J465/565 Cyberjournalism

Winter 2011, M-W, 10-12, Allen Hall, Room 302
John Russial

309A Allen Hall; 346-3750
Office hours: Tues-Thu 1-3, or by appointment, or stop by the office. If I don't have class or a meeting, I'm usually at the office.
To send me E-mail Some browsers are not set up properly to send e-mail; if this link doesn't work, jrussial@uoregon.edu is the address

This is the URL for this page: http://jcomm.uoregon.edu/~jrussial/cyberj

Course information

  • Tentative schedule and readings
  • Assignments and grading
  • A web bibliography
  • Previous class project sites

    Course goals

    This course is designed to offer students exposure to various elements of online journalism. Practically all newspapers, magazines and broadcast news organizations have an online presence, and online journalism is becoming an increasingly important part of what all journalistic organizations do. More journalists are working in online forms, either exclusively or in addition to their work in traditional media forms, such as newspaper and magazine stories and TV news. Even if you don't directly work in online journalism, an awareness of its opportunities and limitations and some experience working with online text, photos and video are valuable.

    This course has several specific goals:

    • To critically examine issues in online journalism, such as writing, editing and design

    • To learn some of the techniques commonly used in online journalism

    • To produce an original Web site, applying lessons learned in the class.

    Much of the first half of the class will be devoted to working on the first two goals. We will have several workshop sessions that introduce HTML, Soundslides, and video shooting and editing. The second half of the class will include some additional work with applications used in online journalism. We will also be working on the Web site. In past years, we have focused on one main story assignment. This year, students will work individually on one story and in a group on a second. A small group of volunteers will be responsible for the overall site design; they will be expected to spend less time on stories.

    General information


    In the past, I haven't used a textbook, because I didn't find any that I thought worked well enough for the class. This year, a new book has just come out, Producing Online News by Ryan Thornburgh. I've ordered it, though it might not make it to the bookstore by the first week of class.

    The schedule page has many online readings. There is also a bibliography of online articles. This bibliography page is a work that is always in progress, because Web articles tend to come and go. I hope it will change throughout the term as we find new readings. From time to time, I will put other readings on reserve in Student Services in Allen Hall. Readings for the week appear on the tentative schedule. Assume the readings are to be completed by Monday's class.

    Class sessions

    Class meets twice a week for two two-hour sessions. Attendance is expected, and unexcused absences will affect your grade in the class. During many of the class meetings, we will be planning the class Web site and working on it. In a class with such a project, absences not only hurt you as an individual but also the group as a whole.

    The following is the suggested syllabus language for academic misconduct. Some of these criteria are more appropriate in certain classes than in others. For example, we will be working in groups for some assignments, as individuals for others. I'll explain the criteria for each assignment. The University Student Conduct Code (available at conduct.uoregon.edu) defines academic misconduct. Students are prohibited from committing or attempting to commit any act that constitutes academic misconduct. By way of example, students should not give or receive (or attempt to give or receive) unauthorized help on assignments or examinations without express permission from the instructor. Students should properly acknowledge and document all sources of information (e.g. quotations, paraphrases, ideas) and use only the sources and resources authorized by the instructor. If there is any question about whether an act constitutes academic misconduct, it is the students' obligation to clarify the question with the instructor before committing or attempting to commit the act. Additional information about a common form of academic misconduct, plagiarism, is available at www.libweb.uoregon.edu/guides/plagiarism/students.


    Much of the class grade will be based on work on the Web site story or stories each student does. For the Web site, grading will be based on professional criteria for reporting. I do not expect all students to be proficient with multimedia elements; grading of these elements will reflect a willingness to work in these areas. I do expect that students will pay attention to the mechanics of writing in all assignments--grammar, spelling, punctuaton, etc.
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