:: WRITING FOR DIGITAL MEDIA :: :: COMM 2423 · FALL 2011

::
Professor: Office: Office Hours: Phone: Blog: Twitter: E-mail: Barbara B. Nixon, Ph.D. (ABD) Bolin B217 See http://bit.ly/ProfNixonOfficeHours 863-667-5554 or barbara.b.nixon on Skype http://publicrelationsmatters.com @BarbaraNixon bbnixon@seu.edu

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Designed to develop writing skills for the new media: web sites, PDAs, online newsletters, blogs, and online version of magazines and newspapers, including media convergence and online journalism. COURSE OVERVIEW: This course equips the student with the skills and knowledge necessary to write for journalistic outlets in the new media. Many media have moved online or have online components to them, and this course provides the student with the experience and instruction needed to become a better new media journalist. PREREQUISITIES: ENGL 1133 and ENGL 1233 REQUIRED TEXTS: Carroll, Brian. (2010). Writing for digital media. New York: Routledge. See our class blog for additional readings, podcasts and webinars. REQUIRED EQUIPMENT/ACCOUNTS: Reliable Internet access Access to a digital camera capable of shooting photos and short, informal videos, such as a Flip (for uploading to YouTube) – for one project at the end of the semester An account at Poynter’s News University. An e-mail subscription to Ragan Communications’ PR Daily.

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 1

COURSE TOPICS: The purpose of this course is to introduce, reinforce, and measure learning on these topics: • Online Journalistic Issues • Blogging Ethics • Media Convergence • How to Find Ideas for Stories • Submitting Stories or Articles to Web Sites • Research Techniques • Story Structures and Components • Citizen Journalism • Writing for Blogs and Other New Media • Video blogging INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES: This course seeks to: • give the student a working knowledge of new media. • familiarize the student with various news story structures in new media. • provide the student with an opportunity to write news and feature stories for web sites and blogs. • give the student opportunity to interview subjects for their stories. • familiarize the student with narrative journalism, including storytelling and feature stories, including online videos. • help the students learn various research and interviewing techniques for accurate sources. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS: Students who successfully complete this course will demonstrate their learning through performance based activities and assessments. Successful students will: • write well-researched news and feature stories for new media. • demonstrate the ability to interview and utilize those sources for stories for new media. • discuss the various issues surrounding new media journalism. • discuss various story structures and components of online news and feature stories.

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 2

GRADING: 300 points 100 points 50 points 50 points 100 points 200 points 100 points Total possible points

Blog NewsU Course Completion (10 pts each) Website Critique / Usability Study Live Blog of an Event Feature Story Package #1 Feature Story Package #2 Engagement & Participation 1000

Assignment Brief Descriptions Blog Posts: Each student will create and maintain a blog at WordPress.com. Starting early in the semester, you will create original content for your blog. You will add new content to your blog, including comments you post to others’ blogs, weekly. Blog posts that are posted after their due dates may not be graded or earn credit. There will be a minimum of two graded Blog Checkpoints, plus a final assessment of the blog. Citing sources in your blog is just as important as it is in any academic paper you write; plagiarism is not tolerated. Detailed instructions about the content and layout of your blog will be available at http://publicrelationsmatters.com by the end of Week 2. News University Courses: You will sign up for a free NewsU account during the first week of class. See the Tentative Weekly Schedule for course names and deadlines. Course Reports are due by Saturday midnight during the assigned week; late course reports are not accepted and will not earn any credit. Additionally, students will be assigned to provide a brief overview of one NewsU course to the class (this will count in with Engagement & Participation). Website Critique / Usability Guide: In pairs or triads, choose among the websites provided in class. Imagine that you have been hired as the site’s new editor-in-chief. Make specific recommendations to improve the presentation of content at the site, integrating and referencing the chapter as much as possible. What elements or features promote use of the site? Again, think of all the elements described in this chapter. How are graphics and visuals incorporated, and do they encourage or discourage use? How do they do this? How much thought was given to navigation throughout the site? Are the elements -- graphical, navigational and metaphorical -- consistently applied throughout the site? Is the tone or rhythm of the site consistent throughout? Do these dimensions match the audience(s) for the site? Here is a categorical checklist of site dimensions to critique:       Navigation Page layouts (balance | contrast | unity) Consistency Tone and voice Writing quality Site organization

