Syllabus for JOUR 352/652, Spring 2016


Twitter: @xxx
Work: 301.405.xxxx

Classes: Section xxx, day and time, Room xxxx

Office hours: Immediately after class or by appointment.

Course overview: This is a journalism course in which we'll use computers and readings and discussions to learn about digital news production and writing. The class will include discussions on emerging media themes, such as the ethical and legal implications of publishing online and aggregating content in a 24/7 environment; the impact of social media on the news stream and mainstream media; and the importance of search engine optimization and Web analytics. A core portion of the class will include hands-on assignments in html and css, and students will build a resume/portfolio package (on and create a multimedia news feature package (in html/css) as out-of-class projects. They'll also use social media and mobile tools for journalism.

Prerequisites: For undergrads taking JOUR 352, it's JOUR 262 or 202. For master's students: JOUR 504 or 604 (for certificate students) is a pre- or co-requisite.

Learning Outcomes Expected. Students will learn to:

* apply ethical guidelines to digital practices;
* conceptualize, wireframe, design and build responsive Web pages using html, style sheets, Wordpress and other coding tools;
* determine which storytelling platforms and tools –text, video, audio, photos, interactive graphics, charts or maps – work best for which type of story;
* fine-tune the research and reporting of stories for accuracy, thoroughness and fairness and the writing of text for style, grammar, clarity and coherence;
* edit and compress photos in Photoshop and create simple multi-layer banners (with photos/text/color) in Photoshop; 
* write effective headlines, captions, links and file names following Search Engine Optimization guidelines;
* work with open source interactive tools and javascript libraries to create polls, charts, quizzes, timelines and maps that integrate data to tell stories online;
* use social media tools such as Twitter, Storify and Facebook for reporting and publicizing stories and interacting with readers;
* use analytics to gauge the effectiveness of digital content;
* learn of resources to improve as a coder/data journalist after the class ends.

A bit about your instructor:

I have worked as an online editor, a magazine managing editor, a newspaper reporter, a wire service editor and a journalism teacher in a career that spans three decades. I've been immersed in multimedia storytelling since 1996, when I went to work part time (and later full time) as an editor on the Metro section of The Washington Post’s website. I ran the college's Capital News Service Bureaus in Annapolis and Washington in the early ’90s, then returned to campus to serve as the managing editor of American Journalism Review in 1998. But since the summer of 2000, I've been teaching multimedia journalism at the college--launching and running the multimedia news bureau for a decade -- and teaching intermediate multimedia and capstone classes.

Closings and delays: If the university closes due to foul weather (hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, blizzards, ice, snow) or other emergencies and class must be canceled, students will be advised of assignment adjustments by the instructor. We will likely use email or our class Elms site to make these notifications and/ or conduct a virtual class.  Please check the university's home page if in doubt about whether or not classes have been canceled on campus.

Absences due to illness or emergencies: If you must be absent from class due to serious medical conditions or emergencies, please notify me, if possible, before class, so that we can arrange for notes to be delivered to you. More than one miss, and you'll need to bring documentation for your illness from a health care professional so that we can discuss a plan of action. A miss on a day of a test or a day when an out-of-class assignment is due will require a note from a health care professional in order to decide on a plan of action; on long-term assignments, the deadline will stand firm despite a short-term illness.

Religious holidays: There will be no tests or major assignments scheduled on religious holidays identified by the university. If you expect to miss a class due to a religious holiday, please notify me in writing before the start of the second class so that we can make arrangements to get notes to you.

Standards, Ethics and Academic Integrity: 
Along with certain rights, students have the responsibility to behave honorably in an academic environment. Academic dishonesty, including cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty and plagiarism, will not be tolerated. Adhering to a high ethical standard is of special importance in journalism, where reliability and credibility are the cornerstones of the field. Therefore, the college has adopted a “zero tolerance” policy on academic dishonesty. Any abridgment of academic integrity standards in a College of Journalism course will be referred to the university’s Office of Student Conduct (see the college's associate deans. To ensure this is understood, all students are asked to sign an academic integrity pledge at the beginning of the semester that will cover all assignments in this course. Students found to have violated the university's honor code may face sanctions, including a grade of XF for the course,  suspension or expulsion from the university.                 

For this class, you must do all work yourself, without collaboration with classmates or others, unless I tell you otherwise. Please keep in mind that academic dishonesty could include use of unauthorized photos, graphics, text or layout from the Web. The university's Code of Academic Integrity
 sets standards for all undergraduate and graduate students. 

