Older Course Outlines : 2011
Fridays: 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
September 7, 2012 – December 7, 2012
Computer Lab 3
This course invites you to explore the ways in which new technologies and evolving social media practices are changing the relationship between news providers and consumers.
Students will examine strategies for promoting user-generated content — from social media conversations to website comments and photos — in an effort to understand how news organizations are using emerging tools to build engagement with their audience, and how these organizations can strengthen this relationship. Students will look at how individual journalists are using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Instagram and others and identify best practices.
The course will take the form of a seminar/lab, during which we discover the changing media landscape together. The reading list is based on topical articles relating to the crucial issues in social media that news organizations are grappling with.
Class discussions will be supplemented with the sharing of ideas and articles on Twitter between classes. The goal will be to strengthen our own interaction as we learn about broader communities.
Guest speakers will be occasional contributors to in-class discussions.
Students are expected to have digested the readings prior to class and to participate in the discussions — in class and out. Students are required to sign up for Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, at minimum.
Students will be able to:
- Evaluate social media activity
- Build a social media strategy
- Identify best practices
- Use social media effectively
- 35%: Social media assessment
In-class presentation - approx. 15 min.: Students choose 1 of these 3 assignments (in groups of 2):
- Assess the website comments of a major news organization.
Read the comments on at least 5-10 stories on each site to get
a sense of discussion. You may need to create a username and log
in to see the full site functionality.
- What is the general level of conversation? Are people talking to each other?
- How are people identified? Are commenters anonymous?
- What kinds of stories are getting the most comments? Which stories had comments disabled?
- What functionality (if any) does the site have for promoting comments or commenters?
- What functionality (if any) does the site have for flagging inappropriate comments?
- What evidence is there of policing for hate or uncivil behaviour? Have any comments been removed?
- Are reporters or editors commenting?
- Can you discern the attitude of commenters toward the news organization? Do they seem engaged or frustrated?
- What can they improve?
- How does it fit with what other sites are doing with their comments?
- Analyze the Faceboook presence of a major news organization. Examine a week or two of stories on their Facebook.com fan page.
- What kinds of stories are they posting?
- How often?
- What time of day?
- Which stories are getting the most comments? Why?
- Are the stories with most comments the stories with the most Likes?
- What does the presence of the Like button say about the kind of stories chosen?
- What format are the stories in? (video?)
- How are they encouraging interaction?
- What can they improve?
- How does it fit with what other organizations are doing on Facebook?
- Assess the website comments of a major news organization. Read the comments on at least 5-10 stories on each site to get a sense of discussion. You may need to create a username and log in to see the full site functionality.
- Assess how a major news organization such as The Huffington
Post uses social media sharing tools on its own website (not
- What type of integration happens when you connect (log in) with your Facebook account? Your Twitter account?
- How are they using Facebook/Twitter/Google/email/ on their site.
- What is the ratio of sharing among these tools?
- What other integration are they promoting on their site?
- What are the advantages/disadvantages?
- What can they improve?
- How does it fit with what other sites are doing?
- 20%: Storify Assignment:
- Tell a social media story using Storify
- Tell a social media story using Storify
- 35%: Case study assessment of a news organization's
all-round social media use (individual
assignment): 2,000-word critical analysis of a major news organization's
efforts at audience engagement. Place
it in context of the course
readings and discussions.
Look at the whole bundle: The organization's Twitter/Facebook presence but also the efforts of individual reporters and editors.
- What are they doing well/not so well?
- What kind of conversation is going on in their website comments? What level of engagement? What kind of social media tools are they using?
- How integrated are they with Facebook?
- Are they doing any live events in services like CoverItLive? What is the response?
- What is your opinion of the level of conversation happening in these social platforms?
- Are they active in Foursquare/Tumblr?
Critically analyze the site you have chosen, in any way you can -- perhaps bringing in other blog posts as supporting research.
- 10%: Social media participation - Minimum 2 tweets a
week introducing new material or commenting on others.
Students must achieve a B- in all classes.
Late submissions are penalized a letter grade a day, unless an accomodation is made with the instructor.
Disputes over academic performance and assessment will be dealt with according to the Academic Regulations of the School of Journalism. Students may appeal decisions of the Journalism Studies Committee to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. For more information, see the King’s calendar and the Dalhousie University Graduate Calendar.
Detailed grading rubrics are below.
In-class presentations are due on the presentation day. Any written
assignment that accompanies that presentation is due via email by midnight.
An assignment not submitted gets a grade of F unless an extension has
been given. An extension will not ordinarily be given unless accompanied
by a doctor’s note or granted due to serious family circumstances.
