Category Archives: Multimedia

Transmedia Aproach: Entertainment Storytelling Techiniques

In my multimedia storytelling class this semester, I decided to apply the transmedia philosophy to journalism. I shared what I learned at the Journalism Interactive conference. Henry Jenkins, collaborative genius and educator, developed the term as a way to describe how stories tentacle across platforms. The transmedia approach is practiced primarily in the entertainment industry. Franchises such as Harry Potter, True Blood, and How I Met Your Mother reflect best practices. I seek inspiration from creators outside the field of journalism (entertainment, public relations, ed tech to guide me in the development of my classes. Journalism teachers can apply this approach if they want to challenge students’ media routines and understanding of what is considered news.

As a result of this experiment, I became more in touch with what I should be doing as a teacher. It is challenging to get them to think differently. Here are important points and potential assignments that can be applied in your classroom:

  1. Multiple creator world: Many people post and remix their own content (not just journalists). Jigar Mehta and Yasmin Elayat created a collaborative documentary about “18 days in Egypt” during the uprisings in Egypt. They asked people experiencing the event to submit their media and provide information about it. One emerging role of journalists is to help people make sense of large streams of information.
    • Ask students to create a story using other people’s content. They could create a local story using content from Facebook community sites, TweetsNearby, G+ communities, Banjo, Storify, etc. This exercise could also teach them to how to verify information.  And how to ethically attribute such information: 1) be clear about the image(s) or posts you wish to use, 2) explain how the image(s) or posts will be use, and clarify how the person wishes to be credited (name, username, etc., keeping in mind that in some cases they may wish to remain anonymous)
    • Ask them to collaborate with a student from another university to create a story focused on the same topic. Rural America is a cooperative series created by photojournalists all over the United States.
    • I would also like to see a website that aggregates syllabi, lectures, useful MOOCs, and tutorials. The Open Syllabus Project is an example of this movement. ForJournalism and many MOOCs exist to teach storytelling, web scraping, data journalism and privacy principles. And Cindy Royal received a fellowship to create an open-source platform for teaching coding and data skills to journalists. However I have not found a site that houses these education materials.
  2. Relationship cultivation: Magda Konieczna studied the MinnPost finding that one emerging business model requires journalists to understand how to cultivate relationships with community leaders and members in order to fund important journalism projects. In the beginning of the semester, I required my students to create content for a small local non-profit organization. The logic behind the idea was to teach them about serving their community, being accountable, and learning about business models.
  3. Experience first: Steve Jobs said one reason for his success is that he thought about experience first. Content produced for each platform, online and offline, should reflect the communication behaviors and preferences of the people loyal to that platform (e.g., Reddit, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest). Many of us who teach technology-focused courses repeatedly say students are not as digitally literate as people assume. But they are consumers. They will often identify the weaknesses of their content if you ask them to critique their content from the perspective of a visitor to a specific platform.
  4. Loyalty: Journalists often produce episodic content. It is difficult to build community when traditional news media websites feature episodic content, in which stories are framed as examples of discrete, disconnected events and topics. To encourage them to think differently, I asked them to create content a web series for a YouTube channel. They struggled with conceptualizing a web series. This means they are trying to develop a loyal following around their multimedia content. From an information perspective, students can serve the public by creating educational and artistic videos for a particular group of people.
  5. Visual engagement: Journalists want to have impact. To have that impact, they must understand visual communication principles. In a visually saturated society, we need to teach students how to cut through information flood by understanding basic visual communication principles. Basic tips include shooting faces, smiles, and close-ups. I find that students often post very detached photos. To connect, shoot eyes and learn the visual dissonance principle. For their non-profits, students were required to apply visual engagement principles when producing visual content for a platform reflecting one overall communication goal.

The Hero Project: A media engagement experiment

Many student journalists choose the field of journalism and public relations because they want their life to have an impact. And teaching about engagement can help them in their desire to create change.

