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Requirements and Guidelines


Software, Training Websites and Account Creation

-We won’t use textbooks in our class. Reading materials will be usually available online for free. However, you will be required to register to a number of web services and purchase a few software licenses to comply with our requirements and publish your stories. I have trimmed the costs down to the minimum, making sure these purchases as valuable as possible for you.


1-Required: a monthly subscription to, a website that provides online software training. We will use Lynda’s tutorials to learn some basics about WordPress, Photoshop, ProTools, FinalCut and Flash. I will assign sessions from and you will be required to watch the tutorials in order to apply the contents to your stories. The basic license is $25 a month. You should have purchased your license by our second meeting.


2-Required: a account. We will set it up together during the first week of classes. is a free content management system, which will help you create your personal blog. Your weekly stories will be posted on your blog, and there you will keep an updated record of your publications, a recent version of your CV and other professional information.


3-Required: Soundslides Plus, available at Soundslides is a program that allows you to easily create slideshows. Slideshows will be an important part of our course. The license costs $69 and the program is yours for good.


4-Required: Youtube. You know Youtube, but if you don’t have an account yet you will need to create one for our class.


5-Soundcloud: If you are not familiar with Soundcloud, this is a web platform that allows you to publish up to 120 minutes of free audio to the web. Soundcloud also interacts seamlessly with WordPress. You will need to set up your account during our first week of classes.


6- In order to work on and save some of your audio and video projects you will need an external hard drive. Please, make sure that the drive you choose has FireWire connectivity. USB-only hard drives are too slow for ProTools and FinalCut X to be used as scratch discs, so you may run into trouble if you don’t have the option available., and usually have good and affordable products. You will surely be covered with 750 GB to 2 TB.


Guidelines on How to Check Out Equipment

Backpack Teams: we will assign a backpack with a laptop and a H4N Zoom recorder every two people. You will get your backpacks from Ellen Diffenderfer, 114 Roy H Park Hall, and the laptops from Ray Fitzgerald at ITS in Friends 110. To use and take good care of the equipment in the backpacks will be your responsibility during the entire semester.


Frequently during the semester you will have to check out other pieces of equipment from the equipment room (still image cameras, video cameras, Lavalier microphones; etc). In order to check equipment out it is best if you make a reservation a few hours on beforehand. Students are allowed to have equipment up to 72 hours with a maximum of 96 hours per week on any individual equipment type, so please schedule accordingly.

Guidelines on How to Pitch Your Story

Topic: what is the general topic you want to write about.

Conflict: what are the recent developments in this area that make you think it is a good idea to write about this topic. Has anything changed/moved/broken down/died/improved/started/been developed/been praised (etc)?

Newsability: how recent, impactful, relevant is this topic to the community you are writing for. Why do people need to know about this?

Sources: who are you planning to talk to. What is their authority, their knowledge and their social standing with regard to the topic.


Guidelines on How to Choose Your Sources

Questions you should ask yourself before deciding who you are going to talk to for your story:

-Do I know the authorities in this field?

-Where should I go first? Where should I go second? Where should I go third?

-Do I have/need an institutional source? Do I need numbers/data? Who can explain these numbers to me?

-Is the highest ranked source always better for the story?

-Is the person I want to talk to able to discuss the issue on the record?

-Can I quote my source or what s/he is telling you without jeopardizing my source or my relationship with the source?

-Will this source be able to point me in the direction of new sources (always ask your sources for three extra contacts with people s/he thinks may be useful for your article).


Guidelines on How to Turn In Your Articles

Your articles will have to be posted on our intranet at least 36 hours before our publication deadline. This will facilitate the editing and evaluation process. All the articles must be accompanied with a list of the sources consulted, their contact numbers and e-mails. You will send this list via e-mail to your editors. If your stories are not posted on the intranet by the deadline, you will have failed the assignment. If you don’t send the list of sources and contacts to your editors with the story, the assignment will be considered incomplete and will not be published. If the contact list is not turned in after the issue is published, you will have failed the assignment. If your story gets selected for publication you get extra cookie points!


All your stories, published at or not, should still be posted on your personal blog on a weekly basis for evaluation.