What is Multiplatform Journalism?

The core purpose of the multiplatform journalism course is, like many other journalism courses, to foster students’ storytelling and critical-thinking skills and make them better journalists. Whereas other classes may focus on building these skills in the context of a print or broadcast newsroom, this class teaches these skills across platforms—students will learn how to use video and photos with text to tell stories and how to use social media as storytelling tools. They also will learn how to evaluate when it is appropriate to use these tools, as well as why it is important to consider the impact of these technologies on the communication process.

Course objectives

As students learn the technical skills they need to work in the digital news environment, they also will engage in ongoing discussions of how doing journalism across a variety of platforms is changing the profession and its principles, and explore the larger social implications of these changes. Thus, the key objectives for multiplatform journalism are:

  • To train students to work across platforms, producing reports that uphold journalistic principles and engage audiences
  • To facilitate students’ development of thoughtful, reasoned evaluations regarding the role of technology in journalists’ professional lives and in the worldwide digital revolution

More specifically, as we progress through the semester’s assignments, students will learn to work across platforms as they:

  • Evaluate various reporting projects produced by news professionals
  • Plan and produce reporting projects that include written and visual components
  • Create reporting packages that use current software programs and digital technology
  • Apply social media tools in the reporting and distribution processes of their projects

Through class discussions and assignments, students’ critical-thinking skills will be nurtured as they:

  • Evaluate how doing journalism on a variety of platforms is changing the profession
  • Assess how technology has affected global communication and the public sphere

Course materials

The Associated Press Stylebook

Course handouts & online readings will be provided

Suggested: External hard drive (formatted for Mac)

 Course blog & social media

We will use a class blog for much of our communication & course management. The site is: Students are responsible for checking the blog regularly for information about assignments and announcements. Additionally, each student will create an individual blog where he/she will post assignments. Students’ personal blogs will be accessible through a blogroll on the class site.

In addition, some of our assignments will involve posting links & photos to Twitter. Use the hashtag #mpj2014 in ALL of your tweets for this class.

Course policies

1) Attendance: Attendance is measured by your completion of assignments due at the start of most classes. If you do not come to class, your assignment will not be graded even if you submitted it by the due date. If you must miss a class, you must notify me in writing at least two hours before the start of class. Notification does not guarantee an excused absence. Official excuses for missing class: 1) Illness prevents you from attending class & you have a doctor’s note; 2) Personal emergency (e.g. death in the family) and documentation; 3) Absence excused in writing by college dean; 4) University-sponsored obligation & excused before class starts.

2) Participation: This is tied to attendance. If you don’t come to class, you can’t participate. Many of our class sessions will include collaborating with classmates and providing feedback.

3) Respect & responsibility: We will treat each other with respect, including in class discussions on topics in which there may be a variety of opinions. I also expect that all students will act in a respectful way to each other, to guest speakers, and to me.

  • Racism, sexism, and otherwise offensive remarks, behaviors, or language will not be tolerated in class or assignments. Acting in a “respectful way” is rooted in the principles of the Jesuit, Catholic tradition. These principles challenge all members of our learning community to strive for excellence, to become men and women for others, to integrate classroom and out-of-classroom learning, to develop their talents through discovery and reflection, and to be concerned for each person (cura personalis).
  • Therefore, each member of this class is expected to treat everyone in an ethical manner with respect and professionalism. No disruptive behavior will be tolerated. If anyone is ever made to feel uncomfortable in class, please come see me. At my discretion, any student whose behavior prevents other students from learning or feeling comfortable in class may be dropped from the class or asked to leave for that day. Being asked to leave class for a day will result in losing any points that may have been available for that day.
  • Our class will begin on time, so you should be in your seat and ready to contribute. Please be on time. When you are in class, please mute your cell phones and other devices. No texting, emailing, Web surfing, etc. during class. You will be asked to leave the class if you engage in these activities, and, therefore, lose all the points that may be associated with the day’s activities.

4) Assignments: Assignments are clearly noted on the syllabus and are due at the stated times.