Research examining engagement tends to fall in three areas: 1) civic engagement, 2) student engagement and 3) employee engagement. Research definitions of engagement tend to reflect the aim of helping people to develop identity, learn how to participate and flourish as a community.

  • “…having both a behavioral component, termed participation, and an emotional component, termed identification” (Finn & Voelkl, 1993; p. 249).
  • “Civic engagement is any activity where people come together in their role as citizens” (Diller, 2001, p. 22).

In the field in journalism, educators have been criticized about teaching students about newsroom socialization rather than teaching them to tailor information to encourage citizens to participate. The intent of a liberal arts education was designed to nurture students to be problem solvers, creative thinkers, and critical scholars (Higginbotham 1961; Wick & Phillips, 2008).

As educators, we should critically evaluate whether our teaching efforts are helping to empower students to create public action and awareness. When teaching engagement, students should be asking themselves whether their efforts reflect a world they want to make and whether their efforts accurately represent people. Engagement has the potential to create a sense of connectedness and self-efficacy among humans, which can lead to loyalty to an individual and organization.

The cultivation of intellectual and critical thinkers starts with encouraging them to connect to people outside their usual social circles. Several organizational leaders are encouraging news reporters to connect their social media identities to stories, post requests for story ideas on social media channels and meet with online community members in a F2F environment.

The line between public relations and journalism is blurring. Both fields recognize the importance of relationships for future sustainability, however many public relations professionals understand the significance of relationships better.

Journalists often view themselves as serving specific communities. Researchers have often referred to community as a physical location. However, a community can refer to a geographic area or refer to a group of people with similar interests. The process of sharing information allows journalists to be more aware of the diversity of communities that exist.

It is important to have a plan in mind when crafting exercises that teach students about media engagement. I had spent fall semester 2011 structuring assignments for my spring 2012 honors Online Media class. I hope that sharing my plan will help or inspire other people to experiment.

In my Online Media class at Arizona State University, I taught social media, visual communication and coding… and time constraints would not allow the full experiment to take place. Time constraints are a common problem for educators who are digitally literate. In this post, I will discuss how I envisioned the assignment, what actually happened, and what how I would like to expand upon this experiment in the future.

The class final project theme centered on examining the meaning of hero. I specifically wanted students dissect the construct of hero. The group discussed and focused on nine sub-themes: 1) the philosophical dissection of the construct, 2) why we needs heroes, 3) superheroes, 4) video games, 5) children’s definition of heroes, 6) how other cultures define heroes, 7) musicians, 8) celebrities and 9) villains.

Plan for Engagement Experiment

First Day
I asked the mostly sophomore-level students to post their thoughts and reactions about The Hero Project to a Tumblr blog. I envisioned students sharing their personal thoughts on this blog throughout the semester. Blog posts can encourage classroom community and topic reflection. And I planned to share this blog on the final project website.

Second Week
Each student was to be responsible for a social media channel and one person was responsible with commenting on sites related to our niche. They were required to set up a social media profile, market the project, create content, connect with others with similar interests and promote the project following publication via their assigned channel. The setup portion of the assignment was to be due during the second week of the semester. The social media sites chosen were Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, Quora, Flickr, Delicious, and blog comments.

Third Week
On the Tumblr blog, each student shared the best practices for engagement related to their social media channel.

Sixth Week
We discussed the creation of a promotional video related to the project. I showed examples of videos in class for inspiration: Jacob’s Story, Will it blend?, Free Hugs and Bad Project. Based on Jacob’s story, the students thought it would be engaging to bring a white board to the streets asking people who their hero was and why. Two students did shoot the slideshow, however it was created at the end of the semester.

