Course information

Objectives:

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the fundamental skills required to create and post engaging online news stories.

Each class will include lectures, discussion topics and in-class activities and presentations by students.

At the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Identify the unique characteristics of online journalism.
  • Write original online news stories, and headlines and leads.
  • Enhance text stories with interactive and multimedia elements.
  • Source, edit and prepare images for web publication.
  • Create various types of online stories, including:
    • News
    • Galleries
    • Lists/tips
    • Reviews
  • Post and update a breaking news story online.
  • Use social media for research, storytelling and audience engagement.
  • Use search engine optimization and tracking tools.
  • Recognize the legal and ethical issues in online journalism.

Requirements:

No computer programming experience is required, but students should be familiar with current computer software and the Internet.

Students will be expected to:

  • Participate in classroom discussions.
  • Post original assignments on their blog.
  • Present an online story or website they admire to the class.
  • Remember key points from lecture for the exam.

Tentative schedule:

  1. Jan 4. – What is online journalism?
  1. Jan 11  – Types of online news
  1. Jan 18 – Images in online news
  1. Jan 25  – Embedding
  1.  Feb 1 – Search engine optimization and mobilization.

Feb. 8 –  No class for family day

  1. Feb 15 – Social media for journalists
  1. Feb 22 – Basic new writing
  1. Feb 29 – Basic interviewing:
  1. Mar 7 –  Verification and online research
  1. Mar 14 – Breaking news on the web.
  1. Mar 21 – CBC studio visit and exam.
  • Meet at 700 Hamilton Street front entrance at 6 pm.

Evaluation:

  • Presentation:        10%
  • Assignment #1 :  20%
  • Assignment #2:   20%
  • Assignment #3:   20%
  • Participation         10%
  • Final exam:           20%

Assignment marking guidelines

The following is a list of some of the things that may be considered when marking assignments.

100% – A professional quality story, that:

  • Is based on an original idea.
  • Has a well-crafted structure that makes the most use of the material.
  • Has interviews that are insightful and enlightening.
  • Is well balanced overall, and extensively researched and documented.
  • Includes an impressive collection of online extras such as video, audio interviews, maps, slideshows and hyperlinks.

90% – A very well written story that:

  • Is based on original interviews and an interesting topic.
  • Has an engaging lead and is written.
  • Has interviews that are interesting and relevant.
  • Includes all proper details such as names, dates, and places,
  • Has background information that is sourced and attributed.
  • Has several interesting and relevant online extras such as maps, videos, slideshows and relevant hyperlinks.

80% – A well-written and interesting story, with:

  • Original interviews with suitable quotes.
  • A good lead and a generally solid structure and proper writing style.Some interesting online extras that add to the value.

70% – An interesting post based on original interviews, but with room for improvement in:

  • The structure,
  • Writing style,
  • Or suitable online extras.

60% – A story needing significant improvement in:

  • Structure
  • Writing style
  • Online presentation.

50% – A story requiring significant improvements because of:

  • Poor research or interviews.
  • Inappropriate structure, writing style,
  • Poor online presentation.

<50% – An unacceptable submission that lacks:

  • Original interviews and research,
  • A proper news structure,
  • Or the proper online presentation.
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