This project must be completed by noon Monday, May 13. You will give a brief presentation to the class that evening. You must submit a proposal for the project by Monday, April 15, for the Challenge 10 assignment. Failure to complete the project will result in an “F” in the course, regardless of your point total at the end of the semester

Description

This semester, you have learned about various social media tools used by journalists and public relations professionals. Now it’s time to apply the skills you have developed to either a journalism or PR project. You may work alone or with a partner. (The requirements are greater for those who work in pairs.)

Explanation

Choose either a news project or a public relations project. Although it is expected that journalism majors will select the news option and PR majors will select the PR option, the choice is yours.

NEWS OPTION

Selecting a topic

Select a newsworthy topic of relevance to a Seton Hall audience (a topic suitable for a publication like The Setonian) or a local/regional audience (a topic suitable for a local/regional newspaper, magazine, or news site).

The topic may be an issue or trend, and it may have a hard news or feature focus. There must be a “news peg” or “hook” — something that makes the topic timely or newsworthy now.

Single events (such as a speaker on campus or a sports event), personality profiles, and “how-to”/tips stories are NOT permitted as topics, although you might be able to incorporate those kinds of things into the accompanying social media elements. First-person accounts (sharing your own personal opinions or experiences) are NOT permitted.

Blog post

Write a news or feature story about your topic and post it to your WordPress blog. (If you’re working with a partner, it may be posted to either blog.)

Length: The blog post must be at least 500 words. (Insert a “More” tag after the first few paragraphs so that the entire long post doesn’t show up on your blog’s home page. This will create a link that the reader can click in order to view the full post.)

Sources: The blog post must have at least two human sources (people whom you interviewed). When interviewing sources, identify yourself and explain that their comments will be posted to a blog that will be public. If they don’t give you their permission, you can’t use them as sources.

Writing style: Use standard journalistic style. Write in third person. Keep paragraphs and sentences short and succinct. Make sure all information is accurate and attributed to its source. Use “bullet points” and subheadings to break up the text. Use hyperlinks to link to relevant sites. Incorporate one or more multimedia elements (such as photos that you shot or Creative Commons photos, embedded video, etc.). Make the headline (title) informative, catchy, and “tweetable.” Include relevant tags. Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Social media elements

Create two social media elements related to the topic of the project, using two different social media tools. See more details under “Guidelines for Social Media Elements” below.

EXTRA REQUIREMENT FOR THOSE WORKING IN PAIRS

If you are working with a partner, choose ONE of the following as an extra requirement:

  • Double the length and source requirements for the blog post: It must be at least 1,000 words AND must include at least four human sources.

OR

  • Create a total of three social media elements, rather than two. Each element must use a different social media tool.

PUBLIC RELATIONS OPTION

Selecting a focus

Select a campus organization, a local/regional organization or company, or a PRSSA client that has news worth publicizing. The news should be recent (within the past couple of months or coming up in the next couple of months). The news may be an event, announcement, anniversary or other milestone, campaign, product launch, etc.

Social media release

Write a social media release publicizing the news. You may use the Pressitt website. Do NOT publish the release to the web unless you get written permission of top officials with the organization. They may have their own PR people and not appreciate seeing an unauthorized news release appear on the web.

Length: The main body of the release must be about 400 words, but the release also should include an overview, core facts, quotes, links, and, if possible, images or a link to a YouTube video. Take advantage of the range of features of the social media release.

Information: Do some research and reporting in order to write the release. Make sure all information is truthful and accurate. You may need to interview people in order to obtain quotes. Do not use made-up or “canned” quotes. When interviewing people, be sure to identify yourself and explain the nature of the assignment.

Writing style: Use standard PR writing style. Portray your client in a favorable light, but don’t exaggerate or deceive. Make the headline (title) informative, “tweetable” and search engine-friendly. Keep paragraphs and sentences short and succinct. Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Include relevant tags.

Pitch list and email

Create a list of at least six journalists and/or bloggers who have an online presence and would be suitable targets for your release. For each journalist or blogger, give their name; their title and news organization (e.g., regional reporter, The Daily Planet) or the name of their blog; and either their Twitter handle, email address, or the URL for their blog.

Also, create a brief email pitch (one or two paragraphs) addressed to ONE of the six journalists or bloggers. The purpose of the pitch is to persuade the journalist or blogger to read the social media release and write a story or post. The email should be personalized to the journalist or blogger. It should demonstrate that you care about them and their readers. Some sites that might help you write your pitch can be found here, here, and here.

Social media element

Create one social media element related to your client and the news you are publicizing. See more details under “Guidelines for Social Media Elements” below.

EXTRA REQUIREMENT FOR THOSE WORKING IN PAIRS

If you are working with a partner, you must create a total of two social media elements, rather than just one. Each element must use a different social media tool.

