Week 3—Sept. 25 & 27

-A few more thoughts on media “steamships” and “cigarette boats”
Art of story hunting
How to pitch stories for this class (Using XY And what’s interesting… test)
-Assignment I: Event pitches
Which media element/platform is best for your story?
Assignment I: Event Workflow – What to do and how to do it
Curation as Journalism
How/where to post your post-event coverage of Assignment I: Event
In-Class Assignment: Curating with Storify (Worth 2 points)

-Work on Assignment 1: Workflow due prior to your event (No later than Sept. 27) Turn in via email. (See Assignment I: Event Workflow – What to do and how to do it)
Assignment I: Event coverage due Oct. 6. (See How/where to post your post-event coverage of Assignment I: Event)

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In-Class Storify Assignment

Worth 2 Participation Points

Storify is a tool for curation. See BillyPenn’s Storify on Pope visit to Philadelphia.

The main goal of the assignment is to practice the key aspects of journalistic curation, including how to:

  • Identify essential pieces information
  • Evaluate sources and facts (are they reliable?)
  • Provide context to social media posts
  • Assemble a summary or narrative of a news story that makes sense of a chaotic bunch of information
  • Play to the strengths of individual media elements (text, photos, sound, video, graphics) to create the most compelling content
  • Pay attention to contiguity – how individual media elements (text, photos, sound, video, graphics) relate to each other

Here is the assignment…

Pick one of the following stories to curate:

1. On Sunday, Sept. 24, the NFL was under the political microscope as players and coaches considered whether or not to stand or kneel during the National Anthem. Tensions were stoked by a rally given by President Trump on Friday night where he said, “I would love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired.'” Curate a story that gathers the most interesting aspects of Trump’s comments, player/coach/owner responses on social media and elsewhere, and what actually transpired across the NFL on Sunday and the political fallout.

2. Last summer the Olympics were held in Rio, and there was a lot of controversy surrounding the choice. Curate a story that examines this controversy. Why were people against holding the Olympics in Rio? Was it because of Zika? Was it economic or ecological in nature? Who were some of the loudest voices of opposition? How did social media play a role? Did it impact Olympic competition or viewership? And after all was said and done, did this controversy have any lasting impact on the games? Did everything go smoothly or were their hiccups?

3. Hurricane Maria left a devastating impact on Puerto Rico last week. There was unprecedented loss of infrastructure and possibly lives, and the U.S. territory is still reeling from the storm. Curate a story that takes us from the days leading up to the hurricane to the impact and aftermath. Are there any videos or photos of the storm damage? Give some numbers: Property lost? Lives lost? Injuries? How long will it take to recover? And what is the U.S. government doing to assist?

For this curation assignment, you are required to:

Write a compelling headline and a short summary at the top of your Storify. Your headline should include key words for search, convey the main point of your Storify, and encourage the reader to continue.

Explain the 5 Ws of the story. Use text to lead into your storify and to introduce/connect/clarify the media elements.

Include at least six (6) sources from at least three (3) different social media platforms(Twitter, Google News, YouTube, etc).

Include at least two (2) visuals – photos, video. Each visual must be relevant and provide valuable insight or information to your topic.

Your completed Storify should summarize the key aspects of story, provide compelling social media content, and provide links to learn more.

Get started:

  1. Go to Storify.com to sign up for an account. If you log in with a Twitter account it will connect to those accounts.
  2. Click on New Story button.
  3. This will take you to the “Create a Story” screen. The left-hand side is where you build the story and the right-hand side of the screen contains a list of social media elements. You can search for content from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Google, RSS feeds and there’s also an option to paste in specific urls. The “+” sign at the right will reveal more options.
  4. Use the search features to find the best information from different sources. You can explore them and then drag and drop into your timeline.
  5. You can add text to introduce individual media elements or to advance the summary or narrative.
  6. You can rearrange the order of your elements as you go.
  7. When you are finished compiling your Storify, write your headline and 100 word summary at the top.
  8. Hit “Publish” (blue button at the top of the toolbar)
  9. Email me a link to your Storify.

(This assignment was adapted from resources by Millerbh and Kelly Fincham)

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How/where to post your post-event coverage of Assignment I: Event

Cover your event before and during as you have planned out in your workflow. After the event, curate your coverage and summarize your engagement with the audience.

Here is how to do it…

1. Create a public online place for your post-event coverage.

A few options:

Storify (Note: You can’t embed Facebook content)
-Create a new WordPress blog for your event
-Create a post on an existing WordPress blog (if you have one from another class that’s fine with me.)
-Other ideas?

2. Write a headline and byline for your coverage.

It should be compelling, descriptive and include SEO key words. (Don’t write “My event coverage”).

For example: Thousands of Rowan University Students Gather to Break World Record for “Most Foam Fingers in One Gymnasium”
By Jane Student

3. Embed your best multimedia, social media, and links to your online coverage. Use text to lead into the story, explain the five Ws, and provide context to multimedia.

You can include quotes from sources, if they aren’t in your multimedia elements.

Create a narrative of the event and highlight the best work you did.

Use Mashable’s Baltimore Riot coverage and BillyPenn’s Pope Day 2 as a an example. Pay attention to your presentation.

Link to anything you want me to see. This is your chance to show what you have done.

4. At the bottom of your article, write a few sentences to summarize your online engagement with the audience.

You can use hits, retweets, likes, etc. Tell me what happened. You can use screen shots of analytics if it helps make your case.

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Art of Story Hunting

Not Everything We Call a “Story” is a Story
The writer and writing coach Jack Hart has noted that journalists have a habit of calling almost everything we do a story whether or not it has any narrative elements. Continue reading

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How to pitch a story using XY “And what’s interesting…” test

In an article in Transom Review, NPR radio reporter and journalism instructor Alex Blumberg offers some great advice for determining if you on the right track to finding a good story and pitching it to an editor.

He suggests that reporters pitch a story using what he calls the “XY And what’s interesting… test.” Continue reading

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Week 2 — Sept. 11 & 13

In Class:
—Discuss a story from the 2017 Online Journalism Awards finalists.

  • How would you describe the values/critiera of the OJAs based on the finalists and winners?
  • Briefly describe the entry/story you particularly liked? What pulled you in?
  • Tell us about the news organization that published it? What is their niche/mission?
  • Why do you think this is award-worthy? What do they do? How do they do it?

Evan Smith Review
Ethics review
—Discussion: What does digital-first look like at BillyPenn.com?
Lecture and activity: Establishing a digital-first workflow (continued)
Assignment 1: Event overview Workflow due Sept. 27. Final due Oct. 4


For Wednesday:
-Explore BillyPenn.com, a local, digital-only publication and OJA finalist from 2015. What does a digital-first strategy look like at this publication? Come with examples.
-Read How Philly’s Billy Penn is building a local news audience from scratch (NiemanLab)
-Read Inside Billy Penn with CEO Jim Brady (AJR)

For Monday:
-Read How a digital-first workflow guides a reporter’s work by Steve Buttry
-Read 10 ways to think like a digital journalist by Steve Buttry
-Read NPR’s Emily Harris made this checklist to organize her story process (NPR)
Bring your event idea for Assignment 1: Event

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Assignment I: Event Workflow – What to do and how to do it

I must approve your Assignment 1 pitch. Don’t proceed until you get the OK from me. Once your event pitch is approved, then you can start working on your workflow.

Your workflow must be emailed to me prior to your event. The latest you can email it is Sept. 27.

Write me an email. Make “Your Name Assignment 1: Event Workflow” the subject line.

In the body of the email (no attachments, please), answer the following:

  1. Briefly describe your event. What? Where? When?
  2. Who is the primary audience for this story?
  3. How do you reach this audience? Where do they gather (in person and online)?
  4. What kind of information does the audience want?
  5. What do you think is the best way to cover this story (media and platforms)?

Plan out your coverage. List specific tasks or strategies you are going to do. For each, tell me where you are going to post this information online.




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