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Multimedia stories by JFreshmen Newsroom students to be featured on

Last year I was contacted by Harumi Gondo at UPI to see if our students would be interested in producing stories for, a college outreach program run by the news wire agency started by Mr. E.W. Scripps in 1907.

I immediately thought of the multimedia stories that students in my second JFreshmen Newsroom class would produce during the Fall 2010 quarter. The JFreshmen Newsroom is an alternative, hands-on version of our traditional JOUR101 introductory course. The main difference is that instead of a lecture format, the course is a “how to” workshop. Students are still responsible for the reading material covered in the large JOUR101 course, but class time is spent working on multimedia story-telling skills.

All of the stories are posted individually on the JFreshmen Newsroom site, as well as uploaded to I’ve provided a playlist of the youtube versions of the stories below.

During the quarter, students worked with my co-conspirator, freelance journalist Peter Shaplen. Peter is based in the San Francisco area, so most of the interactions between Peter and the students took place via Skype (during and outside of class) or email. Phone calls also helped keep students in touch with their west coast instructor.

In addition to Peter, students worked with mentor Krista Kapralos, both on story ideas as well as on writing and execution. had never worked with students on multimedia projects, so this was a learning experience for the organization as well. Using a new software service called “WatchItToo,” students (in Athens) videoconferenced with Krista on the east coast (DC) and Peter on the west coast (SFO).

Students were told that if their stories were exceptional they could get on to the regular UPI “wire,” where the work of their professional journalists appears. We’re hopeful that some of these stories will make the grade, which would be a tremendous coup for a first-quarter journalism student. Stay tuned.

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