Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome to Intro to Multimedia Journalism

Welcome to Journalism 203, introduction to multimedia reporting. My name is Jon Sham and I will be your instructor this semester. Due to a last-minute staffing change, I was just asked to teach this course yesterday, so I am still working out the syllabus and assignments for the course.

About the course: In a 21st century newsroom, it is a great benefit for reporters to be well versed in multimedia storytelling. Whether through photography, audio, video, or a combination of these, the ability to tell stories across platforms is both a valuable and marketable skill.

The course will serve as an introduction to still photography, audio and video, including the fundamentals of capturing interviews and natural sound. Instructors will combine traditional journalism approaches with ones that are relevant to online audiences. Each section will include instruction in proper field techniques, shooting, capturing and editing, and finally, posting assignments online. Students will also learn the ethics, history and latest trends in each medium.

A little about me:

I currently work at The Daily Record newspaper in Baltimore as a web reporter. I shoot and edit video for our website,, take photos for the paper and online, help produce the website and our social media pages, create Flash-based interactive content, among other duties. (Whatever comes up, really.)
Before that, I was a web producer at WAVY TV-10 in Norfolk, Va.

And just before that, I graduated from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism with a master's degree in online journalism. I was, unfortunately, a member of the last master's class to never set foot in the new building.

This week:

Now, due to the late notice of teaching the class and a prior reporting assignment (covering the Baltimore Grand Prix!), we will not be having class this Friday, Sept. 2. We will meet next week, Friday, Sept. 9. In the meantime, I'd like you all to do a few things to get ready for next week.

1. Since most of our assignments will be online, you will be using a class blog to turn them in when they are due. The class blog for this semester is: Please sign up for an account on (you can use your Gmail account if you have one). I have added all of your email addresses to the list of permitted authors to the blog, and you should have received an invitation. Before next Friday, I'd like you all to create a profile — with a picture of you — and post a short bio about yourself to the blog and why you're interested in multimedia journalism. You may reply to this post with your bios.

2. You will need to either buy our borrow some equipment for the course. An audio recorder, digital camera with a zoom lens and a video camera are all required. There are audio recorders, Flip cameras and Mini DV cameras available to check out from the Tawes equipment room. We will be working with audio first, so please have a working recorder and the appropriate cables for connecting/downloading when you come to class next week. You may use a cell phone ONLY for the audio portion of the course. You may not use a cell phone for photography or video (even if you have a fancy smartphone that takes HD video). Please take a minute to test out the audio recorder and the process of transferring it to a computer; I'd hate to have you record a great interview and not be able to download it for editing. Also, you must have at least a 2GB flash drive and headphones.

3. One more thing for next week: I'd like you all to watch the following videos from radio personality/journalist Ira Glass. There are four parts in which he discusses some of the fundamentals of storytelling.

Part 1 -

Part 2 -

Part 3 -

Part 4 -

Write a few paragraphs to a page highlighting the main points Glass makes about what makes a good story. It doesn't have to be too in depth or involved; I just want to know you took the time to watch them. Glass can be a little irritating to listen to, but the guy knows his stuff. You may email this to me or turn it in on the first day of class next Friday.

If you have any questions about the course, please feel free to email me at I am really excited to be teaching you all this semester and I know we're going to have a lot of fun. I will be completing a course syllabus this weekend and will send it to you all early next week. Enjoy having tomorrow off, and the holiday weekend.


Brian Compere said...

Hi! Not sure if this is exactly what you mean by replying to your post, but worth a try! I'm Brian, a sophomore print journalism major from Ellicott City, Md. At this point, despite writing and editing for my high school paper, I am really only getting started with true journalism experience. This semester, I will be copy editing for the Mitzpeh (I'm not Jewish though haha), and maintaining a blog that I created this summer. This blog, which is focused on looking at movies, music, games, etc. in a deeper respect than most reviews, is actually the main reason I am interested in multimedia journalism. I am excited to have the opportunity to take what I learn and apply it directly to my blog in order to make it more exciting for my readers. Plus, knowing how to get and use audio and video are useful skills for anyone, especially (aspiring) journalists.

