COM407: Introduction to New Media


Quick links

Course syllabus

Course schedule

Professor Natt's home page


Beat blogs
Abney, Alli Edison, Jasmine
Gieseking, Caitlin Kim, Jin
Leffler, Jacob Lewis, Lauren
Link, Madison Luo, Xiangxiang
Mackintosh, Darby Martin, Emma
O'Connor, Kerri Osmolski, Steven
Peterson, Katherine Rider, Savannah
Riley, Shelby Miles, Samuel
Wu, Tong Zhang, Jinyun
Zuccarelli, David



Week 1: Media Trends/Uses of Social Media Week 2:No class MLK Day/Blogs
Week 3: Blogs Week 4: Blogs; Images & Instagram Photos
Week 5: Images & Instagram Photos Week 6: Facebook; Pinterest
Week 7: Twitter Week 8: Twitter & Hootsuite
Week 9: Aggregation and Curation & Storify; LinkedIn Week 10: Spring break
Week 11: Interviewing; Video Week 12: Video Alternatives & Apps
Week 13: Audio Week 14: Slideshows
Week 16: Slideshows Week 16: Slideshows

Week 1: Welcome; Media Trends/Uses of Social Media

Day 1: Media Trends

Readings: 10 tips to optimize your social resume


"Reporters from digital outlets and niche publications now hold more seats in the U.S. Senate Press Gallery than reporters from daily newspapers do, according to a new report from Pew." Source

Social media numbers 2016

"Now in the era of 24-hour social media, with both professional and citizen journalists, more people than ever are turning to alternatives to traditional news media for their information. Some studies show that many people trust social media more than the traditional media sources."

A new study finds millenials are strong news consumers, they just take an indirect path. Instead of newspapers or digital home pages, they use social media and search as the two top avenues for finding news. Facebook is the top way of encountering news.

Media Trends

And it's not just once you get the job:

10 Reasons I ignored your resume

No more resumes, instead: instead it's a social media resume many are looking for. Make sure you have one uploaded to LinkedIn. Social proof for job success. Here is a former student's Wordpress resume.

And I don't want this to happen to you

Day 2: Uses of Social Media



Uses of Social Media notes

Daily Assignment (to be done in-class): Let's look at the J&C's Twitter account, the Exponent's Facebook page, American Farmer's Twitter, and ESPN Facebook. What "uses" can you identify?

Week 2 Blogs

Day 1: No class, MLK Day

Day 2: What is a blog; your Weblog assignment

Getting started on Wordpress
Blogging Your Way to a Dream Job at a Startup

In class:

You read professional blogs. You just don't know it. Blogs you know: Huffington Post, Jezebel, Wired and Buzzfeed. The renown Wonkblog. Many online publications have blog "elements" like Slate and Gothamist. Mashable and Social Media Today you should be reading. Top 15 Most Popular Blogs this month. Blogs by topic like the top science blogs or agriculture blogs. Popular blogs include: Talking Points Memo and Daily Kos and boingboing and TechCrunch and Food Babe and Scary Mommy. Corporate blogging is big. Medium is a popular site. And personal blogging like Dooce is still popular.

So tell me about a blog. Blog trends.

News report vs. blog

Let's go over our blog criteria and our blog schedule

(All Daily Assignments are done in-class unless otherwise stated)

Major assignment, semesterlong:

  1. You will be assigned a blog beat from a list provided or from a suggestion you make. This blog is to be maintained from Week 4 through the end of the semester. See blog grading criteria and blog schedule.
  2. Blog posts cannot occur with 12 hours of each other.
  3. You must follow the blog schedule of posts. You must tag each post with what assigned post (i.e. sharing news, or funny list) it satisfies from the schedule.
  4. It's all or nothing. If you don't make your posts that week following the above rules, you recieve NO credit for that week.

Daily Assignment (Day 2):

  1. Choose 2 to 3 options for your "beat" blog.
  2. E-mail me your ideas and support.
  3. I will then assign the blog beats.
  4. Here's a strong sample from a previous semester to peruse.
  5. It's a good idea to get the Wordpress app (free) for your smartphones. Quick and easy way to make (and schedule) posts on the fly.

Week 3 – Blogs

Day 1: Setting up your blogs

Where to get a blog:

Here is a list of a few places to obtain a blog.

You can also use most, including WordPress, to create a Web site

Daily Assignment (Day 1):

  1. Sign up for your beat blog (Wordpress)
  2. Customize it (here's some help for you).
  3. E-mail me the URLs

Day 2: How to write a blog post

Spotlight on Research

Why do we keep our blog posts tight? New research shows that:

  • 10 percent of readers won't scroll through your blog post at all. (Overcome this by writing an exceptional blog title, writing tight).
  • Those who do read only get through 60 percent of your post (So, to get them to read it all, break up your content with visuals, headers, bullets, bolded text to highlight stats or quotes)
  • Most visitors will scroll through an entire post made up of photos and videos (more engaging, easier and faster to get through). (So obviously, incorporate visuals when possible)
  • Articles that get tweeted a lot don't necessarily get thoroughly read and vice versa.


Tips for Writing a blog post

  1. Write with passion. Actually write. Be creative. It shouldn't read like an encyclopedia entry.
  2. Use second person, or first person, in addition to third person. You can address the reader as “you”; you can talk about yourself and use “I.”
  3. Be more informal. You can quote people using Twitter handle, etc.
  4. Make your opinion known (a rule you can break when blogging)
  5. Interact or invite participation
  6. While always staying on topic, your definition of news is no longer what would be in a standard newspaper. Have variety. Topics are key. Finding new, interesting stuff you blog about, or a new take on an old topic. Writing about one aspect of an event and bringing your personality in to it.
  7. Vary your format and topics. You can have light lists or serious lists.
  8. Links. Almost every post should have one. You can link to background rather than repeat it, link to a news release or report rather than rewrite it, link to other sites, competitors)
  9. Write good link text. Click here is bad link text (where will you go? You don't know!). This is good link text: Lyndon gave us 10 tips that help him write his blog. Why is it good? Because the text of the link gives you a reasonable expectation of what you will see if you click.
  10. Length. There is debate. Most professionals are 500 to 1,000. Many say shorter, like 250-300, however. Now, there is a new movement to longer, 2,000 words. Depends on blog, depends on post.
  11. No block of text more than 5 lines
  12. Make blog post titles SEO friendly. Every word counts. The title also needs to be short — five or six words is an ideal length. Downstyle. It's important, like a headline.
  13. Make your post easy to scan (e.g. use bullet points if applicable)
  14. Edit your post
  15. Litter the post with keywords
  16. Post regularly. This keeps your blog fresh and interesting.
  17. Tag your posts. Tags vs. Categories on Wordpress.

Some blog dos and don'ts for your assignment.

If you would like to have your own domain name on Wordpress.

Daily Assignment (Day 2):

  1. In class: Blog activity



Week 4 – Blogs; Images & Instagram

Day 1: Blog uses; Publicizing your blog; Your first blog post

Blog uses


Tumblr vs. Wordpress

Fun with Tumblr

Publicizing your blog:

An Exponent article doesn't hurt

Remember: "Blogging isn't a sprint, it's a marathon" Source. How to get attention for your blog. Once your blog is established you can take additional steps (Register your blog on blog search sites, don't forget Digg, etc., Blogengage, other blog directories and Bloghub)

How to search for blogs:

Blog Search Engine or you can find blogs on Tumblr, etc. Or just to a site like Christian Science Monitor

Daily Assignment 1 (Day 1):

  1. Find at least five blogs related to the "beat" you would like to do your blog on. (You can check to see if organizations you know have blogs by going to their home pages). These can be valuable sources of information, possible posts, writing examples, etc. Follow these blogs on Wordpress or Tumblr. In addition, scan these blogs' recent posts. Come up with a list of 5 ideas for posts you could match/share on your own blog. Print this out and turn it in (I need the URLs for the posts you think could be matched and your idea on how to match them).

Daily Assignment 2 (Day 1):

  1. Make your first post to your beat blog, a kind of introductory post. Let them know what you hope the blog will be. Let them see your personality. We will do this IN CLASS. In addition, if you have not done your "About" page on Wordpress, do it as well (if your theme has one).

Day 2: Images & Instagram

Readings: Beginners Guide to Instagram; Instagram Direct
Photoshop tutorial and 12 Essential Photoshop skills
Copyright, Fair Use and Online Images
Principles in Fair Use for Journalists
71 Instagram Tools

In class:

Images and Instagram notes

Photos can be more powerful than words. Turkey assassination.

Photo tips. (Illustrated in this video).

Your blog and photos: THINK PHOTOS!!! They just grab our attention. The new 360 degree photo fad. You can embed a photo from Instagram on your beat blog. Avoid GIFs except in more marketing and light applications.

Free stock images: Getty images (for embed), Google images (free to share, labeled for reuse in Advanced settings), Unsplash, Gratisography. Purdue News has lots of photos for you. You can also embed a tweet, post, etc. that has the image you want.

Major assignment, the Photo assignment: Using your smartphone, take photos to create a slideshow to accompany a post to your beat blog (or to just serve as a post). Due Week 6. (This counts as one of your beat blog posts for the week). See assignment details here.

1. You must have a minimum of four photos.
2. Edit them using Instagram, or Photoshop Express app. (Use the best application for the job).
3. Then create a Wordpress slideshow. Sample attempt. What about this one?
4. Don't forgot to check the grading checklist for this assignment.

Week 5 – Images & Instagram

Day 1: Judging photos and writing good captions

So you need to know how to avoid the cliche photo.

Wordpress and photos: Aligning images, resizing images , feature photo feature on Wordpress (changing the main image on individual posts), embed an Instagram and using galleries. Great use of gallery for a "job" site.

It's not just the photos. You need to pay attention to the cutlines as well.

Captions (text) can be used to convey "news" on Snapchat, Instagram, etc.

Major assignment, the Instagram assignment: Using your smartphone, you must maintain a professional beat presence on Instagram for one week. See assignment details here. Due Week 7.

