Multimedia Reporting Capstone
Fall 2014 | Syllabus | Blackboard | Blog posts
Dr. Stacy Spaulding | Office hours | Contact Info
MCOM 407/507.001 | Mondays, 11 a.m.-1:40 p.m. | VB 209
MCOM 407/507.002 | Tuesdays, 11 a.m.-1:40 p.m. | VB 207
Week 1 | Due Sept. 4 | One-on-one conference with the professor
Our first class will meet on September 8 (for section 001) and September 9 (for section 002). Until then, you have three assignments:
- Read the Syllabus. Be sure to read the work past students have done in this class.
- Homework journal (due at least 24 hours before you conference with me). On Blackboard, go to Journals –> Week 1 –> and answer the following questions: 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?
- Professor conferences Aug. 26 – Sept. 5. 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 about you before you come by.
Week 2 | Due Sept. 8/9 | On creativity
- Read Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. Optional viewing: Everything is a Remix (the full film is available on YouTube)
- Homework journal (Due before you come to class). On Blackboard, go to Journals –> Week 2 –> and answer the following questions: 1) Were there one or two quotes from this book stood out to you? If so, why? 2)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. What habits should you be developing now to be successful in this class? In your professional career?
- In-class discussion agenda: Speed introductions: Your inspiration | Group & class discussion on creativity: Steal Like an Artist & Everything is a Remix | Syllabus & class questions | Week 3 assignments
Week 3 | Due Sept. 15/16 | 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 Submit one homework journal per group, following the directions in the syllabus. Be ready to present your journal in class as well.
- In-class discussion: Outlining Metal Men | Group presentations for Why’s this so good? |Story rubric discussion | Pinning down your capstone project idea
Week 4 | Due Sept. 22/23 | Story memo & conferences
- Homework journal: 10-point story memo 1) Write a 300-word news brief with at least two 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. 29/30 | Interviewing & Informal peer review
- Reading: Story Craft ch 10 | Out of the Blocks | Sheilah 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. 6/7 | Why’s this good? & Semi-formal peer review
- Assignment due: Digressions 1 & 2 | Why’s this so good #2 Submit one homework journal per group, following the directions in the syllabus. Be ready to present your journal in class
- In-class discussion: In-class writing reflection | Why’s this so good #2 presentations | Semi-formal peer review
Week 7 | Oct. 13/14 | 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. 20/21 | Formal peer review
- 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. 27/28 | Camera & photo basics
- Assignment due, stapled: 1) Formal peer review sheet, 2) Final story, printed, with narratives and digressions
- Homework journals: Why’s this so good? #3
- In-class discussion: Reflecting on the writing process | Camera and photo-editing basics | Why’s this so good? #3 group presentations | Why’s this so good? #4
Week 10 | Nov. 3/4 | Plus-one Showcase
- Homework: MediaStorm 101: Reporting Track | View the videos and take the Blackboard quiz
- In-class discussion: Why’s this so good #4 | Photo/plus ones rubric discussion
Week 11 | Nov. 10/11 | Page & Platform reviews
- Homework journal: MediaStorm 101: Post-Production Track | View the videos and take the Blackboard quiz
- In-class discussion: Informal peer review of your medium, your initial pages, your multimedia & plus one plans
Week 12 | Nov. 17/18 | Multimedia rough cuts and reshoots
- Homework journal: Homework journal: List 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
Week 13 | Nov. 24/25 | Professor conferences
- Schedule a conference with me between Nov. 18 & Nov. 25 to review your progress on visuals and plus ones together.
Dec. 1/2 | Formal Peer Review
- In-class discussion: Formal peer review | overall site review rubric
Dec. 8/9 | Final site review
- Homework journal: Informal capstone reflection
- In-class discussion: Graded overall site review | Best in class awards
- Best of Semester Awards | Time & Location TBD