- Richard Koci Hernandez
- Jeremy Rue
- Paul Grabowicz
Course Overview and Objectives
This two-semester class is for students who want to do a multimedia master’s project and specialize in digital media or multimedia reporting after graduation. In the class students:
- Work as teams on three sophisticated multimedia story projects in the Fall semester so they can master the reporting and production of multimedia stories and online news packages.
- Participate in weekly presentations and discussions of best practices in multimedia storytelling and other critical topics in new media publishing so students are prepared to work in and take on leadership roles at digital news organizations.
- Get detailed critiques of their master’s projects from instructors and other students in regularly scheduled group discussions of their progress on reporting and production of the projects. Students also get regular one-on-one sessions about their master’s projects with their advisers in the class.
The master's project requires the creation of a website or other digital product that utilizes various media forms such as video, audio, text, photographs, graphics, interactive databases, data visualizations, mobile applications, social media and Flash animations. The project can be a multimedia story that has multiple segments tied together with an intuitive navigation scheme and compelling overall design; a continuously published news site or blog featuring original and curated content, or a prototype for a new concept or innovative idea related to digital journalism.
The topical discussions and presentations will be either group discussions of subjects presented by instructors or guest lectures by people working in digital media. Topics include best practices in multimedia storytelling, design principles in online publishing, use of social media in journalism, delivering news to mobile devices, etc. Students also are encouraged to suggest topics they want covered in the class, so the instructors can schedule presentations or bring in guest lecturers to address the subjects.
The first two hours of the class are usually devoted to the topical presentations and discussions and the last hour is spent reviewing and critiquing individual student master’s projects with faculty advisers and other students.
By the end of the course students should master how to report and produce a sophisticated story using a variety of different media formats and have a deep understanding of digital media so they can become leaders in the digital news industry.
Restrictions and Prerequisites
Readings will be assigned each week for individual class sessions. All readings will be available online via the course website. Most of the readings and background material for classes can be found in tutorials at the Journalism School’s Knight Digital Media Center website:
There will be three team multimedia project assignments in the Fall semester, some weekly assignments to produce ideas or strategies for publishing to different digital platforms or technologies, assigned readings for weekly class discussions, and deadlines for producing different segments of their multimedia master’s projects during the Fall and Spring semesters.
Fall assignments and deadlines on master’s projects will focus on reporting, while Spring assignments will be more about production. It is expected that by the end of the Fall semester students will have completed the bulk of the reporting on their master’s projects and come up with a prototype for what their final site will be. By the end of the Spring semester students must finish their master’s projects according to the school guidelines for these projects. Information on the school guidelines can be found on the Intranet here:
Instructors Contact Info & Office Hours
Paul Grabowicz http://journalism.berkeley.edu/faculty/grabowicz/
Richard Koci Hernandez http://journalism.berkeley.edu/faculty/richard_hernandez/
Jeremy Rue https://journalism.berkeley.edu/person/jrue/
Class Email List
The instructors regularly send messages to the class email list with information about upcoming class sessions and updates on previous discussions, so it is very important for students to monitor these postings. If needed, please flag the class email address as non-spam and as important in your e-mail client. It is a student’s responsibility to verify you are receiving e-mail from this list and to read the e-mail messages.
Class Meeting Times and Place
The class meets Tuesdays from 2 pm. to 5 p.m. in room 106/Upper Newsroom at North Gate Hall.
- Team projects (3) - 40%
- Master’s projects - 40%
- Weekly assignments - 10%
- Class participation - 10%
Note: unexcused absence from two classes will drop you one letter grade, and each additional absence will result in dropping another letter grade. Regardless of the reason for absence, students will be responsible for contacting the instructor and making arrangements to do make-up work if needed. Consistent tardiness also will lower a grade.
Classroom Decorum Policy
Students should turn off the ringtones on their cellphones before class begins. Students may not check e-
mail, text messages, social media sites like Facebook or Twitter or other websites during the class.
Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism
Students will abide by the Student Code of Conduct:
There is a zero-tolerance policy for work that is submitted without proper attribution or that constitutes plagiarism. If students are unsure about the expectations regarding the Student Code of Conduct, please seek advice from the instructors.
Other Course Information
Course Number: J216
CCN: TK Units: 3
Fee: Yes (multimedia equipment fee of $75)
Enrollment Limit: 15
Weekly Schedule of Classes
Class 1 - Overview of Projects and Discussion Topics – Review of team project assignments and topical discussions and schedule for starting work on individual master’s projects. Begin selection of 1st team projects. Begin group discussion and critiques of proposed individual master’s projects.
Pitch 1st team project ideas, due Class 2
Class 2 - Master’s Project Proposals – Final selection of 1st team projects. Complete group discussion and critiques of proposed individual master’s projects.