Eighth Week
The class of nine students was required to create a multimedia piece summarizing the effect their personal hero had on them. They were asked to interview their personal hero and/or interview themselves talking about their hero. I graded them on creativity and focus, rather than production quality. You can view their videos on their class Tumblr site. The majority of the class members voted that this were their favorite assignment of the semester. Here is some of their feedback:

  • “Making this personal hero video was a very cathartic experience … I think it communicates the message I was going for and I would love to make it longer.”
  • “We don’t often get the chance to express ourselves personally in journalism class, and I enjoyed being able to tell my own story for a change. I can’t wait to share this video with my dad. He had no idea while working on this that I was calling him my hero.”
  • “No matter what grade I get, this will probably end up being my favorite assignment of the semester. It was deeply personal, and dug at the core of what makes who I am.”

I encourage educators to allow at least one assignment that challenges students to apply a different or more personal lens related to the class focus.

Fifteenth Week
The crew coded and created a website called The Hero Project. And they posted their final thoughts about the project on the Tumblr blog. Ideally, I wanted them to interact more in social media spheres, however I am quite proud of what they did accomplish.

The Future

Ideally, I would like to teach a class called “Engaging Communities.” In such a class, I would like teaching crowdsourcing/curation, engagement, search, alternative forms of storytelling, verification and much more.

My students did begin to understand that they need to learn how to connect their content to people in the online environment. I wanted students to post suggested hashtags, live Twitter feeds, live chats and Ustreams, social media share buttons near stories and create a resources page and sidebars to encourage people to engage the content offline and online.

I have accepted a position at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism for fall 2012. I am co-teaching and helping design a journalism capstone class in this department. Based on my experience with this experiment this past Spring semester, I am inspired to continue. Here are some of my plans for the fall semester course:

During the first week students, students will search social media channels and search engines for story idea inspiration around an assigned theme. Sites could include:

Students will pitch their ideas on a G+ class circle. They will then vote (+1) and comment critically on the ideas. They will be required to observe and create content for niche communities throughout the semester. Team members will also be required to create crowdsourced stories, experiment with storytelling and engage in niche communities throughout the semester.

When I taught at Bloomsburg University in PA, I noticed that students would grow creatively and intellectually when given the opportunity to express themselves. Several academic studies show that the desire to be creative is a top reason why many journalism students choose the major of journalism. This fall semester, I am assigning every student to visually summarize their interpretation of the team’s topic using multimedia. The multimedia piece could be a montage of feet or it could be them expressing their thoughts to the camera about the niche topic. The more creative projects will receive higher grades. They will embed the SEOed video on the team’s Tumblr blog. And I also plan to still have them create promotional videos.

My goal ultimately with these assignments is to send a message that I want them to approach journalism from different angles. Many educators spend a great amount of time telling them what is and what is not journalism. In my class, I want them to take risks that reflect their desire to inform, help and motivate people. Research in political communication and other fields has shown that mobilizing efforts do influence positive behavior within individuals. Thus, I want them to also think about how they can mobilize the public for civic good. To find inspirational examples of mobilizing efforts, one should look at historical newspapers of the underground press in the 1960s.

Some syllabi suggestions would be to: 1) assign a social media editor to team projects, 2) require research of a social media channel and formulating story ideas within the channels, 3) assign a crowdsourced assignment, 4) embrace personal expression and interpretation and 5) require public and private reflection.

To learn more about engagement, I suggest reading posts from Steve Buttry, Knight Foundation’s Engagement Commons or Howard Rheingold. And of course, here is my presentation and visit my teaching page for updates on my classroom experiments at Michigan State University.

And if you have questions or comments, please comment or email me at And I want to thank the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication public relations and communication technology divisions for the speaking invitation (#AEJMC12 #prprofs) and my co-panelists @PRvolsProf, @jizaks, @abbylovett, @marcusmessner, @RedClayHound, Charles Lubbers and moderator @Gallicano.

A letter to my students

I have accepted an academic position at Michigan State University in the School of Journalism, and I am excited to engage with the professors and students intellectually.

I am saying goodbye to the past five years at Arizona State University, but I most sad to say goodbye to my students. My students handed in their final projects last night.