GUIDELINES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA ELEMENTS

You may use social media tools that we have discussed this semester (Twitter, Facebook, Google Maps, Storify, etc.), or be bold and use social media tools that we did not discuss. This is an opportunity to be creative, so I don’t want to give you a lot of rules, but here are a few guidelines:

For something to count as a social media element, it must be ORIGINAL content. For example, linking to someone else’s YouTube video or Facebook page does not count. Please go ahead and link to outside media where appropriate, but understand that it won’t count as a social media element.

The social media should be integral to the project, adding information and value. It should not merely repeat what is in the blog post or release. It should not be an afterthought or a “decoration.”

I will be looking for effort, initiative, and creativity. For example, posting a single tweet that links to your blog post doesn’t show much initiative. Posting a series of tweets shows more initiative. Live tweeting an event related to your topic/client shows even more initiative. If you really want to be a rock star, you could use a hashtag and start a conversation. If your project generates some real buzz and gets “likes,” comments, retweets, etc., that would be awesome.

I would like you to actually create and post the social media element(s), but if there are technical or other reasons why that’s not possible, I may allow you to provide a detailed description of what you would do. If you need to “hide” the content, most social media tools have ways to do that (private videos, protected tweets, password-protected blog posts, etc.). But I must be able to access it in order to grade it. When submitting the assignment, provide any necessary links and other information so that I can access what you have created.

Try to find ways to tie the various elements together through cross-promotion, embedding or linking. For example, if you create a video or a set of photos as one of your social media elements, you could embed them within your blog post or release.

Caution about plagiarism and “double dipping”

Do not lift information from sources in print or on the web and try to pass it off as your own. That is plagiarism. Also, do not recycle something that you have already written or done somewhere else (such as for PR II, The Setonian, etc.). Doing either of these things may result in a zero on the assignment and an “F” in the course.

Submitting the assignment

Send an email to COJR3002@gmail.com no later than noon Monday, May 13, that lists all of the elements of your project and includes all necessary links and/or attachments. The deadline is absolute. There will be no extensions.

Presentation

We will meet during our normal class time on Monday, May 13. You will give a short presentation (no more than 4 minutes) describing your topic or client, the news that you posted to the blog or social media release, and your usage of social media. These will be brief presentations. You don’t need to use a PowerPoint.

Grading

This project is worth 100 points, broken down as follows:

News option (alone or in pairs with two social media elements):

  • Blog post (total of 40 points):
    • Reporting and writing quality (25 points)
    • Presentation, links/multimedia, and technical aspects (15 points)
  • Two social media elements (total of 50 points — 25 points each)
  • Class presentation (10 points)

News option (in pairs with three social media elements):

  • Blog post (total of 30 points):
    • Reporting and writing quality (20 points)
    • Presentation, links/multimedia, and technical aspects (10 points)
  • Three social media elements (total of 60 points — 20 points each)
  • Class presentation (10 points)

PR option (alone):

  • Social media release (total of 40 points)
    • Reporting and writing quality (25 points)
    • Presentation, links/multimedia, and technical aspects (15 points)
  • Pitch list and email (20 points)
  • Social media element (30 points)
  • Class presentation (10 points)

PR option (in pairs):

  • Social media release (total of 30 points)
    • Reporting and writing quality (20 points)
    • Presentation, links/multimedia, and technical aspects (10 points)
  • Pitch list and email (20 points)
  • Two social media elements (total of 40 points — 20 points each)
  • Class presentation (10 points)

Here’s what I will focus on when grading the various components:

Reporting and writing quality

  • Does the blog post or social media release follow journalistic/PR style and demonstrate good news judgment?
  • Is all information accurate and properly sourced?
  • Is the information structured and organized properly?
  • Is the writing clear? Is it free of typos and errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation?

Presentation, links/multimedia, and technical aspects

  • Is the information presented effectively to make the blog post or social media release “scannable” and searchable through the use of features such as bullet points, subheadings, key facts, tags, etc.?
  • Does the headline (title) of the post or release provide an effective summary that is short, succinct, “tweetable,” and search engine-friendly?
  • Does the post or release make appropriate use of web links, photos, video, etc., as needed to enhance its informational value?
  • Are there any problems with non-working links or incorrect formatting?

Pitch list and email (PR option only)

  • Are the journalists and/or bloggers on the pitch list appropriate targets?
  • Is the pitch short and to the point? Does it effectively “sell” the news?
  • Is the pitch personalized to the specific journalist or blogger?
  • Is the pitch well-written and free of typos and errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation?

Social media elements

  • Does the social media element add value and relevant information?
  • Is the social media element designed to promote engagement, conversation, etc.?
  • Does the usage of social media show effort, initiative, and creativity?
  • Is the social media element free of technical problems, typos, and other errors?

Class presentation

  • Did the presentation effectively summarize the project and explain how social media was used?
  • Was the delivery strong (speaking style, engaging the audience, eye contact, etc.)?
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2 responses

  1. […] posted to the Facebook group page. For this challenge, you are putting together a proposal for the social media project that is due at the end of the semester. You will be able to make revisions to your proposal, but try to be as specific as possible at this […]