Course Overview

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course examines the online news landscape. Students learn which principles of traditional journalism can and should be applied to the web, and what makes online journalism unique. Students gain this knowledge through reading assignments, class discussion and activities, and a series of reporting, writing and multimedia production assignments.

COURSE OBJECTIVES:

  • Explore the unique challenges, opportunities, ethical and legal issues of digital journalism.
  • Author a news-oriented blog on a well-defined beat or coverage area.
  • Write blog posts with effective headlines, writing, structure, links and key words.
  • Use social media as a tool for reporting and audience engagement.
  • Become proficient in basic multimedia reporting and production, including how to tell a story using text, links, photos, audio, video, information graphics and data visualizations.
  • Produce an online publication with original reporting and multimedia content that is suitable for internship, freelance and job applications.

TEACHING METHODS:

Students will practice online journalism in this course. Practice, in this case, means developing journalistic skills to cover a topic for a real audience, not just fulfilling a school assignment. Students will select a topic or beat to cover for the semester. Each student will create a blog and then report, write and create multimedia content to cover that topic. All assignments will be posted online for anyone to read. Students will build an online audience. I will serve as an editorial advisor and give the same responses, instruction and suggestions that I would give to a professional journalist. This course stresses journalistic ethics, writing for online media, and basic multimedia reporting and production.

ACADEMIC HONESTY AND JOURNALISTIC ETHICS:

Students are required to abide by the university’s Academic Integrity Policy http://www.rowan.edu/provost/policies/documents/academic_integrity_policy_04-12.pdf

In addition, for this course students are expected to adhere to Cyberjournalist.net’s Blogger

Code of Ethics (http://www.cyberjournalist.net/news/000215.php) when reporting and creating journalistic content.

Plagiarism and fabrication are serious offenses. Do not use words, photos, or other kinds of content without proper attribution and copyright permission. This includes copying content from the Internet. Plagiarism also includes passing off another’s work as your own or giving your work to another student. Fabrication is deliberately inventing or altering information with the intent to deceive. Anyone caught plagiarizing or fabricating could receive an F for the course.

All assignments must be completed for this class only. Submitting work from another class, in part or in full, is considered academic dishonesty.

ACCOMMODATION POLICY:

Your academic success is important. If you have a documented disability that may have an impact upon your work in this class, please contact me at the beginning of the semester. Students must provide documentation of their disability to the Academic Success Center in order to receive official University services and accommodations. The Academic Success Center can be reached at 856-256-4234. The Center is located on the 3rd floor of Savitz Hall. The staff is available to answer questions regarding accommodations or assist you in your pursuit of accommodations.

OFFICE HOURS:

I welcome conversations with students outside of class. My regular office hours are posted on my office door. I may also be available other times as well. If you would like to make an appointment, email me.

I regularly email students between classes with updates on assignments, grades, and responses to your work. Please check your rowan.edu email throughout the week.

ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION

Attendance is graded and is worth 10 percent of overall grade. Points are earned only if students arrive on time and attend and participate in the class. Each student receives two “free passes” during the semester. Beginning with the third instance, points will be deducted for absence, arriving late, leaving early, or failing to participate in class. Students who miss class are responsible for all material covered in that class and must meet all deadlines related to that material. Excused absences include religious observances, documented illness, death of family or loved-one and pre-approved school-related activities. Students must provide official written documentation for an excused absence.

COMPUTER LAB ETIQUETTE:

We will often use the computers and mobile devices for in-class assignments. When we do use them, please refrain from unrelated multi-tasking that may distract you, your classmates and me. Please silence your mobile device before class begins and give your full attention to the course work. I will do the same.

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