This is a note to them:

As a teacher, I have several goals for you: increase your confidence, help you find your creative self and understand the importance of relationships.

Most students do not believe at the beginning of my class that they can handle learning social media, multimedia and coding. At the end of the semester, many of you were teaching students in other classes.

Each person is able to do anything if they work for it. You will discover that skills are only a small part of your future success; the most important part of the equation for your future is developing a work ethic.

In the future, I plan to develop more exercises that allow students to tap into their creative selves. Through this exploration, you better discover your many sides and potential. I hope that you will continue to experiment and challenge ways to share and communicate information.

Most teachers at ASU are only able to work with students during one semester. This means that students are less likely to develop relationships with potential mentors. I want you to seek out people who will challenge and critique you. It is the most efficient path to professional success. It is important to develop relationships with people in the administration, with leaders at your jobs or internships and with other professors.

Many of you have learned that your classmates are resources as well. Remember, the bonds developed in my class do not have to end. You can connect with your classmates again to create another product together.

My professors are the reason that I became a professor. They helped me see my potential. I owe them so much for their kindness and time. And I am still here to help you.

I saw many of you became teachers in this class and previous classes, which means you are leaders. And I hope that with what you have learned you are better able to follow your passions and be happy. I firmly believe you can have it all.


Digital and social media class syllabi

I try to identify and share recent syllabi that I believe would be of use for the academic community. I know many educators are working on their syllabi over winter break. If you have one you would like to share related to digital media topics, email me or post it below.

I have also posted other syllabi in previous posts. Be sure to browse those posts as well.

Tim Currie | University of King’s College | Audience and Content Strategies
Marcus Messner | Virgina Commonwealth University | Reporting for Print and Web and Business of Media
Susan Currie Sivek | Linfield College | Introduction to Mass Communication

Keith Hampton | University of Pennsylvania | Five Digital Media and Social Network Classes
Zizi Papacharissi | University  of Illinois at Chicago | Democracy in a Digital Age
Columbia Graduate School of Journalism | Social Media Skills for Journalists
Mark W. Smith | Central Michigan University | Social Media and Journalism
Bill Handy | Oklahoma State University | Social Media

Cindy Royal | Texas State University | Web Design and Publishing
Jake Batsell | Southern Methodist University | Technology Reporting | Digital Reporting
Katy Bartzen Culver | University of Wisconsin-Madison | In-depth Multimedia Reporting
Serena Carpenter | Arizona State University | Online Media


Focus on the homepage to grab attention

I wanted to share with you my Online Media students’ portfolios. The group sought to capture attention by incorporating graphics, rollovers, and pictures on their homepages. You can also browse portfolios from past semesters.

Mauro Whiteman
Gabriela Rodiles
Kayla Frost
Connor Radnovich
Aiyana Havir
Alex Gregory
Kelsey Roderique
Josselyn Berry
Kate Kunkel
Brittany E. Morris
Alex Lancial
Pearce Bley
Dani Schenone

Encourage students to design with the intent to help

My students completed their final projects for my Online Media class. Their projects impressed me. Many students have not had any technical skills training prior to this class.

I was also moved by my students’ desire to help people with their research and reporting on difficult topics.

I try to encourage students to create a site that reflects quality and experimentation. I ask students several questions as they design their final projects:

  1. Is this information meaningful?
  2. Are you helping?
  3. Why is this information important?
  4. Will people understand what you are trying to communicate?

I would also suggest another tip to educators. People need context. To help orient the reader, students should use summary decks, definition of terms, information history boxes, timelines, lists of facts, a resources page, etc. to help readers understand the issue. I often ask my students what do people need in order to understand this topic.

Next semester I plan to try another experiment focused on encouraging public engagement. I will let you know how it turns out. Feel free to browse my students’ sites.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, it attacks brain and spinal cord cells responsible for muscle movement. About 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time, according to the ALS Association. Currently, there is no cure. ALS affects more than just nerves—it wears at patients’ families, lifestyles and emotions. From the loss of independence to the loss of a loved one, the struggles are plenty for those affected.

