OUTLINE

Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
January 6 – April 6, 2016
Computer Lab (3rd Floor, King’s A&A building)

Instructor:
Alicia Doyle
doyleaj@dal.ca
aliciadoyle7@gmail.com
902-229-8809

jour3557blog.wordpress.com

OVERVIEW
This course will introduce students to the concepts and practice of online journalism. It starts from the premise that this important medium is rapidly changing and the form of online journalism is a moving target.

The course will be taught as a lecture/lab. Students will examine the origins of online journalism, current trends and future possibilities. They will learn about what these journalists do and the issues they face.

The course will look at how people understand information on the web and how stories should be structured for the best readability. It will examine the phenomenon of participatory journalism and social media. It will also look at some of the ethical issues facing journalists as they use a variety of online tools to gather and tell stories.

Students will be encouraged to think experimentally about storytelling in this evolving medium. Students who take this course will:

  1. Gain an understanding of online journalism and the issues that concern reporters and editors
  2. Understand the nature of the web and the fundamentals of reporting for this medium
  3. Understand the role of social media in digital journalism
  4. Explore various web tools and examine their purpose in digital storytelling

* This outline will be updated with readings and topics as the course progresses.

SCHEDULE

  1. Jan. 6: Introduction
    • Introductions
    • Overview
    • A little background — let’s get close
  1. Jan. 13: A brief history/Online Writing
  1. Jan. 20: Online writing dos and don’ts/trends/tool

    • Writing structure
    • Writing effective headlines/summaries
  1. Jan. 27: Social Media Introduction:

  1. Feb. 3: Social Media – Facebook
  1. Feb. 10: Social Media 2 – Twitter
  1. Feb. 17: Reading Week
    • NO CLASS
  2. Feb. 24:  Ethics
  1. March 2: Presentations 1
    • Assignment #2: 10-minute student presentations of a multimedia story tool
  2. March 9: Presentations 2
    • Assignment #2: 10-minute student presentations of a multimedia story tool
      **March 11 – last day to drop with a withdrawal**
  1. March 16: Presentations (carry over)/Storify
  1. March 23: Online comments/open vs. closed & opinions/editorials
    • Dialogue is key for online journalism. Communicating back and forth is an option and sometimes can be tricky.
    • Tone is important on social media/blogs and in stories
    • When to address comments
    • How should comments function — open vs. closed
    • Legal stories must be closed
  1. March 30: Guest/Issues in Online Journalism/Course Wrap-up
  1. April 6: Final class

ASSIGNMENTS
An assignment handed in late loses one-third of a letter grade per day. An assignment not handed in gets a failing grade.

  1. STORY CRITIQUE(30%)Critique an online story and determine whether it reflects the fundamentals of online journalism and multimedia. The story is: A device that puts the work back in the workplace. In a critique of no more than 750 words, assess the story from top to bottom. How does the story stack up as an online story? As a piece of journalism? How could it be improved for an online audience? Is anything missing? Be specific. Back up your arguments by addressing the issues we’ve covered in class.
    Submit via email in MS Word or share a Google Doc — or another format, if approved by me first.Grading is based on: comprehension of source material; understanding of fundamentals of online journalism; ability to back up argument with examples; writing and grammar.
EXCELLENT
Solid understanding of source material. Essay is clear and focused. Shows thorough understanding of online fundamentals and deeper thinking on subject. Covers many aspects of online journalism. Draws on appropriate examples from class lectures. Writing is concise and tight. Copy is free of spelling and grammar mistakes. (80-100%)
GOOD
Good understanding of source material. Essay is focused and shows solid grasp of online fundamentals. Covers key aspects of online journalism but not many of them. Adequate use of examples from class lectures. One or two spelling or grammar mistakes. (65-79%)
POOR
Poor understanding of source material. Essay is unfocused and shows lack of understanding of key fundamentals of online journalism. Arguments not backed up. Inappropriate use of examples from class. Numerous spelling or grammar mistakes. (0-64%)
     
  1. EVALUATE A WEB TOOL(25%)In-class Presentation & Memo. Try out a web tool and determine its value to journalists. The list of tools to choose from is below. Each student must choose a different tool (Email me your choice by Feb. 10 — and your preferred presentation date. I will update the list).

1) Prepare a 7-minute oral presentation (+2 mins. for questions). Don’t take us on an in-depth tour. We want a brief introduction. You should address a number of questions: What is it? How does it work? When would you use it? Why? Consider pros and cons.

2) Describe your experience and explain your conclusion in a memo of no more than 750 words. Compare it to another tool, if applicable. Make it clear that you tried it out. Any references to relevant reviews and blog posts should be properly attributed. Send it to me on the day of your presentation.