1. You must have a minimum of one post per day.
2. Edit them using Instagram or other photo editing app.
3. Photos must be beat-related, professional and of good quality.
4. Don't forgot to check the grading checklist for this assignment.

Daily Assignment 1 (Day 1): If you don't have it already, download Instagram onto your smartphone (it's free). Same with Photo Express or Snapseed or Vintique or another editing app. Send me your account information so I can follow you. You must do this IN CLASS.

Daily Assignment 2 (Day 1): Let's judge some of these photos (and captions) people uploaded for the weeklong Instagram assignment.

Daily Assignment 3 (Day 1): Keeping in mind the photo tips we discussed in class, take two photos with your smart phone that in your view "illustrate" a day in the life at Purdue. These must be photos you take now, not photos you have previously taken. Sample from last semester. Edit using Instagram or Photo Express (or other app). Upload to Instagram before class. We will be discussing these in class next class period.

Day 2: Images

Let's have a look at those amazing photos you took and captions you wrote.

Week 6 – Facebook/Pinterest

Day 1: Facebook

Instant Articles and updates

"Facebook is the obvious news powerhouse among the social media sites. Roughly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults use the site, and 66 percent of Facebook users nominated it as a key news source. (Pew, 2016) But many say it "failed America" this year with its scandal over trending stories and fake news.

Reddit, Facebook and Twitter users most likely to get news on each site

When to post:

Spotlight on Research

Newspapers on Facebook defy the conventional wisdom of when and how often to post. Facebook found a greater number of posts "frequently" increases referral traffic by more than 80%. At some point, you can overload fans with too many posts. Media properties will have to figure that out on their own. Shoot for 5-15 if a news organization.

Business/organizations not more than two, usually.

What to post:

Writing the Facebook post

Spotlight on Research

The Pew Research Center in 2015 released a 14-page report examining how people use Facebook and Twitter to consume and share news. It found more people are turning to Facebook and Twitter for news — but the report also draws an interesting distinction between the two social networks.

The report says that slightly more Twitter users reported seeing a diverse mix of news topics than Facebook users did. Of the Twitter users surveyed, 67 percent said they regularly saw at least six of 11 common categories of news, compared to 57 percent of Facebook users. Although users of both platforms saw roughly the same amount of news about science, the environment and local government, Twitter users reported seeing more news about sports, business, national news and national politics.



Spotlight on Research

A study of engagement with journalists' pages reveals that incorporating personal analysis (opinion) increased sharing of posts by 20 percent. In addition to commentary or analysis, posts need to be more informal and conversational, and invite people to participate (ask questions, provide suggestions)


Facebook lists function can fulfill other uses from Day 2. And don't forget that you can now go live on Facebook. (How have newspapers been doing with this?)

Should you use hashtags?:

Spotlight on Research

The research say no, don’t use hashtags on Facebook. But then again, the system is built to accommodate their use. Because of this, the real answer, for you, likely comes down to your specific audience and how attuned they are to hashtag use.


Facebook pages you need to be following: Social Media Today and Mashable

Some local Facebook page examples:

Daily Assignment 1: In class today, write three posts. One will promote your blog in general. Another will promote one of your blog posts. And a third will satisfy one of the other uses of social media we talked about on Day 2 (so not promoting own work, obviously). I want you to take time to write really good posts. This is what might convince some people to take a look at your blog. So the old "Hey are you interested in xxx? Then check out my blog ..." is definitely out. Since I don't want to be friends with you all, take screenshot of your posts and print them out.

Day 2: Pinterest

Readings: Mashable's guide to Pinterest; Pinterest basics and beyond

Uses of Pinterest

News organization use of Pinterest

A couple tips:

  1. Ask yourself, why would someone come to my board?
  2. If you're promoting your blog, you should link to your Pinterest board. This also means that you need to have photos with your content if you want people to pin it. (Think vertical. Tall photos look best on Pinterest.)
  3. Keep it simple in your descriptions. You don't want your boards to look gray. While keeping it simple, write interesting copy with anything you pin. We should make those sentences as interesting as possible. (Many newspapers, unfortunately, simply use headline)

  4. Don't overpin (just like other media)
  5. Keep it organized. Have some organizational reasoning.
  6. Make sure you fill out your profile and add a logo or picture (professionalism)
  7. Share content other than your own (like any social network, only sharing your own copy is bad)
  8. Be creative with your board names
  9. Follow others in your field/area. Just like you would on Twitter and Facebook.

List of newspapers on Pinterest

The Pinterest browser button

Daily Assignment 1:Let's create your Pinterest account (if you don't have one). If you need help as you get going, the Pinterest help page is just that, helpful. Download the Pinterest app to your smartphone if you want. Create a board for your beat. Put some thought into the topic. You might need a narrower topic than your overall beat. a) Pin or repin at least 15 photos and add your own description for them. b) Embed a pin or the board to your blog to let your followers know it's there.



Week 7 Twitter

Twitter Guidebook from Mashable

Twitter Day 1:

Wanna work at Twitter?

(So Twitter has a blog, fyi).

Who's using Twitter and for what?