The Pain of Healing
Self-injury is a difficult topic to discuss. Society often fails to look past the cuts and burns to find the real source of pain. This website provides an in-depth look at different behaviors associated with self-injury, the reasoning behind these behaviors, and treatment options for those wanting to seek help. After conducting extensive research on this topic, the goal is to raise awareness and help erase the stigma associated with self-harm.

For Sale: A Home Foreclosure Educational Resource

From the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ASU’s Civil Justice Clinic, resources aimed at helping families overcome the effects of foreclosure have attempted to alleviate the situation. These are the stories of the impact of home foreclosure in Phoenix.

Scars of War
In 2001, the United States became embattled in the longest war in U.S. history. Since it began, more than 42,000 military members have returned home injured. These injuries can range from concussions to missing limbs. But they also include injuries that aren’t physically visible. No scars are the same. And every wounded warrior experiences them differently. This is an in-depth look at service members’ experiences and how they deal with the prolonged effects of war in the Middle East.

The Perils of Public Transit
A team of reporters sought to more precisely understand the public transit conflict. You can read stories about local bus drivers, the dangers that Phoenix bus operators face, the status of contract negotiations, and the future of passenger service.

Immigration Economics
Even before Arizona’s immigration law, known as SB 1070, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio made it his goal to end illegal immigration in his county. His plans are to arrest and turn over illegal immigrants, who were violating other laws such as working with fake documents, to Immigration officials. So far, Arpaio’s office has arrested hundreds of suspected illegal immigrants, but little is known about what happens to those arrested. This site touches on some of those issues.

Citizens of Nowhere
The journeys of refugees from their countries of origin to the United States may last only a few days, but adjusting to their new life is a long process — one that often involves government-funded agencies and community groups. Once the refugees become citizens, they often create cultural centers and continue their traditional celebrations. This site shares some of those stories.



A Job is in the Details: 10 Tips on Elevating a Portfolio

I strive to help my students understand how to visually communicate their work with people. One way of reaching people is through their  professional portfolio.

If your school or department does not help students present themselves professionally online, your students will struggle finding employment. To help my future students and other people, I post my Online Media 305 students’ portfolios every semester. I was asked to present on how I help students with this task at the Journalism Interactive conference. In my presentation, I shared some of the advice I give my students.

1. Clean Design
You must help people “see” your content. The “seeing” of content can be enabled through the design principle of contrast. Our eyes like contrast. To create contrast, vary up site font size and type. A trend that some site creators are following is a minimalist design with big headings. Marie Catrib, Brian Hoff, and Jacqueline Guiterrez are examples.

Color is also another way to create contrast. Your website should not always be painted with blocks of your favorite color. One tip is to use color as an accent. I am not a fan of pink, but Jessica Goldberg used it effectively by including touches of it in her headings throughout her site. Remember, site design can affect your credibility.

2. Clear Navigation
Keep your navigation simple. One of the best ways is to categorize your work rather than forcing the visitor to scroll through a maze of unrelated clips. Some good examples of navigation include Dave Hill’s photo portfolio and Julia Tylor’s use of folder icons. You could also consider creating a tab for your latest projects.

3. About Me
One way to connect with the web audience is by sharing your passion for your work and people. A bio should not lead with “I am a student studying at XYZ university. I will complete my degree in 2014.” It is important to lead with your professional foot rather than your student identity.

People connect with faces and smiles. Post a natural-looking professional photo of yourself. Do not include the high school photo of yourself with a guitar or dance club pictures. Good examples include Laura Parkinson, Molly Smith, and Etka Poudel.

4. Contact
On a contact page, you should post your full name, a professional email address, and social media identities. Social media and community building skills are attractive to employers. Social media skills reflect that you understand how to connect your content to people. I would suggest Googling for free social media icons.

