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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alexander M Stonehill
COM 363
Seattle Campus

Entrepreneurial Journalism Practicum

Requires students to identify a target audience in order to determine the kinds of multimedia news and feature content that meet informational needs of that audience; to create and distribute that content; and to encourage and assess audience response. Prerequisite: COM 360; COM 361.

Class description

Learn the skills you need to be an entrepreneurial journalist in the new media climate. Develop your own story ideas and pitch them to editors, report for multimedia and explore digital storytelling techniques, learn to fund your own reporting, maximize your resources and build your own brand as a freelancer. Students will form multimedia teams led by experienced new media professionals and will research, report and produce an investigative multimedia package which will be published by local online news sources. This class will also explore changes and emerging opportunities in the media industry.

Course will be taught collectively by the core staff of The Common Language Project, a new media nonprofit based at the UW, who have reported from over a dozen countries and been published by the Seattle Times, PBS, and NPR. Visit for more on The CLP.

Student learning goals

Analyze news content in order to identify freelance story opportunities.

Research, develop and pitch story ideas.

Conduct investigative reporting as part of a multimedia team

Produce a story or story component in print, audio, video or multimedia format.

Understand emerging opportunities and new career paths in journalism.

General method of instruction

The first segment of the course will be lecture and assignment-based, focused on learning to identify, research and develop multimedia story ideas as well as exploring and critiquing emerging online news sources.

During the second two phases of the course, students will form small teams to collaboratively report and produce investigative multimedia feature stories for award-winning neighborhood blog network Next Door Media. This part of the course will require significant work in the field with guidance from instructors.

Lectures during the third phase of the course will cover strategies for funding and marketing your reporting, building your brand, developing your voice as a freelancer, and using social networking tools to reach and interact with your audience.

Recommended preparation

COM 360 and 361. Some experience with reporting preferred. Willingness to explore and develop new tech/media production skills. Please come to the first class having spent some time on and with a sense of the medium you'd most like to work in this quarter (writing, audio, video or multimedia).

Class assignments and grading

Daily assignments will include brief response papers, blog posts, submission of story notes and tape logs, and media critiques. Each student is also responsible for producing one component of a multimedia feature story package.

Half of your grade is based on successful completion of daily assignments, and half of your grade will be based on your final project.

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Alexander M Stonehill
Date: 12/04/2009