Twitter uses reminder

Social media is still "reporting"

Spotlight on Research

Journalists make up the largest category of Twitter’s verified users, according to a report from Triggertrap CEO Haje Jan Kamps published on Medium.

The report, which is based on a sample of 15,000 verified Twitter accounts, shows that journalists make up nearly a quarter (24.6 percent) of the service’s authenticated users. The next-largest category is sports teams and athletes (17.9 percent) followed by actors and entertainers (13.6 percent).

Although journalists make up a significant proportion of the Twitter’s verified userbase, they have relatively few followers (140,000 on average) compared to their higher-profile counterparts in music (more than 1.2 million on average) and acting (more than 400,000 on average).

The report also says journalists and news organizations are the most active group on Twitter.

It takes a lot of time to maintain social media, especially Twitter.

The basics:

The timeline change (from latest to most relevant) and how to adjust your settings

Anatomy of a tweet:


Types of tweets and where they appear.

How to write a good tweet:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Spotlight on Research

Study: Here are the factors that impart the least credibility to a tweet:

  1. Non-standard grammar or punctuation (2.71)
  2. Author has the default Twitter user image (2.87)
  3. Author has a cartoon or avatar as user image (3.22)
  4. Author is following too many users (3.30)

Another study found an author’s influence, topical expertise, and reputation all enhance a tweet’s credibility; other perceived markers of credibility include the public profiles of tweeters and how often their posts are retweeted.

Some local twitter sites:

Daily Assignment 1 (Day 1): Let's get you a Twitter account if you don't have one and customize it. (If you don't want course materials on your Twitter feed, sign up for a separate account). Email me your Twitter handle. Obviously, I think you should have the Twitter app (free) on your phone.

Daily Assignment 2 (Day 1): Let's see how you are at recognizing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. You and partner are to do this assignment together. You will turn in your assignment, so please write this down. But we also will hopefully have time at the end of class to go over these together, so work judiciously.

Day 2: Tweeting live

Everyone can tell a story using Twitter

The Joplin, MO, tornado coverage by New York Times’ Brian Stelter: "It was, after all, the place where my latest reporting was being posted. … Looking back, I think my best reporting was on Twitter. … People later told me that they thought I was processing what I was seeing in real-time on Twitter. I was."


Tweeting Live notes

Be quick but try to avoid a grammatical error that has people giggling:

Don't hog the Twitterstream

Live tweeting poses particular problems for students (and anyone, really); their regular followers can feel spammed when they’re suddenly exposed to a stream of live tweets.
Leslie Thornton (@ljthornton) suggests that students let their followers know that they’ll be live tweeting. “It should be clear why you’re flooding Twitter with tweets,” she said. “If you can, give people who want to follow all those tweets a hashtag to follow.”
Andy Bechtel (@andybechtel) agrees: “If you are going to tweet frequently from a live event, give your followers a heads-up with an introductory tweet. That way, they’ll be ready for a lot of tweets from you in a short period. (Example: “I’m at a social media workshop. I’ll pass along the best tips as I hear them.”)
It's one reason most sports have their own Twitter feed, so a live tweet of Purdue volleyball doesn't take over the general Purdue athletics feed.


The J&C livetweets a press conference example of beauty vs. information. Even companies live tweet. Sports live tweets can be tricky.

How did a former student do at the polar plunge? And Nick's Flicks. And "Fault in Our Stars" speech.

The ethics of live-tweeting

Major assignment, due Week 8 or 9:

  1. You must cover an event, meeting, forum, speech, etc. relating to your beat. (If you absolutely can't think of anything relate to your beat to cover, a default assignment is March 9: 6:30 p.m. Loeb Playhouse: Nina Davuluri, Miss American 2014, is the keynote speaker for International Women's Week. Or you could do the March 1 Presidential Lecture Series talk by Doug Brinkley, 6:30 p.m. Fowler Hall. Brinkley s a professor of history and Baker Institute fellow at Rice University, and the author of a number of award-winning and bestselling books on Hurricane Katrina, Ronald Reagan, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodor Roosevelt, John Kerry and Walter Cronkite.)
  2. Minimum of 10 tweets from the event.
  3. You must notify me in advance what event you plan to cover, when it is.
  4. Do backgrounding for your event you will cover (agendas, bios, previous newspaper articles, articles from other towns, etc.) Make sure you ask for any information they may have available, i.e. Web pages, brochures, fliers, news releases (what kind of information did you find on social media?). You need to be able to effectively convey who is sponsoring the event, what is planned, why it is being held, the impact of the event, who is particpating, etc. You need to have background information (names, etc.) ahead of time. You won't have time when you are live-tweeting to find information.
  5. You must promote on your beat blog that you will be tweeting the event and encourage readers to follow you. You must also promote the live tweet on your Twitter account.
  6. Remember to review the assignment grading checklist

Week 8 Twitter & Hootsuite

Day 1: Twitter lists and writing well
Reading: What Twitter teaches us about writing short well ; How to guide on Twitter Lists

Spotlight on Research

What is transparency?

A growing argument in new media is that quality journalism in all its new forms can distinguish itself by being transparent. First, it can aid credibility and distinguish itself from rumor and unchecked information by being transparent, revealing how information was obtained so audiences can see its origin, help correct errors, etc.