J-Portfolio: JOUR 352 is assessed as part of the college’s learning outcomes assessment program,, which helps us identify areas in the curriculum that need updates or improvements. Assessment is required annually by the university and is used as a cornerstone of our reports every six years to the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Students enrolled in JOUR 352 will be required to upload a link to their final multimedia project to the J-Portfolio website. The assignment is identified in your class schedule. I will remind you when it is time to upload and walk you through the process. The assignment will be rated based on how well students write, report, code and integrate multimedia into their storytelling. The assessment scores do not affect any student’s grade in this class; however, students who do not post the required assignment onto J-Portfolio will not receive a grade for this class until it is posted.

Books and Materials: We will be using a combination of online tutorials and handouts (printed and online) in this course:

Codecademy: Html and CSS (free tutorials online)

Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law 2015 (for print). You may substitute the online edition, if you'd prefer. Please bring the stylebook to class with you to aid in lab work.

Additional Readings: See the accompanying class schedule.

Students with Special Needs: Students with a specific disability (permanent or temporary, physical or learning) needing special accommodation during the semester should make an appointment to meet with the instructor immediately after the first class. Students may be asked to provide the instructor accommodation forms given to them after testing by the Disability Support Service on campus, 301-405-0813.

GRADE BREAKDOWNS FOR IN-CLASS AND OUT-OF-CLASS ASSIGNMENTS, CLASS PARTICIPATION AND TEST: More detailed instructions on some assignments will be supplied in class by your instructor and on the class schedule. Assignments are due at the start of each class, unless otherwise noted. Please follow Associated Press style for print on all assignments in this class.

  • Class participation (verbal) (5 percent) All must do the assigned readings and participate meaningfully in class discussions to do well on the participation grade. Additionally, graduate students will be required to lead or co-lead a class discussion on an approved topic.
  • In-class assignments / quizzes: (20 percent) We'll have a number of in-class graded assignments and occasional pop quizzes throughout the semester. They will not always be scheduled. Missed written in-class assignments cannot be made up. One in-class written grade -- your lowest -- will be dropped to accommodate an illness or an emergency that arises during the semester. Please email me before class, though, to let me know of your circumstance, so that I can supply you with any handouts.
  • Codecademy Homework (lessons in basic html and css): (10 percent): Successful completion of all lessons will yield a 100 percent for this grade; any lesson not completed yields a 0.
  • Two story pitches for your multimedia project. (5 percent of your grade): The story pitches should describe the multimedia/feature story you are proposing, possible sources for the stories, possible photos, possible multimedia and interactive elements, and possible links to primary documents. This will require research/possible interviews to do properly. You should tell me in your pitches how you will tell the MAIN story (with text, or video, or an audio slideshow) and why. You will hopefully tell your main story in a format you are comfortable working in (for instance, broadcast students may pitch video as their main element) and that suits your story. Date due: at the start of class WEEK 5
  • Web resume and "About Me" pages on your Wordpress site. (5 percent of your grade) The html resume file should include text, subheads, an email address link, at least one external hyperlink, and at least one bulleted list. Content matters; each factual mistake will result in one letter-grade deduction, as will each broken link. Assignments lose a full letter grade for each day that they're late. I will copy edit your resume before you post it to your Wordpress site. Tips for resume writing are on our Merrill college site. Your About page should include a thumbnail bio (of one or a few paragraphs) and a head shot. Here's a link to my bio page: . Date due: at the start of class WEEK 7
  • "Clips" and "Contact Me" pages due on your Wordpress site. (5 percent of your grade) Your "Contact Me" page should at a minimum include an email address (and link); and your LinkedIn and Twitter addresses. Don't have one of these accounts? Launch, then link! (See my simple Contact Me page on my Wordpress site.) The clips page should link to published writing or broadcast samples of your previously completed work -- news clips, press releases, or links or embeds to published audio or video or multimedia stories. (In other words, this will become your online portfolio page.) Please do not link to unpublished work; there's a chance it could include embarrassing or libelous mistakes. All links on your pages must work; all text must make sense and be written in AP style for print.  In general, each clip entry at a minimum should include a headline that links to your work, and a date. It's a good idea to group clips by publication, using subheads for each publication. Here's an example of a clips page from a previous student:, grouping work by publication. Each factual mistake will result in a full letter-grade deduction, as will each broken link or non-working image. Pages turned in late will lose a full letter grade for each day that they're late. Date due: at the start of class WEEK 8
  • Midterm Test! (20 percent of your grade). Date: WEEK 9
  • Text for your feature story is due at the start of class. (10 percent of your grade) (See story project item, below). This is an originally reported story of 500-600 words for undergrads and grad students, on a topic previously approved by the teacher.  (Any exceptions to this word count must be cleared in advance with the instructor.) It should be written in journalistic style and be worthy of publication. Stories must be original work written for this class and must not have been previously published elsewhere. They cannot be stories you're turning in for grades in other classes. Stories with factual mistakes will lose a full letter grade for each mistake. Stories must be accurate, fair and fully reported with multiple sources, and include strong feature leads, nut graphs and transitions. They should include context and background. Students have the option of turning in the text of a video or audio script, if their main story is better told with video or audio and they have taken a previous class in video or audio editing (JOUR 203/504/262, for instance). Assignment should be turned in on paper, double-spaced, with a word count at the top. It should ALSO be shared with me on google Drive. It will be edited and returned to you for use in your multimedia feature package (below). Drafts turned in late will lose one letter grade for each day they're late. Date due: start of class WEEK 10.
  • Beta Version of Final Story Project (10 percent of grade) Due no later than the start of the last class. (See story description below.)
  • Final Version of Story Project (10 percent of grade) Due during finals week. Date TBA. Web feature page, created using html/css coding; Web-editing tools such as Dreamweaver or Text Wrangler, Sublime Text or Komodo are also allowed to help with production. Project due in the staging drive. Please copy the whole folder for this project from (your personal drive) to (the staging drive), with the story page(s) and images folder inside. (To copy your folder to staging, go to Go/Connect to Server, and type smb://  to access.) This must include an originally reported text story (see above), packaged in an html template. You must attach a style sheet. (You will be shown how to do both.) Your page must include responsive design for widths (for display on a desktop, tablet and mobile phone.) Also include at least two photos (at least one must have been shot by you; both must have been cropped and sized and compressed by you); photo captions; at least one graphic created by you (a banner is recommended); a headline; and at least two related/relevant Web links. In addition, at least two complementary explanatory or interactive elements are required for undergrads; at least three for graduate students. These elements could include a photo slide show; a google map you've created and embedded or linked to; an interactive poll you've created or an interactive quiz you've researched, created and linked to. Or it could include a short video clip, which you've shot for this story and uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo. (The video should complement the text story, not repeat it.) You could either link to the video from your page, or embed the video player from YouTube or Vimeo on your page. Or it could include an audio clip, captured from your smart phone with an app such as audioboo and embedded on your page, or uploaded to SoundCloud for embedding. Please be sure to include a copyright line and a back to top link at the bottom of your story. I would encourage you to link your name in the copyright line to your Wordpress portfolio site. Please put a first attempt, or beta version, of your package into the staging drive by the designated due date and ask me to push it live for you, so you can check it in a live browser to see if it looks as expected. Your story URL will follow this naming convention: I can also give you constructive feedback before the deadline on your beta versions. Here are examples of previous students' multimedia story packages from 352/652 and from the multimedia news bureau:  "A Taste From Home;" "Distilled in D.C.;" The PR Crisis of Recreation at UMD; " "Hill Center Brings New Life to Old Naval Hospital" . IF YOU EARNED AN A OR AN A-MINUS ON YOUR BETA TURN-IN, AND YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH THAT GRADE AND YOUR PROJECT, YOU MAY OPT AGAINST DOING MORE WORK FOR THE FINAL TURN-IN; THE TEACHER WILL REPEAT YOUR BETA GRADE FOR THE FINAL. YOU MUST LET YOUR TEACHER KNOW BEFORE THE FINAL DUE DATE. Final projects turned in late will earn an F, or 55 percent.

