First Day Activities

A reminder that we’re going to be testing out Slack as a way to communicate within our JRN4121 newsroom, so please sign up if you have not.

It is a good idea to have accounts on the following if you do not already:



Photo Story

Use the time given to come up with a good story, an interesting story — a truly visual story — and produce very good photos to tell it. It may certainly be part of your larger project but does not have to be.

First, make sure you understand what a photo story is. We are discussing this in class, but also, Kobré’s chapter 11 should make perfectly clear what a good photo story consists of. One huge hint: PEOPLE. Stories are about PEOPLE.

Please do not tackle “homelessness” — it is difficult even when you’ve been a journalist for years. And – GET OFF CAMPUS! Do a story on someone you just met or want to meet – and has a story.


Every one of your photos must have a complete caption that is written to benefit interested readers. This is covered in detail in Kobré’s chapter 7. Captions must include certain factual information. They should also assist in telling the story. The captions for each photo must provide different information. Make sure you tell the reader something new — something she cannot simply see just by looking at the photo.

Don’t forget to gather all the necessary information from all the people in your photos at the time when you are shooting! We need complete names for every person, and some identifying information about each person, such as “Josephine Jones, construction worker on 520.”

Number of photos

You must turn in 7-12 (minimum 7, maximum 12) for this one story. You will need to shoot at least 100 photos, and probably more, to get at least 10 good ones. (“Good” includes light, focus, clarity, composition, and subject!)

All the photos must be taken by you in this term.


A photo story requires a lot of variety among the final submitted images. This means:

Many different angles, including very high and very low angles

Different distances, and don’t forget closeups — especially, extreme closeups (e.g., hands or feet if appropriate)

Not more than ONE overall shot (see Kobré’s chapter 1): Faraway shots are NOT interesting!

PEOPLE — but not all one person’s face full-on in every frame (that would be the opposite of “variety”) — almost every shot should have a person or people in it, and NOT just backs or backs of heads!

No two photos in the set should be very similar to each other — that’s redundant and boring. Variety means every photo in the set is doing useful work and not just repeating something we already saw in another photo in this set.

There are hundreds of examples among the NPPA contest winners.

  1. First go to the 2013 winners page and select any link there (R1, R2, etc., stand for regions of North America).
  2. From the region page, select any month.
  3. On the month page, open the link for ”Feature/Multiple Picture.” Only this category contains photo stories.

Submitting the assignment

You will make a post on your own blog that displays your 7-12 photos in a WordPress slideshow (gallery) embedded in the blog post.

The post needs a good headline ABOUT THE STORY TOPIC and a few sentences that introduce your story. The text should be brief and interesting. The text should tell about the story that’s in your photos. NOT your experience in making the photos.

Your blog post must refer to the Kobré chapter by specifically saying which type of photo story yours is. The reason is to require you to think about how the types of photo stories differ from one another, and how does your story fit in this genre of stories.

After you publish your blog post on your blog, copy the URL of your post page and paste it in a REPLY to this post, here, on this blog.

Multimedia critiques

We will talk about what makes a good story. Your reading will help as well, so make sure you are keeping up.

We will be working on how to assess good multimedia presentations.

Click through to Comparing “Beastquakes.” Work in pairs and look at all of these – how are they presented? What is the same? What is different? TV, radio, and newspapers are represented.

Copy and paste the text below onto YOUR site, answer the questions, and then copy the link into the comments for Comparing Beastquakes. 

Which of the 7 pieces do you think did the best job of telling this story? Think about all of the “modalities” present.  Then for that piece you thought did a good job – look at the following questions and answer:

Which company?: 

Content Modes:

  1. Text (captions only or paragraphs?)
  2. Still images (how many?):
  3. Recorded sound (that is not part of a video) (how many and how long?):
  4. Moving images (video) (how many and how long?):
  5. Graphics (how many and are they interactive?):
  6. Links (how many?):

Content Formats:

  • Video (just write in yes or no)
  • Audio+adjacent images
  • Audio slideshows
  • Interactives
  • Other (what would you call this?):

Which piece of this presentation is the most compelling? Why?

In general is this a way you like to take in information?

What is your overall assessment of this story and how it is presented? Think of other things that might hold your attention – that you learn from without thinking about learning.