Tour and Visit to USAToday April 23

A reminder that we'll be meeting at USAToday on Wednesday, April 23, from 1:45 p.m. to 3:10 p.m., for a newsroom tour and talk.

We'll chat with multimedia Web producer Joshua Hatch and others to talk about how storytelling, story presentation and reader interaction at Web sites differ from storytelling in traditional media.

You will be given assigned questions to answer about the visit; your typed responses will count as an in-class grade. Responses to questions are due at the start of the April 30 class.

We're meeting in the lobby of the USAToday newsroom, at 7950 Jones Branch Drive, in McLean, Va.--a stone's throw from the Tyson's Corner malls. See mapquest or google maps for directions from your homes; I'll put mapquest directions from the Beltway at the bottom of this post. Please leave roughly an hour for travel time by car to get there--at this time of day, it should take slightly less. You may want to carpool with friends from class.

Please park in the visitor parking lot before you get to the main building. It's marked by flag poles and a guard shack. Parking is free. The guards have been given all your names; they'll have badges waiting for you in the lobby. I'll meet you in the lobby. I may have two grad students from the online news bureau traveling with me.

Please familiarize yourself with the Web site before our trip--including some of the multimedia, blogs and bigger projects! You'll want to be able to ask informed questions of our hosts.

Here are directions from the Capital Beltway, courtesy of mapquest and google maps:


Merge onto CHAIN BRIDGE ROAD/ VA-123 S. via exit number 46A toward TYSONS CORNER/ VIENNA; merge onto Chain Bridge Road.





Parking is on the right, before you reach the building. (See notes above.)

See you in the lobby!

Text for Multimedia Story Due Wednesday

A reminder: The text-only version of your feature story is due at the start of class Wednesday. It's worth 5 percent of your class grade, so it should be as complete as possible. This is an originally reported story of 500 to 700 words (600 to 800 for grad students), on a topic previously approved by me. It should be written in journalistic style and be worthy of publication. Stories must be original work and must not have been previously published elsewhere. Stories with factual mistakes will be given an automatic F (55 percent). Stories must be accurate, fair and fully reported, and include strong feature leads, nut graphs and transitions. The text will be turned in on paper, doublespaced, with a word count at the top.

I will give you an edited (and graded) version of your story back to you, so you can then transform it into a multimedia story. This will be due on May 7, and will be worth 15 percent of your class grade. Here's info on that: The Web feature package must include the edited text story (see above), packaged in an html template (using Dreamweaver); with at least two photos (either shot by you or acquired by you); photo captions; at least one graphic (such as a banner, which we've learned to do in class); a headline; and at least two related Web links. In addition, one complementary explanatory or interactive element is required (two for grad students): This could include a blog you've created and linked to to encourage comment (we created a sample one in Blogger in class); a table of information you've compiled and linked to (we've done this in Dreamweaver together); an interactive quiz you've created and linked to (a javascript template is in the x drive, which you can cut and paste from). Or it could include a google map you've created and linked to; directions for getting started with google maps are in the handout I gave you in class. Broadcast students who have been taught to shoot video or collect audio interviews in other classes may see me for help if they'd like to include a video or audio element with this story. Video and audio files need to be compressed for use on the Web. We typically work with mp3 or .rm file extensions for audio, or .rm or Windows Media Files for video. I could show you how to upload your video file to YouTube, and embed it in your story.

When it's completed, we will upload this multimedia story together to the college's assessment site, after I've pushed it live on our college server.

Here are some examples of student multimedia stories (these were written for Maryland Newsline):

* Profile, with text, photos, Web links and video clip, from grad student Raechal Leone: http://www.newsline.umd.edu/etcetera/jenniferlholm092607.htm;

* Feature story, with text, photos, audio clips, and Web link, from undergrad Carrie Dindino: http://www.newsline.umd.edu/etcetera/watergatesale090707.htm;

* News story, with text, photos, Web links and Google map, from Carrie Dindino:

* Feature story, with text, photo, audio clips, interactive quiz (first link in story), and Web links, from grad student Rachel Mauro:

Hope that helps to conceptualize this! Chris