Communications 424 Web Journalism syllabus: Emory and Henry College

May 20, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: teaching journalism.

COM424 Web Journalism

Jim Stovall
217 Miller, 276-944-6889,


The web is the newest medium for journalism, and it is unlike anything that we have had before. While it can handle information formulated for the traditional media, the characteristics of the medium itself allow us to explore new ways of information presentation. The purpose of this course is to

• learn and apply the basic skills of building web sites, including HTML, establishing links, preparing images, etc.
• learn the aspects of web journalism and get an idea of the way in which journalism in this medium is developing;
• apply some of the lessons of this course to a real situation,;
• gain a deeper understanding of the entire field of journalism in the process.


Prepare – keep up with readings and assignments.
Attend – Be here, and be on time. Students who do not attend on a regular basis will not do well in this course. If you miss more than three classes, you will probably not get an A; if you miss more than four, you will probably not make a B; if you miss six classes, I will stop grading your work.
Engage – You are expected to contribute to the discussions we have during class. You are expected to write weekly responses to the questions assigned in class. You are also expected to make substantial contributions to group projects.
Complete – Do your work and meet your deadlines.

Projects and tests

This course will engage you in three kinds of work: web assignments, projects (individual and group), and tests.

Your final grade will be figured generally on the following basis:

Attendance and participation ________ 20%
Web assignments _________________ 10%
Projects _________________________ 40%
Tests ___________________________ 30%

Text and readings

• James Glen Stovall, Web Journalism. 2004.
• E-Media Tidbits, (daily readings)
• Online Journalism Review (, as assigned


Week 1 (Jan. 11), Introduction

Reading: Chapter 1
Discussion notes: Web site structure
Skill: Web site structure
Web Style Guide (2nd edition) by Patrick Lynch and Sarah Horton; this is a good reference for those who are beginning work on creating a web site.
Assignment: Structure a web site (

preview story exampleWeek 2 (Jan. 16), Learning the hardware and software

Skills: Basic HTML, building a web page, establishing links
Tutorial: Learning HTML tags-1
Tutorial: Learning HTML tags-2
Getting started with HTML, Dave Raggett
HTML Cheatsheet, Webmonkey
Web assignment: News story with links (click on the preview story example at right)

Week 3 (Jan. 23), News web sites

Reading: Chapters 2, 13
Discussion notes: Development of news web sites
Skill: Learning a web editor (GoLive)
Tutorial: GoLive tutorials
First Project: Your web site
Optional readings: If you are interested in knowing more about the development of the of the Internet and news web sites, here are a few web sites that might help:
History of the Internet 1962-1992 (Computer History Museum)
David Carlson’s Online Timeline (Carlson is a professor at the University of Florida where he teaches courses in web journalism.)

Week 4 (Jan. 30), News

Reading: Chapter 3
Discussion notes: Expanding the definition of news
Skill: Preparing images for the web
Handout: Preparing images for a web site (This is a one-page PDF handout.)
Additional handouts are available on Beginning Photoshop (a two-page PDF file) and Photoshop Guidelines (a six-page PDF file.)
Using PowerPoint to create photo galleries

Week 5 (Feb. 6), Reporting

Test 1: Chapters 1-3
Reading: Chapter 4
Jonathan Dube: Online Storytelling Forms. This is an excellent summary of the variety of ways in which information can be presented on the web. Dube links to a number of examples when he discusses each form.
Discussion: Lateral reporting
Handoout: Web package checklist (HTML); PDF

Week 6 (Feb. 13), Reporting; Writing

First web package due

Week 7 (Feb. 20), Writing, Winter Forum, Feb. 22

Reading: Chapter 5
The art of linking
Skill: Establishing a weblog

Week 8 (Feb. 27), Editing

Reading: Chapter 6

Week 9 (March 6), Photojournalism

Second web package due (March 9)
Reading: Chapter 7

Spring break (March 13)

Week 10 (March 20), Graphics

Reading: Chapter 8
Skill: Mapping an image

Week 11 (March 27), Audio and video

Test 2: Chapters 4-7 (March 27)
Reading: Chapter 9
Skill: Working with audio files

Week 12 (April 3), Design

Reading: Chapter 10
Third web package due

Week 13 (April 10), Engaging audiences, (Easter break, April 13)

Reading: Chapter 11
Test 3: Chapters 8-11

Week 14 (April 17), Law, chapter 12

Reading: Chapter 12

Week 15 (April 24), Practice and Promise, chapter 14

Reading: Chapter 14
Fourth web package due is the news web site of the Department of Mass Communication at Emory and Henry College. It is operated as an extension of the curriculum of the department and has student editors, reporters and photographers. This course is designed to integrate itself with the operations of the web site. Members of this class will learn how to create content and post it on the site and will be responsible for doing so throughout the semester.

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