5. Resume
For SEO purposes, I require my students to post a portion of their resume in text. Stephanie Paeprer created beautiful contrast on her resume by using both a serif and sans serif font. Remember, a resume should be well-designed and the job responsibility section should include powerful verbs and specifics about what you did.

In addition, it is important to clearly communicate that a PDF copy of your resume is available for download.

6. Content Motivation
If you are a journalist, self-motivation is an expectation. The ease of publishing has enabled any almost person to publish content, but most people are not motivated to publish content on a regular basis.

  • Blog:  As you write, you learn more about yourself and the topic. I have posted tips on how to encourage students to publish blog posts, think of blog topics, and connect content to readers.
  • Clips: Michael Pollen linked to his articles appropriately by providing a headline, publication, summary and date of each article. To make increase levels satisfaction, add a summary paragraph for each multimedia project.  You should aggregate PDF copies and links to your articles. It is important to capture PDF copies of site pages because link stability can be an issue. You capture PDF screen grabs by selecting File > Print > Save as PDF.
  • Multimedia Web Series: A few ways to show your multimedia work is by creating a YouTube channel (e.g., Peter Hadfield), sharing social media releases for a company, launching your own radio program, or starting your own video web series on a issue in your community.

7. Services
Angela Grant clearly communicates her desire to get paid for her talents on her homepage. You should do the same. For example, Aaron Lavinsky created a separate tab listing his photography costs. This is an opportunity for you to earn freelance money and learn how to continue doing what you love following graduation.

8. Images
People are attracted to images. Anyone who uses Facebook can attest to the lure of images. Most people have access to a camera, and thus, there is no reason why you can’t post a photo portfolio such as this slideshow created by using Flickr.

If telling stories on the human condition is your dream job, show me humans. Photographs that display emotion and human faces can affect the visitor. Selena Larson included a photo from her volunteer efforts in Africa to show the type of work she desired. Stephen M. Katz and Poh Si Teng designed their portfolios with a similar intention.

9. Video Resume
More than 80% of U.S. internet users have watched an online video. People spend more time on a website if a video is present. One way to elevate your video resume is by making it interactive. Mashable reported on Graeme Anthony who used YouTube Video Annotations to help visitors more easily digest his video resume reel. Annotations enable you to create a video with clickable chapters.

10. Infographic
There are some simple tools to use to create a graphic that visually communicates your skill knowledge areas. Jeremy Pennycook‘s circles, Jessica Goldberg’s WordCloud, and Heather Billing’s interactive graphic are examples.

Take advantage of free services that help you present your resume in a creative way. I suggest to all my students to sign up and complete bios on free sites such as (e.g., Lee Semel), (e.g., Jade Rehder), and (e.g., Erica Swallow). Also, some sites for design inspiration include WebDesigner Depot‘s web design trends, directory, and Leslie-Jean Thornton’s aggregated list of examples.

I tell my students that the only limitation is your mind. Give yourself or your students’ time to be creative. To help them transform a blank page into a website, tell them to list words and draw pictures that come to mind when they think about their lives and their career. Every semester I am taken aback by what they accomplish when given the time.

Journalism and PR student multimedia project examples

My sophomore-level Online Media students create both professional portfolios and small team websites each semester. This is their first college classroom experience using technological tools to share their research, reporting, and stories. I select approximately one-third of their projects to publish for the CronkiteZine each semester.

I wanted to share with you some of their projects to show how capable students can be when given the foundation. The foundation includes the teaching of typography, web writing, multimedia storytelling, and web design. I wish I could spend more time on multimedia storytelling, however time constraints do not allow it. My hope following this class is that they will continue creating such content on their own.

Final Projects

ASU Crime – Each year ASU Police publishes crime statistics. This website is dedicated to going more in-depth to see what those numbers really mean.

Scars of War – In 2001, the United States became embattled in the longest war in U.S. history. Since it began, more than 42,000 military members have returned home injured. This piece investigates how service people transition.