For undergrads taking JOUR 352: The home page URL for your project will be uploaded BY YOU to the college's assessment site (where it's kept for college accreditation purposes), after I've pushed the package live on the college server. FAILURE TO DO THIS WILL RESULT IN AN INCOMPLETE FOR THE CLASS.

Grading considerations / deductions: Assignments will be graded for accuracy, fairness, meeting of deadlines, substance, presentation/navigation/links (for Web assignments), quality of writing (headlines, story blurbs, photo captions and other text), usability and style. Associate Press print stylebook rules and rules of grammar should be followed on every assignment. Factual errors have serious consequences; for each instance, a letter grade will be deducted. Letter-grade deductions also will be taken for broken links, including for photos, and for navigation that doesn't work. Letter-grade deductions will also be made for photos that are out-of-focus. All written and Web assignments are due at the start of class, unless specifically instructed otherwise. A full letter grade will be deducted for each day an assignment is late, except for the final project , which will receive an F (55 percent) if turned in after deadline. Work not turned in at all receives a 0.

Minus and plus grading will be assessed as follows:
98-100 = A+
93-97 = A
90-92 = A-
88-89 = B+
83-87 = B
80-82 = B-
78-79 = C+
73-77 = C
70-72 = C-
68-69 = D+
63-67 = D
60-62 = D-
0-59 (see above) = F

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, Chris Harvey. Adjunct instructors teaching JOUR 352/652 at the University of Maryland Philip College of Journalism are asked to work from this. Published stories, tutorials or personal bios linked from this page are the property of their respective copyright holders. Last updated January 2016.