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Mobile and Social Media Journalism Syllabus

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Syllabus for the Mobile and Social Media Journalism course, created by Anthony Adornato

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Mobile and Social Media Journalism Syllabus

  1. 1. 1 Ithaca College | Roy H. Park School of Communications JOUR 48000 Mobile and Social Media Journalism – Spring 2020 Wednesday & Friday/Park 273 2-3:40 p.m. PROFESSOR Anthony Adornato Email: Twitter: @anthonyadornato Class Website: Twitter Class Hashtag: #ICParkSM Office: Park 250 Office Hours: W 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (or by appointment) COURSE DESCRIPTION This course critically examines how journalists and news organizations are using emerging forms of social media and mobile platforms. Students gain hands-on experience by experimenting with social media and mobile devices for newsgathering, distribution, and audience engagement. Students produce a portfolio of multimedia stories and build their own professional journalistic brand. An emphasis is placed on critically assessing the credibility and authenticity of user- generated content. Students will also learn how to use analytics tools to monitor and analyze the effectiveness of their mobile and social media activity. 4 Credits COURSE OVERVIEW Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. These are some of the social media tools altering how journalists do their jobs and how people consume news today. This course prepares you to evaluate and use social media and mobile devices as professional journalists. By the end of the course, you will have the fundamental mobile and social media skills that news organizations are seeking from today’s journalists. You will learn by “doing.” You will build your own professional social media brand and produce a portfolio of stories using social media and mobile devices/apps. You and your classmates are future industry leaders, so we will also critically assess future developments related to mobile and social media in journalism. This course will foster your ability to apply the core values of journalism to emerging media forms in productive, innovative, and intelligent ways. The concepts and skills we will tackle include: maintaining a professional social media brand; finding story ideas and sources via social media; using social media and mobile devices/apps for newsgathering and production; social media ethics; audience engagement; and analytics.
  2. 2. 2 COURSE GOALS • Effectively use social media for newsgathering, distribution, and audience engagement. • Research and locate reliable information from social media to enhance your reporting, and at the same time, identify misleading and unbalanced content. • Gain the technical skills of mobile newsgathering through the use of mobile devices and apps to gather, produce, and distribute news content. • Create and enhance your own professional brand on social media platforms. • Collaborate as a news team to contribute original reporting to Ithaca Week and to manage its Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. • Become an engaged and active participant of the online community of the beat that you have chosen. • Use analytics platforms to monitor and analyze social media engagement and success. • Evaluate the effectiveness of mobile and social media strategies and policies in news organizations. • Understand the public’s active role in the news production process, and the resulting impact on journalism. • Understand the flexibility, innovativeness, and entrepreneurial spirit needed to be successful in this evolving industry. • Receive Hootsuite Certification. REQUIRED READINGS & MATERIALS • Mobile and Social Media Journalism: A Practical Guide (2017) by Anthony Adornato. The book is available for purchase or rental. IC Library also has a copy of the book. • You will be able to reserve, through PPECS, an iPad Mini for the entire semester. • As a member of this class, you will have access to content developed by Hootsuite, an industry leader on best practices for social media use. You’ll become Hootsuite certified in this course. • To be successful in this class and as a journalist, you must be well-informed about emerging technologies and their impact on journalism. Here are my go-to sources to stay up-to-date on the latest mobile and social media journalism trends, tips, and skills training. I’ve provided Twitter handles, website links, and links for you to subscribe to e-newsletters. MediaShift @MediaShiftOrg and MediaShift Newsletter Poynter @Poynter and Poynter Newsletter Pew Research Center @pewjournalism and Pew Research Newsletter Nieman Lab @NiemanLab and Nieman Newsletter
  3. 3. 3 First Draft News @firstdraftnews,, and First Draft Newsletter NPR Training @nprtraining,, and NPR Training Newsletter BBC Academy @BBCAcademy and MY CLASS ATTENDANCE POLICY First, a note on promptness: I expect you to be on time. Tardiness is not a matter of degree; you either are late or you’re not. A late student will be considered absent. I don’t allow you to make up work you miss because of your tardiness. Second, a note on attendance: I expect you to attend every class and to be in attendance for the duration of every class. Excused absences include religious observances, documented illness, death of a family member or loved-one, and pre-approved school-related activities. In addition, each student will be granted two unexcused absences for any reason. Homework due on days you are absent must still be turned in by deadline. For each unexcused absence beyond the initial two, I’ll deduct 5 points from your final grade. It’s your responsibility to let me know if you’re not going to be in class. ITHACA COLLEGE’S POLICY ON ATTENDANCE Students at Ithaca College are expected to attend all classes, and they are responsible for work missed during any absence from class. At the beginning of each semester, instructors must provide the students in their courses with written guidelines regarding possible grading penalties for failure to attend class. Students should notify their instructors as soon as possible of any anticipated absences. Written documentation that indicates the reason for being absent may be required. These guidelines may vary from course to course but are subject to the following restrictions: • In accordance with New York State law, students who miss class due to their religious beliefs shall be excused from class or examinations on that day. The faculty member is responsible for providing the student with an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirement that the student may have missed. It is suggested that students notify their course instructors at least one week before any anticipated absence so that proper arrangements may be made to make up any missed work or examination. Any such work is to be completed within a reasonable time frame, as determined by the faculty member. • Any student who misses class due to a verifiable family or individual health emergency, or to a required appearance in a court of law, shall be excused. Students should communicate directly with the faculty member when they need to miss a class for health or family emergencies, for court appearances, etc. Faculty members who require documentation of student absences should communicate directly with their students. On-
  4. 4. 4 campus residents who will be away from campus for an extended period of time should notify the Office of Residential Life of their absence from campus by e-mailing and including their building and room number in that message. Students may need to consider a leave of absence, medical leave of absence, selected course withdrawals, and so on, if they have missed a significant portion of class work. A student may be excused for participation in College-authorized co-curricular and extracurricular activities if, in the instructor's judgment, this does not impair the specific student's or the other students' ability to succeed in the course. For all absences, except those due to religious beliefs, the course instructor has the right to determine if the number of absences has been excessive in view of the nature of the class that was missed and the stated attendance policy. Depending on the individual situation, this can result in the student being removed from or failing the course. CLASS COMMUNICATION Your success in this course will depend, in part, on good communication and understanding what’s expected of you and when. Class Website/Facebook page/Sakai: Course information, updates, and messages will be posted to our class Facebook page and website. You’re expected to frequently check these platforms. We’ll also use Sakai for submission of some assignments. Email: You’re expected to regularly check your Ithaca College email. Failure to do so puts you at risk of missing important class instructions and announcements. We’ll use email for one-on- one communication. Social Media: This class is all about being social media savvy—as a journalist. Our class hashtag on Twitter and other social media platforms is #ICParkSM. You’ll use the class hashtag for most assignments, and I’ll use this hashtag when tweeting information relevant to this course. So, make sure you are following the conversations by regularly searching for #ICParkSM. CLASS ETIQUETTE I want to stress these points: • Laptops and mobile devices are to be used for class purposes during our meetings – not for personal social interactions. • In-class critiques of your classmates’ work will be constructive. Feedback should be about the work and never personal. Be respectful of each other’s effort.
  5. 5. 5 MAJOR ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADING Deadlines are exact—just like in the news business. If you turn any assignment in after the assigned deadline, you’ll receive an “F” for the assignment. Multimedia Packages (35% of grade): You will produce four stories. At least two must be focused on your beat. For each story, you will use a mobile device and apps for the majority of newsgathering and production. You will also be expected to use social media tools to engage with your online community during the reporting process. I will post a weekly to-do list on our website so that you know how many times and the type of content to share on social media while you’re in the field reporting. Before going in the field, we will hold in-class editorial meetings. You must explain why the story matters, who is impacted, potential interviewees, and how you will use social media and mobile apps in the newsgathering and production of the story, among other items. On the days your packages are due, you will: • Have at least two classmates edit your story. • Uploaded to Sakai the template submission form that I will give you for each reporting round. The document must include: final text of the story, the link to the story on your website, a list of sources consulted, and the names of your editors. • Create a Wakelet that contains all the social media items required during the reporting process. Include the Wakelet link in the template Word document you post to Sakai. After publishing the stories to your personal website, I’ll let you know in my feedback if you should also post them to Ithaca Week. Most stories are posted to Ithaca Week after a round or two of editing. Social Media Activity/Portfolio (30% of grade): You will develop your own professional social media portfolio during this class. Your portfolio will include a blog as well as profiles and engagement on social media sites. Part of your social media activity involves becoming active in the online community of your beat. You should consistently engage with related social media users (RTs, replies, and @ mentions) and use hashtags associated with your beat. During the semester, we will conduct peer evaluations, so you and your classmates can give each other feedback. Analytics will help to shed light on your effectiveness. At the end of the semester, you will present your portfolio to the class. I will post a weekly to-do list on the class website. All items must be completed by 11:59 p.m., Saturday. For this class, the week runs from Sunday to Saturday. Blog Posts (20% of grade): During the weeks that stories are not due, you must complete two blog posts (300-400 words each). The topics of the posts will vary. Sometimes you will have to address a specific question related to social media, other times you’re free to post about any topic related to your beat or mobile and social media journalism. The goal is to develop your own blog voice and thoughtful discussions. Your blog posts will also allow you to reflect on your work in this class.
  6. 6. 6 Editor Role (10% of grade): You will be assigned to a team of editors who will manage the Ithaca Week social media platforms during a specified period. The team of editors will develop and execute a social media plan for Ithaca Week. During this reporting period, you will not be responsible for producing an individual story. Teaching Moment (5% of grade): This is your opportunity to teach us! Each student will lead one 10-minute class presentation/discussion about a current topic related to mobile and social media journalism. Weekly course readings and content from professional journalism groups (such as MediaShift, Nieman, and First Draft News) will provide you with potential ideas. Topics might include how a news outlet uses social media, an ethical issue related to social media and journalism, or ideas on how journalists could use a particular mobile or social media tool. BASIC GRADING CRITERIA Below is the basic grading criteria. For each major assignment, I’ll provide more detailed grading criteria/rubric in class. Generally, you’ll be graded on clarity, organization, accuracy, fairness/balance, completeness/omissions, grammar, spelling, and ability to meet deadlines. My grading in this course will also take in to account your creativity and innovativeness. As with many classes in the humanities/social sciences, grading for this class is not objective. In the journalism business there are no absolutes. Some things may work, others may not. It’s my duty to determine your effectiveness in turning an idea (the abstract) into a finished project that will be acceptable by industry standards. You have to rely on my experience in the industry, and academe, to provide you with the most accurate representation of feedback you’ll receive in a newsroom. A 95-100% | A- 90-94% Mastery of course content at the highest level of attainment. Accurate, clear, and comprehensive work. Stories are well-written, well-researched, and require only minor copy editing (i.e., they would be published). B+ 87-89% | B 84-86% | B- 80-83% Strong performance demonstrating a satisfactory level of attainment. Stories require more than minor editing and have a few style or spelling errors or one significant error of omission. C+ 77-79% | C 74-76% | C- 70-73% Needs work. Stories need considerable editing or rewriting and/or have many spelling, style or omission errors. D+ 67-69% | D 64-66% | D- 60-63 A marginal performance. Work requires excessive rewriting and has numerous errors, and should not have been submitted.
  7. 7. 7 F 59% and below An unacceptable performance. Work failed to meet the major criteria of the assignment, has numerous errors, or both. A story that has even a single factual error that is material to the story merits an “F.” Example: you get the street name wrong in a story about an accident. That will mean an “F.” Proper names, locations, and titles have to be accurate and spelled correctly. USE OF STUDENT WORK Never tell an interview subject your story will only be seen in class. Your work will be published on your professional website, and it may also be published on Ithaca Week. IN-CLASS CRITIQUES AND FEEDBACK ON ASSIGNMENTS There will be regular in-class critiques of your work. Everyone participates in the in-class critiques. You should offer constructive, honest comments on a project as it’s shown in class. Pay close attention to the comments I make during class critiques. Take notes. My remarks often can be applied to your work, even if it’s someone else’s work that’s being reviewed. ITHACA COLLEGE DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM PLAGIARISM POLICY The Department of Journalism Plagiarism Policy is a supplement to the Ithaca College Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty Policy. Department of Journalism students are expected to review and understand both policies. Plagiarism is the cardinal sin of journalism. It undermines your integrity and that of the profession. The Department of Journalism does not tolerate plagiarism. A committee comprised of Department of Journalism faculty will review each case of plagiarism. The Dean’s office at the Park School will also be made aware of each case. Penalties for plagiarism can include: • a failing grade for the plagiarized assignment • a failing grade for the course • suspension • expulsion Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s work without giving credit. Use of words, phrases, sentences, ideas, photos or other kinds of content without proper attribution and copyright permission is plagiarism. This is true whether you do it intentionally or not. If such credit is not given for another’s work, it’s considered plagiarism. Department of Journalism students are required to produce original work without plagiarizing previously published work, including: online and print articles, broadcast stories, scholarly publications, and other students’ assignments. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  8. 8. 8 • Directly copying content from online sources and pasting it into your own work without proper attribution. • Paraphrasing content from online sources and pasting it into your own work without proper attribution. • Copying quotes from stories produced by someone else and using them in your own work. You are expected to interview sources on your own. • Passing off another student’s work as your own. • Submitting the same piece of work to instructors in two or more courses. The best practice to follow: Whenever in doubt, cite the source and ask your professor for guidance. ITHACA COLLEGE PLAGIARISM AND ACADEMIC DISHONESTY POLICY Whether intended or not, plagiarism is a serious offense against academic honesty. Under any circumstances, it is deceitful to represent as one's own work, writing or ideas that belong to another person. Students should be aware of how this offense is defined. Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone else's published or unpublished ideas, whether this use consists of directly quoted material or paraphrased ideas. Although various disciplines follow styles of documentation that differ in some details, all forms of documentation make the following demands: • That each quotation or paraphrase be acknowledged with a footnote or in-text citation; • That direct quotations be enclosed in quotation marks and be absolutely faithful to the wording of the source; • That paraphrased ideas be stated in language entirely different from the language of the source; • That a sequence of ideas identical to that of a source be attributed to that source; • That sources of reprinted charts or graphs be cited in the text; • That all the sources the writer has drawn from in paraphrase or direct quotation or a combination of paraphrase and quotation be listed at the end of the paper under “Bibliography,” “References,” or “Works Cited,” whichever heading the particular style of documentation requires. A student is guilty of plagiarism if the student fails, intentionally or not, to follow any of these standard requirements of documentation. In a collaborative project, all students in a group may be held responsible for academic misconduct if they engage in plagiarism or are aware of plagiarism by others in their group and fail to report it. Students who participate in a collaborative project in which plagiarism has occurred will not be held accountable if they were not knowledgeable of the plagiarism. What, then, do students not have to document? They need not cite their own ideas, or references to their own experiences, or information that falls in the category of uncontroversial common knowledge (what a person reasonably well-informed about a subject might be expected to know). They should acknowledge anything else.
  9. 9. 9 Other Forms of Academic Dishonesty Other violations of academic honesty include, but are not limited to, the following behaviors: • Handing in to a class a paper written by someone else; • Handing in as an original work for a class a paper one has already submitted to another course; • Handing in the same paper simultaneously to two courses without the full knowledge and explicit consent of all the faculty members involved; • Having someone else rewrite or clean up a rough draft and submitting those revisions as one’s own work. These offenses violate the atmosphere of trust and mutual respect necessary the process of learning. PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT AND ETHICS Students are expected to follow the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics in this class. I expect that you’ll be exceedingly honest, fair, and responsible. View policy: PROFESSIONAL DRESS AND COMMUNICATION POLICY When arranging and conducting interviews for class, act professionally. Address people on the phone or via email in a courteous, business-like manner. When you in the field to report, dress appropriately. By conducting yourself in a professional manner, people will take you more seriously and afford you more respect. DIVERSITY It’s important to broaden your journalism experiences, with guidance from me, by including in coursework ethnic, racial and religious minorities, people with disabilities, gay men and lesbians and other similar groups and issues that affect these groups. This includes, but is not limited to, developing sensitivity to language and images. The intent is to ensure your work reflects the diversity of the community and that you’re exposed to diverse ideas and perspectives. STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodation will be provided to students with documented disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Students must register with Student Disability Services and provide appropriate documentation to Ithaca College before any academic adjustment will be provided. You’re also welcome to contact me privately to discuss your academic needs, although faculty cannot arrange for disability-related accommodations.
  10. 10. 10 TITLE IX REPORTING Please note that if you disclose an experience related to sexual misconduct (including sexual assault, dating violence, and/or stalking, sexual harassment or sex-based discrimination), your professor is obligated to inform the Title IX coordinator,, of all relevant information, including your name. The college will take initial steps to address the incident(s), protect, and, support those directly affected, and enhance the safety of our community. The Title IX coordinator will work with you to determine the best way to proceed. Information shared in class assignments, class discussions, and at public events do not constitute an official disclosure, and faculty and staff do not have to report these to the Title IX Coordinator. MATTERS OF STUDENT SAFETY You must respond to and report conditions and actions that may jeopardize your safety, or that of other people and/or equipment. Report to the responsible College employee. During class sessions that person would be your instructor or lab assistant. Outside of class the person might be your instructor, lab supervisor, co-curricular manager, equipment and facilities manager, or one of the engineering support staff. You must be aware that misuse of equipment or use of damaged equipment can create the risk of serious injury, infectious contamination, and expensive damage. You may be liable for damage or injury resulting from such use. Unsupervised use of facilities puts you at risk. Failure to be alert to safety problems, or to report them, may have serious consequences for you or others. COUNSELING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, or problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance. The source of symptoms might be related to your course work; if so, please speak with me. However, problems with relationships, family worries, loss, or a personal struggle or crisis can also contribute to decreased academic performance. Ithaca College provides cost-free mental health services through the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to help you manage personal challenges that threaten your personal or academic well-being. In the event I suspect you need additional support, expect that I will express to you my concerns and the reasons for them. It is not my intent to know the details of what might be troubling you, but simply to let you know I am concerned and that help (e.g., CAPS, Health Center, Chaplains, etc.), if needed, is available. Remember, getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do—for yourself and for your loved ones.
  11. 11. 11 CLASS SCHEDULE (This schedule is a flexible outline of the material we expect to cover in this class. Expect changes, additions, and deletions as the needs of this class and other circumstances dictate.) WEEK ONE (Jan. 22 & 24) --Forces at the Gate: An Active Audience --Managing Change: The Mobile-First Newsroom --Your Social Media Brand: Who Do You Want To Be? --Digital Skeletons: Social Media Audit --Finding a Niche/Beat Assignment: *Weekly To-do List WEEK TWO (Jan. 29 & 31) --Blog Set-up --Introduction to Hootsuite --Social Media Platform Basics Assignment: *Weekly To-do List *Two blog posts next week WEEK THREE (Feb. 5 & 7) --Social Media Platform Basics Continued --The Mobile Journalist and Must-have Apps --Social Newsgathering and Listening: Story Ideas, Sources, and Content --Social Collaboration and Curation: Crowdsourcing Assignment: *Three story pitches due Wednesday *Weekly To-do List WEEK FOUR (Feb. 12 & 14) --Social Media Engagement and Optimization --Audience Analytics --Using Mobile Devices and Social Media During Live Events/Breaking News Assignment: *Weekly To-do List *Package due next Friday WEEK FIVE (Feb. 19 & 21) --Mobile-friendly Story Layout --Readable Videos and Social Graphics
  12. 12. 12 --Package due Friday Assignment: *Weekly To-do List *Two blog posts next week and three story pitches WEEK SIX (Feb. 26 & 28) --#FakeNews --Verification and Authenticity of Information --Social Media Policies and Ethics Assignment: *Weekly To-do List *Package due next Friday WEEK SEVEN (March 4 & 6) --Immerging Forms of News Engagement (IGTV, 360-degree video, e-newsletters, smart speakers, etc.) --Plan Coverage of Ed Tech Day 2020 --Package due Friday Assignment: *Weekly To-do List *Two blog posts and three story ideas due the week after Spring Break WEEK EIGHT No Class – Spring Break WEEK NINE (March 18 & 20) --Location, Location, Location: Geo-location Apps and Social Media Sleuthing --Coverage of Ed Tech Day 2020 Assignment: *Weekly To-do List *Package due next Friday WEEK TEN (March 25 & 27) --Social Media Analytics Revisited --Package due Friday Assignment: *Weekly To-do list *Two blog posts and three story ideas next week WEEK ELEVEN (April 1 & 3) -- Mobile and Social Media Jobs in Newsrooms
  13. 13. 13 Assignment: *Take Hootsuite Certified Professional Exam *Weekly To-do List *Package due next Friday WEEK TWELVE (April 8 & 10) --Package due Friday Assignment: *Weekly To-do List *Two blog posts and three story pitches next week WEEK THIRTEEN (April 15 & 17) --Guest Speaker --Discussion of your social media brand and analytics Assignment: *Weekly To-do List *Package due next Friday WEEK FOURTEEN (April 22 & 24) --Website Check-up --Discussion of your social media brand and analytics --Package due Friday Assignment: *Social Media Portfolio Memo due by next Friday *Weekly To-do List WEEK FIFTEEN (April 29 & May 1) --Mobile and Social Media in Your Career --Landing a Job with a Newsroom’s Mobile and Social Team