even if the
student is absent from class. A teacher may choose not to accept late work
or to lower a grade by one letter for each weekday it is late.

What Say I?

There are course requirements specific to this section of Multimedia


Journalism. I have outlined them below.

Course Requirements

To accomplish the goals laid out for this course, you must demonstrate
proficiency in and completion of the following tasks.

Quizzes: You will take six quizzes (typically on, but not always, Tuesdays)
during the semester to test your knowledge of assigned readings and current
events.

Reading Assignments: This course is writing, reading and production


intensive. The information you get from the assigned readings will be
relevant to your work and the changing field of journalism. All readings
should be completed before you come to class. Be prepared to absorb a
great deal of information, all of it enriching and foundational. You will be
tested on your readings through the weekly quizzes and the final
examination. So dont think once you finish a quiz youll never see the
material again. It will show up on the final. Be prepared.

Reporting Assignments: Multimedia journalism accurately implies that you


will report across multiple media platforms. In this class, you will compose
full storieswhat well call multimedia storytelling packagesthat may
incorporate audio, photography, infographics, database reporting and social
media integration. The only way for you to become competent in all these
forms is to report often. You will be expected to complete assignments both
in and outside of class. Deadlines are firm and final. You are preparing for
a career in which late work could cost you your job. In this course, late work
will cost you your grade. Late work will not be accepted. Anything that
comes in past deadline receives a zero. (Please be aware that it is not
ethical to report on something in which you are involved or to report on
your friends and family and any organization in which they are involved.)

Reporting Project Updates: The individual and team reporting projects


will require progress reports and completed portions to be turned in by
specific deadlines. Progress reports will be worth 20 points, and first
drafts will be worth 50 points. These point totals are separate from the
final grade you earn on the projects.

Peer Review: Constant and consistent feedback and revision will be a part
of your professional lives as journalists. You will rely on the expertise of
colleagues, assignment managers and editors to help you sculpt your
journalism. In order for you to understand and receive feedback, you need
to know to give it. Thats why well be engaging in more peer review this
semester for your individual and team projects. You will offer constructive
and substantive feedback on your peers work and to engage in deep
revision of your own work. It will make your final stories stronger, as you
and other students will evaluate the depth of your reporting, the
appropriateness of your sourcing, the detail in your writing and the general
structure of your journalism. Deep revision goes wel l beyond simple
proofreading. You must actively assess the journalism your peers are doing
and provide feedback.

Final Exam: The exam will consist of true/false, multiple choice, short
essay, copy editing, multimedia planning and comprehensive reporting
components. It will test you on what you learned throughout the ENTIRE
semester. We will take time during the last class session before the final to
review. You are required to take the final exam at the scheduled time. You
will know far in advance the date and time of the final. Theres rarely an
excuse for missing a final. Students who know they will miss a final exam
must secure permission for a makeup from the department chair of the
School of Communications.

Homework: Obviously, your reading assignments are homework. But


occasionally, I will ask you to do work in addition to the readings. You are
expected to complete the homework and turn it in the next class. These are
short, but important, assignments.

Participation: I expect you to participate in classroom activities. Many


times students provide unique insights into class material that have lasting
impressions on the other students taking the course. While this is not a
seminar, there will still be opportunities to engage in class discussions, and I
will expect you to participate actively. Participation and homework combine
to form 10 percent of your final grade.

Grading Procedures

The university defines grades as follows:


A indicates distinguished performance,
B indicates above-average performance,
C indicates an average performance, in which a basic understanding of
the subject has been demonstrated,
D indicates a passing performance despite some deficiencies, and
F indicates failure.

In this course, the grading works like this:


Reporting assignments (individual & other) 30 percent
Final group reporting assignment 25 percent
Quizzes/In-class work/Other homework 10 percent
Participation 10 percent
Final examination 25 percent

Number grades translate into these letter grades:

A: 93-100
A-: 91-92
B+: 89-90
B: 85-88
B-: 83-84
C+: 81-82
C: 77-80
C-: 75-76
D: 70-74
F: less than 70
Grading Template:

Accuracy and truth are the core principles of all journalists. Factual errors
and misspelled names in your reporting work will cost you half an
assignments points, forcing an automatic failure. Triple check all factual
claims and names in your reporting projects before you turn them in.
As the old journalism standard goes, If your mother says she loves you,
check it out. You will also lose points for other spelling, grammar,
punctuation and AP Style mistakes. And remember, missing a deadline will
result in a zero.

Your reporting assignments will be graded based on the following criteria:

1. Accuracy: All your work must present factual matter correctly. All
names must be spelled correctly. All stories should not present a bias,
but rather should be an accurate portrayal of events. Again,
misrepresenting false information as factual and spelling names wrong
will cost you half an assignments points.
2. Clarity: You may have done some of the finest reporting work known
to humankind, but if you cant present your information in a clear and
coherent manner, then it will have no effect on your audience. Word
choice, story/package organization, simplicity, multimedia tools all
contribute to clarity.
3. Completeness: You must cover completely any event or reporting
assignment that you cover. Include all pertinent information. A cursory
examination of a topic will leave news consumers questioning your
credibility and your ability.
4. Online Options: The multimedia, social media and online tools you
choose to use will impact your grade. Think clearly and intelligently
about the extra elements you add to your story. They must be
strategically chosen and well executed. Theyre not last -minute add-
ons. Theyre enhancements to your reporting.

