Fall 2016, 210

Weekly Readings and Assignments



Work in groups of 3 to make a 3–5 minute video.

You can pick your topic.

It can be a traditional news TV broadcast, an onsite news report, a descriptive/informative video about an interesting topic, or you can cover an event.

Make the video an informative video that teaches the audience about something. Do not make it like an advertisement or a promotion. It should be objective, like a news story.

You can divide the work so that someone is the camera person, someone is the on air/voice person, and someone is the video editor/producer.

Edit the video using Youtube, iMovie, or another editing tool you are used to.

You will be graded on the length of the video, the topic (was it an objective news topic), the quality of the writing, the quality of the English used in the video, how well the finished product looks and sounds.

Readings for Quiz

Read and watch videos in both articles


NOv 8: In-class writing assignment.

Find a topic that is trending/being discussed popularly on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc) and write a blog post about it. It can be a short post around 200 words.

What is the topic?

Why is it being discussed?

What platform is it popular on?

Is it being discussed on other social media platforms? Why or Why not?

Why do you think that this topic is currently “trending”?

Include 2 multimedia items in your article. Images, videos, Tweets or other social media, etc.

Make it look nice

Create a headline that is relevant to the article and makes people want to read it.

Example of a blog:

Reading for Quiz


In-class assignment: PROFILE

Write an approximately 600 word profile article on the person you interviewed. Include a banner image at the top of the article, a headline and byline, and at least 3 other forms of media (other images, video from interview, audio from interview, social media, etc.)

You will be graded according to how well written and designed the article is. Grammar, punctuation, spelling. Show how that you asked goodquestions by writing well and painting a picture with words that makes the reader understand the person. A creative headline and a lead paragraphthat captures the readers interest. The use of at least 3 direct quotes. Not overusing quotes. Don’t say things like, “I interviewed….” or simply list the questions and answers. Use quotes to support what you are writing about at that time.


Reading for quiz

Week of October 9: In-class assignment

This week we will begin to learn about interviewing. You are to conduct an interview with one of your classmates.

Take time to write down at least 10 questions that you will ask. Do not ask “yes/no” questions. You want to ask questions that will require the person to answer in more than one word.

Take the information from the interview and create an interview style question and answer article.

Include at lease 1 image that can be related to the interview.



Start writing your research-based news article. Make an outline answering the following questions:
What is the study about?
What is the main finding?
Who conducted the study?
How was the study conducted? What method?
Why should someone in the UAE care about the study?

Write a news article about the study

Using the information that you used in your outline, plus additional information from the article and on your topic, write a 200–300 word news story. Remember to prioritize the information, create a headline and a byline with your name and date below the headline. Properly source all sources, including any images used. Use at least 2 images/visuals that fit the story.

Use a direct quote and an indirect quote.

Tuesday Sept. 27 In-class assignment


What is the main point of the finding in the study?
What method did the researchers use? That is, how did they conduct the study?
Write a lead sentence about the study as if you were writing a news story about it.

Search for ideas for a study that you want to write about in the next lab.

Paste the link into the assignment.


SEPT 20- IN-CLASS writing assignment

Go to the SciDevNet website below. This site has thousands of science journalism articles. Select one of the articles/topics that you think is of interest to a UAE audience. Rewrite the story in your own words so that you are writing it for a UAE audience. 200 words. Good lead. Inverted pyramid. And a quote. Include images with captions/citations. If possible, include info-graphs or charts. Finally, find an expert through social media or web who is in the country or region (Middle East) that you could contact for a quote for the article. Include the contact information at the end of the story and why you think this person would be good to get a quote from.



WEEK 2: Writing leads and inverted pyramid

LAB Tuesday: Complete each of the assignments below. For the first one, use the information to write an introductory sentence, the first sentence of a story, in you own words.

For this section, use the information to write a lead paragraph, building on your introductory sentence. Add 2 more sentences in the inverted pyramid form to each of the stories. Build on the intro sentence and complete the lead.

Writing leads: helpful articles

Week 1. Story Ideas and Creation.

Coming up with story ideas. How to use other peoples work to get inspired, come up with story ideas and make a product of your own.

Tuesday lab: create Medium account, create Duolingo account. 
 Write a post- what are your media habits (300 words)


Video: Steal Like an Artist

Most work is not completely original. We all borrow ideas, information and inspiration from a variety of sources. This is normal and ok. We just have to give credit where credit is due. In fact, I got the idea for this syllabus from the late, great David Carr formerly of the New York Times:

Press Play-David Carr- Boston University

Welcome to COM 210. In this course we will read, write, create and learn, individually and together. As you can tell from the course title, this is a media storytelling class. You will create many types of stories during the semester. Also, a good portion of this class will be spent learning what storytelling means, and what qualifies as media in today’s technological landscape. This is the living, breathing course syllabus. I will update and add to it as the semester unfolds.

The platform where you will create and post all of you content for this course is right here on Medium. As you will learn, Medium is a great place for producing high quality and engaging stories. To help get you started, below is a link to the Medium Help page that will help you understand how to use the tools on Medium.

Click on the Medium Help page here

If you can’t find what you are looking for on the help page, Google your problem and search the web. There is stuff out there.

What can you do on Medium?

To further explore and see the storytelling potential of Medium, scroll through these examples (don’t worry, you don’t have to read them. Just look at the way the authors designed them).

Get Writing Help from John Laing



Course Outline


Exams & Quizzes (25%)
 There will be a quiz on the readings for that day nearly every Sunday AT THE BEGINNING of class . Come prepared by reading and understanding what the main points of the readings are. The quizzes cannot be made up. If you miss class, or are late, then you miss the quiz. If you don’t miss more than a couple, then you should be ok and your grade won’t suffer much. If you miss several class/quizzes, your grade will suffer.
Media Assignments (75%)
The variety of media assignments make up a large portion of your grade. Most of the assignments are expected to be completed during the labs. Come prepared to work each week.
My grading philosophy. 
I expect you to work hard at improving. Improving your writing. And improving your storytelling abilities across all types of media. Earning an A in this class is difficult. Focus your energy on doing good work and improving your skills. Do not focus your energy on negotiating a good grade with me. I will take into consideration your skill level of where you started the semester and how much you improved throughout the semester.
One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.