JRL 430: Blogging and Interactive Journalism (CRN #14921)

Spring 2017 – Monday/Wednesday 10-11:15 a.m.

Evansdale Crossing (EVC) 421

Dr. Bob Britten (@thebobthe)
Office: 308 Martin Hall
Office Hours: 11a – 2p Tuesday/Thursday @Evansdale Crossing
(note: I do not have a physical office at Evansdale Crossing, so appointments are strongly recommended)


Course description:

This lab course identifies the principles behind social media applications such as blogs and networking sites and applies them to practice of journalism and mass communication.

Note: This course has a heavy writing commitment. You will write a minimum of two blog posts per week, in addition to other assigned work. You have been warned.

Course-level Learning Outcomes:

  • Manage, create content for, and moderate several different kinds of blogs
  • Establish, engage, and mobilize networks through social media
  • Maintain a presence across multiple digital platforms
  • Write and understand basic code in HTML and CSS
  • Create simple data scrapers and data visualizations

Required texts and materials:

  • Briggs, Mark. (2015). Journalism Next. 3rd
  • Online readings: These will be available on eCampus and will be posted to the course blog in almost every week:
  • Course Twitter hashtag: #WVUblogJ
  • An account with (we’ll sign up in the first week)

Graded Work                                                                                       Grading Scale            

Personal blog:                          125 (5 pts X 25)                                   A 100-90%

Blog assignments:                    80 (10 pts x 8)*                                    B 89-80%

Group blog plan:                      20                                                        C 79-70%

Group blog:                              100                                                      D 69-60%

Read & Responds:                   30 (2.5 x 12)*                                       F 59% or less


TOTAL POSSIBLE*:                355


*Assignments may be added or removed as necessary to keep up with our subject matter. The most up-to-date assignment listings can always be found on eCampus and our course blog.

Assignments and Evaluation

Personal Blog (5 pts x 25): Starting in week 2, you will be required to update your personal blog at least two times per week (this is the minimum – more is great). Every post must:

  • Have at least two links to meaningful content (not Facebook, Wikipedia, or homepages)
  • Incorporate meaningful visuals (no clip art, stock photos, or uncredited images)
  • Be posted during regular blogging hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Be timely and free of typos and grammatical errors

Note 1: When group blogs begin in week 11, you will only have to post to your personal blog once/week

Note 2: I will provide feedback and grades on your personal blog about every four weeks.

Blog Assignments (10 pts x 8 or so): These are practical assignments given in and out of class. There will be about eight of them, with more assigned as necessary. Assignments will typically require you to post your work to your blog and send me the link.

Group Blogs (20 pts/week x 5): In week 7, you will be assigned to groups that will produce a professional-quality blog in the final third of the semester. You will conceive, plan, promote and maintain a group blog focused on some topic relevant to the area (e.g., no celebrity scandal coverage, unless it’s about Bob Huggins). Your duties will be original reporting, making community connections, and integrating useful links. You will be graded as both an individual and as part of the group.

  • 13-15: Groups assigned
  • March 22: Group blog plan due
  • March 27: Group blogs begin posting

Online Readings and Responses (2.5 pts x 12): In addition to our Briggs chapters, I’ll regularly post links and readings on the course blog. You will respond to the readings in a comment to the post by 11:59 p.m. every Sunday (late responses lose a point). Your responses should be about 200 words. You do not need to address all the links, but you must incorporate some of them AND Briggs for full credit.

Things to Be Aware Of

Attendance: Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class (arriving late or leaving early counts as half an absence). Absences are only excusable with documentation from the Office of Student Life (304-293-5611). After three unexcused absences, you will lose 8.5 points (2.5% of your grade) for every absence/tardiness/skipping out early. It is your responsibility to make sure your attendance is counted.

  • If you arrive after roll call or leave early without my approval, you will be marked late.
  • If you miss roll call and do not check in after class, you will be marked absent.

Electronic Resources: Although most readings and items will be posted on the course blog, I will often message the entire class via email. You are responsible for checking your email regularly.

Laptop policy: You must have a laptop computer in every class. Not having your laptop when needed will result in a 10-point deduction (because you’re essentially absent). Limited laptops are available to be signed out for classroom use; ALL students must complete an equipment use contract on the first day of class (see handout for details – also available on eCampus).

Cell Phones, Pagers, iPods, Text Messaging, Facebook, Email, etc.: Silence your mobile devices before class begins, and don’t use your laptop to text, play online, check Facebook, or anything other than take notes because seriously people.


2 Responses to Syllabus

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AWooldridge (storyt), Media Literasi. Media Literasi said: RT @storytellin: Interactive Journalism Class Syllabus: […]

  2. […] Blogging and Interactive Journalism by Dr. Bob Britten of West Virginia University […]

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