The goal of the final project is to work in teams to produce a journalistic multimedia project that will be presented online. Each team will cover one story using all the tools you’ve learned in this course (photography, video, audio, etc.). This project gives you an opportunity to experience what will be expected of you in a well-run professional newsroom.
The final assignment has several stages. Together this project accounts for 50% of your overall grade in this course:
1. Story ideas – Three story ideas, each presented as a professional story proposal with appropriate pre-reporting having been completed. Due by noon on Monday, Oct. 21.
2. Detailed project reporting plan – Due by start of class on Tuesday, Oct. 29.
3. Storyboard presentation – To be presented in 7802 class (11 a.m.) on Thursday, Nov. 14.
4. The final project, published online as a free-standing website. – Due by 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9. (when we meet for project presentations and discussion)
Your final project will be a multi-page website that must include:
You will be assigned to a team of 2 (or maybe 3) people. Team members should work together to brainstorm story ideas and propose at least three original story ideas that lend themselves to a multimedia project. (Please review what is a multimedia story? and multimedia lesson 1…).
Each of your three story proposals should include…
You should be aware of previous local media reports on the subject and might want to include summaries/links to that prior coverage.
When you complete all three story ideas, email them (with the names of your team members on top) to your instructor.
Coming up with story ideas:
The team should plan on meeting for about an hour to brainstorm topics and ideas. Then each team member should plan to do about 2 hours of journalistic reporting/research (i.e, phone calls, etc., and not just Google searching) to determine the viability of your stories BEFORE you write up your story proposals.
(In other words, before turning in your story ideas, you should know for sure whether sources are accessible and available, whether there’s enough “stuff” to do the story, whether the story has local appeal, etc.)
You should also collaborate on the writing of all three proposals, rather than coming up with ideas individually and combining them at the end of the process.
How do we know which story idea we’ll get to do?
Your instructor will notify you of the final selection quickly, usually by the next day.
Where should we keep our materials?
Once your idea is approved, you can then create a new folder with the slug for that story in the 7802 folder. Then keep all files relating to that story in that file folder for easy group access. That way if a team member is missing, others know where to find audio files, photographs or your ongoing storyboard that serves as a checklist for members to consult concerning ongoing progress.
How should we stay organized?
Your group should create a project timeline and assign tasks and deadlines to members of the team. It often helps to appoint a group facilitator who will schedule meetings and make sure everything stays on track. Online tools like Google Docs and Facebook groups can also be helpful. It’s up to you.
Use your time efficiently. While we encourage you to work collaboratively, it may not always make sense to have multiple people interview each source or go out on a photo shoot together. Use your judgment. Either way, it will probably be necessary to schedule regular meetings to debrief about ongoing work, brainstorm new ideas, and schedule for tasks toward your end goal.
Remember, this is a group project, so everyone is equally accountable for the quality of all component parts.
Be sure to build in deadlines for rough drafts and revisions. The best stories go through many drafts.
What kind of reporting is expected?
Your project should cover all the bases of the story you set out to tell. It should go beyond the obvious surface-level facts to present a complete report that incorporates the views and experiences of all the key stakeholders in the issue/story. It also should delve deeply enough to present material that enlightens and informs in a meaningful (and hopefully delightful) way.
Profile components should include material from a range of sources surrounding the person being profiled as well as from the main subject.
All factual material should come from a reliable source (not Wikipedia) and be properly attributed and/or verified.
The bulk of your material should come from face-to-face interviewing and from observational reportage using your camera, video camera, audio recorder — and of course, your own eyes and ears.
You will hand in a written plan that follows the project planning steps discussed in class. Your plan should include (1) a clear mission statement for the project; (2) a list of key questions that need to be answered for the reader; (3) identification of the full range of potential stakeholders/sources connected to this story; (4) an audio/visual shopping list that identifies the situations you will need to document and what form of media is most appropriate to each situation; (5) an organized to-do list; and (6) a calendar for getting the work done by deadline.
This plan needs to be handed in as a paper document. However, it does not all need to be typed. Various parts are going to make more sense hand-written, sketched, etc. Please be sure everything is clearly readable, though.
PLEASE MAKE A COPY of your plan before turning it in so that you can hold onto it and use it to guide your project work. You may hand in either the original or the photocopy.
Your team will show off how well your reporting has gone, along with a plan for how you intend to present the story to your online audience. At this point your instructor will be looking for clear evidence that significant amounts of detailed reporting have been done already. Your storyboard might include some rough edits of your material, or at least a collection of the best of your raw materials.
The storyboard should be shaped as directed in this online reading
Be sure to include:
On your due date you’ll have about 15 minutes to present your storyboard.
This is a concise formal presentation, as if you were trying to convince an editorial board to publish the project (or fund it). Although it’s formal, you may dress casually if you like.
Although your grade will reflect both your vision for the website AND the presentation of your storyboard, the grade will be based primarily on the quality and quantity of reporting you have done so far and the sophistication of your ideas for presenting the material to an online audience.
In the production stage, each member of your team might expect to work multiple hours per day until the final website is completed. Your team will present the website to the class during the regularly scheduled final exam period for this course.
The final grading criteria are explained in this online post.