Multi-Platform Journalism - Information

JOUR 428

Fall 2013





Class Blogs


I taught many of you in JOUR 202 so I would like to prepare you for a completely different experience. The goal of 202 was to get you up to speed on infrmation you needed to know and as a result the course primarily relied on lectures.

JOUR 428 takes place toward the end of your undergraduate career. You should have the lessons ingrained by now. It's time to learn by doing.

The goal of this course is to have you produce two projects this term. One is a multimedia story meant for online consumption. You may either build on an existing project you have produced for another class or come in with something new you want to work on. You may work in teams of up to four people if you'd like; this way, students with complementary skills can work together to create a package containing audio, video, still images, text, and other elements.

You can use the class time I devote to in-class work to create parts of your final project or to play with something completely unrelated. I will almost always have raw materials for you to work with if you find yourself without anything on hand.

The second product is an online portfolio of your work. I will get you all accounts with a Web host and you will build a WordPress site on which you can post all your work for this class and any others. I believe your account will remain free and active for one year, after which you would have to take care of keeping it online on your own. The account info is supposed to be here by the second week of the semester, but I'm not counting on it getting it to me until the third week.

You should let me know if you're already doing something like this, whether with WordPress or not. If so, we can work on improving rather than creating.


1. Students must post or hand in all assignments within the first five minutes of class time on the due date. Late assignments will be awarded half the marks they earn unless you have made specific arrangements with me at least 24 hours in advance. I may allow exceptions for serious illness, bereavement, or other comparable emergency, in which case the student may be asked to present a note from a doctor, undertaker, or other official. All missed assignments must be handed in by a new deadline agreed upon with me. The unreliability of an e-mail provider such as (and especially) Hotmail (1, 2, 3) is not a valid excuse for late assignments.

2. Do not copy, paraphrase, or translate anything from anywhere without saying from where you obtained it. Duh!

3. In all Journalism Department courses, professors may deduct up to 10% from the final grade for poor attendance, chronic lateness, or unsatisfactory behaviour. It's not my job to keep you from IMing or checking e-mail during class - you need to police yourself. However, I can do it if I want to. Really. I can use remote access to look at all your desktops in the lab.

4. Class attendance is mandatory. Any student missing four or more classes for any reason may be asked to repeat the course. That can really suck.

5. The iMacs we use have drives that you can use to write CDs or DVDs. They also have USB ports for flash-memory sticks or the equivalent.

6. No food or drink is allowed in the computer lab.


This course requires no textbooks, but the course will assume you have a Google account.

You should have access to either a still camera or other photographic device. The department has basic digital cameras to loan for this course, but I strongly encourage you to use equipment you already own. This course does not emphasize high-end equipment but focuses on multiplatform thinking, and on telling stories using the tools you have on hand. In the field, that may be only a smart phone. It's been done, often.

I strongly recommend that students buy a box of disks, a plug-in USB memory stick, or a portable hard drive (such as an iPod) on which they can store back-ups of their assignments, but I do not require that. You can also use Google to back up your work by mailing it to yourself or by posting it in Google Drive.

Note on Computers

Computers are not infallible, and they sometimes fail. Back up your work elsewhere! If you discover a computer is malfunctioning, e-mail me with the nature of the problem and the offending computer's identification.