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Using Vine Videos To Teach Montage Theory in the Media Communication Classroom

Carie Cunningham and Jennifer Ware

This media communication activity teaches undergraduates about Eisenstein’s montage theory while building basic video composition skills. Students work on a time-based video recording activity that provides them with practice fundamental shot framing techniques: wide shots, medium shots, close-ups, interviews, tilts, and pans to create a montage.

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How to Write Visually

Joe Gisondi and Brian Poulter

In his book Photojournalism: The Professional’s Approach, author Kenneth Kobre describes and defines strategies for making great journalistic photographs based on a hierarchy developed by Joe Elbert, the veteran photo editor at the Washington Post.

Elbert explains there are four levels of photojournalism: Informational, Graphic, Emotional and Intimate. Each category can lead to great journalism. These same principles can be applied to writing, where, like in photojournalism, the further one moves up the hierarchy toward intimate, the more likely one will succeed.

Let’s address how this photojournalism methodology applies to writing.

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Cultivating Honest Hearts and Knowing Heads: An Experiential Learning Project to Increase Campus-wide Levels of Trust and Responsibility Through a Student-Led Campaign

Lisa Lyon Payne

Recent headlines about the Harvard cheating scandal and articles chronicling the rise in cheating culture and increase in academic violations over the past 30 years (McCabe, Treviño, & Butterfield, 2001) have pushed the topic of academic integrity to the forefront of the higher education agenda. Thomas Jefferson once said “an honest heart” is “the first blessing,” and he suggested that “a knowing head is the second.” This Jefferson quotation can be found on the inside cover of the Honor Code given to all Virginia Wesleyan College students, emphasizing to students the college’s mission to serve as a supportive community committed to social responsibility, ethical conduct and higher learning. Jefferson was a leader in the interdisciplinary approach that comes with a liberal arts education where students are taught to ask and answer questions and think innovatively—a hallmark of learning in small communication programs.

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Community Engaged Learning in Journalism and Multimedia Courses

Kathleen Webber and Kim Pearson

Abstract: Instructors in journalism programs in this period of evolution are searching for ways to strengthen and apply students’ skills in multimedia writing and content production. They are also looking for opportunities to engage students in problem-solving in their local communities, using what they have learned in the classroom. A municipal election posed a chance to create a voter education website that would benefit various stakeholders in the nearby urban community. Working with a community group, instructors and students set goals for a multimedia website to inform and entice voters to participate in the 2014 Trenton mayoral election. The two-semester, year-long project included the work of 120 students at different skill levels and no previous in-depth knowledge of the city’s history, current challenges, or of municipal elections. The course taught students to consider the history of the city, learn about the issues it faced, and to explore the role of media in stimulating community involvement. They developed critical thinking skills, learned about user-centered design principles, collaborated with students of different majors to tell digital stories, and decided how to best inform voters through the content they produced for this WordPress site. At the end of the course, students reported higher levels of interest in their community and in real-world projects with deadlines as well as projects that would have a life after the semester’s end.

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Cracking a Closed Culture as an Immersion Journalist

Patrick Walters

Abstract: This paper assesses the challenges faced by literary journalists doing research on subcultures that are typically opposed to opening up to outsiders. It utilizes author interviews, the research of noted literary journalists, and doses of the author’s first-hand research experience, in looking at the creative ways people in this genre approach this challenge of getting inside a closed culture. It consults the work of Ted Conover, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Jon Krakauer, Patsy Sims and others as it looks at the different creative approaches authors take when they attempt to deal with the challenge of cracking a closed culture in order to write about it in the truest way. The analysis looks at some of the most common and important elements in these types of research approaches, including a literary journalist’s basic presentation and the explaining of the purpose to the subject, the challenge of maintaining objectivity, the nuances of interviewing tactics and the importance of the writer maintaining compassion without compromising the story. The paper makes conclusions about the importance of immersion journalists being as straightforward as possible about their purposes, and it argues that while an immersion journalist must work to get as deep into the culture as they can, he or she must remember that they are still an outsider, whose distanced perspective is key to the success of the piece.

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Teaching in the Galapagos Islands, Summer Study Abroad

Experiential Learning: The Culture and Environment of the Galapagos, Reporting, Writing, Multimedia Sound Recording and Editing

Joseph B. Treaster

We had just finished lunch at a small restaurant in the Galapagos Islands and were walking down the main street when we saw a sea lion tottering on two flippers on the worn cement apron of an open air fish market.

The sea lion, dark brown and rising less than waist-high to the people gathered at the market, was a regular visitor. Along with a couple of scruffy pelicans, the rather elegant sea lion counted on bloody scraps of cut-up wahoo and snapper for afternoon meals.