It can also give more insight into the reporters themselves (and thus aid their credibility, relatability) with more sharing of behind-the-scenes information. A recent study found female journalists were significantly more transparent than males. "They revealed more about their jobs, personal lives and everyday activities, and linked to more external websites, all indicators of greater transparency."

Local media more likely than national "elite" to provide information about their jobs, engage in discussions, write about personal lives or link to external websites.

Source: Transparency and Other Journalistic Norms on Twitter, Volume 13, Issue 3, Journalism Studies and Volume 13, Issue 1, Journalism Studies

Twitter lists:

Reporters should follow the feeds of any officials on their beats using Twitter. They may break news on Twitter, using it as a format for press releases or quotes. Lists is a great way to do this. Newspapers/organizations often use lists so you can follow all their tweeters.

Twitter can make you a better writer:

  • Keep it professional with proper grammar, spelling and capitalization when possible: study
  • Keep it searchable (hashtags)
  • Keep it moving (mentions)
  • Keep it fresh (don't just retweet headlines/leads)
  • Keep it creative (really write)
  • Keep it personable. Followers want to know that there’s a person behind a Twitter account, and they want to hear that person’s voice: Instead of always tweeting headlines, try starting a conversation about your stories. Tweet about your favorite part of a story, share a detail about the reporting process, or pose a question. When someone answers the question, respond to them. “If I am watching an accident on our chopper feed and it’s hard to look at, I’ll tweet that." Remember transparency.
  • Keep it visual. Think images. They get more attention, more retweets.

Daily Assignment 1: Set up Twitter lists. Find at least five people you want to follow on Twitter related to your beat and create a Twitter list. Tell me the people and tell me why you chose to follow this account. (Besides following people and retweeting is a great way to get more followers). In addition, make sure sharing on Twitter is an option on your beat blog posts.

Daily Assignment 2: It's time to Tweet. Come up with a couple of Tweets from your "beat" that encompass two uses and avoid the the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Let's use a common hashtag so we all can see #com407. Do you need another hashtag? Send them flying from your account.

Previous class efforts: A movie blogger found something unique to share; as did a ballet blogger (very creative wording) In addition, retweet from at least 1 of the Twitter accounts you chose to follow. Add a comment.

Day 2: Hootsuite and Tweetdeck

Readings: Beginners Guide to Hootsuite; Beginners Guide to Tweetdeck;

(So Hootsuite has a blog to keep you updated)

The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media Automation and the Publisher function

Daily Assignment 1 (Day 4): If you don't already have one, let's sign up for a Hootsuite account. Add your Wordpress blog and your Twitter. It's a good idea to have the Hootsuite app (free) on your smartphone.

Daily Assignment 2 (Day 4): It's time to tweet again. Go ahead and come up with a tweet "related to your beat." Remember what makes a Good, Bad and Ugly tweet. But instead let's use Hootsuite instead. Schedule it for later (so find something you can really tweet about and send. Why not take this chance to let your friends know about your blog? Or an upcoming event?). One book blogger decided to write and schedule a week's worth of tweets.


Week 9 – Aggregation & Curation & Storify; LinkedIn

Day 1:

Readings: Sharing other people's content. The Storify tutorial

Aggregation & Curation:

“Aggregation and curation are techniques of using content from other sources to provide content for your audience. They occupy overlapping spaces on a spectrum with original reporting at one end and mechanical aggregation at the other." (Buttry)

What is the difference? Curation vs. Aggregation

An example of curation: Years in review and the recent election and Keisha. This farm blog curates news and so does Upworthy and Mediagazer and Medium and the Huffington Post.

Spotlight on Research

Journalists as Community Managers:

"Journalists will not longer focus exclusively on gathering information and producing a story. Now they're managing and amplifying the conversations the community is having; conversations that will happen with or without them.

Journalists will also have social content creation more integrated into their workflow, whether that means creating content for specific platforms or using the content from that platform for the purposes of curation."

Source: The Future of Social Media in Journalism

Link, attribute, add value:

Aggregation can be done ethically if you follow these guidelines:

  1. Always link to the original source.
  2. Always include clear attribution (in addition to the link).
  3. “Attribution helps consumers evaluate the reliability of information.”
  4. Always use quotation marks (as in the previous item) when you copy and paste someone else’s text.
  5. Add value to the material — add original reporting (you may even talk to the same people), updates, analysis.
  6. Another way to add value is to summarize and/or compare reports from several other sources.
  7. Do not simply copy information, especially from unknown or unreliable sources.
  8. Part of the value that you add is that you are using only sources that you trust.
  9. So let's check out this Huffington Post article



What is Storify? It's the compiling of social media (Twitter, YouTube, etc.) to tell a story (without or without comments). (Think Buzzfeed) Storify sifts through all that's out there. There's even a bookmarklet under tools (bottom of page, just like the Pin It button).

The 5 types of stories to use storify on. Sample: instruct or recap a meeting/class or a company year in review or preserve breaking news like Purdue shooting Storify or a live tweet.