Students are expected to submit work that is free from spelling, grammatical or factual error. An error will result in loss of a letter grade. A significant error may result in a failing grade.
Students will be on time for each class and come prepared to contribute to discussions and assist fellow classmates. They are expected to display a level of collegiality that would be present in a newsroom.
Class topics by week:
- September 7, 2012 : Introduction & Overview
- About this course
- Twitter basics
- 10 journo Tweeters to follow
- Other high-profile Canadian journos:
- For next class:
- September 14, 2012 : Hijacked class :) — Emerging Business Models
- With CBC's Andrew Cochran
- With CBC's Andrew Cochran
- September 21, 2012 : No Class
- Tim is at the Online News Association conference in San Francisco
- To Do: Take a look at the schedule, watch the session live streams or follow the session hashtags. Suggested:
- #NOFILTER: How Social Photography Is Changing News and Journalism
- Real Metrics: Grow and Manage Your Numbers
- Pinterest, Instagram, Google+: Keep Up, Keep Sane
- Social Media Debate: Best Practices vs. Bad Habits
- The New Era of Social TV
- September 28, 2012 : History / Storify
- Discussion of ONA12
- In class exercise: Using Storify
- Canadian Media Research Consortium: Social networks transforming how Canadians get the news (April 27, 2011)
- Pew Center: Understanding the participatory news consumer: How Internet and cell phone users have turned news into a social experience (March 1, 2010)
- Dave Copeland (ReadWriteWeb): Do's and Don'ts For Using Storify (Feb. 12, 2012) Craig Newman: Tips for using Storify in your reporting in digital storytelling (Feb. 2012)
- Staci Baird: 5 "Rules" for Journalists Using Storify (2011)
- Mandy Jenkins: 10
ways journalists can use Storify (Oct. 21, 2010)
- October 5, 2012 : Making Content Social
- Social media optimization
- Josh Benton: “Like,” “share,” and “recommend”: How the warring verbs of social media will influence the news’ future (Feb. 28, 2011)
- Jeff Sonderman: Want your work to be shared? Make readers feel something (June 22, 2012)
- Anil Dash: Stop publishing web pages (Aug. 14, 2012)
- Due: Storify assignment: Publish and email URL to Tim
- October 12, 2012 : Defining Engagement
- What forms does engagement take? What do we mean by curation? (PPT)
- A short history of journalism & social media
- Advanced Twitter searches
- Martin Nisenholtz (NYT): The importance of engagement (April 30, 2010)
- Jay Rosen (NYU): What I think I know about journalism / The View from Nowhere: Questions and answers (April 26, 2011)
- Steve Buttry: How do you build local engagement on Twitter? (May 27, 2011)
- John Paton (Register): How The Crowd Saved Our Company (June 8, 2011) & Steve Buttry: How the crowd can save your career (June 13, 2011)
- Thomas E. Weber (Daily Beast): Cracking the Facebook Code (Oct. 18, 2010)
- Vadim Lavrusik (Mashable): Facebook’s
Growing Role in Social Journalism (Feb. 27, 2011)
- October 19, 2012 : In-class presentations
- Group #1 presentation: social media assessment
- Group #2 presentation: social media assessment
- Guest: Amber MacArthur
- October 26, 2012 : In-class presentations
- Group #3 presentation: social media assessment
- Group #4 presentation: social media assessment
- November 2, 2012 : In-class presentations / Using Instagram
- Group #5 presentation: social media assessment
- Mallary Jean Tenore: How journalists can take advantage of iPhone photography (Sept. 5, 2012)
- Laura Indvik (Mashable): Is Instagram the Next Distribution Opportunity for News Media? (Jan. 3, 2011)
- November 9, 2012 :
Can Journalists Be Objective? / Curation
- In-Class Discussion: Analyze and critique the Associated Press's Social Media Guidelines for AP Employees (July 2012)
- Kathy English (Toronto Star): What’s fair on Facebook? (April 8, 2011)
- Mathew Ingram: Why can’t we just admit that journalists are human? (Aug. 31, 2012)
- Matt DeRienzo: Why our small-town daily is adding a full-time curator (April 20, 2011)
- Josh Sternberg: Why Curation Is Important to the Future of Journalism (March 10, 2011)
- Aggregation / Curation
- Pinterest & Tumblr
- Guest #2: (TBA)
- November 16, 2012 : Geolocation
- Using Foursquare
- (Shameless plug) Tim Currie: What
works for news orgs on Foursquare? Opinion, reviews, evergreens,
but maybe not the news (April 14, 2011)
- (Shameless plug) Tim Currie: What works for news orgs on Foursquare? Opinion, reviews, evergreens, but maybe not the news (April 14, 2011)
- November 23, 2012 : Your Professional Presence
- Using LinkedIn
- November 30, 2012 : Building a social media strategy
- Guest #3
- Due: Case study analysis
- Setting goals and measuring progress
- Joy Mayer & Reuben Stern: A
resource for newsrooms: Measuring the success of audience engagement
efforts. (June 3, 2011)
- December 7, 2012 : Wrapup
- Paul Ford: The web is a customer service medium (Jan. 6, 2011)
The following criteria will be used to grade the social media assessment presentations and the major case study assignment.
Level of research: 40%
Fails to use a range of sources or chooses poor subject material for analysis. Fails to identify the key issues and themes in the material. The assignment lacks information that is crucial for adequate analysis.
Uses a range of sources or chooses subject material that exhibits most course themes. May not fully consider the context of the material. The assignment is missing no more than two minor pieces of information needed for adequate analysis.
Uses a broad range of relevant sources or chooses subject material for analysis that fully demonstrates course themes. Identifies key issues but may exclude an important point. There are no major gaps in research material required for adequate analysis.
Uses a broad range of unique sources or chooses subject material for analysis that exhibits a wide range of course themes. Identifies key issues and introduces material that exhibits a superior understanding of its context. Research includes all relevant material and draws in uncommon sources.
Depth of analysis: 40%
Fails to explain how issues relate to each other or the problems posed. Ignores important context. Fails to adequately support story focus or argument.
May not fully explain the problems and challenges involved. Uses research material to support story focus or argument, but fails to explore a single piece of important context.
Identifies problems and challenges, and explains how they relate to each other. Story focus or argument is clear and well supported by the research material. Related sources are placed in context to the issue studied and explores implications for the future.
Identifies problems and challenges -- how they relate to each other, how they came about and implications for the future. Research material is used to explore secondary tension or conflict in the issue studied. Story focus or argument is clear. Identifies and explains broad or theoretical issues inherent in the subject matter.
Quality of presentation: 20%
Written work is unclear, too long, too short or has major grammatical errors. In-class presentations run far beyond the scheduled time and presentation materials are unclear, poorly organized or cluttered. Oral presentation is disorganized and does not emphasize key points.
Written work is clear and of the appropriate length. It may be slightly wordy and have a few minor grammatical errors. In-class presentations are of the appropriate length. Slides, videos and other presentation materials are original, but may be cluttered or occasionally unclear. Oral presentations may stray from key points.
Written work is clear, concise, well structured, of the appropriate length and free from all grammatical errors. In-class presentations are of the appropriate length. Slides, videos and other presentation materials are clear and original, but may not be well structured. Oral presentations may stray from key points.
Written work is elegant. It is clear, concise, well structured, of the appropriate length and free from all grammatical errors. In-class presentations are of the appropriate length. Slides, videos and other presentation materials are clear, original and well designed. Oral presentations emphasize key points. If class discussion is involved, the presenter has prepared material to lead the discussion.
The following criteria will be used to grade the Storify assignment.
|Number & suitability of sources: 50%||Uses fewer than 8 sources from a single social media service. Some of sources are irrelevant to the narrative. Misses a key element of the social media commentary on the chosen subject.||Uses 9-12 sources from at least two social media services, but may fail to include a key figure. The majority are relevant sources.||Uses 13-20 sources from a range of social media services, all them important and relevant to the narrative.||Narrative has more than 20 sources from a range of social media services, all them contributing important and diverse parts of the narrative.|
Clarity & crafting of narrative: 50%
Narrative misses key pieces of information, is incoherent or contains major spelling or grammatical mistakes (in the text you write yourself). Text introductions and transitions do not explain and support the social media material.
Narrative may omit a single piece of key information but is clear and easily understood. May contain at most two minor spelling or grammatical mistakes (in the text you write yourself). Text introductions and transitions weakly explain and support the social media material.
Narrative has all the sources one would expect. It's engaging and easily understood without any spelling or grammatical mistakes (in the text you write yourself). Text introductions and transitions are missing not more than one key element for understanding the narrative.
Narrative has all of the key sources. It's lively, compelling and makes extensive use of the medium without any spelling or grammatical mistake (in the text you write yourself). Text introductions and transitions fully explain and support the social media material.
The following criteria will be used to grade the out-of-class social media use/discussion. It refers explicitly to Twitter use. But other social media activity (Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) is acceptable, and encouraged.
Adds value to discussion: 25%
Fails to add meaningful context to the course themes. Tweets reference articles that are old, obvious or irrelevant to the subject matter. Opinions display weak understanding the material or repeat well-known observations. Tweets display inability to tie new events and ideas with course themes. Points are muddled or text contains serious spelling or grammatical errors.
Tweets reflect a grasp of key course themes. Tweets introduce articles or commentary for discussion but these may occasionally be from familiar sources or reflect well-established viewpoints. Tweeted comments display ability to synthesize new events and ideas with course themes but may fail to address a key idea. Tweets contain some spelling or grammatical errors, or broken links.
Tweets provide original and insightful analysis that relates to course themes. They introduce relevant news articles or commentary for discussion. Tweets effectively synthesize current events in terms of course themes but may occasionally repeat well-established viewpoints. Personal anecdotes add meaningful context to abstract ideas. Tweets are clear and direct with minor spelling or grammatical errors, or broken links.
Tweets present original, thoughtful reflection on the course subject matter. They reference timely, relevant news articles or commentary — especially from new sources. Tweets demonstrate a superior ability to identify key elements of current news and opinion, and tie them to course themes. Personal anecdotes add important context to abstract ideas. Observations challenge established opinion or practices, and provide suitable justification. Tweets themselves are concise and make a single, clear point. They contain flawless spelling and display command of grammar.
Stimulates dialogue and commentary: 25%
Tweets take the form of pronouncements, not elements of a conversation. They display scant intent to engage. Attitude is disrespectful or overly critical. Tweets don’t acknowledge original authors or retweeters. They fail to provide links or quote key phrases from source documents.
Tweets spur further discussion with some attempt to engage and reference previous messages. Tweets occasionally include questions but frequently are statements. They occasionally cite original authors and key phrases in source documents. Tone is civil but not overly welcoming of engagement.
Tweets regularly invite participation and reference earlier messages through use of mentions and retweets. Tone is respectful and disagreement is polite. Tweets provide links, highlight key phrases of source documents and credit original authors.
Student shows strong leadership in advancing the conversation. Tweets drive the discussion in new directions prompting further participation. They frequently use retweets and mentions to build upon past messages. Tweets ask questions and actively invite comment. They offer respectful criticism and disagreement. They provide links, highlight key phrases of source documents and credit original authors.
Replies : 25%
Never replies (publicly) to tweets
Occasionally replies (publicly) to tweets usually with short statements such as “I agree” or “I disagree”.
Often replies (publicly) to tweets, occasionally offering extended comment and additional links.
Frequently replies (publicly) to tweets. Offers personal anecdote, respectful argument or additional links.
Falls short of minimum number of Tweets per week
Meets minimum number of Tweets per week
Exceeds minimum number of Tweets per week
Greatly exceeds minimum number of Tweets per week
Twitter Use adapted and used with
permission from Karen Franker
Original at: http://www2.uwstout.edu/content/profdev/rubrics/Twitter_Rubric.html
Students may request accommodation as a result of barriers related to disability, religious obligation, or any characteristic under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. Students who require academic accommodation for either classroom participation or the writing of tests and exams should make their request to the Advising and Access Services Center (AASC) prior to or at the outset of the regular academic year. Please visit www.dal.ca/access for more information and to obtain the Request for Accommodation – Form A. A note taker may be required as part of a student’s accommodation. There is an honorarium of $75/course/term (with some exceptions). If you are interested, please contact AASC at 494-2836 for more information. Please note that your classroom may contain specialized accessible furniture and equipment. It is important that these items remain in the classroom, untouched, so that students who require their usage will be able to participate in the class.
The School of Journalism vigorous enforces the highest standards of academic integrity.
Plagiarism is the duplication in whole or in part of work created for another purpose. This can be work done by another student, published work or even a student’s own work that has been re-purposed for a class. Plagiarism can be reflected in actual language, or in the duplication of an idea or a sequence. Do not cut and paste information from the Internet. If you have any doubts about what constitutes plagiarism, consult your instructor. All cases of suspected plagiarism will be dealt with according to the policy.
Academic integrity issues will be dealt with by the Academic Integrity Officer of the University of King’s College, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Dalhousie Senate, as outlined in the King’s calendar and the Dalhousie University Graduate Calendar.
As well, the School of Journalism has a statement of ethics and professional standards that must be followed. Please read this material carefully.
[Credit: Borrows some readings & assignment ideas from @smussenden, @sree. Thanks for sharing.]