Required Work

[Updated Aug. 26, 2013]

Audio 20 points
Photojournalism 20 points
Data journalism 10 points
Blog posts 20 points
Project 20 points
Class attendance and participation 10 points
TOTAL 100 points


Audio assignments are graded on both the quality of the content and the quality of the sound. Sound quality is essential — noisy or otherwise poor-quality audio will result in lower grades, and this effect will be cumulative. That means if your first audio assignment is marked for poor sound quality, a repeat of poor sound quality in your second assignment will lower the grade even more.

Editing errors (such as cutting off a person’s sentence or breath before it is completed, or failure to insert a pause where one is necessary, or dead silence instead of room noise) will decrease the assignment grade. Ethical breaches are unacceptable and will at minimum result in a zero for the assignment.

  • Edited audio interview 1 (33.3%)
  • Edited audio interview 2 (33.3%)
  • Audio in the audio and photo story (33.3%)


Photojournalism assignments are graded on both the quality of the content and the quality of the image. You will be coached on how to improve, and you are expected to submit new work if your first submission is poor. Ethical breaches are unacceptable and will at minimum result in a zero for the assignment.

  • Photo 1 (33.3%)
  • Photo 2 (33.3%)
  • Photos and captions in the audio and photo story (33.3%)

Data journalism

Data journalism assignments are graded on accuracy and professionalism. You will basically be following instructions to achieve a publishable outcome. Thus, your attention to detail and doing it the right way will determine your grade.

  • Data 1 (50%)
  • Data 2 (50%)

Blog posts

Various blog posts are assigned throughout the semester. Each one will be marked pass/fail (1/0). A passing mark requires that all instructions were followed and the post is written in a clear and interesting manner. All statements must be accurate, and all links must be functional. The headline must be both appealing to an audience and accurate.

All blog posts must be written with an external audience in mind. Imagine your audience as a future employer who does not yet know you (NOT YOUR PROFESSOR!). Include enough information to make the post coherent, understandable, to an external reader. There’s no need to write “For a class assignment, I had to …” — that makes you sound like a person who is not interested in learning new things. Instead you could write, “I looked at x and found …”, or, “I compared x and y …” Or you might write: “X is an interesting example of …” In other words, treat the topic of the assignment as a real thing you are writing about, because it interests you, and demonstrate your ability to analyze and think intelligently.


You have a lot of leeway for your project. The main point is for you to create something new (using the skills covered in this course) that you can be proud of, that you can show to professionals who might offer you a job.

  • It must be journalism (but not necessarily hard news).
  • It must be new — NOT something you are also getting a grade on in another class, and NOT a story you have done before.
  • It must be fully in the realm of Toolkit 1, meaning: digital, Web or mobile — and not TV, not text (e.g. articles), not radio.

The project is 20 percent of your grade for the course. Therefore, it needs to be something in which it looks like you invested care, attention, background work, planning, etc.

The project requires about five weeks of work to receive a B or higher. This includes planning and research.

Deadlines for the project are on the Course Schedule page.

Note: You are welcome to use some text and/or audio and/or video in the project. However, you MUST NOT rely on one of those to tell the bulk of the story. In particular, you MUST NOT produce a long text. What you need to think about is a whole surrounding collection of items — maybe tweets and other assets collected in a Storify? A timeline history? Many small pieces, loosely joined — and arranged in a smart way that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

You can use all kinds of Web tools to do this.

Class attendance and participation

Points will be subtracted if you miss more than one (1) class meeting, are chronically late, leave class early, or show inattention.

Participation is expected; points will be subtracted if you do not contribute during class.

Assigned readings

Learning does not take place only in the classroom. Readings are part of the learning experience in this course. Make time to complete the assigned reading every week, and also make time to reflect on what you have read.

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