You want to be:
*long enough
*ask people to use a hashtag
*make use of at least transitions for readers: Colorado theater shootings

Daily Assignment 1: Your storify assignment. Some nice efforts from students with interesting ideas: Rain Delay and Oscar Wedding Influence. Unfortunately, does not support the embed code from storify. You will need to export, HTML, and just pass along the URL to readers.

Day 2: LinkedIn

Readings: Complete guide to LinkedIn etiquette; and Beginners Guide to LinkedIn and a Guide to LinkedIn Publisher

Status updates vs. Articles on LinkedIn

A year end review on Storify promoted on LinkedIn.

Mistakes to avoid on your LinkedIn profile. How journalists use LinkedIn. Also what college students should have on their LinkedIn.

You can use the LinkedIn bookmarklet to share articles on your account.

And don't forget you can use LinkedIn to share your blog posts just like you do othe media:

It's good when future employers can see you are active on LinkedIn:

Daily Assignment 1:If you don't have one already, create a LinkedIn profile. If you do, 1. Do you have a summary (first person vs. third person), education, and experience sections? If not add them. If you do, can you add a document or image to pump these areas up? or look for new contacts and send out requests or find a new company/group to follow.


Week 10 – Spring break

Week 11 – Interviewing; Video

Day 1: Interviewing

Reading: Don't be Boring & Attribution rules

The Richard Sherman interview

How to interview:

You get information.
You are going for the "Oh."
What makes a good soundbite? Think about the medium and purpose. I love the interviews in this story about McDowell County, W.Va.

"Another great trick for audio interviews is to have your subject re-enact the story. It makes for good sound and helps you avoid having too much of your own narration later on."

The best:
Terry Gross and Fresh Air on NPR. Let's listen a bit to some questions.
Humans of New York's Brandon Stanton at SXSW

Daily Assignment 1: Think of a post topic. Then, think how a "real person" would aid that topic. So let's review these interviews used in this blog post. Then find a classmate to interview. You should not pick the person next to you. You should not pick a friend. Try to find the best person. So for example you have a book blog. This week is Dr. Seuss' birthday. Your post idea is to list his most popular books by sales. That is the main point of the post. You could ask classmates what their favorite Dr. Seuss book is and why, and weave those responses into the post. (You can interview one or more than one if you'd like to go for a "list" post or a post that needs more reaction). Record on your smartphone to make sure you get the actual quote. You decide and you decide the questions. Then, evaluate the answers you receive and chose one. You don't have to do the post in class, but it must be included in a post this week. This counts as one of your assigned blog posts.

Day 2: Video

Readings:Reporter's Guide to Multimedia Proficiency, Sections 12-15, pgs. 28-38
Sequencing in video
Inserting YouTube video into blog
10 Excellent video editing apps or the new Premiere clip app for iPhones

Why Video?

mobile chat



Spotlight on Research
A 2015 study published in the Newspaper Research Journal, “Longer, Higher Quality Videos Preferred by News Viewers” sought to determine whether shorter news videos really are better.

Key findings were:

  • Viewers preferred high-quality videos over low-quality videos. While prior research indicates that people can tolerate lower-quality videos if they like the content, this study suggests viewers “would not tolerate content they found uninformative, bad, not enjoyable or not worth recommending to others.”
  • People liked longer videos better than shorter ones. Long videos averaged 2.08 minutes in duration. Short videos averaged 24 seconds.
  • When both quality and length were considered, people preferred long, high-quality videos to other types of video, including short, high-quality ones.
  • A video’s quality influences what audience members think of a news organization, and having longer videos heighten that perception.


Video notes

The action shots:

Sequencing in video

The interview shots:

What journalists need to know about interviewing for video.

Why we do it:

Brussels raw (even with the photog's finger)

Spotlight on Research
A 2016 study by Harvard Medical School examined their use of 360 degree video and images.


  • They encourage and generate more reach and engagement than the average post.
  • The novelty of 360 images/videos has not worn off or tapered (yet).

Similar to Facebook Live, we've seen that content that lets our audiences inside HMS and makes them feel part of the HMS community is highly desirable and effective.This content is not only attractive to our audiences, but also to other organizations that continue to share it.

You need to think about your video as your "story":

The Apps to do it:

Equipment can help, too


Options for shooting: FiLMiCPro. This basically turns your phone into a worthy HD camera, with features including 4x zoom, focus, exposure, white balance etc. It also has audio meters and audio ratio overlays ($9.99 and $7.99). Options for editing: Videolicious (free, let's you record yourself, narration over videos, add music, can't really edit) has catalog of recipes users with no prior experience with filming and editing video can follow. And free webinars: Effective News Videos with Videolicious and Mobile Video Storytelling with Videolicious, and iMovie for iPhone ($4.99) and Videoshop (has subtitles!! free for Android, $1.99 for iPhone) or WeVideo for Android allows more editing. Splice is another recommendation. Voddio is a multi-track editor (more advanced).

Social Media video:

Research shows us as much as 85 percent of video views on Facebook happen with the sound off. That's why you are seeing more and more social media video with words over the video.

Live video:

Should you go live?

