Creating Journalists at Emmanuel College

A guide for ENGL 2501 and ENGL 3801

Coming up in January 2015: Goats and maps and digital toys

I gave this advice to classes last semester: “Never do anything that will get on Romenesko.”

That was before this happened.

Yeah. I spent the week after Christmas creating multimedia about a runaway goat.

Let’s take a good look at the story, which actually shows off some of the tools students in Writing for Electronic Media will be learning this semester. We have the above-mentioned map, which was made using Google Maps to interactively pinpoint the goat’s flight from a slaughterhouse in Tewksbury to Lowell (how can you not love a notation that it leaped from the Spaghettiville Bridge?).

Here’s the map — we’ll be making them this semester:

Beneath the story is a Storify, a fun tool that allows you to search through Tweets, YouTube videos and other assorted social media to collect the ingredients for a multimedia story. I use Storify constantly in my job at the Lowell Sun, whether it’s to get a live feed of reporters at the scene of breaking news, a snapshot of views about the summer’s Market Basket protests or, in this case, to embed a clip of the initial police call about the goat followed by not only our reporters’ Tweets but also public response and the creation of a Twitter account claiming to be the goat itself.

We have audio of the police call via a reader’s upload to YouTube, but there’s another option for audio: Soundcloud. Sun reporter Kyle Clauss, who I’m planning to drag into class as a speaker for various reasons, one being his own mention on Romenesko, created this:

Which is a good way to bring up 10 hours worth of homework for Electronic Media students they should tackle immediately: we’re going to be discussing podcasting in class, using “Serial” as an example. Download it on iTunes or get it off this website, which has lots of background material about the 15-year-old murder that serves as its focus. “Serial” recently ended its first season amid a lot of scribblings about its storytelling techniques, ethics, affect on the appeal of Adnan Syed’s murder conviction and What It All Means For Journalism; I expect everyone will be seeking them out (there’s also an entire forum on Reddit) as they work their way through the episodes.

In summary, coming up in Writing for Electronic Media: Google Maps! Storify! Soundcloud! Podcasts! Video editing! Photographs! Word Press! Online polls! Social media! And a twist on assignments that will completely alter how you look at homework — and your classmates! See you Jan. 14, 2015!


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This entry was posted on December 31, 2014 by in Digital Tools.

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