Project / Story Form for T2 & T3

The project / story form is a critical part of your term 2 and term 3 projects and assessment. As you plan and report your two Term 2 stories you will complete a project form in stages as you progress for each. The form helps you to plan and reflect on your reporting as you go along. In term two you will also need to give a five to ten minute presentation each and every week, your presentations will be based around the various sections of the project form.

You must download the form from the IMMJ-ma facebook files at https://www.facebook.com/download/preview/551823911636973

Introduction notes

  • During the first three weeks of term 2— you will have regular lectures / seminars and workshops on Monday and Tuesdays. This will be followed by a 3week reporting / editing period where you will produce a Multimedia Journalism projects / stories. You do not need to come to class during the reporting period, but you will need to see or skype with tutors for individual tutorials.
  • This will be followed by a three week intermission for CNY.
  • After CNY there will be a two week intensive program.
  • This will be followed by another 3 week lecture program and 3 week reporting editing period where you will produce another Multimedia Journalism project / stories.
  • You will then have a final week for editing and uploading.
  • Your assessment week will commence directly after.
  • After the assessment week you will go directly into term 3 to produce your final Multimedia Journalism projects / stories.

*Refer to the calendar for exact dates

This Multimedia Reporting Project / Story Form is a critical part of student learning and assessment. You will steadily complete and revise the form sections throughout the duration of Term 2 and the reporting process of your two projects — from planning and research to reporting and editing, The form also provides a space for you to reflect on your process and final work.

Do refer to the IMMJ-ma handbook section 3.2 for more information about the Multimedia Reporting Project / Story Form. The form constitutes the ‘Learning Agreement’ and it is outlined in detail in the handbook.

Term 2 is designed to nurture individual development and creativity. Each students work will differ and be unique in terms of approach and outcomes. No two projects should look the same, or follow any particular formula. However, you must achieve the Overall Learning Outcomes of the programme modules, which include but are not limited to: A body of visual multimedia work underpinned by an understanding of practice-based theoretical issues. In other words, your final multimedia feature stories / projects should be of (entry-level journalist) publishable standard, and underpinned by journalistic values and ethics. The work should be supported by practice-based theoretical learning, which includes understanding the current digital media ecology and applying relevant choices about how to tell and deliver your story / project. For some small examples — this may mean ensuring that your work is delivered on a device responsive platform, or engaging your audience in suitable ways. Your chosen stories and the way you think best to tell them will dictate the way your work develops and the choices you make.

The programme is underpinned by the conviction that study in Multimedia Journalism is concerned with the particular rather than the general, and should lead to diverse outcomes based on the strength and creative motivation of the individual. Study must be fundamentally student-centred, offering flexibility and student choice. The Multimedia Reporting Project / Story Form (Learning Agreement) exists to define your independent and negotiated project work and ensure common understanding between you and your tutors about the work you will undertake. The Learning Agreement takes the format of this Multimedia Reporting Project / Story Form.

Learning Agreements are developed and written by you, through negotiation with, and help and advice from, your tutor(s). They represent your increasing independence, your responsibility for your learning, and your progression through the programme. Your Learning Agreement / Multimedia Reporting Project / Story Form must be developed in negotiation with your tutor. Through a process of presentations and tutorials your proposal will be clarified, and may be modified, before it receives approval of the tutors.

There are various elements of the project form, some which relate to Adpractice and some which relate to AdRes modules. You will complete two stories / projects in Term 2. Each story / project includes three research, planning and preparation weeks and three reporting & editing weeks. The second project has one final additional edit week. During each story’s / project’s three research, planning and preparation weeks, you will deliver weekly presentations in class covering different elements of this Multimedia Reporting Project / Story Form, these presentations and sections will be directed by your AdPrac tutors, Sharron and Sean. You will also need to complete the sections included in your AdRes module as directed by your AdRes tutor David Campbell.

For the AdPractice elements you will make presentations correlating to various sections:

Presentation 1: Production Plan / Production Methodology 1: 6–8 mins (Including examples of other stories, projects and practitioners, which serve as inspirations for style / methodology / platforms choices and appraoch).

Presentation 2: Production Plan / Production Methodology 2: 6–8 mins (Including your own tests of style / methodology / platforms etc).

Presentation 3: Ethical Assessment / Risk Assessment / Engagement Plan 6–8 mins

The Learning Agreement / Multimedia Reporting Project / Story Form

Represents a binding, but negotiable, agreement by you to produce work of a certain standard by a particular time. Mutually agreed, achievable goals, will be relevant to the Learning Outcomes of the Module.

Term 2 is essentially split into three segments:

1: Multimedia Project / Story 1 (3 weeks in class, 3 weeks in the field)

2: A two-week long Intensive Session (In class)

3: Multimedia Project / Story 2 (3 weeks in class, 3 weeks in the field)

You will plan, report, edit and publish two long form multimedia features. You will choose one of these features will be extended on in Term 3. The first feature should be incorporate all core skills covered in Term 1: Photography, audio (most likely as part of video), video, text, graphics, social media. The second project is looser to accommodate a more specialist an innovative approach.

Both long form multimedia feature stories / projects will take place over a 6 week period. For each story / project you have three weeks in class for planning, as well as advanced workshops building on existing core skills. Then you have three weeks ‘practical field reporting’ where you do not attend class — and you report and produce your multimedia feature.

During the intensive we will rigorously critique your first multimedia feature story / project and you should carry key learning points into your second feature.

NOTE: During Term 2 there is a three week intermission for CNY. You may use CNY time to do editing, research, preliminary interviews / shooting and tests. But you should NOT begin your second project here as you will not have been through the ethical planning stage.

At the end of Term 2, you have a final week for revising your second Term 2 project. Directly after this will follow the assessment week. And the following week you will go directly into Term 3 to produce your final Multimedia Journalism projects / stories.

Note: Your presentations need to be well prepared and rehearsed. Stick to time limits.

Introduction notes for approaching your Projects / Stories

Your projects / stories must have news value. Please refer to the 101 journalism notes from intensive 1.1

Project / story 1 must be multimedia journalism in the full sense — using all core skills. Integrating photography, video, audio, text graphics and social media on a single online platform.

Project / story 2 should use at least two, though typically multiple types of media.

We are looking for considered & relevant choices of both platform and media. Not box checking your way through media formats.

Your multimedia journalism projects / stories may be linear or non-linear. Your story and approach should determine the platform and presentation of your project.

We are looking for innovative projects that start with a strong story or issue and have considered the best way to tell that story.

Finding Focus

Your project or story should have a strong FOCUS. A theme or topic is not enough, an effective story establishes a single focus and sustains that focus throughout the work.

What is it that you want to explore and communicate about your chosen topic? What are the central questions you want to answer? You might not know this immediately, finding focus is typically an iterative process. However you should consider your story focus from the very beginning ideas stage and again at every phase of your planning and reporting process. Focus, involves knowing what your story is about and why you are reporting it. By establishing a clear focus before you start to report, you’ll be able to craft multimedia elements into a coherent, unified story.

Without a clear focus, stories easily degenerate into loosely related events or facts with no central idea to hold them together or give meaning. Readers don’t want to a mishmash of unrelated ideas; they engage with journalism to learn something new, to be surprised and entertained, to gain a new insights or to view an issue from a new perspective or angle.

If you’re struggling with a broad topic, looking for a story within the story can provide a tighter focus to illustrate the bigger picture. If you have a small story that seems unimportant, finding a story behind the story can reflect a larger trend or theme.

Finding focus will also help you to determine what choices to make about the platform and media you choose, how to research, report, structure and edit your story.

Critical to establishing a focus is knowing your audience. Who will view your story, and why? What will readers know or expect when they sit down to view?