Social media "selfie" videos

Periscope and Facebook live, and now Instagram Live:

It's an easy way to get out coverage of your event.

And you can be creative or use it for promotional purposes as well:


You need to pay attention to your comments during live broadcast

Spotlight on Research
A 2016 study by Harvard Medical School looked into their experimentation with more Facebook live.


  • An appetite exists for these types of streams in general.
  • Behind-the-scenes footage and videos featuring HMS thought leaders perform better.
  • Shorter streams (5-15 minutes) are more effective in keeping audiences engaged.
  • Streams have to engage right away.

After analyzing the results, we've found that our audiences are hungry for video content that provides greater access to HMS, our community, and our experts that can’t be found anywhere else.

The ethics of raw video:

South Carolina shooting

The car crash and NASCAR death


Contiguity is the process of adding multimedia elements and combining them with text at just the right place in a story. The most effective multimedia story quickly provides key connections between text, video, polls, etc. Research shows that readers will spend more time on a site when it includes text explaining how all the story's elements relate to one another. And users learned significantly more from the contiguous stories.

Source: Mastering Multimedia, AJR

Major assignment, due Week 13:

  1. Create a video of an "event" related to your beat. Event is used loosely. A dinner with friends is an "event." Shopping is an "event." It depends on your blog. (You can do an Instagram video (but there is no editing here really) or a longer video to YouTube. )
  2. Embed the story on your blog. You can use words to set up the video.
  3. Remember to review your video assignment grading checklist
  4. This counts as an assigned blog post for the week.

Daily assignment 1:Let's look at some video illustrations previous students in this course shot as blog posts: Milk Monday and Thursday dinner and Pie fundraiser

Week 12 – Apps and Alternatives

Day 1: Apps & Alternatives; Your video assignment

Readings:How to download Snapchat, etc. video to your iPhone

Snapchat grows up

"Part of the appeal of Snapchat is that the short videos can be repurposed for different platforms. Alice Speri, The Intercept’s multimedia reporter, used Snapchat to cover protests outside the Democratic and Republican conventions. She would shoot a 10-second video, save it to her camera roll, tweet it out and later include it as a multimedia element in a story. Other news organizations use elements of their Snapchat Stories on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. This is a good argument for even small, resource-strapped newsrooms to use the platform."


Snapchat's appeal

"Though Snapchat has overtaken Twitter in terms of daily users to become one of the most popular social networks in the world, it has not attracted the media attention that the 140-character platform earns, perhaps because journalists and presidential candidates don’t use it very much. Snapchat’s news division has become a popular and innovative source of information for young people, but it is rarely mentioned in the hand-wringing over how social media affected the presidential election.."


Snapchat: The how-to's of Snapchat. Here's how to use it, Poynter says. Pro tips for Snapchat stories. Washington Post reporter uses it on campaign trail (example) In Norway, news stations are reaching young people with Snapchat. The problem with Snapchat is searchability.

Instagram: How to use Instagram Stories. Help on Stories from Instagram. Taking Instagram video (or visually) and 10 editing tips Instagram videos can make good, quick "on the scene" news shots. Downloading videos from these to your phone. (And remember, you can go live now in Instagram stories)

Facebook: Stories are here.

Comparing the two

Let's look at some Instagram stories using both photos and videos.

How has Snapchat changed communication?:

  1. The Sounds of Silence. People enjoy a majority of online video with the audio off. It’s similar to the ease of reading a text message compared to listening to a voicemail. Whether the video is something to entertain us while waiting in line or a way to get headlines between meetings, we are often in places where we can read but not listen. Anyone who posts a promotional video without subtitles or text to get a message across is missing an opportunity. I’m embracing this approach in my classes, calling these audio-optional videos “#SilentStories.”

    This trend is bigger than just Snapchat, as it is dominating Facebook feeds, too.

  2. Snapchat is True Multimedia. It seamlessly mixes video and still images with graphics, emojis and geotags. You can write on the screen, add filters and change the speed of your video. This leaves a lot of room for creativity and makes composition extra important.
  3. The Audience Wants to Be in Control. Whether it is to quickly advance to the next element in a story or to use video or stills to tell it, people want to decide how to create and enjoy their content. The method of rapidly advancing through Snapchat stories is also changing the attention span of users. You now have a couple of seconds to grab attention.
  4. Platform Matters Most. You used to hear no vertical video. But now ....
  5. Creating Own Content. The Discover tab in the app has highly produced content.


Daily assignment 1:Follow a news organization on Instagram and Snapchat.

Recommended Daily assignment: Upload iMovie or some other video editing app. View a how-to video. Become familiar with it. Shoot some test videos. Edit them using the app. Or play around with the video editing functions of Instagram.

Daily assignment 2: For next class, Take a video that "accompanies" a blog topic using Instagram or if you want, use your phone camera and edit with apps and upload to YouTube to accompany a blog post for the week. This counts as a blog post. We will be viewing these posts in class, so make sure you have uploaded the post to Wordpress by class time. (Remember how to embed an Instagram video or a YouTube video.)

Day 2: Your video shoot

Let's see those videos you shot.

(Bring headphones next week to class!)




