Your capstone project shows off the best of what students learn and the J-School teaches. To qualify for graduation, each student must successfully complete a capstone – a piece of professional-quality journalism suitable for today’s multimedia, interactive market.
Your capstone will be produced as an assignment for a specific class in the third semester. The professor who grades the work will serve as the capstone adviser, but a selection of capstone projects also will be evaluated by a panel of J-School professors and outside professionals as a part of the school’s assessment process.
Your capstone is also the prerequisite to your graduation from the school – all students are required to complete a capstone project before they graduate.
- This resource page will provide you key information about milestones, FAQs and archiving your project, in order to guide you through the challenging and important process of completing your capstone.
Meanwhile, you can find inspiration with student projects from 2010, or explore a complete Capstone Archive. (Note: You have open access to this private archive while logging in from campus; off-campus access requires your library bar code, similar to access for other school-provided databases). For more detailed instructions on accessing the repository, view this PDF.
MAY: Register for fall courses, select capstone course and adviser. Complete “Declare Your Capstone Grading Professor/Project” form. This form will be distributed in early June. Pitch initial capstone proposals to grading professor.
JUNE-AUGUST: Refine capstone proposal, and conduct initial research and reporting in coordination with capstone grading professor (especially important for students reporting overseas).
SEPTEMBER: Students must submit the “Capstone Approval/Signoff” form by Monday, September 22, 2014. On the form, students will identify their capstone topic. and the class in which it will be produced. All proposals should have received a sign-off by the grading professor before the form is submitted. Students who do not submit the form by September 22, 2014 will not be permitted to check out school cameras, recorders or other equipment until they comply – unless the grading professor indicates s/he has the proposal under review.
OCTOBER: Grading professors must issue mid-semester written warnings to any student who are seriously behind on their capstone projects. Each warning will include steps a student must take to complete the project successfully. This is also the time for students to complete a technical consultation with the IT and/or Broadcast staff, and your capstone adviser, to review technical requirements and timelines for completing their capstone.
DECEMBER: Fill out “Capstone Submission” form to provide the school’s Research Center with archiving information. It must be submitted in a format specified by the Research Center. Instructions for archiving will be distributed toward the end of the Fall semester. The form also includes acknowledgement that the school will use the work in a private repository for educational purposes, and may also contact you to request permission to publish the work on CUNY J-School outlets. Once the Research Center has confirmed that the capstone project is properly archived, the capstone grading professor will be notified to grade the student. Projects not properly formatted will not be accepted or graded.
EARLY JANUARY: Final deadline for your capstone grading professor to grade your capstone. NOTE: Your capstone must be archived prior to final grading. Failure to complete and archive your project in time for the grading deadline will result in denial of services and access to software generally provided to graduates in good standing.
What is a capstone?
Students should treat the capstone as the culminating project in their main area of interest, whether that is a subject concentration or a media skill. Any medium – text, video, interactive, audio or photography – can provide the base for a capstone. But each project must showcase the essential reporting and writing proficiencies of a journalist. And each must demonstrate a student’s competence in multimedia and/or interactive skills. An acceptable capstone must make substantial use of more than one medium.
The length of a print or broadcast piece or the size of an interactive project is less important than the project’s depth. A capstone should be ambitious and thorough, a significant piece of journalism.
When do I produce my capstone?
The capstone is usually produced during your final (typically fall) semester as an assignment for a subject concentration class, or as an assignment for an elective course, preferably involving a topic in your subject concentration.
When should I start working on my capstone?
We’ve found that students who begin capstone work during the summer are more likely to complete them by deadline. This is especially important if you are planning to report abroad over the summer break. You should contact your capstone adviser before the end of the spring semester to discuss possible capstone ideas.
Who evaluates my capstone?
The professor who grades the work will serve as the capstone grading professor, but a selection of capstone projects also will be evaluated by a panel of J-School professors and outside professionals as a part of the school’s assessment process. The professor will update the administration on the project’s progress during the mid-semester review, grade it toward the end of the semester, and submit the grade to the Student Affairs Office after the end of the semester.
You must submit the final graded project to be archived by the Research Center in the proper format. No student will be permitted to graduate until the capstone project is submitted.
What do I do if I want the school to consider publishing my capstone?
Just check the box on the “Capstone Submission” form sent to you at the end of the semester that asks if you want to be contacted for permission to publish. The possibilities for publication include New York City News Service, 219 Magazine or other CUNY Graduate School of Journalism news outlets.
What happens if I don’t finish or archive my capstone?
The failure to complete and archive your project in time for the grading deadline will prevent your timely graduation. It will also result in the denial of services and access to software generally provided to graduates in good standing.
Who do I contact for help?
For questions about your capstone, contact your capstone grading professor. If you don’t have an grading professor designated yet, you may want to direct questions to your faculty adviser. But you can also direct general questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are required to submit your capstone project to the Research Center for archiving in order to complete your degree requirements. Your professor cannot file your capstone grade until archiving is confirmed by the Research Center.
Your capstone will be archived in SimpleDL, the J-School’s electronic repository, and will only be accessible to the CUNY J-School community.
You may be contacted regarding permission to display your capstone on the NY City News Service, 219 Magazine or other CUNY Graduate School of Journalism news outlet.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBMITTING YOUR CAPSTONE FOR ARCHIVING
Submit the capstone form and upload your entire project to the Baker drive.
Please read through these instructions completely before you start the process.
1) Please submit this capstone form:
2) Upload your entire capstone project:
All capstones should be uploaded to:
smb://baker.journalism.cuny.edu —Network Share — Capstones — Dropbox —- Class of 2014
- Create a folder there following the “YEAR_Lastname_Firstname” convention.
Once your folder has been created you should upload the print, broadcast or interactive components of your capstone to it according to the guidelines below. Please adhere to the naming and file conventions. If you do not, your capstone will not be accepted.
Please upload the FINAL VERSION of your project in .pdf format. Do not include any comments/grades on your project. The Research Center is not responsible for editing your project.
Please name this file: PRINT_Lastname_Firstname
BROADCAST VIDEO COMPONENTS
If your video is hosted online, please include the URL in the form.
Please upload to Baker the FINAL VERSION of your video in .mov format. Both the compressed and uncompressed video must be uploaded.
To successfully complete this process goes to: File—- Share—–Master file —–Settings in Final Cut Pro X.
Once you are under settings, select source to export your uncompressed video version.
Please name this file: VIDEO_Lastname_Firstname
BROADCAST AUDIO/RADIO COMPONENTS
If your audio/radio project is hosted online, please include the URL in the form.
Please upload to Baker the FINAL VERSION of your audio/radio project in .mp3 format.
Please name this file: AUDIO_Lastname_Firstname
Please attach the web address of the project to the form. Please be sure this is the FINAL VERSION of your web project, and make sure all components work.
Create a one or two minute Quicktime screencast of your capstone website using this tutorial. The screencast should review each page of the project, especially the main pages, and show the workings of the main interactive elements, menu, etc.
Please view this short tutorial on how to create your screencast:
Please name this file: SCREENCAST_Lastname_Firstname
Explore our capstone archive, which has extensive student capstone work from recent years. (Note: You have open access to this private repository while logging in from campus; off-campus access requires your login be IP authenticated – you’ll need to input your ID/library bar code, similar to access for other school-provided databases). For more detailed instructions on accessing the repository, view this PDF. Also, check out our a showcase of student projects from 2010.