This is a 6-credit, advanced, multimedia reporting course with a strong focus on community engagement and data about Latino populations. Students work on stories at an advanced journalistic level, developing strong reporting and narrative skills. They will learn a variety of reporting techniques, including traditional reporting, community engagement and listening methods, and put them into practice in weekly exercises and assignments.
Assignments are brought to class to be discussed in a newsroom setting, in which all students should actively, courteously and professionally participate. Three essential skills are taught in this class: reporting, writing, and production of stories for publication in digital media. Almost every week, there are individual and group exercises that put these skills to the test. Throughout the semester, there will be four advanced exercises of in-depth group reporting. These tasks will comprise a number of genres and elements to become familiar with different types of journalistic approaches, such as explanatory reporting, profile writing and the in-depth longform work.
The course emphasizes writing and publishing in Spanish. Although it will not be mandatory, if the stories warrant it, students will also use data, produce video, audio pieces, graphics and interactive elements. The course underlines the use of social media as well as methods of connecting and listening to Latino communities to investigate, develop sources and identify information needs of communities.
To achieve that goal, we will discuss outreach strategies and voice to connect with diverse audiences. We will also seek to formulate memorable headlines, an essential ingredient when launching our work. From the beginning of the semester, we will make groups of two or more people to work the four exercises of in-depth reporting, which all together will become a final project. As part of this course, students post their work in our bilingual pop-up newsroom, El Deadline. We will seek that the best pieces made in the class are published by one or more media. In the end, all the works will be aimed at telling relevant public interest stories. This requires rigorous journalism committed to transparency and truthfulness.
This class requires reading classics of journalism in Spanish, with a strong focus on Latino life in the U.S. Through these readings, conversations with key guest speakers and class discussion, students will get a deep understanding of the history and current reality of the Latino population.
At the end of the course, students should have acquired the following skills and knowledge at an advanced level:
- Become an expert in the discipline of rigorous, accurate and transparent journalism
- Identify stories with news value that normally stay under the radar of mainstream media (including the Spanish-language national TV networks)
- Understand the complexity and diversity of the Latino population
- Manage the art of making proposals and pitching
- Know how to tell in-depth stories
- Master techniques for reporting and writing interviews, profiles and reports
- Write memorable headlines
- Data corroboration process and proper management of sources.
- Understand the basic principle of contrast and the variety of sources, so that the stories have different points of view in terms of racial, ethnic, socio-economic, geographical, gender, etc.
- Recognize and know how to distinguish source motivation
- Recognize the importance of developing one’s own voice
- Have the ability to plan teamwork and tell each story through the appropriate format, be it text, video, photos, graphs, maps, data visualization, etc.
- Have the ability to identify and plan an engagement project with the purpose of closing an information gap in the reporting
- Understand the audience and know how to report using social media