Alternative Media (jour435)
Instructor: Matt Forsythe
Viewable online at: altnewsmedia.wordpress.com/syllabus
All readings are online.
WEEK 1: Getting Started
* How do you use the web?
* Informal discussion. What are your passions? What is your niche?
* Present concept map of course
* Course Outline / Overview
*Online News Magazine
Learning outcomes: Students will be given a formal survey of concepts and grading system of the course.
WEEK 2: The Past / The end of mainstream media?
Clay Shirky, 2009
David Cromwell, Excerpted from Private Planet, 2002
READ: “Why I quit my job”
Objectives: What are some of the critiques of mainstream media? What are the challenges facing journalists today?
* WATCH: Video – Chomsky: Manufacturing Consent
* Journalism and War
Learning outcomes: Students are able to discuss critically the transitional nature of contemporary journalism.
WEEK 3: The Future / Google and the Long Tail / Writing for the Web introduction
READ: The Long Tail, Chris Anderson, WIRED Magazine
READ: Computer-generated articles are gaining traction, New York Times
READ: Is Google Making Us Stupid?, Nicholas Carr, The Atlantic
Objectives: Discuss, Search and Google, the Long Tail, and the future of news.
Learning outcomes: Students will understand the economic variation within the Long Tail and critically discuss what that means for the present and future of journalism.
WEEK 4: Writing for the web (Part I)
7pm GUEST: Carly Wilkie Steven, SEO Consultant (The Daily Mail, The Gazette)
READ: How Search Engines Operate, by SEOMoz
Objectives: Though new media require a new way of reading and writing, the basics of style, concision, and grammar are more important than ever. But writers on the web are writing for a new audience… Google. We will discuss the basics of formatting HTML and RSS for the web and best practices for linking and image-use.
Learning outcomes: Students will apply the following with respect to writing on the web:
* “Publish then select” philosophy
* Understand fundamental differences between Web and Print
* Basic HTML mark-up
* Basic RSS tools (FlipBoard, Feedly, etc)
WEEK 5: Writing for the web – Part II: Practical Guide
READ: “Truth and the Net“, by Cory Doctorow
READ: “Ten Tips for writing a blog post“, by Darren Rowse, Problogger
Using images on blogs
Use your blog to land paid writing gigs; 9 Practical Tips
Kick Your RSS: Jumping on the Syndication Bandwagon
* Does the inverted pyramid still apply?
* Daily Blog Tips articles
* Importance of Links
* Keyword Research
* Article idea generation
* Citation on the web
* Creative Commons licensing
* Anchor Text
Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to link appropriately, use Creative Commons images with their posts respectfully, and write subjects that are Google and RSS-readable.
WEEK 6: Video for the Web; NFB Case Study
GUEST: Joel Pomerleau, Manager, NFB.ca
READ: “A Canadian Broadcasting Policy for a world of Abundance,” by Michael Geist
READ: “NFB Unreels Smash Hits” by Michael Geist
READ: “Canada’s NFB Archive: a success story”
by Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
* NFB Case study and discussion
* Mistakes and Successes
Learning Outcome: Students will learn best practices for embedding video online
Understand the challenges of moving from traditional to digital distribution
WEEK 7: Huffington Post Canada: Pros and Cons of a
READ: About that Lawsuit… by Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post, Feb 2011
READ: Pay Me for My Content, by Jaron Lanier (Free registration required)
7pm SKYPE GUEST: Ron Nuriwasah, News Editor, Huffington Post Canada (confirmed)
Why is the HuffPo so sucessful?
Is it the future of news or a healthy alternative?
Major differences between traditional news and online news.
WEEK 8: Generatives / Audio & Video for the Web II
READ: Better Than Free by Kevin Kelly
READ: Better Than Owning by Kevin Kelly
READ:The Economics of Abundance” by Chris Anderson
Objectives: For discussion…
* What are generatives?
* What are people willing to pay for?
* HTML Mark-up workshop
* Embedding Audio and Video on the web workshop
Learning outcomes: Students will be able to discuss Kelly’s 8 generatives with respect to current media. Students will be comfortable writing in HTML and embedding multimedia content in their posts.
WEEK 9: Alternative Media, Citizen Journalism, and The Wisdom of Crowds
GUEST: Tim McSorley, Montreal Media Coop – to discuss Alternative Media (confirmed)
READ: “Spin Cycles for Social Change,” by Joanne Penhale, Dominion Magazine
READ: “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”, by Jeff Howe, Wired Magazine
READ: The Wealth of Librivox, Michael Erard, Reason Magazine
READ: Citizen Journalism Wants You!, Jay Rosen, Wired Magazine
* Wiki culture
*Activism and Alternative Media
WEEK 10: Open data, Open Journalism
7pm GUEST LECTURE: Michael Lenczner, OpenMTL (confirmed)
READ: About Michael Lenczner
READ: About OpenMTL
Objectives: How does unlimited choice affect the news? Does it create greater accountability or just engender a race to the bottom?
* Links between open source software and Open data movement
* Access to information / transparency
* The Free Culture movement
Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to list reasons for curated and edited content in a world of unlimited choice.
WEEK 12: Branding / Marketing yourself / Social Networking
* Branding yourself and your work on the web
Discussion: Revenue streams for the online journalist
WEEK 13: Checking your Facts in a Networked World
GUEST: Craig Silverman, (confirmed), Journalist (Globe & Mail, NY Times) and author of Regret the Error
by Christopher Scanlan
* Regret The Error
* Fact Checking – How to do distributed fact-checking, the rise of external fact-checking groups, and the potential for using CJ to achieve better accuracy in the press.
WEEK 14: Future of the Web
READ: What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly
*Watch: The next 5000 hours of the internet
* What is the future of the web?
* Data journalism?
* How does this affect the news industry / our careers?
We The Media, Dan Gillmor
The Search, John Batelle
The Long Tail, Chris Anderson
The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki
On Writing Well, Zissner
Elements of Style, Strunk & White