Our group from the University of Miami was spending a little more than two weeks in the Galapagos Islands, a territory of Ecuador out in the Pacific Ocean on the equator, 600 miles from the mainland.

Charles Darwin did some of his most important work in developing his theories of evolution in the Galapagos and we were walking around in his footsteps. We climbed a volcano, swam with sea lions and penguins and explored an abandoned penal colony. We followed the migration of giant Galapagos tortoises, got within inches of blue-footed boobies and prehistoric-looking marine iguanas and got to know a lot of people who live and work in the Galapagos.

Our program embodies the concepts of experiential learning and the scholarship of teaching and learning. I and another professor teach students writing, research and critical thinking, the theory and practice of working with sound, Social Media and a range of digital editing skills. We immerse the students in the environment and culture of Latin America. What they see and experience becomes the subject material for multimedia projects designed to be published in the University of Miami’s environmental publication online, TheMiamiPlanet.org.

We take students from majors across the campus and show them how to move away from the ponderous essay style of writing that they have grown up with and begin to produce clear, straightforward material for a mass audience. What we have is an adaptation of journalism to benefit students who are preparing for a wide range of careers and most certainly will be expected to at least write effective memos and letters and be comfortable with the professional uses of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other Social Media and digital tools. Some of our students become markedly better writers and add to their inventory of digital skills. Others come away improved, but not great.

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Back-Pocket Journalism: What an Experiment in “Mobile-Only” Newsgathering Taught My Students—and Me

Jill Van Wyke

Abstract: In a multimedia journalism class, students were challenged to go “mobile-only” for six weeks. The students, juniors and seniors in the magazine and news-Internet sequences, were armed with a smartphone or iPod Touch loaded with apps with which to do all their newsgathering. They used the devices to take notes; shoot and edit photos and video; gather and edit audio; upload content to the class news site; livestream, liveblog or tweet an event; interact with audience; and even monitor police scanner traffic. The six-week unit had only one rule: no pens and paper, no cameras or audio recorders other than those on the smartphone, no laptop or desktop computers, and no software that wasn’t available as an app. The goal was to test the limits and potential of the smartphone as a sole newsgathering device and to acquaint students with preparing content for mobile consumption. At the end of the unit, students showed significant growth in their technical and multimedia abilities and in their understanding of what the mobile devices could and couldn’t achieve. Students also reported higher levels of engagement, collaboration, risk-taking and urgency in their newsgathering. They also reported feeling better prepared for the demands of the profession.

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Team-Teaching Online Journalism by Focusing on the Great Migration

John Beatty and Huntly Collins

In the Spring of 2011, we teamed up to teach an Online Journalism course that engaged 19 students in conducting in-depth interviews with six African American residents of Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood. The residents were among the six million African Americans who had migrated from the South to the North as part of the Great Migration in the first half of the 20th century. The 19 students in the class were divided into six teams and each team spent approximately 10 hours interviewing one of the six Germantown residents. The interviews, which required students to cross race, class, and age boundaries, were recorded on video and audio. Each student in the class then produced his or her own blog about Germantown and the Great Migration based on the story of the person with whom the student’s team had been matched. In the fall of 2011, one student in the class worked in an independent study under us and pulled together the video from each of the six teams into a 30-minute documentary called Journeys of Promise: Germantown and the Great Migration. Here, we present the result of our students’ work and discuss the lessons learned.

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What’s a Phone Book? Teaching Information Literacy Skills to Digital Native Journalism Students

Maureen E. Boyle and Patricia O. McPherson

An innovative program developed by Stonehill College’s MacPháidín Library and its Center for Teaching and Learning led to the creation of a semester-long partnership between a communication professor and a reference and instruction librarian. The goal of that partnership was to provide information literacy instruction to narrative writing students to help them meet the Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, hone their online research and evaluation skills, and craft richer narrative pieces. Anecdotal evidence and student responses indicate the information literacy instruction delivered and the library aids created for this class not only helped students track primary resources and historical material for their assignments but also introduced them to search strategies and online resources with which they weren’t previously familiar.

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My First Time Teaching a Multimedia Journalism Course

Margo Wilson

One of the first times I knew I really was in trouble as a new journalism professor was in August 2003 at the Association for Education and Journalism and Mass Communication’s conference in Kansas City, Mo. I had been feeling a bit cocky after surviving my first year on the tenure track after a 20-year tenure as a newspaper reporter and editor at places ranging from the Spruce Grove Star, near Edmonton, Alberta, to the Los Angeles Times. At the AEJMC conference, I was intrigued by the array of panels on multimedia, and I attended many […]

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