6 questions that can help journalists find a focus, tell better stories by Tom Huang

How would you tell this story to a friend? this question encourages the reporter to think about the most interesting and relevant nuggets of the story. We’re good at considering the news value of a story, but we’re not always as good pondering the “Why should the reader care?” part. Having the writer imagine telling the story to a friend can help him or her think about why we should care. This approach can also help the writer move away from any jargon and bring a conversational tone to the piece.

What would an early headline be for this story, knowing that the headline is not set in stone? This is a variation on the question, “What is this story really about?” Boiling the premise down to five or six words can help the writer sharpen the story’s focus. Encouraging writers and editors to get at the heart of the story earlier in the process.

What surprised you? As much as I hate to admit it, many, if not most, of the stories that journalists produce are written in a predictable way. Asking about “surprise” can help the writer shed his or her journalistic mantle, at least for a moment, and just react to the story’s events as a human being. Who were the quirky personalities you met? What was a jarring quote you heard? What did you not see coming? What interesting details and anecdotes do you have in your notebook that you left out of the story, and how do we get one or two of them back in?

What are the unanswered questions? As journalists, we’re not always good at spelling out what we don’t know in a story, especially if it’s a breaking story. Oftentimes, we try to write around the holes. Better to be clear and ’fess up in the story about what remains to be explained and clarified. This question also prompts the writer and editor to compile a list of questions for any follow-up stories.

How do we bring something new to this story? Both in information and presentation

What’s the glimpse of wisdom we can offer? The best stories are often those that not only tell readers something they don’t know, but also resonate with readers because they touch upon a universal theme. They offer readers a “glimpse of wisdom” — an important lesson that the people we’re writing about have learned — whether it’s about love or loyalty, betrayal or resilience.

What kind of multimedia project / story will you produce? Some ideas…

A profile / character driven narrative — find the people behind a story, the characters driving the issue. You can profile not just a person, but a place, an event, even a building.

A news feature — a feature article that focuses on a topic of interest in the news. News features often cover the same subjects as deadline hard-news stories, but do so in greater depth and detail. News features tend to focus on individuals more than daily hard news stories, which often focus more on numbers and statistics — For example, let’s say you’re writing about the increase in heart disease. A deadline story on the topic might focus on statistics showing how heart disease is on the rise, and include quotes from experts on the topic. A news feature, on the other hand, might likely begin by telling the story of one person suffering from heart disease. By describing the struggles of an individual, news feature can tackle big, newsy topics while still telling very human stories.

Explanatory piece — Show readers why something happened or is is happening or how something functions.

Issues and trend feature stories — what’s the bigger picture to explore. Trends are not exclusively related to culture or lifestyle; think crime or economy.

Investigative — Look into some kind of misconduct, make use of primary sources and available documents. (Serious investigative reporting is only recommended for experienced journalists — however all journalism involves some level of investigation).

Make it Visual!

Last but not least, your stories are multimedia projects and will have a visual element. Make sure your story lends itself to visuals. A strong visual element should be a Your strong factor and consideration when determining your story choice.

Before you arrive to Week 1, Term 1 and make your first class presentation you should already know what your topic or issue is — and have a very good ideas of which potential story angle / focus you will take. You will already have done some research and reading to sharpen your angle and find focus. You’ll also already considered which will be your key mediums and the kind of style and approach you will take. You should have identified the work of other practitioners, photographers, videographers, writers etc that you like and would like to emulate. You should also have identified certain styles and approaches to a multimedia stories that inspire the way you will approach yours. None of this is fixed or set in stone, but you’ll need to start planning early. You may find better ways of doing things as you go along and report. You will get critical feedback from your first presentation and then have three weeks over Christmas holidays to do plenty more research online and on foot. You should think of your second Presentation like a slick story pitch to an editor. Watch the advice from AP below for some pointers.

Your third Presentation will deal with Risk & ethical assessment as well as audience engagement and you will be well briefed on these sections during class.