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Syllabus is available online at: www.journalism453.wordpress.com Class meets Monday and Wednesday 9-10:15 a.m. Instructors: Brian Duggan: email@example.com (@brianduggan) David Calvert: firstname.lastname@example.org (@calvertphoto) All e-mails must include “J453” in the subject line. Office hours by appointment Introduction Welcome to online reporting and editing. This is a senior-level class, which means it will be fast-paced and carry with it high standards of journalism and productivity. Think of yourself as a new hire at a media organization and your task is to produce content for it. Over the course of the semester we will discuss the trends affecting journalism and the tools that are becoming increasingly necessary to perform it effectively. That means everything from social media practices to database reporting to multimedia presentations to simply setting up and managing a blog. You will be required to use all of these tools over the course of the semester. Your assignment: Think about the recession and how it’s affected life at the University of Nevada, Reno and higher education in Nevada. Think about the effects of unemployment and how it’s related to education. Think about students who are drowning in student debt. Think about tenured professors losing jobs. Think about the decisions that are being made in Carson City starting next month. Think about recent graduates who moved back home to live with parents because they couldn’t find a job. In other words, put a human face on these statistics and help put this event into context — conduct journalism the way it should be done in the 21st century. What you will do The semester will begin with discussions about online tools and how to use them effectively. We’ll talk about audience trends and debate the merits of Twitter. The majority of the class will be dedicated to producing content, which will require a substantial amount of work outside the classroom to pass (and lots more if you want to excel). Reporting requires footwork. Also there will be five quizzes (expect a Jake Highton-style AP test and others that will test your multimedia skills). — Blogging: 12.5 percent of grade Starting Feb. 7, you will be required update a blog at least three times a week. You can blog about the stories you cover, adding relevant links and commentary to the postings. If you do not want to blog about the content you are covering in the class, then you can present a blog proposal to the instructors by Jan. 31. The blog must be related to something in the Reno-Sparks-Carson-Tahoe region and must be original.
Blogging means offering people an original piece of reporting or it could mean linking to an article, photo, video or other relevant piece of online information you found interesting and giving it some context. What cannot be is just your opinion — so no partisan political polemics, please. Spelling and factual errors will deduct from your grade. Grading standards are outlined below. Also, once you pick a topic you have to stick with it until the semester is over. And hey, maybe keep it going after you graduate. — Stories: 75 percent of grade, or 12.5 percent each Over the course of the semester you will be required to propose, report and create five original stories that relate to the class topic using a variety of online tools. They will be published on your blog and, if your able to set it up, another publication such as the Nevada Sagebrush or another media outlet. At the end of the semester you will be required to develop a 10-minute group presentation with two other classmates. The assignments will be required in this order: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Live blog an event (Due by March 9) Create a click through slide show with copy (Due Feb. 23) Record an audio story or podcast (Due March 23) Create a visual story by using of data (Due April 27) Create a video story and upload it to Youtube (Due April 27) Give a 10-minute group presentation addressing this question: Is journalism still relevant? Why or why not? What is the future of journalism? (Due May 5)
A story must be turned in on each assigned due date. Late work will not be accepted and will result in an automatic 0 percent for that particular story unless there is a preapproved or verifiable and acceptable reason for the missed deadline. Over the course of the semester the class will include “budget meetings” where the class will discuss story ideas and reporting ideas. Along the way there will be occasional progress reports on stories and your blog, too. The 10-minute group presentation can be presented with any online tool of your choosing, through a survey of compelling websites, with just plain, old PowerPoint or a combination of all of them. Just be creative. Your task is to develop a thesis and an answer, supported by at least three sources, to the question: Is journalism still relevant? Why or why not? — Short Assignments: 12.5 percent You will be given five short assignments over the course of the semester that will test you on your knowledge of AP style as well as ethical and website design questions They are worth 2.5 percent each and are scheduled in the dates below.