  • If you do not come to class when one of the assignments is due, it will not be accepted even if you post it your blog or otherwise submit it.
  • Late work will not be accepted.
  • If, at any point in the semester, you lose material, you will not be excused from submitting an assignment. Failure to turn in an assignment, for any reason, will result in a zero for the assignment. Be cautious with your digital material. Back-up frequently.

5) Grade disputes: If you believe that you have been graded unfairly you are certainly welcome to discuss the matter with me no later than one week after you’ve received the grade. If you have a specific question or complaint regarding a particular quiz or item, please write the question number and your objection on a sheet of paper and submit it (within the one-week grace period) along with an explanation of your answer or other appropriate rationale. The only exception to this policy is a miscalculated grade – an arithmetic error.

 Academic honesty & integrity

Students are expected to be honest in their academic work. Academic integrity is violated by any dishonesty such as soliciting, receiving, or providing any unauthorized assistance in the completion of work submitted toward academic credit. The University reserves the right to penalize any student whose academic conduct at any time is, in its judgment, detrimental to the University. Such conduct shall include cases of plagiarism, collusion, cheating, giving or receiving or offering or soliciting information in examinations, or the use of previously prepared material in examinations or quizzes. Violations should be reported to your course instructor, who will investigate and adjudicate them according to the Policy on Academic Honesty of the College of Arts and Sciences. If the charges are found to be true, the student may be liable for academic or disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion by the University.

1)   Do your own work: You must do your own work in this class—this means that you should not ask someone else (friend, family member, classmate, or another Communication Department employee/faculty member) to help you with your work or copy their work. Neither cheating nor plagiarism will be tolerated. Examples include submitting an assignment completed in a previous course for this one, and representing another person’s work as your own. For more information on what constitutes a violation, please refer to the Policy on Academic Honesty of the College of Arts and Sciences ( Anyone caught cheating or plagiarizing will receive a ZERO for the assignment and likely for the course as well, and will be turned over to the College of Arts and Sciences. In some cases, this can lead to suspension or dismissal from the university.

2)   CMC employees: The employees (including work study students) in the Communication Media Center are there to assist all students with computer/technology needs. If you have basic question regarding the computers in the lab they are there to assist you. You should not expect that an employee in the CMC knows how to use all of the digital equipment/hardware/software you may use in this course.

3)   Copyright adherence: Students will be receive a “Statement on Copyright” which outlines the material that can and cannot be used in the classroom setting for use in digital productions. The guidelines provided will cover the policies governing which mass produced music, images and/or video students can use in their productions. In other words, before you use an image, music or video produced by someone else it is advisable to consult the course guidelines on copyright. If you are using material that is copyright protected and for which you do not have permission to use, it is considered cheating/plagiarism.  Students are expected to follow the guidelines that are established for this classroom; even if they differ slightly/significantly from other the guidelines established in other classes or work related experiences. In general, the guidelines established for this course follow the industry standards followed by most professionals. Additionally, this course incorporates the standards established by Saint Louis University.


Students who believe that, due to the presence of a disability, they may need academic accommodations in order to meet the requirements of this, or any other, class at Saint Louis University are encouraged to contact Disability Services at 314-977-8885 or by visiting by the Student Success Center, Suite 331 in the Busch Student Center. Confidentiality will be observed in all inquiries.

The instructor is only able to support student accommodation requests upon receipt of an approved letter from Disability Services. For more information regarding disability services and accommodations please visit the Disability Services website:

Reminder from the CMC

Students with access to the Communication Media Center Equipment Room are responsible to adhering to all of the stipulations set forth in the corresponding contracts that they sign, including but not limited to, returning all equipment within the time frame specified, and returning equipment to the CMC in the same manner in which it was checked out.  Failure to comply with any of these stipulations may result in suspension of equipment privileges, fines, and holds placed on transcripts. Because checking out CMC equipment is a privilege and not a right of Communication students, the CMC is not responsible for providing students who have lost this privilege with equipment so they may complete course assignments. Suspension of checkout privileges does not excuse students from completing any course assignment that may require particular equipment.  In cases of checkout privilege suspensions, students will need to find alternate sources to procure the necessary equipment for meeting course requirements.  

Download syllabus: MPJ syllabus Sp2014


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