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 agenda: Syllabus | 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: (Due before you come to class) 1) Define these terms: explanatory narrative, action line, digression, 3+2 2) Which parts of Metal Men were action? Which parts were digression? How did you know? 3) Optional for “exemplary” credit: Have you seen the 3+2 structure in stories before? If so, provide a link and explain the story’s structure.
  • Assignment due: Why’s this so good? #1
  • In-class discussion: The Journalism that Inspires You | 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 | Due the night before your professor conference. No journals accepted after 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23. | 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. No journals accepted after 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23.

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 reporting and how is it different from regular reporting? 2) What is the difference between observational narrative and reconstructive narrative? 3) Sheilah Kast (at 4:25 in the MP3) conducts a hard news interview on the closing of fire stations that could have been confrontational and combative, but isn’t. What interviewing techniques did she use? Quote and explain one interview technique for In the Zone credit, or two for Exemplary credit. 3) Out of the Blocks is an example of interviewing for narrative. Quote and explain one interview technique for In the Zone credit, or two for Exemplary credit.
  • Assignment due: Digression 1 & Start on Digression 2
  • In-class discussion: Interviewing | Why’s this so good #2 | Story design & tools |  Informal peer review #1

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

Week 7 | Oct. 12/13 | Semi-formal 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

Week 8 | Oct. 19/20 | Professor conferences

  • 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. 14-21: 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.

Week 9 | Oct. 26/27 | Formal & Final review of story

  • Assignment due, stapled: 1) Final story, printed, with narratives and digressions, 2) Formal peer evaluation (this will be completed in class)
  • In-class discussion: Graded peer story review | Why’s this so good? #3 | Hand out MediaStorm student codes

Week 10 | Nov. 2/3 | Multimedia basics

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

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