Classroom and Course Policies

Attendance Policy: You are required to be in class every day. Media


professionals are expected to be at work every daythe news doesnt stop
and you will be treated no differently. You will be completing graded
assignments and writings during class, so if you miss a session, it will have a
negative impact on your grade. The School of Communications attendance
policy is attached above. Please note that arriving late to class is
unacceptable. Every two times youre late will count as an absence,
so be on time.
Coursework: This includes all in- and out-of-class assignments and
examinations. If you miss a class because of illness, participation in a
university-sponsored activity, job interview or other reasons, I may assign
additional work. If you have an excused absence, you may be allowed to
make up the work you missed. You may not, however, make up work if you
have an unexcused absence.

Preparation: Follow the syllabus closely. Be sure to complete all


assignments before you come to class. Be sure not to miss your deadlines,
which are rigid for a reason. You are training to become a professional
communicator. You will be expected to turn in assignments on time in the
professional working world. I expect the same from you in class.

Honor Code: All work done in this class is expected to be your own. DO
NOT PLAGIARIZE OR FABRICATE! I will spot-check your work periodically
throughout the semester to ensure that all work is original and not lifted or
completely made up. You may not recycle someone elses work or your own.
You may not lift material from another source without proper attribution. If
you plan to paraphrase material, the words you write must be substantially
different from the material from which youre working. Even in that instance,
though, give credit where credit is due. Attribution is key. If you are caught
plagiarizing or fabricating or simply masquerading someone elses ideas as
your own, you will receive a failing grade for that assignment. If you
deliberately fabricate a story, I will fail you for the course.

All students are expected to uphold the four fundamental values of the Elon
Honor Code:

Honesty
Integrity
Responsibility
Respect

Breaches of these values will result in an academic or social honor code


violation report. Honor code violations include: plagiarism, lying, cheating,
stealing or vandalism, and facilitating academic dishonesty. These violations
may result in the lowering of a grade or failure of a class. While intent may
be considered in assigning sanctions, it is not a factor in determining
responsibility for an offense. Students should consult with their professor if
they are uncertain about whether specific activities are violations of the
honor code.

Definitions and examples of each of the Honor Code violations above may be
found at http://www.elon.edu/e-web/students/handbook/honor.xhtml.
Students with Challenges: Students with challenges, including physical
challenges, learning disabilities or serious health concerns , should discuss
their needs with me and provide me with the Elon documentation available
to students with special needs. If you have a concern, and you do not have
documentation, contact Susan Wise for more information. Office phone:
336-278-6500. E-mail: swise2@elon.edu. Necessary accommodations can
be arranged.
COM 450 Multimedia Journalism Fall Course Schedule
Wk# Day Date Topic Readings Notes
1 Tue 8/30 Welcome and Multimedia In-Class Writing
Introduction Journalism: More than
just creating
multimedia (link
found under
Introduction heading)
Th 9/1 Course Bring individual and
expectations, pairs reporting
individual/pairs project pitches to
project pitches, class
design thinking +
multimedia tools
2 Tue 9/6 Audio - Quiz 1: Tuesday Quiz
Audio/Multimedia/Tools
(under REQUIRED
READINGS topic)
Th 9/8 Team project DUE: Multimedia
pitches + MMPrax Project Paper

Team Project
Pitches
3 Tue 9/13 Video interview - Quiz 2: Tuesday Quiz
set up, lighting Videos/Blogs/Remixing
the News MM Presentations
(2)
Th 9/15 Video interview DUE: Pairs
set up, lighting Reporting Project
Update

MM Presentations
(2)
4 Tue 9/20 Infographics - Quiz 3: Infographics Tuesday Quiz

MM Presentations
(2)
Th 9/22 Infographics Infographic Project

MM Presentations
(2)
5 Tue 9/27 Project Work - Quiz 4: Audience Tuesday Quiz
Engagement
DUE: Draft of
Individual
Reporting Project
(Peer Review)

MM Presentations
(2)
Th 9/29 MMPrax MM Presentations
(2)
6 Tue 10/4 Database Quiz 5: Database Tuesday Quiz
Reporting Reporting
MM Presentations
(2)
Th 10/6 Database Database Reporting
Reporting Project

DUE: Team
Reporting Project
Update

MM Presentations
(2)
7 Tue 10/11 Project Work DUE: Draft of Pairs
Reporting Project

MM Presentations
(2)
Th 10/13 Individual Project DUE: Individual
Presentations Reporting Project
8 Tue 10/18 No class No class
Th 10/20 HTML & CSS - Quiz 6: Thursday Quiz
HTML/CSS/SEO
9 Tue 10/25 MMPrax
Th 10/27 Project Work
10 Tue 11/1 Pairs Reporting DUE: Pairs
Project Reporting Project
Presentations +
Project Work
Th 11/3 Project Work
11 Tue 11/8 ELECTION DAY!
Th 11/10 Project Work + DUE: Draft of Team
Presentations/Peer Reporting Project
Review
12 Tue 11/15 Project Work
Th 11/17 Project Work
13 Tue 11/22 No class No class
Th 11/24 No class No class
14 Tue 11/29 Careers - Multimedia
Journalism Career
Advice (link found
under Careers
heading)

Th 12/1 Team Project DUE: Team


Presentations Reporting Project
15 Tue 12/6 Donut Dialogue

Th 12/8 Final Review


Final Fri 12/16 FINAL for 8:30 a.m. starting 11:30 a.m. ending
Exam Multimedia time time
Journalism
COM450