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 3

Live Blog of an Event: Liveblog something – an event, a trip, a conference or a meeting – using CoverItLive. Take your readers there. We are looking here for immediacy, vicariousness, texture, reflection, a sense of what happened and what you thought about it. Think of this assignment as visceral, immediate, on-site reporting from a particular point of view – your point of view. Liveblogging means merely blogging while the event is happening, using multiple brief posts to give your readers an account of that event. Hyperlink where appropriate. There is no minimum or maximum for the number of posts; you likely will find a rhythm. Plan early in the semester what event you will liveblog, and encourage your classmates/friends to follow along with your commentary as it happens. (We will publish a calendar of who is liveblogging what and when in early September.) Feature Story Packages 1 & 2: Report, source, write, edit and post one news story on an approved topic. The article must have or rely upon at least three human sources. The more timely, the better, and the story should hit demonstrate impact or consequence. Beware, however, of conflicts of interest. This means avoiding friends, family members and business associates as sources, and stories that could materially affect those companies and entities with which you are affiliated. Post with the story the questions you asked your sources, a list of the facts you checked and verified, and a list of the sources you attempted to contact (not merely those you were able to include in your story). Also identify your intended audience(s). As you are completing this assignment, think about what might be added to your main story for publication online, including multimedia and interactive features. Because online you would have all the space you would need, consider the range of added features that could be developed, including fact boxes, a FAQ list, a podcast or video extra, interview notes and transcripts, maps, charts, a glossary, slideshow, animated graphic, poll, related stories and opinion, and perhaps an area where readers can contribute reactions, story ideas, photos and comments. For Feature Story #2 you will add at least one photo and two other multimedia/interactive elements that might make a strong story package online. (For Feature Story #1, one photo is the only multimedia element required.)

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 4

COURSE POLICIES: 1. Responsibilities of Students: Each student is expected to commit to the following guidelines: a. Preparation—the class discussion will mean little if text material is not read and the assignments are not prepared in advance. b. Presence—unique thoughts and insights cannot be contributed to group discussions, or to student learning, if you are not present. The SEU attendance policy should be your guide and is a minimum attendance policy. c. Promptness—late arrivals disrupt the class and adversely impact the decorum of the process. This is unprofessional. Note: Three times late equals one absence for evaluation purposes. d. Participation—as part owner of the discussion, it is each student’s responsibility to share in the advancement of the group’s collective skills and knowledge e. Academic Honesty—Any instance of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, will be handled in accordance with the Student Handbook. f. Specific Policies—If you cannot be present for a class, you are responsible for contacting a fellow student by using email in order to find out what was covered in class the day you were absent and what will be covered in the next class. 2. Material will be covered in class that is not presented in the textbook. This material may include information included in lectures, additional readings, and in-class exercises. Exams will include this material as well as material assigned in the textbook. 3. Material not turned in when due will NOT be accepted and will earn a grade of zero. Unless otherwise specified, all assignments must be submitted using either a Microsoft Office product (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) or Adobe PDF; if I cannot open an assignment or the file is corrupt, you cannot earn credit on the assignment. 4. Attendance is important. Any absences in excess of what is allowed by the SEU policy set forth above will result in an appropriate grade reduction. It is your job to keep track of your total absences; I am not responsible for reminding you about your total absences. On speech or guest speaker days, if you are tardy you must wait to enter the class until the speaker has completed her or his speech; you will be able to tell when speeches end by listening for the applause. 5. Failure to take an exam or quiz on the assigned date will result in a ZERO for that exam unless the absence is approved in advance by the instructor or is an emergency that is excused by the Dean of the College of Fine Arts. If you travel with an athletic team or are a member of another SEU approved club or group, you are responsible for submitting assigned material prior to your departure or via email while traveling. 6. Cell Phones and Electronic Devices: Because your friends and family may not know your class schedule, turn off your cell phones in class. Ringing cell phones are annoying and disruptive, especially during presentations. Furthermore, because of the advance technology of text messaging and digital imaging, the use of any personal electronic devices (cell phones, iPods, headphones, etc.) is prohibited during examinations. The use of any such item during an examination will result in immediate dismissal from the classroom and the examination.

