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#JOUR408 News Applications# Spring 2017
T/Th 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
ANDN 114

Matt Waite, instructor
Email: mwaite3@unl.edu
Twitter: @mattwaite
Phones: (402) 802-5202 cell, (402) 472-5840 office
Office: 244 Andersen

Course description:

How we communicate is changing rapidly and fundamentally. Because the delivery of journalism has been largely unchanged for lengthy periods of time – newspapers for hundreds of years, television and radio for less – there’s been little experimentation with the fundamental delivery of news and information. But the web sets fire to many of the foundations of media delivery systems. Gone are the days of needing millions of dollars for presses, trucks, antennae, FCC licenses, etc. Now, anyone with an idea and the will to make it can be a media mogul. This class is going to be about building new forms of communication, with respect to the past and a sprint into the future.

Course goal:

  • Be introduced to the concepts of news applications and their various forms online today.
  • Master basic Python coding, computational thinking and algorithmic approaches to problem solving.
  • Be familiar with basic data structures common to journalism, such as databases, CSV and JSON.
  • Publish news applications using different methods, including single page apps and dynamic, framework developed apps.
  • Explore the intersection of data and narrative, story and structure.

Open lab hours:

Each Friday throughout the semester, I run something called Maker Hours. It’s an open learning time where anyone who wants to learn about some digital tool or technology can come in and I’ll help. It’s in Room 27 from 1-5. You’re welcome to come learn something new outside of class, or bring your class stuff with you to get questions answered.

Texts:

All reading materials will be online, freely available and assigned week by week.

Grading:

In this class, we're going to accomplish three projects, centered on solving a problem that news consumers might have using the web, data and journalism. The projects will be short burn, conception to launch, called sprints. The three project sprints will be.

  • Restoring trust in news: If you could build a news website from the ground up to restore trust in news, what would it look like? More importantly, what do other people think would restore trust in news? Can you build that? Using a rapid site building tool called Tarbell, we're going to build experiments in news trust using Design Thinking to guide us.
  • Data-driven automated news: Communities are making more of their data available in open formats. How could a news organization position itself as a dashboard for civic health? How could a news organization use data and the web to create news or context to news out of data streams that are automatically updated. Using a rapid development framework called Django, we're going to build a data-driven news website. NOTE: We will be working with other classes on this. THERE WILL BE A REQUIRED COURSE MEETING OUTSIDE OF CLASS ON JANUARY 31
  • Voice assistants and news: One area exploding into the marketplace are voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Google's Home. What place is there for local news on these devices? Is there a service news organizations can provide directly to their audiences either based on the product or outside of it? We're going to have some Google Home's and Amazon Echo's to experiment with and you are going to build voice services for those platforms with an eye toward local news.

I use standard and basic grading scale.

Grade Percentage
A+ 97-100
A 93-96
A- 90-92
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-79
C 73-76
C- 70-72
D+ 67-69
D 63-66
D- 60-62
F 59 or below

However, your final letter grade will be weighted:

Assignment Weight
Reading quizzes/minor assignments 10%
News trust/tarbell assignment 30%
Data-driven automated news/Django assignment 30%
Voice assistants for local news assignment 30%

Notes on participation:

I do not take attendance, but it's a small enough class that I'll notice when you're gone. Your attendance and participation will factor into your grade thusly: When the end of the semester comes around, I made decisions on rounding and reconsiderations based on participation and attendance. If you show up, participate in class and are a positive contribution to the class overall, I round, sometimes generously. If you skip classes, mess around on your laptop, sit in silence when partipation is needed, then your grade is your grade. Either way, you earned it.

Notes on attendance:

Yes, we all get sick. Yes, things happen. I don’t want you to be sick in my class any more than you want to be sick. You’ve got no fewer than five ways to get ahold of me. If you are going to miss class, tell me before class. We’ll work it out. But you have to tell me before class for me to help you.

This said: this class builds each class onto the next one. Miss a class, especially a code class, and you are behind. You’re going to be covering a lot of new material in this class. Miss one at your own peril.

Policies

Here's the short version.

You cheat, you fail, no exceptions.

If I’m doing something that’s keeping you from learning, tell me. Tell the Dean. Tell someone, because that’s not cool. I won’t tolerate it from myself and you shouldn’t either.

Now the longer versions.

ACEJMC Competencies

After this class, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
  • Understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
  • Think critically, creatively and independently;
  • Conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work;
  • Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
  • Apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.

Academic integrity:

Every student must adhere to the policy on academic integrity set forth in the UNL Student Code of Conduct as outlined in the UNL Bulletin. Students who plagiarize may receive a failing grade on an assignment or for an entire course and may be reported to the Student Judicial Review Board. The work a student submits in a class must be the student's own work and must be work completed for that particular class and assignment. Students wishing to build on an old project or work on a similar project in two classes must discuss this with both professors.

Academic dishonesty includes:

  • handing in another's work or part of another's work as your own.
  • turning in one of your old papers (including something you wrote in high school) for a current class.
  • turning in the same or similar paper for two different classes, using notes or other study aids or otherwise obtaining another's answers for a quiz or an examination.

Anything and everything you include in your papers that comes from another source must be attributed with proper citation. That includes ideas and opinions.

