Monday, August 25, 2014



This week, we will:
  • Be introduced to the semester-long project and general course structure
  • Break into editorial production teams that are assigned to a specific reporting "beat" or niche
  • Begin to set up our reporting blog with co-authoring permissions
    • Identify the preferred blogging platform (e.g. Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger, etc.)
    • Identify the name of your semester-long blog
    • Prepare a branded logo and theme/design for your blog
  • Collaborate with your team to set up your reporting blog
  • Feel free to stylize your blog with a unique logo/theme
  • Make sure to set up co-authoring permissions for all team members
  • Begin work on your first reporting assignment (to be discussed on Aug. 28)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Class Syllabus

COMJOUR 333 – Reporting Across Platforms (3 CREDITS)

Fall 2014
Office Hours: By appointment
Office phone: (425) 405-1771

  • There are no required textbooks for this class!
  • However, since multimedia storytelling and production is critical to this class, you should be aware that you will need access to a computer with various free or paid digital audio/video editing programs in order to successfully complete this course. 
  • Some loaner laptops and/or recording devices may be available upon request and/or you can use your own computer to complete the various multimedia storytelling assignments.
    • Recommended:
  • Certified major in Communication

This course is designed to enhance existing journalism skills and to apply reporting techniques across multiple media platforms. While this class is not meant to be a substitute for dedicated Web design and content development courses, it is expected that students utilize and expand upon the skills introduced in both COM 300 (Writing in Communication) and COM 210 (Multimedia Content Creation). 

Thus, students will be generating original news journalism and feature story content across multiple types of media, including traditional print, web, online-distributed audio and video and photo slideshow formats. Pending time and availability, this class may also venture into content creation using more experimental platforms.

At the conclusion of this course, each student should have increased his or her knowledge of online content development and storytelling techniques through various tools and techniques.

My teaching mission is to share and propagate the journalistic standards and ethics held by this school’s namesake – Edward R. Murrow. It is my goal to help instill a set of core values, ethics and skills that will help to immunize journalists against the inevitable temptations present in this industry. In journalism, credibility is earned. One poor choice can destroy an entire career. For this reason, you will need to operate at the highest standards of truth, fairness, balance and accuracy.


Projects and Scoring:



Audio Project(s)



Traditional Writing/Reporting



Photojournalism Project(s)



Video Project(s)



Wildcard Project


Various In-Class Assignments





Exam (near end of semester)



Grading Scale:


points total


Points total


215 - 230C+140 - 154


200 - 214C125- 139


185 - 199C-
110 - 124


170 - 184D+95 - 109
B-155 - 169D
80 - 94

0 - 79

Online Reporting Portfolio:

Throughout the semester, you will be working on writing and multimedia assignments designed to show off your reporting and online content development skills. You will maintain an online website/blog for publishing your work that will be accessible by the instructor and classmates. Please be aware that any information posted on this site will be publicly viewable and, thus, may be held to many of the same legal and ethical standards as writings published in traditional media. Please be prepared to share and discuss your work in class.

While we do plan to have a final in this class, the completion of all assigned writings and/or multimedia projects in your portfolio accounts for a large percentage of your grade. Any missed assignments will impact your final grade in the class.


Projects and/or reporting assignments will be graded on a rigorous and fair system. Even though much of your work will be published on the Web, your content creations will still be evaluated according to traditional media reporting standards, including quality of the lead, use of language, economy of expression, readability, organization of material and content.

In evaluating mechanics, I will consider and review spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax and Associated Press style. Do not misspell words or names. Errors can (and will) dramatically reduce your grade on that assignment (possibly less than passing). In evaluating story reporting, consideration will also include news judgment in gathering and selecting information, accuracy, story approach and fairness.

The following will also be considered in grading your multimedia stories:

• Does the lead (in writing or in your production) tell what the story is about? Is it creative, interesting and relevant?
• Is the story well reported?
• Does it have multiple sources?
• Is it balanced and objective?
• Are all of the reader or viewer questions answered?
• Are direct quotes informative and of high quality?
• Are all sides of a story represented with a diversity of voices?
• Is material organized in a logical fashion?
• Is the writing or production clear and concise?
• Since there will be an online component to some of the work you submit, I will also factor in the technical execution of your storytelling.

Extra credit:

Throughout the semester, there may be opportunities for extra credit. We will talk more about any possible opportunities as the semester continues. However, availability of extra credit is subject to change and, thus, you should not rely upon this option to reach a higher grade.

 Tests & Quizzes:

We are tentatively planning at least one class test - a written response exam near the end of the semester.

This test may require that you reference the specifics of online publishing and/or technical skills learned in class, so it will be important that you understand how to work with each multimedia technology prior to the end of the semester.

In addition, there is the possibility for unannounced in-class quizzes or assignments that require attendance in order to complete.

Course Participation & Attendance Policies:

In order to ensure participation from all students, credit is given to those with strong attendance and promptness. Excessive absences will result in a lower grade for the overall course. Specifically, more than TWO will adversely affect your final grade due to reduced credit for attendance and participation.

Class attendance is vital, as material will be introduced that is not covered in the text. Poor attendance will be reflected in your grade because of missed assignments or problems with completion. Assignments missed due to absence generally can't be made up. Do not ask unless there are exceptional circumstances for an excused absence. Consideration might be given if there is documented hospitalization, family death, university-sponsored travel (documented in advance) or extended individual sickness.

Incomplete Policy:

Incompletes will NOT be given except in cases of documented emergencies, and the student must be passing the course at the time the Incomplete is requested.  The Incomplete will be assigned ONLY for those circumstances (sickness, accident, death) that meet the literal interpretation of Academic Rule, 90h.  Sickness, accident or death must be documented.

    Students with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center (Washington Building 217; 509-335-3417) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center. For more information contact a Disability Specialist on your home campus:

    Pullman or WSU Online: 509-335-3417,
    Vancouver: 360-546-9138


    Academic Dishonesty: WAC 504-25-015

    1)         A student organization’s assistance in, or encouragement of, academic dishonesty as defined in subsection (2) of this section is prohibited. Part III of this chapter provides procedures for dealing with academic dishonesty by individual students. Part II of this chapter provides procedures for dealing with assisting in or encouragement of academic dishonesty by student organizations.

     2)        Academic dishonesty includes cheating, plagiarism, and fabrication in the process of completing academic work. The University expects that student organizations will accept these standards and that their members will conduct themselves as responsible members of the academic community. These standards should be interpreted by students as general notice of prohibited conduct. They should be read broadly, and are not designed to define misconduct in exhaustive forms.

    Introduction: WAC 504-25-300. 

                As an institution of higher education, Washington State University is committed to principles of truth and academic honesty. All members of the University community share the responsibility for maintaining and supporting these principles. When a student enrolls in Washington State University, the student assumes an obligation to pursue academic endeavors in a manner consistent with the standards of academic integrity adopted by the University. To maintain the academic integrity of the community, the University cannot tolerate acts of academic dishonesty including any forms of cheating, plagiarism, or fabrication. Washington State University reserves the right and the power to discipline or to exclude students who engage in academic dishonesty. To that end, the University has established the following rules defining prohibited academic dishonesty and the process followed when such behavior is alleged. These rules incorporate Washington State University’s Academic Integrity Policy, the University-wide document establishing policies and procedures to foster academic integrity. This policy is applicable to undergraduate and graduate students alike, as it pertains to dishonesty in course work and related academic pursuits. In cases of dishonesty in research and original scholarship, the University’s Policy and Procedural Guidelines for Misconduct in Research and Scholarship may take precedence over the policies and procedures contained herein. 

    Overview of Academic Integrity Procedures: WAC 504-25-305

    1)        The University prohibits acts of academic dishonesty in order to foster the principles of truth and academic honesty. The academic integrity procedures used by the University are considered a part of creating an educational environment that does not award undeserved credit.

    2)        Settlement procedures, hearings, or appeals conducted as part of the academic integrity procedures are not subject to many of the constraints of criminal or civil hearings.

    3)        The purposes of the academic integrity procedures are as follows:

    a)                     to determine the facts about the allegation(s);

    b)        to determine the responsibility of the accused student;

    c)                     to determine the appropriate penalty if the accused student or student organization is found responsible for a violation;

    d)        to help any students found responsible for any violation of the academic integrity standards understand the negative impact of their actions;

    e)        to educate the students, although sanctions can include temporary or permanent removal from the University.

