About the Course

ENG 399 University at Buffalo, Spring 2011

Welcome to the West Side Local. You are now a cub reporter and your job this semester is to discover something happening on the West Side, find out who is doing it and why it matters. This class is an experiment in hyper local media, civic journalism and online reporting.

In the first three classes, we will talk about and discover the community as well as see examples of multimedia and civic journalism. You will be introduced to community leaders – some of you may even pair up with one — and then asked to pick a topic for the semester.

Over the remaining 11 weeks, you will produce a print story, a slideshow and a short video on your topic. At the end of the semester, the projects will be put on a class website and together will offer a portrait of this diverse and under-reported section of the city.

In class, we will study journalism techniques, critique multimedia projects, discuss the history of the West Side and study current trends in journalism.

Journalism is changing rapidly. News organizations often require reporters to shoot video as part of story assignments. (WSJ.COM, for one, won’t take on interns without video skills.) The aim of this class is to help you create a foundation for this new “convergence” so you can become truly independent journalists.

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