Jon Sham said...

Brian (and all) - Replying to this post is fine. Just clue me in as to why you're interested in multimedia journalism, your interests in journalism in general and your interests in life in general. What particular "slice" of the course are you most looking forward to? Audio? Photo? Video? Why?

I look forward to learning more about you all.

Leigh Ann said...

Hi! I'm Leigh Ann, I'm a junior print major from Chappaqua, New York. No matter what type of journalism you plan on going into, it is extremely important to have multimedia skills. Even if you are a print reporter, having multimedia experience is important because so much news is found online now, and many articles have multimedia components attached because that is what the public has come to expect. This summer, I interned at Good Morning America. It was an amazing experience and although I am not planning on changing my major to broadcast, I am much more interested in multimedia aspects of reporting now.

Kai Dambach said...

sHello everyone! My name is Kai Dambach and I am a junior broadcast journalism and Germanic Studies double major. I come from Crownsville, MD. I am the co-crew chief for field hockey broadcasts at WMUC Sports this semester, and I am potentially working with WMUC News. as well as a member of the German Club and Metal Club. On top of that, I have an internship with DC Sports Fan this semester. Lastly, I'm the guy who wears the golden robot to Maryland games. As for multimedia journalism, I am more interested in the audio and video aspects, but I also have an interest in photo journalism after I met with a world-renowned photojournalist from Belgium over the summer. Also, it is imperative for aspiring journalists to be well-versed in multimedia skills in this environment, so we have more to provide to all sorts of media outlets and a greater ability to cover stories that can pop up anywhere.

Kai Dambach said...

My apologies for my misspelling of "hello." Something went wrong with the word verification and somehow made an error on my post.

Naveed Siddiqui said...

I am a sophomore who is pursuing a career in magazine journalism. I am originally from Pakistan, but I've lived in Laurel, Maryland for the past 13 years. I am a brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. I like sports (particularly college football), music, culture, writing and social media, among other things. Video editing was a hobby I picked up a few years ago and I've loved it since. That is why I am looking forward to JOUR203, because it will allow me to do what I like and teach me how to get better.

Lauren Kirkwood said...

Hello! My name is Lauren Kirkwood and I’m a sophomore print journalism major from Frederick, MD. I’m a reporter for The Diamondback and I’ve covered political advocacy on campus, as well as the College Park City Council. As a print major, I definitely don’t have a lot of experience with multimedia journalism, but I am excited to learn more. It’s extremely important to be competent in all areas of journalism, since it gives a reporter the ability to showcase a story from different angles – maybe a story in print needs a captivating picture to make it come alive, or maybe taking and editing a video of an event is the best way to convey it to an audience. I’ve always been somewhat interested in photography, although I’ve never taken a class in it, so I’m most excited for the photojournalism slice of the course.

Erin Egan said...

Hello, my name is Erin Egan and I am a junior journalism major from Princeton, N.J. I have journalism experience writing for The Diamondback (I'm in my third year as a staff writer for the publication) and with the sports section of The Trentonian (I was an intern last summer). This past summer I studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria to earn six journalism credits. I don't have too much experience with multimedia journalism, so I hope this class helps me expand my journalism skills!

Jack Chavez said...

Hi all, I'm Jack Chavez, and I'm a junior news print major. I was originally a sociology major, and this is my first semester in journalism. I'm 25, from Bowie, Md., and transferred to Maryland from Anne Arundel Community College a couple years ago. My only real journalism experience so far has been writing for the school newspaper there. I'd say the two reasons journalism interests me the most are the social interaction and diverse job field the business provides. As a long-time musician (drummer), I'd like to eventually work my way into some sort of music publication. Multimedia journalism is of particular interest to me because the sort of technology I will have to familiarize myself with is similar to (and in many cases the same as) the technology used in playing and recording music. Also, as it's already been pointed out, knowing your multimedia technology and how to use it is practically required of journalists in this day and age. I look forward to meeting you all tomorrow!

Olivia Wagner said...

