Online Journalism: Thursdays 2009

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the class blog for Columbia College Chicago’s Online Journalism class: Thursday edition

Thursday! Thursday! Thursday!

Hey Everyone,

Here’s the info for Thursday. Please plan on meeting inside the lobby of the Tribune Tower at 9:45 am . We will work our way through security and then be escorted to the conference room where you’ll present.

Remember: professionalism is crucial here. Look the part! Be prepared!

Here’s a map if by some strange occurrence you don’t know where the Trib is:

Filed under: group project work

Your Presentations Next Week

As we approach the end of class, it’s important that we check in on your site as you prepare to populate it with content (or, in the case of the content that’s already there, evaluate its value). It is also a time to strongly consider the presentation of the site itself, and to fine-tune the look & feel, because content is only as good as the site that showcases it. And it’s also crucial, of course, that you consider audience at every juncture as well.

The format for this presentation will be similar to our last, with slides and a group presentation. However at this point you should also be able to walk us through various aspects of your site itself, and be able to answer questions about the content and the look/feel of the site overall. Because of this, we will reserve the end of your presentation for a walkthrough of the site. Prepare one of your team members to “drive” this walkthrough, taking over the projection computer. Map out what it is you want to talk about and highlight, however, so that your presentation remains professional and succinct.

As with last time, you will give both a presentation and hand in a report, signed by all group members.

presentation & report

The Site Idea and its Relationship to Content
–Be as succinct and clear as possible. Start with a one or two-sentence description of the site.
–Succinctly, how does content fulfill that mission?
–In other words: why are you featuring what you’re featuring?

The Content Itself
–What types of content do you see regularly appearing on your site? And why?
–Written pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Multimedia pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Interactive pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Social media: What’s your strategy? Why? How?
–How do you plan on grouping the various content types?
–In other words, what are the various sections or categories on your site?
–How do these categories work to clearly state at a hierarchical level what your site is all about?
–Give seven specific examples of content currently on your site and ten specific examples of content still to come.

Content and its Relationship to Audience
This is important, so I will bold it: invite five members of your targeted audience to preview your site. Get as much feedback as you can from them regarding the content. For this section include bios/info about the people you talked with for the report and give their specific feedback there. In your presentation include photographs of these people interacting with your site.
–Who is the audience you are targeting and why? BE SPECIFIC.
–What content do you think they are looking for online, and why would they come to you to get it?
–How did you come to this conclusion?
–When you previewed your site to audience members, what was their reaction to the content?
–How did they feel it could improve?
–What other content did they feel could go in the site?
–What other feedback did they get?

Look & Feel
–Why does your site look the way it does?
–How does your site classify and display content?
–How can a user access the various pieces of content–is there a menu system that makes sense?
–How does the way your site looks compliment the content?

Walkthrough

The walkthrough of your site should highlight the following:
–demonstrate the way that a user would access various content types
–highlight some of the unique ways your site is presenting its content
–show off your site’s look & feel and explain why it works the way it does
–demonstrate the categories your content falls into

Slides

Follow the same process as before in terms of uploading your slides to Flickr and creating a set and slideshow. Your slides should correspond to the major sections of your presentation. Create as many as you see fit.

Link your slideshow and paste your report in the comments of this entry.

Your presentation should be no longer than 10 minutes, including the walkthrough.

Filed under: group project work

content reports go here

drop a copy here, but bring a signed one to class.

Filed under: group project work

tools for group collaboration

Getting together as a group is important, but so is being able to work by distance. There are any number of tools available online for group collaboration. Here are some links to a few:

Google Sites is a free service that allows you to build very customizable collaborative sites. You can make Sites work almost any way you want: as a blog, as a wiki, as a wireframing system.

Wet Paint. A nice, free, easy-to-use Wiki system.

Basecamp. This is a high-level collaboration tool, geared towards managing projects. While it is mostly a pay service, they do have a free plan that allows for the management of one project.

Google Calendar. You can share a calendar among groups–great for scheduling meetings or making sure that everyone is on the same page as far as deadlines go.

Google Docs is a great solution for all working collaboratively on your papers and presentations (they even have a Power-pointesque tool)

Filed under: group project work

your work for next week

Your teams have been assembled. Now you need to get together and start making plans on how to move forward. You have a very important document due next week, an audience & editorial plan for your site. This plan needs to include the following and must be signed by every member of your team:

  1. A detailed description of your site. It is OK, at this stage, if the site idea has changed from the initial pitch, either subtly or dramatically. This should lead with a clear one-sentence description, and then build with a paragraph explaining the site & idea in more detail.
  2. Interviews with three actual members of the audience/community you’re targeting (new folks, not the same faces), about the space your site is operating in, not the site itself.
  3. Informed by these interviews, a discussion of the types of stories you would like to do and at least ten specific story ideas.
  4. A plan for the integration of tools and media beyond simple text/blogging.
  5. A basic plan for marketing your site: How will people find out about it? How do you connect with the communities that are already out there?
  6. An overall plan for the equal distribution of labor: How will you share the reporting work? The data entry? The coding? The images/video/audio? The marketing?

Please post your reports here, but also bring in a hard copy that–everybody now–has been signed by every member of your group

Filed under: group project work

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