Week 13 - Audio

Readings: Super-fast guide to Audio Editing . If you like video instruction better, watch this
Adobe Audition how-to
Complete Guide to Podcasting audio support and embedding Soundcloud
Great Audacity online reference guide and #1Audacity tutorial and another and good explainer of tools

Day 1:


Facebook announced Live Audio, which will let publishers more easily go live with audio only on the network. Similar to the live video experience on Facebook, users can comment and leave reactions. 

Sound can bring a story to life in many ways:

  • Interviews capture the voices of the people we cover and form the centerpiece of many audio narratives.
  • Ambient (or atmospheric) sound helps the listener understand the mood and “feel” by establishing a sense of location.
  • Natural sound marks an action in a story. These “sound effects” punctuate narratives and focus listeners’ attention.
  • Voiceovers tell the story and weave the elements together.

Why doesn't audio go viral?


Uses for audio:

  1. Podcasts: They can be longer, like's podcasts or NPR's or ProPublica's or from newspaper reporters like The Guardian's (long and short) or informational like the Office of Inspector General's or (the White House podcasts have been removed) or CDC's, or entertaining like BBC's. Did you listen to Serial?
  2. New audio outlets like Anchor
  3. Online radio stations like Freakanomics
  4. Add to stories: Example, great uses of short audio: What does a hurricane sound like? Or the sounds inside a prison?
  5. Highlight from events, like Purdue sports
  6. Audio streaming of newspaper stories with Newsbeat
  7. Using audio (language) to accompany photos/print (your next major projecct)
  8. Audio PSAs or soundbites for radio like from CMS
  9. Add comments in your own blogs
  10. Mix with other social media with apps (or products like Audiogram)

A video posted by New York Magazine (@nymag) on

For those of you who want to record and post audio to SoundCloud from your phones, Retronym’s new AudioCopy app (Here's a how-to video) or VC Audio Pro – VeriCorder Technology’s $6.99 VC Audio Pro app was designed for broadcasters, but is a powerful and functional tool for anyone that needs to record and edit audio with their iPhone. Itools or IExplorer for getting your Voice Memos off iPhone to computer (I actually email it) or DropVox ($1.99) for connecting your voice memos to Dropbox, so no limit.

Daily Assignment 1: Let's practice. Sign up for a Soundcloud account. Then, interview a classmate, trim their answer using Audacity, and upload it to Wordpress. (Here's how to upload to Wordpress. You have to save it first onto your Soundcloud).

Daily Assignment 2 (you will need to bring the audio to class with you NEXT WEEK):

  1. Interview an organizer/participant of an upcoming, blog-related "event."
  2. Write a post (we will do this IN CLASS NEXT WEEK for Week 14) previewing/about the event. Include at least one, strong soundbite from the interviewee. (You will edit the soundbite IN CLASS NEXT WEEK).
  3. That soundbite should not be longer than 30 seconds. It should ADD to the post.
  4. If you have no upcoming events, you still need to find a way to get sound from an interview into a blog post this week.
  5. Let's look at some past efforts: Backyard movies and commitment week

Day 2:

In class:

Do's and don'ts of slideshows

Some slideshow examples: A Decade in Space is narrated by the subject. Chinese ball and Biking and The Clarks is just slides and text (no natural sound, interviews or narration) as is the Hula Hoop History. This Vegas slideshow with no sound doesn't even use captions. This only has images and interview audio. Combining slideshow with other elements (video and words). Telling stories with images and audio. Even "magazine-length" slideshows

Sample projects: Baptism and Beekeeper and Niki's Ability (interview only). Notice here in the Guitar Lady how captions are used. Compare to Baseball School.

You won't have the option of captions. But you will have your blog post to set up the video. That means you will need lots of explanatory sound (interviews, etc.) Like these individual segments.

Go back and review your tips for good photos.

Major assignment, due end of class period April 26:

  • Cover an event on your beat (default assignment is a Grand Alternative event the week leading up to Grand Prix or a Springfest event.) From this event you must construct a 2-3 minute Slideshow. See details on assignments page. This must be an "event." It cannot be a how-to.
  • You may not use previous sound/photos you have taken, or photos/sound taken prior to this being assigned.
  • Upload project to YouTube.
  • Embed URL on beat blog. Due end of class period on April 26.
  • Don't forget to review the assignment grading checklist

Week 14 – Slideshows/Soundslides

Day 1:

On this day you will work on:

Daily Assignment 2 from Week 13 (you will need to bring the audio to class with you):

  1. Interview an organizer/participant of an upcoming, blog-related "event."
  2. Write a post (for Week 14) previewing/about the event. Include at least one, strong soundbite from the interviewee.
  3. That soundbite should not be longer than 30 seconds. It should ADD to the post.
  4. If you have no upcoming events, you still need to find a way to get sound from an interview into a blog post this week.
  5. Let's look at some past efforts: Backyard movies and commitment week

Day 2:

In class: My how-to create an easy slideshow in Adobe Premiere.

For more information: How to create a slideshow in Adobe Premiere. Some video tutorials (longer one here) as well.

Week 15-16 – Slideshows

In-class work days for your Slideshows project.