Hi all! My name is Olivia and I am a junior print journalism major from Boulder, Colorado. I am interested in multimedia journalism because though I am a "print person" I believe photos, video and audio can only add depth to a story.
I have a great interest in sports journalism and the way certain writers like Rick Reilly can find the story within the story in order to relate to people on a whole other level. I love sports, especially football and soccer. I am a center midfielder on the women's soccer team at Maryland and we are currently ranked #3 in the country.
I am looking forward to the photo part of the course the most because I believe that photo journalism can sometimes be more powerful than a written piece. I can't wait to learn more about multimedia journalism this semester.

Mandy Dominelli said...

Hey Everyone! My name is Mandy Dominelli. I'm a senior print journalism major from Waldorf, MD. I got started back in my sophomore year of high school, working for the school newspaper, but these days I'm more interested in magazines and, yes, multimedia. I think all the new changes multimedia and technology are bringing to journalism are pretty exciting, even though I get tired of having to explain to everyone I meet why I chose to enter a "dying" industry. And yeah, I definitely want to learn these skills to further my career. As for which segment of this class I'm looking forward to, I happen to be something of a lapsed shutterbug so the photo slice is looking good to me.

Dan said...

Hi JOUR203! My name's Dan Appenfeller, and I'm an proud Terp from the beautiful state of Rhode Island. I'm a sophomore at the University of Maryland. I work at The Diamondback as a copy editor, and at the Takoma Voice as an intern reporter.
My interest in multimedia journalism stems from a couple of sources, primarily an almost mandatory pressure from the state of media in this day in age. Regardless of which journalism tract we as students take, the prevalence of the Web has made every media outlet, be it magazine, newspaper, radio or television, a multimedia experience. Any visit to NPR, NYT, TIME, or NBC's websites (to name a few) will show this more plainly than I can say it. That being said, I think we all understand that it's hugely valuable to have multimedia experience, being children of the digital age.
Other than that soapbox rant, I've done some documentary work in high school. In both my sophomore and junior years, I completed historical documentaries for the National History Day competition. They really peaked my interest in the power that sounds and images have in being able to tell a story while complementing words. I also worked for Rhode Island's NPR station, WRNI, this summer, conducting field and phone interviews and composing newscast scripts. I guess all of these factors compose my interest in multimedia journalism.

Bre Kelly said...

Hello, my name is Breyana Kelly, but I would rather be called Bre’ (BRAY) and I am a junior broadcast journalism major. I am interested in multimedia journalism because I am very excited about creating projects that will move people. My interest in journalism is that I would like to write for print and also work as a producer for television and radio. My long term goal is to become a documenter and to turn my works into films. I am most looking forward to the video portion of the course because I am eager to learn about new software and skills about my future career.

Samantha Medney said...

Hey class! I’m a sophomore, broadcast major, from Edgemont, NY. This will be my second semester interning with WTOP radio in Washington, D.C. I’m a huge sports fan, and I love that I get to report at professional sporting events with the station. My dream is to travel the world and intern/ report for the Olympics next summer – fingers crossed!

As for my life on campus, I’m really involved with Maryland Images (we do more than walk backwards) and Quidditch (yes we have brooms, no we can’t fly). It’s a great balance of getting my geek on, while still being athletic.

I want to take a stab at all forms of media, and I’m happy that’s exactly what we’re doing in JOUR 203. While I’ve grown attached to Photoshop over the years and hope to use that in my journalism career, I haven’t had the chance to edit videos, so I’m excited to explore the different ways in doing that.

I don’t know where I’ll be in 5 years journalistically, whether on the radio, television or at a magazine, but I hope to be traveling the world and taking advantage of every opportunity thrown my way.

Matt Owings said...

Hey Jon,

I wasn't sure how to "reply to the post" until today when I figured it out. As you might be able to tell, technology isn't my strongest of skills, but I am working on that. I think this class may get me to be more savvy when it comes to this. Editing audio, cropping pictures and creating something unique is one of the things I am most interested in when it comes to this course. It is my goal to come out of this class as a much more accomplished journalist. If I had to pick a slice that I am most interested in, it's probably film. I also love taking pictures, so I feel like I could combine these two skills to create something great.

I'm really excited about the course!