Schedule: weeks 1-5

West Side Local Weeks 1-5

Sept. 1

— What is this class about? What’s a multimedia project? History of news. How journalism today is changing.

–Syllabus walk through, gear intro, & informal class survey

Assignment: Find a story about Buffalo or preferably the West Side in a newspaper, on a neighborhood blog, on an organization’s website etc. and bring it in. The story can be about a project, a neighborhood, a problem, an individual, whatever. Be ready to talk about it in class.

Read: Jan Schaffer’s 2004 speech on citizen journalism at:

Read NYT story on the West Side at:

Read Buffalo News story on the West Side at:

Be ready to discuss them in class

Sept. 8

— Short Buffalo Film TBA

–Discuss readings and organizations on West Side and elaborate on projects.

– The main written piece will:  provide an overview of your topic. It will: have a compelling lead, a strong nut graph, include relevant history/background, provide statistics, and include quotes from at least four sources.

– The sidebar or video or audio piece will introduce a new element of the main piece. It could introduce a character (profile), explain a process, highlight a program within the larger framework etc. We will discuss this more in class

-The slideshow will: focus on a person or a process

–Lecture on why story matters

–Lecture on the basics of reporting – hard news vs features. Basic make-up of a story. How to conduct an interview and select the best quotes.

–Lab – WordPress: Intro to using WordPress Blogging Software, Basic Templates, & Setting.

Production Assignment: Setup your personal blog at

Read: Dan Gillmor’s “We The Media” Introduction & Chapter 1 (posted on UB Learns)

Write: Post a short response to the Gillmor article to your blog.

Write: Comment on the following websites. What can we learn from each?,

Sept. 15–Trip to the West Side

Meeting point to be announced in class


Read: Steve Buttry Blog entry on “Finding and developing story ideas”

Read/watch: Picking the Right Media for a Story

Write: Post short response to today’s reading assignments on your blog

Think: Think about your project. Be ready with three story topics to discuss with the class. What is the main idea of the story? How will you go about reporting and writing about your topic? You will need a topic for both written pieces or video and clear photo ideas.

Sept. 22

Discuss project ideas

— Lecture and discussion about feature writing.

—  Critique feature stories

Read: (1) Melvin Mencher’s News Reporting and Writing, Chapter 7 (The Writer’s Art) (posted on UB Learns)

Read: (2)

Write: Write a possible lead and nut graph for your main piece and an idea for your second. Also include what questions you hope each piece will answer and a list of possible sources. Email this to me by 3 p.m. Sept. 29.

Sept. 29

No class Rosh Hashana

BLOG REVIEW – Five Weeks – All assignments must be posted by Oct. 6.