Work on 1st team projects, due Class 5
Class 3 - Taxonomy of Digital Storytelling – From the Christmas Tree to embedded multimedia, lecture on the evolution of different forms of digital storytelling.
Example of best practices website, due Class 4
Class 4 - Best Practices in Online News Stories – Presentations and group discussion and critiques of student examples of online storytelling that exemplify best practices.
Class 5 – 1st Team Projects Presentations – Presentations and group discussions and critiques of 1st team projects; Begin selection of 2nd team projects.
Final versions of 1st team projects, due Class 6.
Pitch 2nd team project ideas, due Class 6.
Class 6 - Past Multimedia Master’s Projects – Review and critique of past multimedia master’s projects; Presentations of final versions of 1st team projects; Final selection of 2nd team projects.
Work on 2nd team projects, due Class 9
Class 7 - Social Media – Lecture and group discussion on how journalists can use social media to help with their reporting and promote their stories.
Develop a social media strategy for your master’s project, due Class 8
Class 8 - Social Media – II - Presentations and critiques of social media strategies from each student
Class 9 – 2nd Team Projects Presentation – Presentations and group discussions and critiques of 2nd team projects; Begin selection of 3rd team projects.
Final versions of 2nd team projects, due Class 10.
Pitch 3rd team project ideas, due Class 10.
Class 10 - Multimedia Production – Guest lecture by Tasneem Raja, interactive editor at Mother Jones (or similar speaker) on work flow and skills needed in producing online news stories; Presentations of final versions of 2nd team projects; Final selection of 3rd team projects.
Work on 3rd team projects, due Class 14
Class 11 - Tablet Devices and the Future of Long Form – Lecture and group discussion on how tablet devices are being used for online storytelling and whether tablets will usher in a new renaissance for long-form writing or video documentaries.
Class 12 - Games for Storytelling – Lecture and group discussion on how games are used to do online storytelling, from simple quizzes to immersive 3D environments.
Class 13 – Working in Online Media – Panel discussion with journalism school graduates working in online media about the digital skill sets journalists need to succeed in news organizations: i.e. what you want to make sure you learn before you graduate next semester.
Class 14 – 3rd Team Projects Presentations – Presentation and group discussions and critiques of 3rd team projects.
Final versions of 3rd team projects, due Class 15.
Class 15 – Final Team Projects and Master’s Project Presentations - Presentations of final versions of 3rd team projects; Presentations and discussions of progress on individual student master’s projects and plans for winter break.
Class 1 - Overview of Master’s Projects and Discussion Topics – Review of topical discussions, schedule for completing master’s projects. Student updates on progress in the Fall semester on individual master’s projects.
Storyboards of master’s projects, due Class 2
Class 2 - Master’s Project Storyboards - Presentations and group critiques of storyboards or website prototypes of individual student projects.
Class 3 - Master’s Project Storyboards - II - Presentations and group critiques of storyboards or website prototypes of individual student projects – continued.
Class 4 - Innovations in Online Storytelling – Guest lecture by Shan Carter of the NY Times (or similar speaker) on new and emerging forms of digital storytelling.
Class 5 – Developing Web Sites for Master's Projects – Lecture and discussion on custom HTML5/CSS websites vs. WordPress themes for master’s projects.
Beta version of master’s project website, due Class 8
Class 6 - Data and Data Visualizations - Lecture and group discussion on how news organizations make effective use of data and data visualizations in online storytelling.
Develop a plan for incorporating a data visualization into your master’s project, due Class 7
Class 7 - Data and Data Visualizations – II – Presentations and critiques of data/data visualization plans for individual master’s projects from each student.
Class 8 - Master’s Project Website Updates – presentations and group critiques of websites of individual student projects
Final Master’s Projects, due Class 15
Class 9 - Design Principles in Online Publishing – Lecture and group discussion of fit and finish in design of online news packages. Critiques of students individual master’s project websites.
Spring Break - No class
Class 10 - Maps – Lecture and group discussion on effective use of maps in online stories.
Class 11 - Mobile News Applications – Lecture and group discussion on how news organizations should be delivering news and information to mobile devices
Develop an idea for a mobile news or information application
Class 12 - Mobile News Applications – II - Presentations and critiques of mobile news and information application ideas from each student
Class 13 - Micro Mobile Devices – lecture and group discussion on new compact mobile devices like Google Glass and Apple watch and how they will impact delivery of news and information.
Develop an idea for a micro mobile news or information application
Class 14 - Micro Mobile Devices - IIs - Presentations and critiques of micro mobile news application ideas from each student.
Class 15 - Presentations of Final Master's Projects – Critiques and group discussion of final individual student master’s projects.