Welcome to Online Journalism 2 – Fall 2014

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Students will learn to conceptualize, design and implement a news website with emphasis on multimedia content creation and presentation. The course will examine content strategy, editing and production techniques.

This class uses a hands-on workshop approach to explore online journalism. Students will refine their multimedia skills – integrating text, audio, photographs and video to produce news stories for an online audience. It will also explore social networking and creating multimedia content for websites, tablets and mobile devices. The class will create an online multimedia publication about New Jersey issues and residents.

Prerequisites: News Reporting I and Online Journalism I
Recommended: Photojournalism, Publication Layout and Design and/or On-Camera Field Reporting

COURSE OBJECTIVES:
This course is a continuation of Online Journalism I. Each student will become more proficient in her/his interviewing, reporting, writing, editing and multimedia production skills. Each student will contribute to the tasks of building the student-run online publication http://njsouthbound.com By the end of the semester, each student will also have created several multimedia news stories suitable for internship or job applications.

In this course, students will:

  • Learn how to generate story ideas through original reporting.
  • Explore the art of interviewing and listening to subjects in a way that allows people to tell their own stories in a vivid and intimate manner.
  • Improve multimedia reporting skills, including how to best use and integrate text, photos, audio, video and graphics.
  • Explore multimedia storytelling forms and narrative structures.
  • Gain basic knowledge of JavaScript and jQuery, programs used for making interactive websites.
  • Produce multimedia stories solo and as member of team.
  • Work together as a class to build an online publication (http://njsouthbound.com) with special attention to journalistic ethics, strategy, design, mobile capabilities, social networking, and interactivity.
  • Uncover interesting stories about local people and issues – and hopefully gain new insight into Southern New Jersey life and culture.

TEACHING METHODS:
This is a fast-paced, advanced-level multimedia journalism workshop. Students are assigned a series of multimedia reporting and production assignments. The class will devise a strategy and a work plan for building, editing and promoting a website to host the best multimedia projects. This class will also include collaboration with students in the Photojournalism course. There will be a lot of discussion, back-and-forth, and, as is the case in the creation and editing of any publication, a fair amount of chaos. The success of the course and the finished product will depend on your energy, entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, and ability to work together as a team. It will require personal responsibility and journalistic standards. I will conduct the course as a group facilitator, editor and publisher.

All work for this class must meet journalistic standards for accuracy and ethics. All interviews, photos, articles, videos, etc. must be able to hold up to criticism and legal challenge. This is a public website, and students are responsible for all content.

The “beat” of NJSouthbound.com for the semester is “From the Delaware to the Sea.” The students will find stories along Route 47, also known as Delsea Drive. It’s a 75-mile long road that runs from Brooklawn (at Route 130 near Camden) to the Wildwood boardwalk. It is the longest continuous road in the state, and it offers a tour of the diverse communities and landscapes of South Jersey. As the name suggests, it connects the Delaware River to the sea. It offers a physical location to explore and hunt for stories. It is near campus and accessible by public transit. NJ Transit Bus 313 goes all the way from campus to Wildwood ($7.70 to go all the way.) The beat also allows students to pursue news stories as well as stories within their area of interests (political, sports, environmental, food, arts, etc).

The stories produced for the website will be “evergreen” feature stories or profile based, rather than news based. You are looking for stories that won’t go out of date quickly. However, they can still be timely.

The stories produced for the website will be rooted in a sense of place and should reveal something unique about the people, culture, or issues of Southern New Jersey. The majority of the stories must be about people and places off campus. There is already a school newspaper, TV station, radio station, and several other publications about Rowan. There is no need to replicate them.

Students will collect information through in person interviews and reporting. You will do this individually and in teams. Email and phone interviews won’t reap the required multimedia elements. Start early on your assignments. Use the entire time given. Always have a back up plan.

Stories will be gathered and presented in a variety of multimedia formats: articles, audio recordings, photos, audio slideshows, and short video segments.

The NJSouthbound.com website will be interactive allowing visitors to read, listen, watch, and contribute. It will promoted (via social networks, etc) so that it reaches an audience outside of the university. And it will showcase the best multimedia journalism by Rowan journalism students.

Students will create multimedia stories with the goal of having them published on NJ News Commons and NewsWorks.org, two local websites. Throughout the semester, the editors of those publications will be reviewing student stories and may publish some of them. These stories can also be added to a student’s portfolio for internships and job applications.

Download a pdf version of the syllabus

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