Thursday, March 13, 2008

Further thoughts on your final project

Let me offer a few more details about your final project. There's really nothing mysterious about it — in a way, it's not much different from a Journalism 2 final project, except that you need to identify a topic related to Web journalism and/or new media, and include some Web-based features. Here are a few thoughts:
  • You should seek to do your feature on a topic you haven't written about before. This is not to be an extension of your midterm feature. Yes, it can be related in some way, but I certainly don't want you doing a story in which you would go back and re-interview the same people.
  • The length is to be about 2,500 words. That's not quite double the length of your midterm, which was 1,500 words. Again, J2 final projects are typically 2,000 to 2,500 words long, so you've done this before.
  • You will be required to interview at least seven or eight people and include probably 10 or so links. My inclination is to stick with the same number of photo/video enhancements — three — but I haven't made a final decision.
I know some of you are struggling with topics. It's easier than you think, and those who have come visiting me looking for help have found that it's really not all that hard. The secret to a good, meaningful feature story is to start with the specific and then seek to place that within a broader context. Here are some midterm feature topics that were especially successful:
  • A profile of Monica Collins, a dog lover who writes the blog Ask Dog Lady.
  • A story about a Wentworth student who started a blog about the political situation in Burma, his home country.
  • A feature about how two large newspapers are letting readers set up blogs on their Web sites.
You really could do a story on just about any blog or Web site you stumble across during your Web-surfing. Think about what interests you. Beer? Find a good Web site or blog on beer, track down the person or persons who started it, make sure you'll be able to interview him or them, and you're off and running.

For Monday, please identify your topic, tell me what your story will be about (to the best that you're able to) and three people you plan to interview. One page, single-spaced.

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