Photo Enforcement - This site was created to provide accurate, objective reporting on the issue of photo enforcement.

Undocumented Students and the Dream Act – This site attempts to explain the complex realities undocumented students face in immigration law and shed light on the piece of legislation they hope will allow them to become lawful citizens: the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the DREAM Act.

Citizens of Nowhere – Once refugees become citizens, they often create cultural centers and continue their traditional celebrations. This site shares stories of their transition.

The Perils of Public Transit – A team of reporters sought to more precisely understand the public transit conflict. You can read stories about local bus drivers, the dangers that Phoenix bus operators face, the status of contract negotiations, and the future of passenger service.

Immigration Economics – Joe Arpaio’s office has arrested hundreds of suspected illegal immigrants, but little is known about what happens to those affected.

Practical Trash – This is a project devoted to informing people about  dumpster diving or uses for trash.

Pulse on a Corner – A story of two men who spend their days at an intersection of a popular coffee shop and restaurant.

Parting with Pets – The goal is to provide information and support to pet owners who may be preparing for the death of their animal.

Students Face Economic Hard Times – Many students at Arizona State University are feeling the pinch. This site breaks down how it is affecting them.

Teaching social media release basics

The social media release (SMR) is a press release that contains multimedia and social media elements. The point of it is to encourage writers, bloggers and other people to share the link or take the material from the press release to promote the event, company or individual featured in the SMR.

Most of my students were not familiar with a SMR. Recent survey research revealed that the majority (57.5%) of sampled bloggers (n=332) extracted from Text100, a global PR consultancy firm database said that they also had not been exposed to the technology.

At a minimum, the social media release should be optimized for search. It also can contain news items from a variety of social media platforms. SMR creators can embed content from multiple social media sites such as YouTube, Flickr and other sites. Most large-scale companies will likely have their own social media newsrooms, but a release is a useful first step in empowering the individual or smaller organization.

I teach both journalism and public relations students in my Online Media class. Students need to learn more than just how to create content. During this class experiment, journalism students learned that creating a release can be another way to promote their work and public relations students learned how easy it is to create a press release containing social media items.

The class assignment took some time to set up because most of the sites that claim to be free are not actually free or user-friendly. I found Presskit’n to be the best because it is free, it is easy to use, and it provides a URL. I wrote up instructions on how to create a SMR using it.
The SMR should contain social media and main contact(s), a suggested headline, core facts, a news summary, background information of person or organization, social media links, suggested tweet, suggested tags, suggested quotes, sharable visuals that follow photography and videography principles and a list of useful links.

My students created releases on topics such as a publication winning an award, a swimwear line, a non-profit organization, and the Arizona Humane Society. Overall, most students responded positively to the assignment. One student said, “I thought this project was an awesome experience. I had done press releases before this class, but none that were designed to be social media specific. After I posted the press release on my Facebook, I got quite a bit of feedback.” Many of the students said that they planned to continue to create SMRs in the future as well.

Student online portfolios — journalism, PR, etc.

My Online Media students worked hard this semester to create their online portfolios. I am proud of them and proud of the hard work they put into these sites and my class.

You can also view portfolios from past semesters.

Meghan McCarthy
Sandra Sanchez
Aaron Lavinsky
Christina Silvestri
Andrea Martinez
Jack Fitzpatrick
Richard Flores
Bianca Harris
Emily Erwin
Andres Cano
Erin Saltzman
Tiana Chavez
Heather Jackson
Heather Yako
Sara Steffan
Uriel Garcia
Josh Plemon
Emily Johnson

Jeremy Knop
Stephanie Paeprer
Brennan Smith
Molly Smith
Shawn Deloney
Joseph Schmidt
Selena Larson
Tia Castaneda
Michelle Berbling
Joseph Nemec
Kalen Bigger
Matt Haldane
Paige Gruner
Jesseca Zwerg
Lindsay Hoffman
Aaron Wylam
Michael Hammelef
Danny Jimenez
Kiersten Farley