 LIST OF TOOLS
o   Banjo (You need a smartphone)
o   Crowdmap
o   Evernote
o   GeoCommons
o   Google Docs
o   Google Maps  (You need a Google account)
o   Google Fusion Tables   (You need a Google account)
o   Hootsuite
o   IFTTT
o   Infogram
o   Instapaper (You need a smartphone or tablet)
o   Klout
o   Layar
o   Meographo   Paper.li
o   PopcornMaker
o   RebelMouse
o   ScoopIt
o   Spundge
o   Slideshare
o   ThingLink
o   Verite
o   Vine
o   Vyclone
o   Zeega
o   … or suggest another

 

EXCELLENT
Memo & presentation is focused and well structured. Addresses a number of key aspects and shows deeper thinking on subject. Clear demonstration of use of tool. Reflects solid understanding of role and duties of journalists. Includes relevant external sources, attributed properly. Writing is concise and tight. Copy is free of spelling and grammar mistakes. (80-100%)
GOOD
Memo & presentation is focused. Addresses some key questions about tool, but not many. Clear demonstration of use. Shows fair understanding of duties of journalists. External sources attributed properly. Writing is tight and concise. One or two spelling or grammar mistakes. (65-79%)
POOR
Memo & presentation is unfocused or lacks structure. Didn’t use tool or show that it was tried. Poor or undeveloped understanding of what journalists do. Arguments not backed up. No additional sources or sources not attributed properly. Numerous spelling or grammar mistakes. (0-64%)
  1. STORIFY(15%)Tell a story using Storify, a tool to curate social media. You are free to pick your own topic, but it should be timely and appropriate to this format. It does not have to be Halifax based. Two “pages” is fine; don’t go beyond three.
    Note: You will need to create a Storify account. Follow the instructions on that site.Grading is based on: suitability of topic; quality of sources; number and variety of sources; clarity and logic of narrative; writing and grammar.

 

EXCELLENT
Clear and logical narrative. Contains 20 or more sources from a range of social media services. Sources are relevant. Writing is concise and supports SM segments. Includes key sources and information. Copy is free of spelling and grammar mistakes. (80-100%)
GOOD
Story makes sense and has a narrative. Contains 11-19 sources from at least two SM services. Most sources are relevant. Contains key information, though some supporting info or sources may be missing. Writing bridges SM segments. One or two spelling or grammar mistakes. (65-79%)
POOR
Little or no structure or logic. Contains fewer than 10 sources from one SM service. Lacks key sources and information. Writing is incoherent, off topic or fails to bridge SM segments. Numerous spelling or grammar mistakes. (0-64%)

 

  1. ESSAY(30%)What is your advice to aspiring online journalists? What do they need to understand?
    Answer this in an essay of no more than 1,200 words. This assignment is about understanding what online journalists do and the challenges they face, so make sure you address a range of issues and areas. Back up your arguments with examples from your own experience or the experiences of others in the field. References to reports, reviews and blog posts should be properly attributed.Grading is based on: depth of understanding of duties/challenges; range of issues explored, quality of supporting examples; writing and grammar.
EXCELLENT
Essay is focused and well structured. Addresses a number of key areas and shows deeper thinking on subject. Reflects solid understanding of role and duties of journalists. Arguments backed up with examples and facts. Includes a number of relevant external sources, attributed properly. Writing is concise and tight. Copy is free of spelling and grammar mistakes. (80-100%)
GOOD
Essay is focused. Addresses some key areas, but not many. Shows fair understanding of duties of journalists. Most arguments backed up with examples from lectures. One or two external sources. Writing is tight and concise. One or two spelling or grammar mistakes. (65-79%)
poor
Essay is unfocused or lacks structure. Poor or undeveloped understanding of what journalists do. Arguments not backed up. No additional sources or sources not attributed properly. Numerous spelling or grammar mistakes. (0-64%)

 ETHICAL CONDUCT

All students are expected to familiarize themselves with and abide by the School of Journalism Code of Ethics.

INTELLECTUAL HONESTY

Plagiarism is stealing someone else’s words and presenting them as your own. It is a form of academic fraud and if you do it, you can end up in big trouble.

The most common cases of plagiarism involve students who cut and paste material from the Internet or copy something without giving the original author credit. In journalism, giving credit is called attribution. Do not cut and paste. Do attribute your sources.

Plagiarism is a serious academic offence. The punishments can range from getting zero on the assignment, failing the course, being suspended or expelled from the university. So it’s in your best interest to adopt good habits when it comes to sourcing material. For more information, go to King’s homepage and under Quick Links, select Academic Calendar. If you have questions, ask.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Students may request accommodation as a result of barriers related to disability, religious obligation, or any characteristic under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. Students who require academic accommodation for either classroom participation or the writing of tests and exams should make their request to the Advising and Access Services Center (AASC) prior to or at the outset of the regular academic year. Please visit http://www.dal.ca/access for more information and to obtain the Request for Accommodation – Form A.

A note taker may be required as part of a student’s accommodation. There is an honorarium of $75/course/term (with some exceptions). If you are interested, please contact AASC at 494-2836 for more information.

Please note that your classroom may contain specialized accessible furniture and equipment. It is important that these items remain in the classroom, untouched, so that students who require their usage will be able to participate in the class.

ABSENCES

In case of illness or other unavoidable cause of absence, the student must communicate as soon as possible with his/her instructor, indicating the reason for the absence. Prolonged illness must have a medical certificate sent to the instructor.

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