The following are the assignments for this course. Further details will be provided for each assignment as they are introduced in class (please check regularly for updates). Please see the course schedule for the deadline for each assignment.
Social media portfolio (20% of the course grade)
You will develop your own professional social media portfolio during this class. The development of the portfolio will include three stages at which you will receive grades for your progress. In the end, your portfolio will include a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn profile as well as two additional social media platforms of your choice. You will receive detailed instructions for each of the stages on the content you need to post and the size of community you need to engage around your platforms. At the end of the semester, you will present your portfolio to an expert panel.
- First stage: Create a Twitter account (or use and existing one) and start tweeting at least once every day. Use the hashtag #iPadJournos regularly for class related tweets. Also create a Facebook page and regularly post on it. Three to four posts per week are a good benchmark. Both accounts should include a professional photo and description of yourself.
- Second stage: You should continue to use your Twitter account daily and your Facebook page regularly throughout the week. Use the feedback from the first portfolio stage to improve your accounts and engagement and work towards your goals of increasing “likes” and followers. Also create a blog (WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger) or use an existing one. Use a professional photo of yourself and provide a professional description. Create a LinkedIn profile with a professional photo and complete the following sections: experience, skills, education, organizations/groups. Provide a brief description for each entry under experience and education. Connect with at least 10 people. Overall, make sure that your brand yourself across those four platforms and that your overall profile is recognizable.
- Third stage: During the month of April, you need to use your social media accounts on a daily basis and achive your goals for followers and likes as determined during the first stage:
Twitter: Post several times a day about your reporting activities and the ones of your classmates. Also engage in conversations with important news people in Richmond and beyond. Your goal is to become known as a professional reporter/journalist on Twitter.
Facebook page: Post at least once a day on your own reporting activities or those of your classmates. You can also share important news stories as they relate to your own professional work.
Blog: You blog should now have a professional profile and you should showcase your work from this class at minimum. Beside your news packages, showcase your news curation as well as work from other classes. Include your resume as well as links to all of your social media accounts. This is the base of your portfolio.
LinkedIn: You should reach a 90% completion rate of your profile and have at least two recommendations of your work. You need to connect with at least 50 people.
Two additional platforms: You need to start to engage professionally on a daily basis on two additional social media platforms of your choice. These can include for instance Tumblr, Google+, Foursquare, Pinterest, and/or Instagram. Decide on these platforms by April 4 and post the links in the file in our Facebook group.
Cool tools and apps presentation (3%)
We will collectively gather social media and mobile resources in this class. Once during the semester it will be your turn to present a journalistically useful social media platform that has not been introduced during the class as well as a mobile app for the iPad that could be useful for our learning and/or reporting efforts. Post links or descriptions to the platform and the app in our Facebook group. I will also list them under Tools and Apps on this site. The presentations will always be on Tuesdays at the beginning of class. A sign-up sheet will be posted in our Facebook group.
Blog post (3%)
We will have a variety of guest speakers in our class. Once during the semester, it will be your turn to summarize a guest lecture and all activities in a blog post on our class website. The blog post (around 300 words) should be a good summary of all content and should include links to all important resources introduced that day by the guest speaker. You also need to provide a photo of the guest speaker or a class activity. The blog post needs to be e-mailed to your instructor by the end of the same day. A sign-up sheet will be posted in our Facebook group.
Social media critique (3%)
This is a team assignment. Together with a classmate, you will analyze and critique the social media strategy of a news organization. You will do a 5-minute Prezi presentation (view tutorial) in class and provide a one-page written summary of your critique (12 pt. TNR, double spaced). In your critique, analyze the social media engagement of the news organization and two of its journalists on two separate days as well the iPad or iPhone app. Describe how often the organization and journalists engage and with which topics and different types of news. Provide examples in your presentation. In the end, evaluate what we can learn from them (best practices) and what they could do better (suggestions for improvement). No two teams will be allowed to critique the same news organization. A sign-up sheet will be posted in our Facebook group. E-mail the link to your Prezi and the summary file to your instructor. Both will be posted on our course website for the rest of the class.
Live tweeting (3%)
In February, we will attend an evening event of the Social Media Club of Richmond (SMCRVA). You will provide live tweeting coverage with your mobile device from the event with a minimum of 15 tweets. Use both hashtags #ipadjournos and #smcrva for all of your tweets. You can start tweeting during the networking reception. One-third of your tweets can be re-tweets or conversations. The rest should be original event coverage from you. Make sure you identify people you tweet about with their Twitter handles. Research the featured speakers and their Twitter handles before the event.
You will learn how to curate social media news content. For this assignment, you will produce a Storify. You should include 20 elements in your Storify, including at minimum tweets, a video and a photo. Also provide transitions between elements. Ideally, you produce a Storify with your second or third news package. But you can also produce one for a breaking news topic.
News Packages 1-3 (30%)
You will produce three news packages for the website of WTVR CBS 6, our media partner for this class. You will pitch your story ideas to the news team and produce news packages that include written stories (500-600 words) as well as multimedia and social media elements. The first and second packages will be produced in teams of two students. For the third package, you can choose whether you want to produce it in a team or individually. It is expected that you produce professional and publishable news packages. Format your stories based on this story structure. Expect to do several rewrites and production efforts for every package. More details will be provided in class discussions. You can also produce a fourth new package and substitute it for the final exam.
Midterm Exam (10%)
The midterm exam will cover all course content of the first half of the semester. It will be a take-home exam and consist of essay questions. Further details on the exam will be provided in class.
Final Exam (10%)
The final exam will be comprehensive and cover all course content. It will be a take-home exam and consist of essay questions. Further details on the exam will be provided in class.