Multiplatform Journalism - Information

JOUR 428
Winter 2016






Multiplatform Journalism (JOUR 428) will explore the theory and practice of envisioning, researching, creating, and displaying multimedia journalism content. Discussions will center on different ways to approach stories. Truth and accuracy are paramount, followed closely by innovation and creativity.

Nearly all learning in this course will also take place through team discussion and presentation. The single most important component is problem solving, followed closely by self-reliance, collaboration, and leadership. These goals apply to all areas of journalism but are especially important in the ever-changing world of multimedia journalism. We will cover several technologies and platforms during the semester but learning these specific tools is not the point of the class. Instead, learning how to learn new technologies and platforms is key. There will always be something new so we need to be ready to adopt or adapt to whatever comes next.

This course aims to teach you:

Students will work in groups to create multimedia packages that we will publish on the WordPress platform.

This course will also require you to create an individual online portfolio to showcase your work to prospective employers and clients. This will require you to buy hosting but consider that an expense that takes the place of a textbook. If you currently use free hosting, you will have to migrate your site for this course. We will use WordPress to build/migrate your websites.

All of your work will be open to the class and to the public, just like real-world journalism. This should encourage discussion, learning from classmates, and adjustment to the public nature of the field. Thin-skinned journalists do not last long. The class and professor will offer frequent critiques of your work through open presentation. While comments may be positive or negative, they should always be delivered diplomatically and accepted as commentary on the work, not the person.


1. Students must hand in or e-mail 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 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 (see 1, 2, 3) is not a valid excuse for late assignments.

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

5. 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 Facebook during class - you need to police yourself. Also, I can see what you're doing - ask me how!

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. No food or drink is allowed in the computer lab. Really.


This course requires no textbooks but as noted does require you to pay for Web hosting, and for a domain name. You may also have to have a Google account.

You should have access to either a video camera or other video device. A cell-phone camera is fine, although the department has cameras to loan. I 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 an iPhone or some such. It's been done, often.

I strongly recommend that students buy a USB memory stick or a portable hard drive on which they can store backups of their assignments, but I do not require that. You can also use Gmail, Google Drive, Dropbox, or any other cloud service to back up your work.

Note on computers

Computers sometimes fail. Back up your work elsewhere! If you discover a computer in the lab is malfunctioning, e-mail me with the nature of the problem and the offending computer's identification.