Required materials: — The Associated Press Style Book — Producing Online News, Ryan M. Thornburg — An external hard drive, especially needed for multimedia — Headphones — Additional readings will be linked on instructor blog: http://www.journalism453.wordpress.com Schedule: 16 weeks, 31 classes Week 1 Jan. 19: Introduction, discussion of professional and journalism landscape, digital media • Class Activity: Write blog post on whether you think Twitter is a useful journalism tool; review and discuss examples of online media today Week 2: Jan. 24: Audience behavior and blogging • Reading due: Chapters 10 Thornburg • Assignment due: Establish Twitter account • Class Activity: Discuss role of social media, blogging in industry Jan. 26: HTML, discuss possible blogging ideas • Reading due: Chapters 4, 11, Thornburg; “Newspapers and the Unthinkable”, Clay Shirky; Search and Destroy • Assignment due: -• Class Activity: Overview of WordPress capabilities, Install WordPress blog; WordPress guest speaker, Chelsea Otakan Week 3 Jan. 31: What makes a good blog? • Reading due: Foster Kamer: Thoughts on Blogging • Assignment due: Blog proposals, WordPress blog customized • Class Activity: Discuss blog examples, CMS example such as the Nevada Appeal Feb. 2: Live blogging • Reading due: Chapter 11; Thornburg • Assignment due: Live blog examples • Class Activity: Story 1 budget meeting (Live blog, due by March 9) Week 4 Feb. 7: Online ethics • Reading due: Chapter 7; Thornburg • Assignment due: Weekly blogging starts today
• Class Activity: Quiz 1: AP Style Feb. 9: Click through slide shows • Reading due: -• Assignment due: -• Class Activity: Story 2 budget meeting (Slide show, due. Feb. 23) Week 5 (BRIAN GONE) Feb. 14: Multimedia online • Reading due: Chapter 8, Thornburg • Assignment due: • Class Activity: Blog check in, Story 1 and 2 progress report Feb. 16: Workday • Reading due: -• Assignment due: -• Class Activity: Quiz 2: Edit photo Week 6 Feb. 21: NO CLASS President’s Day Feb. 23 Audio stories and interview • Reading due: -• Assignment due: Story 2 (Slide Show) • Class Activity: Review slide shows, Story 3 budget meeting (Audio story or podcast, due March 23). Week 7 (J-week) Feb. 28: Final Cut Express refresher • Reading due: • Assignment due: • Class Activity: Blog update, Story 1 and Story 3 progress report March 2: Online comments • Reading due: Chapter 4, Thornburg • Assignment due: • Class Activity: Discussion of online comments management, Quiz: 3 HTML Week 8 March 7: Databases and visual story telling • Reading due: Chapter 9 • Assignment due: -• Class Activity: Andy Boyle on Web development March 9: Discussion on ethics of Wikileaks
• Reading due: Wikileaks and the Long Haul by Clay Shirky • Assignment due: Story 1 (Live blog) • Class Activity: Review live blogs, Story 4 budget meeting (Visual story with data, due March 30), Story 3 progress report Week 9 March 14 SPRING BREAK March 16: SPRING BREAK Week 10 March 21: CANCELLED March 23: Workday • Reading due: • Assignment due: • Class Activity: Work on Story 3 Week 11 March 28: • Reading due: • Assignment due: Story 3 • Class Activity: Listen to audio stories, assign video groups March 30: What makes good Web video/Final Cut Pro crash course/Data stories • Reading due: • Assignment due: • Class Activity: Story 4/5 budget meeting, Week 12 April 4: Workday April 6: Work Day • Assignment due: Short assignment: Website critique Week 13 April 11: Workday • Class Activity: Online ethics discussion April 13: Workday • Assignment due: Short assignment: Online ethics Week 14 April 18: Workday
April 20: Review class blogs • Assignment due: Last blog/Short assignment on your experience blogging Week 15 April 25: Workday April 27 • Assignment due: Stories 4 and 5 • Class Activity: Story presentations Week 16 May 2: Work on final presentations if time • Class Activity: Finish stories 4 and 5 presentations May 4: Dead Day Final Day: May 5: 9:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Future of journalism presentations; class discussions, internship/job advice
Class Policies: Grading: 75% Five stories and presentation 12.5% Quizzes 12.5% blog ------------------90% or higher Highly engaging, original work that could easily run in a major metropolitan media organization with little or no editing required. (As for the presentation. Instead of the standard being publication pretend you’re giving it to a boardroom filled with media bigwigs, all else being equal.) 80%-89.9%: Engaging, original work that could use some editing, but is generally ready for publication in most media outlets. Some, but not many, stylistic or technical errors. 70%-79.9% Thoughtful, original work, but would only be ready for publication with more editing. A few spelling and/or stylistic errors that detract from the overall quality of the story. 60%-69.9% Multiple glaring stylistic, spelling and/or factual errors. Content is bland, uninformative and generally unfit for publication in a professional media organization. A failing grade: Missed deadlines, blatantly sloppy work and obviously not giving a damn. Attendance: You are expected to arrive on time to class. Chronic tardiness will negatively impact your grade. You may miss two classes without consequence or approval, but each additional unapproved or unexcused absence will result in a 10 percent reduction of your final grade. If you need to miss a class you must notify an instructor at least three days in advance. Verifiable extraordinary reasons for missing a class without excuse will be considered. Extra credit A.K.A., buy a ski day. You can earn 10 percent extra credit percentage points to your final grade if you help cover two Journalism Week events for the journalism school using at least two online media tools. Quality of work must be professional and will be graded by the standards set above in the grading section. Anything less than an 80 percent will not be accepted as extra credit.
Academic dishonesty: This is a simple rule: If you are caught cheating, plagiarizing or violating the university’s academic dishonesty policy you will fail the class and will be reported to the dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism. No exceptions. Period. Also, there’s no such thing as accidentally plagiarizing a source in the real world. You must be careful to always cite your sources. Read the official policy here. Disability Any student with a disability needing academic accommodations is requested to speak with an instructor or contact the Disability Resource Center located on the second floor of the Fitzgerald Student Services Building as soon as possible to arrange for appropriate accommodations.
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