    4)        Students involved in these procedures should expect to be treated fairly and go through the process in a timely manner.

    5)        A student’s mental state, or use of drugs or alcohol, that may have influenced a student’s behavior will generally not limit the responsibility of the student for his or her action.

    Definitions: WAC 504-25-310

    1)        Academic Dishonesty. Academic dishonesty includes cheating, falsification, fabrication, multiple submission, plagiarism, abuse of academic materials, complicity, or misconduct in research, all of which are defined below.

    2)        Cheating. Cheating is the intentional use of, or attempt to use, unauthorized material, information, or study aids in any academic activity to gain advantage. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, communicating improperly with others, especially other students, during tests or the preparation of assignments for classes; copying from books, notes, or other sources during a test when this is not permitted; copying from another student’s work (reports, laboratory work, computer programs, files, etc.); making improper use of calculators or other devices during a test; illegitimately procuring or using copies of current examinations; allowing a substitute to take an examination or write a paper for oneself.

    3)        Falsification. Falsification is the intentional and unauthorized alteration of information in the course of an academic activity. Falsification includes, but is not limited to, altering the record of data, experimental procedures, or results; falsely describing the source of information (e.g., reproducing a quotation from a book review as if it had been obtained from the book itself); altering academic records; altering a returned examination paper and then seeking a higher grade based on the result.

    4)        Fabrication. Fabrication is the intentional invention or counterfeiting of information in the course of an academic activity without proper authorization. Fabrication includes, but is not limited to, counterfeiting data, research results, information, or procedures with inadequate foundation in fact; counterfeiting a record of internship or practicum experiences; submitting a false excuse for absence or tardiness.

    5)        Multiple Submission. Multiple submission includes, but is not limited to, submitting the same paper or oral report for credit in two courses without the responsible instructor’s permission; making minor revisions in a paper or report for which credit has already been received and submitting it again as a new piece of work.

    6)        Plagiarism. Plagiarism is knowingly representing the work of another as one’s own, without proper acknowledgment of the source. The only exceptions to the requirement that sources be acknowledged occur when the information, ideas, etc., are common knowledge. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, submitting as one’s own work the work of a “ghost writer” or work obtained from a commercial writing service; quoting directly or paraphrasing closely from a source without giving proper credit; using figures, graphs, charts, or other such material without identifying the sources.

    7)        Abuse of Academic Materials. Abuse of academic materials occurs when a student intentionally or knowingly destroys, steals, mutilates, or otherwise makes inaccessible library or other academic resource material that does not belong to him or her. Abuse of academic materials includes, but is not limited to, stealing, destroying, or mutilating library materials; stealing or intentionally destroying another student’s notes or laboratory data; hiding resource materials so others may not use them; destroying computer programs or files needed in others’ academic work; copying computer software in ways that violate the terms of the licensing agreement that comes with the software.

    8)        Complicity in Academic Dishonesty. A student is guilty of complicity in academic dishonesty if he or she intentionally or knowingly helps or attempts to help another or others to commit an act of academic dishonesty of any of the types defined herein.  Complicity in academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to , knowingly allowing another to copy from one’s paper during an examination or test; distributing test questions before the time scheduled for the test; collaborating on academic projects when students are expected to work independently; taking a test for another student; or signing a false name on a piece of academic work.

    9)        Misconduct in Research. Graduate and undergraduate students on research appointments for

    the University are responsible for compliance with the University’s Policy and Procedural Guidelines for Misconduct in Research and Scholarship found in the faculty Manual.  Misconduct in research is treated as academic dishonesty.

    10)   Responsible Instructor. The responsible instructor in the academic integrity process is the person who assigns the grades, supervises students’ work, or is responsible for teaching operations in the course of study in which the alleged violation occurred. The term “responsible instructor” can include, but is not limited to, instructors, graduate assistants, another instructor, and clinical supervisors. If the conduct does not relate to a particular course, the role of instructor for these procedures may be a department chair or academic advisor.

    Academic Integrity Processes: WAC 504-25-315

    1)        Every act of academic dishonesty affects academic evaluation of the student and also is a violation of the University’s standards of conduct. Responsible instructors retain the authority and responsibility to assign grades to students, considering from an academic standpoint the nature of the student’s action. This is the case even when the case is referred to the University Academic Integrity Process. Students have recourse to appealing the responsible instructor’s assignment of grades according to usual academic policy. See Academic Regulation 104.

