Digital Journalism

COM466 – University of Washington

Assignments 2009

Catalyst Dropbox for final course reflection

Google Docs gradesheet

There are no exams in this course; instead, there are several assignments. Each of these assignments is required to successfully pass the course.

Your grade for this class will be based on a possible total of 1000 points; and your score will be directly translated into the 4.0 scale. Participation in the class and lab discussions will count towards your final grade. Regular attendance, contributions to the discussion of themes, and engagement and leadership in class exercises will result in a high participation grade.

Assignments will be turned in via Catalyst or on your blog. We will create blogs at WordPress.com. Students with work or family conflicts should make arrangements with the instructor before missing class or an assignment. Late assignments policy varies per assignment.

Grades are determined as follows:

  • Weekly Assignments: 250
  • Twitter: 125
  • Group Project: 300
  • Individual slideshow or video: 150
  • Final essay: 100
  • Participation: 75

Weekly assignments in chronological order. (updated 4 May)

  • Week 1: create blog, begin posting; media consumption survey
  • Week 2: create Twitter account, begin following/posting
  • Week 3: examples of good/bad multimedia news sites
  • Week 3: NewsU audio tutorial; edit clips
  • Week 4: audio story
  • Week 5: audio story
  • Week 6: create photo/sound slideshow [bring photos to class on Wednesday]
  • Week 6: analyze infographics
  • Week 7: examples of good/bad “TV-like news” online; edit video [bring about 5 min of video to class on Wednesday – can be shot with camera phone, digital camera, Flip, etc. Goal is editing!]
  • Week 8: create a short news online video [no class Monday (use time to shoot!)] and finalize 2-minute video story
  • Week 9: identify your personal URL [no class Monday – holiday; lab on Wednesday to refine video story]
  • Week 10: group project final draft
  • Week 11: finals week
    * Group and individual projects due on Wednesday 10 June at 11.30 am;
    * Twitter essay due Monday 8 June at 11.30 am on your blog;
    * Final course reflection due Monday 8 June at 11.30 am via Catalyst CollectIt

Twitter (125 points)
Students will use Twitter as news gathering, monitoring tool throughout the quarter. Includes final essay on experience.

Week 2 – 6 April

  • Set up Twitter accounts (must be public, not private); add Twitter IDs to student page of this site; follow one-another
  • Before Wed class – Find and follow an additional 10 people related to digital journalism
  • In class Wed – Find and follow at least 10 news-related accounts by Thursday

Week 3 – 13 April

  • By 8 am Monday 13 April, customize your Twitter account (avatar, bio, link to your course blog, change default design theme)
  • By 8 am Monday 13, April, four more tweets related to class. Remember your hashtags!
  • By 8 am Wednesday 15 April, Blog & tweet (one blog post, three tweets): three examples of good audio stories (not sites, stories)

Week 4 – 20 April

  • Three tweets related to group project (future of news) by 8 am Wed

Added 4 May: Assignment for remainder of the quarter (weeks 6, 7, 8, 9, 10):

  • Follow an additional five people each week; blog post by 8 am Monday telling us who, why. Should be *people* not news organizations but can be new media sites like ReadWriteWeb (although you are supposed to already be following RWW!). Posts due Weeks 7, 8, 9, 10. The following Friday, tweet these five as a #followFriday tweet (does not count as one of the five tweets for the week).
  • Post at least five tweets/week (tweets due weeks 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – a week is Sunday-Saturday, for example, Week 6 is 3 May-9May )
  • Due Monday finals week (8 June) at 11.30 am: 600-800 word essay on Twitter experience. What did you learn? What do you think of the future of Twitter as a tool for journalists? For citizens? For news organizations? Give evidence for your opinion. Post to your course blog.

Individual Slideshow or Video Story (150 points)
Two minute video story (post to YouTube) or two minute audio story (Soundslides) with minimum of 20 photos

  • Individual projects due on Wednesday 10 June at 11.30 am – post to blog
  • The blog post should contain (a) one to two paragraphs with a succinct summary of the story and explanation your goals; note any reporting challenges and (b) one to two paragraphs explaining how well you met your goals, what you learned doing this project, and what you would do differently if you had a chance to redo this assignment

Assessment:

  • Content (audio) – Does the audio tell a story? Are sound bites logical (progression, relevance)? Are you giving the listener the information she needs to understand the story? Is each person clearly identified?
  • Content (photos): Do the photos tell a story? Is the story logical (progression, relevance)? Are you giving the reader the information she needs to understand the story? Is text used appropriately (captions)?
  • Content (video) – Does the clip tell a story? Are sound bites logical (progression, relevance)? Are you giving the listener the information she needs to understand the story? Is each person clearly identified? Can this story stand alone or does it need text for context?
  • Sound (both) – Is the audio listenable? Is there some natural sound and is effective or gimmicky? [Remember: Do not use music unless it was recorded in the background of your interview, and it’s critical to your story. All natural (ambient) sound must be “true” to the story (if you’re interviewing the chef of a restaurant and want clanging dishes, record it at that restaurant – not another).
  • Video – Is the video watchable? Is the light appropriate (or over/under exposed)? Are the clips long enough for context or so short as to appear “jumpy”?
  • Bonus points for news value (your framing is critical here); creativity

Group Project (300 points)
Examination of the future of news; stand-alone WordPress website collaboratively developed. “Package” reflects enterprise reporting techniques; should include audio, stills, text, video, infographics. Will include peer review survey/assessment.

Final Essay (100 points)
This, the final assignment, substitutes for a final exam. In this essay, you should reflect upon what you have learned in the course; give examples (evidence, such as references to readings or speakers); illustrate how your thinking changed or detail other “ah-ha” moments. How will you apply these learnings outside the classroom? 750-900 words. Final course reflection due Monday 8 June at 11.30 am via Catalyst CollectIt

Participation (75 points)
Students are expected to attend all classes and are responsible for completing all course material on deadline. You must e-mail me if you miss class because of illness or emergency. This communication is part of your class participation. Moreover, rather than ask me what happened while you were away, you should also check the course blog as well as talk to your classmates to “see what you missed.” In-class assignments cannot be made up except by arrangement.

There are many ways to participate in the class. This is a safe environment, where students can try new ways of engaging in discussion and learning with others. Discussion about readings and other class material will be conducted seminar-style, that is, with an exchange of questions, explanations and viewpoints about readings and key ideas.

Weekly Assignments (total 250 points)

  • Blogging assignments: 75 points
  • Audio assignments: 65 points
  • Photo assignments: 45 points
  • Video assignments: 65 points

Final Audio Assignment
For Wednesday 29 April
2-3 minute audio story – New story or continue refining story number 1

  • By 8 am: blog post with (a) one to two paragraphs with a succinct summary of the story and explanation your goals; note any reporting challenges and (b) one to two paragraphs explaining how well you met your goals, what you learned doing this project, and what you would do differently if you had a chance to redo this assignment.
  • BRING the MP3 TO CLASS and we will upload them to the web and link them in the blog post.
  • Assessment:
    • Content – Does the audio tell a story? Are sound bites logical (progression, relevance)? Are you giving the listener the information she needs to understand the story? Is each person clearly identified? Can this story stand alone or does it need text or images for context?
    • Sound – Is the audio listenable? Is there some natural sound and is effective or gimmicky? [Remember: Do not use music unless it was recorded in the background of your interview, and it’s critical to your story. All natural (ambient) sound must be “true” to the story (if you’re interviewing the chef of a restaurant and want clanging dishes, record it at that restaurant – not another).
    • Bonus points for news value (your framing is critical here); creativity

Proof of Concept SoundSlides Project
For Wed 6 May Lab, Due Fri 8 May by 6 pm

  • By 8 am Wed: blog post with (a) one to two paragraphs with a succinct summary of the visual story [your Red Square interpretation] and explanation your goals; note any reporting/photography challenges and (b) one to two paragraphs explaining how well you met your goals, what you learned doing this project, and what you would do differently if you had a chance to redo this assignment.
  • Bring 75 digital photos to class on USB thumb drive or equivalent. If your photos are in RAW format, make sure your software can “read” them – there is no guarantee that Photoshop on the lab machines will be able to do so.
  • Assessment:
    • Content – Do the photos tell a story? Is the story logical (progression, relevance)? Are you giving the reader the information she needs to understand the story?
    • Bonus points for creativity, news value (your framing is critical here)
    • Extra-Credit if you use your own 2 minute audio story

Final Video Assignment
For Wednesday 20 May – first cut in lab
For Wednesday 27 May – final cut (due Friday 29 May at 5 pm)
2 minute video story

  • On 20 May, BRING the video file(s) TO CLASS on a USB drive. Kathy and Peg will demonstrate editing software. We will demo how to upload to YouTube and link in your blog posts. You will need to create a YouTube account; do so before class if you think you’ll be ready to upload at the end of class. First cut (if this is to be your “final” video story) and upload due Thursday by 11.30 am (in order for us to give you feedback).
    * Bring about 5 minutes of video (on a USB drive, not the camera!, or already on your PC/Mac laptop if you are going to edit on your machine). Be sure to have all “five” types of shots.
    * Create a log before class! Here is one form from the BBC. The important thing is to know what shots are “where” (an annotated timeline). The log can be on paper.
    * Create a rough “script” — which segments from the log do you want to put together to tell a story? The script can be on paper. Added: digital script due Friday 22 May at 8 am
  • By 8 am 27 May: blog post with (a) one to two paragraphs with a succinct summary of the story and explanation your goals; note any reporting challenges and (b) one to two paragraphs explaining how well you met your goals, what you learned doing this project, and what you would do differently if you had a chance to redo this assignment.
  • On 27 May, final cut for two minute story (class is lab if you need it). You must incorporate feedback from the rough cut script review. Upload the final cut to YouTube and link in your blog post NLT Friday 29 May at 8am; also create a post on this blog and include both the rough and final cuts [just like the audio assignment – copy&paste the post from your blog to this blog and categorize “student projects”]
  • Assessment:
    • Content – Does the clip tell a story? Are sound bites logical (progression, relevance)? Are you giving the listener the information she needs to understand the story? Is each person clearly identified? Can this story stand alone or does it need text for context?
    • Sound – Is the audio listenable? Is there some natural sound and is effective or gimmicky? [Remember: Do not use music unless it was recorded in the background of your interview, and it’s critical to your story. All natural (ambient) sound must be “true” to the story (if you’re interviewing the chef of a restaurant and want clanging dishes, record it at that restaurant – not another).
    • Video – Is the video watchable? Is the light appropriate (or over/under exposed)? Are the clips long enough for context or so short as to appear “jumpy”?
    • Bonus points for news value (your framing is critical here); creativity

3 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. […] Assignments page updated (also changed points for group/individual projects) […]

  2. […] For Finals Week – assignment details […]

  3. […] Posted in Education, Media, Popular Culture, Teaching, Twitter by kegill on 8 June 2009 The assignment (COM466): Students will use Twitter as news gathering, monitoring tool throughout the quarter. […]

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