MCOM 407/507 Multimedia Reporting Capstone, Fall 2015
Dr. Stacy Spaulding | Office hours | Contact Info| Syllabus | Blackboard
MCOM 407.001 | Mondays, 12:30 – 3:10 p.m. | VB 209
MCOM 407/507.180 | Tuesdays, 5 – 7:40 p.m. | VB 207

Week 1 | Aug. 31 & Sept. 1 | Introductions

  • Homework Journal/Introductions: On Blackboard, go to Journals –> Week 1 –> 1) What’s the best piece of journalism (story/audio/video/photo) you’ve ever seen? What made you say, “Wow, I wish I’d made that” ? Why did it make such a powerful impression on you? Be sure to provide a link. 2) What’s the best piece of journalism you’ve ever produced? What’s the most important thing this project taught you? Tell me about it, and provide a link. 3) What kind of journalism do you dream of producing? What are the stories you dream of covering?
  • In-class discussion agendaSyllabus | homework | Developing killer story ideas | A million story ideas for student journalists | Past capstone ‘Best of Semester’ winners
  • Professor conferences Aug. 31 – Sept. 8.  Make an appointment with me online through my office hours page. Come prepared to discuss next week’s homework journal and the type of project you’d like to do in this class this semester.

Week 2 | Due by Sept. 9 | On creativity

  • No class, Professor conferences Sept. 1 – Sept. 9.  Make an appointment with me online through my office hours page. Please do the homework journal at least 24 hours before your appointment, so that I will have time to read it before you come by.
  • Read Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.
  • Homework journal (Due before you come to conference). On Blackboard, go to Journals –> Week 2 –> and answer the following questions: 1) This is a book written by an artist on the creative habits that young artists need to develop to do good work. Take what you think are the three most important rules from Kleon’s top 10, and adapt them here for journalists, and for your creative life. What habits should you be developing now to be successful in this class? In your professional career? 2) In our conference, we’ll talk about your ideas for your semester project. Summarize your best idea here. What’s the subject? What’s the news? Who are the top sources?

Week 3 | Due Sept. 14/15 | Structure

  • Reading: Metal Men and Story Craft Ch. 12
  • Homework journal: 1) What is explanatory narrative? 2) Explain the 3+2 structure. 3) Define these terms: action line, digression. Which parts of Metal Men were action? Which parts were digression? 4) Optional: Have you seen the 3+2 structure in stories before? If so, where? Provide a link if you have one.
  • Assignment due: Why’s this so good? #1
  • In-class discussion: Outlining Metal Men | Why’s this so good? #1 discussion | Story rubric discussion | Pinning down your capstone project idea

Week 4 | Due Sept. 21/22 | Story memo & conferences

  • Homework journal: 10-point story memo 1) Write a 300-word news brief with at least two interviewed sources on the news angle of your story. Be sure the brief has a strong direct-news lede. 2) Submit an outline of the 3+2 story that contains at least one sentence on the content of N1, N2, N3 and D1, D2. Be sure to list the content and key sources for each of the story sections. 3) What do you anticipate the challenges of this story will be? How will you address them?
  • One-on-one professor conferences Sept. 22/23: Schedule a conference with me, submit your story memo via your homework journal and print it and bring it to your appointment.

Week 5 | Sept. 28/29 | Interviewing & Informal peer review

  • Reading: Story Craft ch 10 | Out of the BlocksSheilah Kast’s interview of Fire Chief James Clack
  • Homework journal: 1) What is immersion interviewing, and how is it done? 2) Define give examples of observational narrative and reconstructive narrative. 3) Sheilah Kast conducts a hard news interview that could have been confrontational and combative, but isn’t. What interviewing techniques did she use? Quote and explain at least 3 specific examples of interview techniques. 3) Out of the Blocks is an example of interviewing for narrative. What interviewing techniques did Aaron Henkin use as he explored 3300 Greenmount? Quote and explain at least 3 specific examples of interview techniques.
  • Assignment due: Digression 1 & Start on Digression 2
  • In-class discussion: Interviewing | Story design & tools | Informal peer review | Why’s this so good #2

Week 6 | Oct. 5/6 | Why’s this good? & Semi-formal peer review

Week 7 | Oct. 12/13 | Informal peer review

  • Reading & Homework journal: Choose one reading and answer the journal questions:

The Art of the Interview | Choose this one if you’d like practical tips on conducting interviews | How can you be a better listener and how can you ask better questions? List and discuss at least three of the “do’s” and “don’ts” from this chapter that are meaningful to you.

How to Listen | Choose this one if you’d like to read about a pro writer’s perspective | This reading provides a good example of interviewing for narrative vs. interviewing for facts. What are the takeaway lessons from this example? List and discuss at least three.

Optional: Do both for “exceptional” journal credit.

  • Assignment due: Story draft with narratives and digressions
  • In-class discussion: More on interviewing | Narrative informal peer review | Out-of-class professor conferences Oct. 15-24

Week 8 | Oct. 19/20 | Formal peer review of story

  • Reading: Aim for the Heart Ch. 1
  • Homework journal: (1) What’s the difference between facttelling and storytelling? Which one do readers remember better, and why? (2) Why do multimedia news stories work best as narrow & deep? (3) What’s the focus statement, and why is it useful? Write an example focus statement for your story.
  • Professor conferences Oct. 15-24: Once you’ve got your narratives and digressions nailed down, make an appointment with me to review your draft. Be sure to print your story and bring it with you.
  • Assignment due: Story draft with narratives and digressions
  • In-class discussion: Photography composition & editing basics | Graded peer story review | Why’s this so good? #3 | Hand out MediaStorm student codes

Week 9 | Oct. 26/27 | Camera & photo basics

Week 10 | Nov. 2/3 | Maps and other plus ones

Week 11 | Nov. 9/10 | Page & Platform reviews

  • Homework journal: MediaStorm 101: Post-Production Track | View the videos and take the Blackboard quiz | Come to class prepared to share your story platform, initial photos and plus ones
  • In-class discussion: Collect links | Final exam time/location survey | Informal peer review of initial pages, photos and plus ones | Lab time for remaining class

Week 12 | Nov. 16/17 | Multimedia rough cuts and reshoots

  • Homework journal: List and elaborate on two techniques from the MediaStorm training that you implemented. Did they work? Why or why not? What will you differently next time?
  • In-class discussion: Informal Peer review of rough cuts | Professor consultations | Lab time for remaining class

Week 13 | Nov. 23/24 | Professor conferences

Week 14 | Nov. 30 & Dec. 1 | Formal Peer Review of multimedia, photos, headlines, cutlines

  • Homework due: Site finished & published
  • In-class discussion: Formal peer review of multimedia and plus ones

Week 15 | Dec. 7/8 | Final site review

  • Homework journal: Informal capstone reflection
  • In-class discussion: Informal capstone reflection | Final site review (class swap) | Best in class award nominations

Week 16 | Dec. 9-16 | Final Exam

  • Best of Semester Awards | TBA