This project must be completed by noon Monday, May 12. This is an absolute deadline. You will give a brief presentation to the class that evening. Failure to complete the project will result in an “F” in the course, regardless of your point total at the end of the semester.
You will apply the skills you have learned and the tools you have used this semester to either a public relations or journalism project. This post describes the journalism option. See this separate post for a description of the PR option. You may work alone or with a partner. (The requirements are greater for those who work in pairs.)
Selecting a focus: 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 use those kinds of things for 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.) Here are some guidelines for the blog post.
- Length: The blog post must be at least 500 words (but see the special instructions below for those working in pairs). 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, meaning people you interviewed (but see the special instructions below for those working in pairs). When interviewing sources, identify yourself and explain that their comments will be posted to a blog that will be public. You will need their permission.
- Writing style: Use standard journalistic style, including AP style. Write in third person. Keep paragraphs and sentences short and succinct. Make sure all information is accurate and attributed to its source. Because you are posting to your blog, use “bullet points” and subheadings to break up the text. Use hyperlinks to link to relevant sites. Incorporate or embed one or more multimedia elements. If possible, embed or link to your social media elements. Make the headline (title) informative, catchy, and “tweetable.” Include relevant tags. Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Social media element(s): Create two social media elements related to the topic of the project (but see the special instructions below for those working in pairs). You may use social media tools that we are discussing this semester (such as Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Storify, and Google Maps) 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 general guidelines:
- The social media elements must be ORIGINAL content. For example, linking to someone else’s YouTube video or Facebook page does not count. You may link to outside sources within the blog post, but the social media elements must be your own. (Sites such as Storify and Pinterest count as original content as long as you are not merely “aggregating” the work of others but “curating” it and adding your own comments and perspective.)
- The social media should be integral to the project, adding information and value. It should not merely repeat what is in the blog post. It should not be an afterthought or a “decoration.”
- The social media elements should be appropriate for the audience you’re trying to reach and the message you’re sending.
- I will be looking for effort, initiative, and creativity. For example, posting a single tweet doesn’t show any initiative. Posting a series of tweets shows more initiative. Live tweeting an event related to your topic 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, etc., that would be awesome.
- I want you to create and post the social media elements, but if there are technical or other reasons why that’s not possible, I may as an alternative allow you to submit a detailed proposal of what you would do. That proposal would need to contain the following five things: (1) a description of the objective you are trying to achieve with the use of the social media element, (2) the target audience for the social media element, (3) a description of the social media tool you would use and why it’s an appropriate choice, (4) some samples of what the posts/images/videos, etc. would contain, and (5) a description of how you would measure the success of the social media element in achieving its objective.
- I want you to make the social media elements public, but if you need to “hide” them, 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 a social media element in order to grade it. I have created a private Facebook group and a private Google+ community for this class that you could use if your social media element involves Facebook or Google+. When submitting the assignment, provide any necessary links and other information so that I can access what you have created.
Extra requirement for those working in pairs
If you’re working with a partner, choose ONE of the following as an extra requirement:
- Either double the requirements for the blog post: It must be at least 1,000 words AND must include at least four human sources.
- Create a total of three social media elements, rather than two. Each element must use a different social media tool.
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. Also, do not recycle something that you have already written or done elsewhere (such as for The Setonian, other courses, 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 12, 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.
We will meet during our normal class time on Monday, May 12. You will give a short presentation (about 4 to 5 minutes) describing your topic, the news that you posted to the blog, and your usage of social media. You don’t need to use a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation, but you should be some thought into what you are going to say.
This project is worth 100 points: