More information about your final projects

Most of you posted about your final-project plans, and in a few other cases I know what you are planning to do. I am a little concerned about how few of you have made contact with the key person you need to interview. If you have a project that you think is crashing and burning, please contact me immediately. I have some off-the-shelf projects you could easily do.

As I have told you, your project will comprise various components, the deadlines for which I am spacing out so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

1. Your text story. You will write an 800- to 1,000-word feature story, in the form of an extended blog post, about a person, persons or organization involved in digital media of some sort. I am looking for interviews with at least three people as well as at least five links. Deadline: Sent to me by email as a Word file on Friday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m.

2. Your slideshow. You will put together a slideshow comprising six to 10 photos that is either directly related to your story or that functions as a sidebar. You will post your photos to Flickr and create a slideshow as you did on our Flickr assignment earlier this semester. You will write a title and a caption for the set as a whole and for each photo individually. Unlike your earlier assignment, you do not have to interview people for this. But aim for variety and visual interest. Please do not create a slideshow consisting of the outsides of buildings, for instance. Deadline: Friday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. Send me an email with the link.

3. Your video. I have built into the schedule a full week for you to work on nothing but the video. So take a deep breath and relax. Your video can be directly related to your story, or it can function as a sidebar. The video should be two to five minutes long, with interviews with at least three named people. (No interviews with any unnamed people, please.) There should be B-roll in the form of video clips and still photos. There should be an introductory slide, and though I am not making it an absolute requirement, I think it will be better if you do a stand-up at the beginning. Other than having a friend shoot your stand-up, all shooting and editing must be done by you. The deadline is Friday, Dec. 7, at midnight. If there is demand — and by “demand,” I mean even one person — I will keep 171 Holmes open until midnight. Post it to YouTube and send me an email with the link.

Notice that with both the slideshow and the video, I’ve suggested that you can use them as sidebars to your main story. Let me give you an example of what I mean. Colin Young hopes to do his story on the Beer Advocate magazine and website. He could interview his main subjects for his video, essentially producing a video version of his story — that’s not a sidebar. Or he could interview three people about where they get their information about beer. That’s a sidebar. He could shoot some sort of beer-themed event for his slideshow. That’s a sidebar, too. There are many, many ways you can approach the video and the slideshow.

4. Putting it all together. Our last class meeting is on Wednesday, Dec. 5. That will be my deadline for sending you memos about recommended revisions to your blog posts and slideshows. Your final deadline is Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m. Post your revised story to your blog. Embed the lead image from your slideshow and link it to Flickr, just as you did with your earlier assigment. Embed your YouTube video.

Also: Send me a brief (a paragraph or two) memo explaining how you used social media (most likely Twitter) as part of your reporting — whether it was finding sources or some other aspect. And after your post is live, use a Google map to link to it, just as we did with the dessert project.

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Boston’s best dessert restaurants

Here is our map of Boston’s best dessert eateries as reviewed by you during the past week. I thought everyone did a terrific job with this.

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Getting ready for our Google map project

Each of you will write a 250- to 350-word blog post, with a few photos, about a good place to get dessert in Boston. You all have an assigned dessert place at this point. If you need to double-check, here is the list. Your post should function partly as a feature story, partly as a review, providing information that a would-be customer would need to know in deciding whether or not to visit.

Each post needs to include the following information:

  • Days and hours of operation
  • Prices — a range is fine
  • Website and phone number
  • Exact address
  • The nearest T stop

The assignment includes an interview. You need to get some quotes from someone — a customer, a server, whoever — with his or her name and some identifying information (i.e., Jonathan Turley, a tourist from Boise, Idaho). I’m only looking for one interview because we need to keep our posts reasonably short.

When you come to class on Monday, you need to have your story written and posted on your blog and your photos available to you. You will need one photo specifically for the Google map — a horizontal, general shot that could be of something as simple as a building or a sign. It must be online, either in your blog post or on Flickr.

We’ll put the map together in class.

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Blogging about maps as journalism

Please write a blog post about mapping as journalism based on our discussion in class and your thoughts on the subject. Tell us whether you think mapping can actually be journalism, or is just a tool that journalists use.

Discuss (and link to) at least three examples of online maps. They can be among those that we looked at in class or others that you find. What do you like about mapping as compared to more-traditional forms of journalism? What are its strengths? What are its shortcomings?

Deadline: Friday at 5 p.m.

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More on mapping as journalism

We’re going to take a look at some maps in class on Tuesday to see how they can enhance journalism and whether they are journalism. On the syllabus for Week 9, the news maps link is not working, but the other two, rather old links are still alive and well.

In addition, here are some other examples:

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Google’s “Superstorm Sandy” interactive map

Click on image for full interactive map at

Google’s response to Sandy has been particularly innovative, allowing you to select different layers of information and pulling from user-generated content as well as official sources. Click through and give it a try.

The map was put together by, the company’s nonprofit arm, and is part of an initiative called Crisis Response, which provides resources around the world.

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Mapping hurricane news

Click on image for full interactive map at

The Boston Globe is mapping hurricane reports. Click through to get the full effect. Then click on any red circle for more information.

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