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 5

7. Agreement with Syllabus Content: This syllabus is an agreement between the professor and the student, between me and you, to respectively provide and complete a worthy learning experience. By remaining a registered student in this course, you have identified your understanding of and agreement to the obligations set forth in this syllabus for satisfactory completion of this course, including the course policies as well as the assignments. The professor reserves the right to modify this syllabus during the term. All other academic policies are described in the Student Handbook.

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 6

IMPORTANT SEU POLICIES Students with Disabilities Southeastern University is committed to the provision of reasonable accommodations for students with learning and or physical disabilities, as defined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973. If you think you may qualify for these accommodations, notify your instructor. You will then be directed to contact the Director of Academic Success at 863-667-5157. Testing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Tests are administered for each department at the request of each professor to provide special accommodations for those affected by learning disabilities, vision and physical impairments, attention deficit disorder, and testing anxiety/phobias. These accommodations are provided on a daily basis for the student and professors. Class Attendance Policy Students are both expected and encouraged to attend classes regularly. The lack of attendance may affect a student’s grade. For traditional fall and spring semesters, a student may miss a class without penalty equal to the number of times a class meets per week as follows:  If the class meets once a week a student may miss one class.  If the class meets two times a week a student may miss two classes.  If the class meets three times a week a student may miss three classes. If a student’s absences exceed the number of times a class meets per week, a professor may:  Subject the student to a penalty of not more than one letter grade based on attendance alone.  Recommend to the Vice President for Academic Affairs that a student with excessive absences be withdrawn from the course. Program directors must provide lists of students participating in authorized university activities or field trips to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Once approved, program directors must provide copies of the lists to the participating students for submission to the students’ instructors. Faculty must take this information into account as they log attendance and not consider it an absence. Working within the framework of the above guidelines, faculty will clearly articulate their attendance policy in the course syllabus. Prolonged and/or unusual absences not covered by the policy may be appealed to the Vice President of Academic Affairs by either the professor or the student. Appeals must be submitted in writing.

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 7

Final Exam Every professor is obligated to administer a final exam or hold an appropriate class during the regularly scheduled exam period. Every student is obligated to take the final exam or attend that appropriate class during the regularly scheduled exam period. Please plan accordingly and carefully for final exams. You must not plan vacations, ministry appointments, weddings, airline flights, or any other similar activity or engagement that will conflict with the final exam schedule. Also, do not schedule any of these activities so close to your final exam that the commute to the activity conflicts with the final exam schedule. Final exams will be administered in the room where the class normally meets. Students with more than 3 exams scheduled on one day can petition the instructor and department chair/college dean to take one of the exams another day.

Communication Statement Southeastern University requires all faculty, staff and students to use their Southeastern email address for official university communication. Students are required to check Southeastern email daily as they will be held accountable for all communications sent through this medium. Course Evaluations In order to help us to assess the effectiveness of our courses and instructors, if you receive a course evaluation for this course, you are required to complete it.

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 8

BARBARA B. NIXON’S TEACHING & LEARNING PHILOSOPHY Several years ago, a colleague shared with me this quotation by longshoreman and philosopher Eric Hoffer: “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” This quotation struck a chord with me. Put simply, my overarching goal in teaching is to ensure that our world has more learners than learned. I am fortunate to be in a role in life where I can have an impact on our future world leaders. What do I expect from my students?     Students should be fully read on all of the chapters (or other reading assignments) and to be ready to discuss any part of the readings. Students should raise questions when they are uncertain of the material we are discussing, including questions that I will have no easy (“pat”) answer for. Students should make every effort to gain the most value that they can from the class. They should want to become independent learners. Students should become aware of not only how what happens in the world (current events) impacts them, but also how what they do impacts the world. Campus is not a cocoon.

And what can my students expect from me?  Because I am aware that students learn in many different ways, I will not lecture at my students daily from behind a raised podium. Instead, I will provide instruction to them in an interactive manner, even in online courses. In a typical week, students will experience partner discussions, small group discussions, Internet scavenger hunts, and even crossword puzzles, in addition to short (less than 20 minute) lecturettes. “Death by PowerPoint” will not happen in my class. I will provide them with the most current information I have available. I stay current on topics and trends in the industry. I will stay abreast of current technology and apply it in the classroom whenever it adds to the learning experience. (Examples include current software, podcasts and blogging, to name a few.) I will make every effort to help guide students through the issues that they raise, and we will seek resolution together. I will make every effort I can to make sure that students understand the issues and concepts my courses present. When I have positive feedback to share, I will share it openly in the classroom and call attention to students by name in the process. My goal in this is to enhance or maintain the students’ selfesteem, not to break it down. There are plenty of other places in the world where their selfesteem may be diminished. Constructive criticism will still be provided to students, but not by name in front of a whole class. I expect for us to have fun in class. Laughter and learning go hand in hand in my book. If we are not enjoying ourselves in class, there’s something amiss. And perhaps most importantly, I will listen to my students so that I can learn from them, too.

    

 

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 9

:: WRITING FOR DIGITAL MEDIA :: :: COMM 2423 · FALL 2011 ::
TENTATIVE DAILY SCHEDULE (as of 16 August 2011)
WEEK 1 STARTING August 25 TOPIC/ASSIGNMENT Course Welcome & Overview Introduction Building a WordPress-Powered Website Blogito, Ergo Sum: Trends in Personal Publishing CHAPTER READINGS / NewsU Courses  NewsU Course: Reporting Across Platforms + Course Report  Ch. 7  NewsU Course: 5 Steps to Multimedia Storytelling + Course Report  Ch. 1  NewsU Course: Cleaning Your Copy + Course Report  Ch. 2  NewsU Course: Anatomy of a Multimedia News Organization + Course Report  Ch. 3  NewsU Course: Writing for the Ear + Course Report + Course Report  Ch. 4  NewsU Course: The Language of the Image + Course Report  Ch. 5  NewsU Course: Get Me Rewrite: The Craft of Revision + Course Report  Ch. 6  NewsU Course: Telling Stories with Sound + Course Report  NewsU Course: Build and Engage Local Audiences Online + Course Report  Ch. 8  Ch. 9  Ch. 10  NewsU Course: Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Publishers + Course Report

2

August 29

3

September 5

On Writing Well Digital v. Analog Media  Blog Checkpoint #1 & Blog Editorial Calendar Screen Writing: Online Style & Techniques Headlines & Hypertext  Website Critique Due Designing Places & Spaces Getting it Right: Online Editing, Designing & Publishing  Blog Checkpoint #2 TBA  Feature Story Package #1 We the People I: Citizen Journalism  Live Blog of an Event We the People II: News as Conversation

4

September 12

5

September 19

6

September 26

7

October 3

8 9 10 11

October 10 October 17 October 24 October 31

12

November 7

Down to Business

13 14 15 16

November 14 November 21 November 28 December 5 FINAL EXAM

Learning the Legal Landscape  Ch. 11  Blog THANKSGIVING BREAK TBA  Feature Story Package #2 Course Wrap-Up Complete the “Final Exam” (in the form of a final blog post) by the end of the official Final Exam time.

NOTE: Chapters must be read by class time on Monday each week. Assignments, including NewsU Course Reports, are due on Saturdays by 11:59 PM unless otherwise noted. (See my blog for specific details on assignments.)

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 10

Caveat: The above schedule and procedures are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances. When possible, you will be provided at least two (2) class days of advance notice of any changes. It’s always wise to check your e-mail prior to class.

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 11

Consent to Comply

I ______________________________________________ Student’s Name (print) have read, understand, and will keep in my possession the Course Syllabus for COMM 2423, Southeastern University, 2011/2012. I understand that in compliance with the syllabus and the Student Handbook, for both instructional and evaluation purposes, I may be responsible for electronically submitting my written work to Turnitin®. With the affixing of my signature below, I agree to comply to the terms therein.

_____________________________________________ My Signature ______________________________________________ Date

COMM 2423 Fall 2011, p. 12

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful