Tag Archives: Critique

Welcome to MASC 496 – Mobile and Social Media Journalism in the Fall Semester 2018

Welcome to our “MASC 496 – Mobile and Social Media Journalism” capstone class in the 2018 fall semester at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. This class is also known as the “iPadJournos” project (you will receive an iPad reporting kit for the semester).

This site includes the syllabus, the class schedule, assignment descriptions and readings as well as other curricular materials.

This class operates as a mobile newsroom. We’ll all be working together in learning about, and carrying out, social media projects in journalism. We’ll meet from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Room 2221A in the Temple Building. Our class will have its first meeting on Thursday, August 23.

As you might already know, we have WTVR-CBS 6 as a media partner on board for this class and you will be reporting for the website of the TV station. If you put in the effort into your reporting, all of your stories will be published. This will give you a nice opportunity to build a professional portfolio before you graduate. This fall, we will be covering the congressional elections in Virginia as well as some other local political races and issues.

At our first meeting on Thursday, Aug. 23, we will discuss all aspects of the course and by our second week you will receive iPads as learning and reporting tools for the duration of the semester.

Please note that the add/drop date for the fall semester is on Aug. 29. It is therefore important that you familiarize yourself asap with the course and the expectations and send me any questions you might have before that deadline.

There are a few things you need to do after our first class:

1) Review all content on our course website: https://wp.vcu.edu/socialmediajournalism/

2) Join our Facebook group for the class: https://www.facebook.com/groups/masc496fall2018/

Make sure that your profile has your real name, otherwise I will not be able to let you in.

3) Pick up your iPad reporting kit (called the “Padcaster”) from John Geerdes in Temple 1120 on Aug. 27 or Aug. 28. You will need it in class on Aug. 30. The equipment room is open from Aug. 27 on and staff will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. throughout the semester.

4) Bring your Apple username and ID to the first class in our second week, so you can activate the iPad we will give you for the semester. This is the same login information as for your iTunes account. If you do not have an Apple account, you need to get one here (it’s free): https://appleid.apple.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/MyAppleId.woa/

5) Fill out a brief technology survey: https://www.surveymonkey.de/r/ipadjournos2018

6) Use the Facebook Group to find one reporting teammate for the course of the semester as you will do your projects in teams. Then develop a story idea together to report on an aspect of the congressional election or other political issues. Find a topic that has not been covered already by other media and prepare a pitch with your partner. If the pitch is accepted, the goal is to file the story and publish it on WTVR.com. Have a backup pitch as well, in case your first idea is not accepted. Pitches will be done during our third week.

7) Work on your Social Media Critique assignment. It is due on Aug. 28. Sign up for news organizations to critique under “Files” in our Facebook Group.

The class has no textbook. I will assign online readings instead.

I am looking forward to meeting all of you on Aug. 23. And please let me know, if you have any questions in the meantime. You can post them in the Facebook group.

See you soon!

Marcus Messner

Tasks for Week 3

Here are some of the tasks you need to complete during our third week.

For class on Tuesday, please complete the following:

Prepare your story pitch for CBS 6 and present it in class. Prepare a brief pitch that includes a summary of your idea, a statement why the story is relevant to the CBS 6 audience, a description of potential sources and your ideas for multimedia packages. You will receive some final feedback in class.

Complete the assigned readings and bring your iPad and mobile phone to class for multimedia training.


For class on Thursday, please do the following:

Do your story pitch for CBS 6 to Scott Wise, director for interactive media. He will come to class to listen to your ideas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Of course also follow CBS 6 on both platforms.


The social media critique is due by Thursday, Sept. 5, 11 p.m. Please send the link to your Prezi presentation via e-mail.




Conclusion to the iPadJournos semester

The iPadJournos called it a semester with the conclusion of the social media portfolio evaluations on Thursday afternoon. Before a panel of six judges, the students in our Social Media Journalism class presented their blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts as well as one or two extra platforms such as Pinterest, Storify and Google+. Continue reading