Plagiarism consists of using phrases, sentences or paragraphs from any source and republishing them without alteration or attribution. The sources include, but are not limited to, books, magazines, newspapers, television or radio reports, Web sites and other students’ papers.

Students with disabilities:

Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the instructor for a confidential discussion of their individual needs for academic accommodation. It is the policy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to provide flexible and individualized accommodation to students with documented disabilities that may affect their ability to fully participate in course activities or meet course requirements. To receive accommodation services, students must be registered with the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office, 132 Canfield Administration, 472-3787 voice or TTY.

Diversity:

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications values diversity, in the broadest sense of the word – gender, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, income, religion, education, geographic, physical and mental ability or disability, sexual orientation. We recognize that understanding and incorporating diversity in the curriculum enables us to prepare our students for careers as professional communicators in a global society. As communicators, we understand that journalism, advertising and other forms of strategic communication must reflect society in order to be effective and reliable. We fail as journalists if we are not accurate in our written, spoken and visual reports; including diverse voices and perspectives improves our accuracy and truthfulness. In advertising, we cannot succeed if we do not understand the value of or know how to create advertising that reflects a diverse society and, thus, appeals to broader audiences.

##Class Schedule:##

A word of warning: This may change. I will move things up and back, depending on how well you’re getting things. If things change, I will update the syllabus on Canvas.

Week 1: Jan. 10-12

Tuesday:

In class: Introduction to news applications

Assignments:

Reaction Paper: In 500 words, give me your take on this. Look at the news you read. Could it be structured? What could you do with that structure? What do your answers say about you? Or where they come from? What medium they’re rooted in? And do you think you can do this? Due before next class.

Thursday:

In class: How code is journalism.

Assignments:

Reaction paper: In 200-300 words, how do you see journalism/communications melding with these ideas? How does news and information pair with the web? How does your understanding of news and communications match up to Ford's Clock with Benefits idea? What ideas are starting to rattle in your head?

Week 2: Jan. 17-19

Tuesday:

In class: BEGIN SPRINT 1: Trust in news design thinking session.

Assignments:

  • Virtual environment install party. Instructions TBA.
  • With your group, select your news trust idea. Write it out into a formal pitch. A form will be provided.

IF YOU ARE RUSTY OR HAVE NO EXPERIENCE WITH HTML/CSS:

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 1: Tarbell introduction

Assignments:

  • Using Tarbell, create a single web page using the materials provided. Publish it to your personal Reclaim Host.
  • If you don't already have one, sign up for a Github account.

IF YOU ARE RUSTY OR HAVE NO EXPERIENCE WITH HTML/CSS:

Week 3: Jan. 24-26

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 1: Version control, templates, your project.

Assignments:

  • Choose a project leader in class.
  • With your group, set up your project as a Github repository. The project leader should create the repository. The other members should fork that. Exchange code with pull requests. Submit your individual github repository URLs to Canvas.
  • In your groups, set out tasks for each person to accomplish within your project. Create each as an issue on the project leader's repository. Begin working on that problem.

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 1: Guest speaker TBA, project scrum

Assignments:

  • Continue to work on your issues on your project. It is due in one week.

Week 4: Jan. 31-Feb. 2

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 1: Finishing touches.

Assignments:

  • Finish your project. Prepare a presentation that will cover the problem you set out to tackle, what you learned from your design thinking exercise, what you did to meet the users needs

  • TUESDAY NIGHT: SPRINT 2 DESIGN JAM. In the new social media lab space, we will meet with the other classes involved in the SPRINT 2 project. THIS IS A REQUIRED MEETING. DETAILS TBA.

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 1 presentations

Assignments:

Week 5: Feb. 7-9

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 2.1 models, views, urls

Assignments: TBA

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 2.1 urls, views and templates

Assignments: TBA

Week 6: Feb. 14-16

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 2.2 Django mini project

Assignments: TBA

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 2.2 Django mini project

Assignments: TBA

Week 7: Feb. 21-23

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 2.3 Data site work

Assignments: TBA

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 2.3 Data site work

Assignments: TBA

Week 8: Feb. 28-March 2

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 2.3 Data site work

Assignments: TBA

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 2.3 Data site work

Assignments: TBA

Week 9: March 7-9

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 2.3 Data site work

Assignments: TBA

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 2.3 Data site work

Assignments: TBA

Week 10: March 14-16

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 2: Finishing touches

Assignments: Finish your sites, prepare to present them.

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 2 Presentations

Assignments:

Week 11: March 21-23

Spring Break

Week 12: March 28-30

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 3: Voice assistants

Assignments:

  • Install party

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 3: Voice assistants

Assignments:

Week 13: April 4-6

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 3: Voice assistants

Assignments:

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 3: Voice assistants

Assignments:

Week 14: April 11-13

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 3: Voice assistants

Assignments:

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 3: Voice assistants

Assignments:

Week 15: April 18-20

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 3: Voice assistants

Assignments:

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 3: Voice assistants

Assignments:

Week 16: April 25-27

Tuesday:

In class: SPRINT 3: Voice assistants

Assignments:

Thursday:

In class: SPRINT 3 presentations

Assignments: