COJO 4230: Introduction & Video Journalism

Advanced New Media

Students of journalism need to diversify their skills. You’ve already taken COJO 3530 Online Journalism, which built your skills in photography, audio reporting, photo/audio slideshows, and beginning web design and reporting. This class expands upon those skills by giving you a platform through which to share your work. You’ll go beyond maintaining a blog and you’ll create and design your own portfolio website to house your professional work. You’ll also add video and flash journalism to your repertoire of talents. In sum, get psyched, get inspired! This is fun stuff! The class is focused on three units:

  1. Video Journalism: Example 1 | Example 2 | Raw Video
  2. Portfolio Website: Student Example 1 | Student Example 2
  3. Flash Journalism: Examples provided by Mindy McAdams | New York Times examples

Course Blog

Students from last fall’s COJO 3530 Online Journalism class will recognize this blog. We used this blog as the course website and only used e-Companion for grade management. The same will be true this semester. I’ll post all of our course materials and assignments here, under the COJO 4230 tab in the left-side navigation column. So, check back frequently. An addition to this course is the use of Twitter…


Sign up for Twitter. I know it’s another account you have to create, manage, and remember your dang password for. But, this is worth it. You can begin to build a network through Twitter. First, sign-up for an account. Pick a professional account name, not something like k-train82. Then, read “Brand-Tweeting-New: Tips for Twitter Newbies” by Kelli Matthews. Find people to follow through looking at these lists. I highly recommend following InternAlert for intern and job opportunities. You can follow me as well. I’ll be tweeting helpful resources throughout the semester.

First Up: Video Journalism

The ability to tell a good story with video is a difficult yet important skill for journalists and communicators to learn. For the first assignment in Advanced New Media, we’ll be shooting video and collecting audio for a video journalism project. You’ll work in teams of two. Let’s partner up!
Requirements. Below are the main points you need to consider while working on your project. I will use these elements to evaluate your work. See please the assignment sheet for full details.

  • At least 2 sources
  • At least 5 seconds of ambient noise
  • Video is between 2 and 4 minutes
  • Video shots are diverse
  • Speakers are introduced with titles
  • Story has a title on the first frame
  • Story has a beginning, middle, and end
  • Audio quality is clear and editing is smooth

Step 1. Your first job is to brainstorm about story ideas and suggest three to me by the end of the first class. First, let’s review the tips for selecting a good story for video journalism. See your video journalism assignment for full details.

  • Focus on curiosity
  • Focus on activity
  • Focus on experience
  • Focus on diverse shots
  • Focus on a story
  • Test your digital camera’s audio

Step 2. Once you’ve got your story idea narrowed down, you need to prepare for shooting and recording your assignment on location. See your video journalism assignment for full details.

  • Go in without your camera and audio recorder
  • Keep your head up for a hook
  • Shoot first, interview later
  • Learn the shots
  • Use the 5-shot method
  • Careful camera movement
  • Minimize panning and tilting
  • Do not zoom
  • Stay still and be silent
  • Stay ethical
  • Natural sound and environment shots
  • Rule of thirds and creative devices
  • Get on-camera interviews

Step 3. We’ll begin editing our video and audio in Windows Movie Maker next class. Feel free to bring in your own laptops if you own Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. I don’t care what video editing you use, as long as you complete the assignment well, I’m cool.

About The Author

I'm a faculty member in Communication & Journalism at the University of Wyoming. At UW, I have taught online journalism, advanced new media, introduction to mass media, politics and media, and alternative media. At Ohio State, where I got my PhD, I taught research methods, news reporting and writing, visual communication, and persuasion. My reserach focuses on political communication, emerging media platforms, and entertainment media. In my spare time, I love to play with my daughters, hang out with my family, cook, hike, jog, read, and blog.

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