Week 5 — Oct. 2 & 4

In Class:
Writing headlines for web and mobile (cont.)
The internet IS reality: What you do online matters
-Take a look at each other’s blogs and give feedback
Writing leads
Intro to simple web analytics
Social media and journalism
Examples of Solid Q&A posts
-Tips on conducting good interviews

—Post 4: Free Choice (25 points) due Sunday, Oct. 8 at 10 p.m.
Post 5: Q&A with Photo due Sunday, Oct. 15 at 10 p.m.

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Week 4

In Class:
-Discuss Renegade Mothering (news blog of the week)
-Grading rubric or What I’m looking for in a blog post
Tips for writing for the web
Linking like a journalist
Tags and Categories
—So, how should we feel about headlines and clickability?
Writing headlines for web and mobile

Due Sunday, Oct. 1 by 10 p.m.:
Post 2: Aggregation Post  (25 points)
Post 3: Free Choice (25 points)

-Read JournalismNext Chapter 3 – “Crowd-powered collaboration”
-Read JournalismNext Chap 10 – “Managing news as a conversation”

Looking ahead:
–Post 4: Free Choice (25 points) due Sunday, Oct. 8 at 10 p.m. and Post 5: Q&A with Photo Due Sunday, Oct. 15 at 10 p.m.

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Week 3 — Sept. 18 & 20

In Class:
-Start setting up your blog in class
Common types of blog posts
-Discuss previous students’ feedback on how to succeed in this class
Blogging basics
Ethics quiz: Permission, waivers, plagiarism, copyright, fair use and Creative Commons

-Read Uwishunu (news blog of the week)
Blog Set Up and Post 1 (Introduction) due by Sun., Sept. 24 at 10 p.m.

Catch up on reading:
-Read JournalismNext – Forward and Intro
-Read JournalismNext Chapter 1 – “We are all digital workers now,” but skip section on Web design
-Read JournalismNext Chapter 2 – “Blogging for better journalism”
-Read the Cyberjournalist.net’s Blogger Code of Ethics

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Week 2 — Sept. 11 & 13

In Class:
—What do we talk about when we talk about journalism? And what makes Online Journalism unique?
—Discuss highlights from the OJ1 Hall of Fame
—You will pitch your beat for the semester.
Feedback from previous students
Blogging basics
Ethics quiz: Permission, waivers, plagiarism, copyright, fair use and Creative Commons

-Read JournalismNext Chapter 1 – “We are all digital workers now,” but skip section on Web design
-Read JournalismNext Chapter 2 – “Blogging for better journalism”
-Read the Cyberjournalist.net’s Blogger Code of Ethics
-Read Slate.com. Why is this one of the most popular online news sites in the U.S.?
-Come to class with two or three beat blog ideas and be prepared to pitch the ideas to me individually in class. You will eventually email me your beat pitch.

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Week 1

In Class:
Course overview
-What are we talking about when we talk about journalism? What makes online journalism unique?
-Thinking about your beat for the semester.

-Browse this list of previous student blogs from Online Journalism 1 and come to class ready to talk about one or two in particular.
-Get your books. Read JournalismNext – Forward and Intro
-Get your equipment together. What do you have? What do you need?
-Start thinking about your beat. Come with a few ideas next week.
-Add Slate.com to your media diet for the week. We’ll discuss next class.

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Picking A Beat For The Semester

For this class, I am asking you to take a journalistic approach to blogging which has been called “beat blogging.”

Beatblogging.org defines the term as “any blog that sticks to a well-defined beat or coverage area, whether it is the work of a single person or a team, whether it is authored by a pro or an amateur journalist.” It continues:

Content-wise, a beat blog presents a regular flow of reportingandcommentary in a focused area the beat covers; it provides links and online resources in that area, and it tracks the subject over time…. When beat blogs are part of a pro reporters work, the best ones are not incidental to the reporter’s work but an integral part of it; sometimes the blog is the main platform for the beat.

Start thinking about the “beat” you want to cover for the semester. It can be a specific subject, geographic location, or community.

Here are some things you should consider:

1. You should be passionate about it or at least want to be passionate about it.

2. You must have regular access to your beat and people, places, and events. You will be required to do original reporting on short notice. You will interview people, take photographs, gather audio, and shoot video. Also, friends and family CAN NOT be used as sources. Keep that in mind.

3. Think of it as building a journalistic publication. What is your niche? Who is your audience? What kind of content would your audience want? What kind of publication you would like to have at the end of the semester?

4. The best blogs are focused on a narrow, concrete subject. For example, “Little League baseball in Washington Township” is better than “sports” or “baseball.” And you can’t cover the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, Sixers or fashion in Milan or Hollywood gossip or any other subject that you do not have access to. See point #2.

5. Your beat should be one that allows you to consistently report on journalistically worthy news stories, event information, profiles of interesting individuals, and any other related topics your audience can’t get in any way but through your site. This blog is NOT a personal journal or a place to make stray observations. It’s a work of journalism.

6. Consider your own conflict of interests. For example, if you are the Student Government President, you cannot cover student government as a journalist. Or, if you work in a particular industry, you cannot cover that industry as a journalist.

Eat Play OCNJ: What makes Ocean City, NJ the best beach in America
Philly Curated: A collection of Philadelphia’s most interesting museums
The Beauty Capsule — Streamline your beauty and fashion knowledge in just one click
En Vino, Let’s Get Lost — A love of wine and what South Jersey has to offer
Gluten Free and Fabulous — A lifestyle free of gluten
Philly’s Latin Phever – Your Guide to Latin Dancing in the Heart of Philadelphia
Road to the Winner’s Circle – The equestrians guide to the South Jersey show circuit
A View of Runnemede – Local events and education issues
FIT-nique – Unusual fitness classes, products and extreme sports
For the Record – Everything from tubes to turntables in Southern NJ
Rescue Me – Animal rescue and adoption in central New Jersey
The South Jersey Rialto – South Jersey community theater
A Flash of Light – Lightning awareness in NJ
40 Years and Counting – A chronicle of marriages that last a lifetime
Second Hand Beat – Used bookshops in South Jersey/Philadelphia
Campus Lookbook – Current fashions on Rowan’s campus
Cherry & White Huddle – Providing inside access into the Temple University Owl’s
Woodbury Pride – Covering the Junior Woodbury Steelers football team
DIY Food – South Jersey’s slow, small and sustainable food
SJ Taco Time – The good, the bad, and the ugly of Mexican cuisine in South Jersey

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Welcome To Online Journalism—Fall 2017


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.


  • 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 and video.
  • Produce an online publication with original reporting and multimedia content that is suitable for internship, freelance and job applications.


Students will practice online journalism in this course. Practice, in this case, means actually 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 the 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 professional journalists. This course stresses journalistic ethics, writing for online media, and basic multimedia reporting and production.

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