Blogging the News

Syllabus

JOURNALISTIC BLOGGING

JRN 3450, Section EMW

Room VC 7-160

MW 2:30-3:45pm

Professor Vera Haller

vera.haller@baruch.cuny.edu

Tel. 646-312-4338

Office: VC 7-XXX

Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 11am-1pm and by appointment

 

PURPOSE:

 

This course introduces students to the world of journalistic blogging and social media in all its diversity, from exploring complex policy, social and economic issues to offering commentary on local art exhibits, music clubs, and local food stands. Students will learn techniques for making their online writing engaging, how to make a point quickly, and how to develop ideas and find an original voice while hewing to journalism’s commitment to accuracy and clarity.

 

 

METHOD:

 

Each student will create his or her own blog on a specific topic. Each student will write a mission statement, research a target audience, create an editorial plan, draft a social media plan and then physically launch the blog using a WordPress theme. Once the blogs have been launched, students will write, report and/or produce six posts for their individual sites. Interspersed with this hands-on work, students can expect lectures on journalistic issues facing bloggers and on special topics such as political and economic blogging. Guest bloggers also will visit the class.

 

HOMEWORK:

 

The following assignments will receive grades. Students should expect additional reading assignments as well as being asked to comment on other students’ blogs:

 

Blogging analysis paper

 

Mission statement/editorial plan

 

Post No. 1

 

MIDTERM: Students must launch blog with three posts (includes Post. No. 1), a title, “About” page, 5 categories and a blog roll.

 

Social media strategy paper

 

Election night “live” blogging analysis

 

Post No. 4

 

Post No. 5

 

Post No. 6

 

Final Blog Review — Evaluation of overall effectiveness of blog. Does it meet goals of mission statement? Were you able to establish a voice? Did your writing and reporting break new ground on the topic? How well did you integrate social media into your blogging?

 

GRADING:

 

The midterm and final blog review will each account for 25% of your grade. The other assignments will be averaged together to account for the other half of your grade.

 

 

ATTENDANCE:

 

Regular attendance is essential. This is a hands-on course. Please make sure that you arrange your schedules to allow time outside of class for reporting assignments. As per Baruch policy, I will drop students who miss more than four classes without medical reason.

 

NOTE: You are not permitted to submit work for this class that has been or is being submitted in another course.

 

 

WEEKLY TOPICS:

 

This is a rough outline of what to expect over the course of the semester. I reserve the right to change and adjust the schedule as the semester progresses.

 

Week 1

Overview of journalistic blogging. Students are assigned a paper that analyzes an existing journalistic blog.

 

Week 2

Student presentations of analysis papers; we begin brainstorming topics for your blogs

 

Week 3

Getting started. How to write a mission statement and formulate an editorial plan. Possible guest speaker.

 

Week 4

Content is king. In-depth study of what works in terms of subject matter, tone and style.

 

Week 5

WordPress week. We look different themes and plugins and begin to experiment with layouts. We also work on naming our blogs.

 

Week 6

Go over details of midterm assignment and review and revise our first blog posts.

 

Week 7

Incorporating multimedia.

 

Week 8

Blogs are launched. Class time is allotted for production and student presentations.

 

Week 9

Social media and blogging. Possible guest speaker.

 

Week 10

Political blogging and election coverage including live blogging.

 

Week 11

More special topics: blogging about food, celebrity, economics. Students present social media strategies.

 

Week 12

Additional editorial planning for final three posts. Work on refining our voices.

 

Week 13

Metrics and search engine optimization.

 

Week 14

In-class production on multimedia and final posts.

 

Week 15

Class review of completed blogs.

 

 

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