    2)        All clear instances of academic dishonesty shall be reported to the Office of Student Affairs as outlined in 504-35-335. The first reported instance at WSU of academic dishonesty by a student will be treated as purely an academic matter unless, in the judgment of the responsible instructor, more serious action should be taken through the disciplinary process. Any allegation of subsequent academic dishonesty will be treated as a matter to be referred to the Office of Student Affairs.

    Reports of Academic Dishonesty: WAC 504-35-320.  Any member of the University community who witnesses an apparent act of academic dishonesty shall report the act either to the instructor responsible for the course or activity or to the Office of Student Affairs.


     Using WSU Information Technology resources, including email, for commercial purposes, including the sale of materials such as class notes, violates university policy and will result in an immediate referral to the Student Conduct Office.

    WSU IT resources may be used for legitimate purposes only.  In addition, the Standards of Student Conduct, which governs students enrolled at WSU, included a provision prohibiting computer abuses, WAC 504-26-218.

    WSU IT resources shall not be used for supporting, establishing, or conducting any private business operation or commercial activity not expressly allowed by WSU policy.

    The use of WSU IT resources for commercial advertising or promotional activity is generally prohibited, except as provided for in WAC 504-35-050.

    More information regarding WSU policies can be found at:


    WSU has developed a resource in support of its commitment to safety.The Campus Safety Plan can be found at and contains a comprehensive listing of university policies, procedures, statistics, and information relating to campus safety, emergency management, and the health and welfare of the campus community.The emergency management website is located at

    You should browse the site to become familiar with this information. You also should be familiar with the WSU ALERT site,, which provides information on the communication resources WSU will use to provide warning and notification during emergencies.

    You also should register your emergency contact information for the Crisis Communication System (CCS). Enter your network ID and password, and you will be taken to the myWSU main webpage.Look for the Emergency Notification box on the right side of the page, and click on Register to be taken to the registration page where you can enter your cell, landline, and email contact information.

    For more information on campus safety, you can visit the Office of Emergency Management site at

    Virtual Journalism is on Facebook

    If you are on Facebook, then I recommend you "Like" our official class feed. On Facebook, I'll be posting interesting and timely news stories, as well as job and internship opportunities -- some of which are exclusive to this class.

    Team Media Workshop Project


    This semester is all about "doing." This class uses an "incubator" model that aims to conceptualize and launch original web news and information properties over the duration of the semester.

    For the duration of the semester, each student is going to play an important role in the conceptualization and creation of an original website. You will curate and create original storytelling using written words, audio, video and photos to bring your site to life.

    The class will soon break into website editorial "teams" for the creation of these separate, collaborative web properties. You will (as a team) determine the site name and even help design the logo.

    Each blog/site will contain multiple posts and stories from each contributing team member, to include:
    • Traditional written stories/reporting
    • Original photojournalism slideshows
    • An experimental storytelling project
    • Original video reporting
    • Related social media streams
    • and more!
    In class we will be demonstrating how to set your site up using Blogger. However, there are several other alternatives that each team may wish to consider including Wordpress and Tumblr. However, please note that many of our in-class tutorials will primarily focus on support for Blogger.


    Each student on your editorial team will be able to post to the blog at any time. To enable this feature, one student on each team should create the initial blog and then invite each student collaborator into the blog as a co-admin.

    To begin, the designated student that begins the blog should select "Settings" from the Blogger dashboard.  Then, look for the "Permissions" section and select "Add Authors" under the "Blog Authors" area to "invite" a registered Blogger user to contribute to your blog. At this point, that person will have limited "Author"-level access rights to the team blog. (Note: You may want to change the level of permission from "Author" to "Admin" after your teammates accept the invite to join the blog).

    Please note that you should think of this blog as a publication. Don't be afraid to highlight other interesting stories or sites that you encounter online. A large part of "blogging" is referencing (and referring to) other sites.

    NOTE: Since this is a PUBLIC blog, be aware that all libel, legal and copyright issues do apply to what you create and publish online. Use caution and common sense in your creations.

    Examples of Previous Team Projects

    Here are some examples of team sites from recent semesters: