Ad Prac 3: IMJ5010 – Assessment Guidelines

This page compiles guidance for your MA module Advanced Practice 3 – IMJ5010. It includes information regarding deadlines, assessment submission requirements, and grading. Please read carefully:

Term 3: General Assessment Requirements, Grading & Deadlines: OVERVIEW

Title: Advanced Practice 3

Core Content: Long Form Visual Multimedia Journalism

In the final term students’ work on a single long-form multimedia story/project negotiated with their tutor through the learning agreement. (Project form). Students will produce (research, plan, report, edit, polish edit and publish online) a single digital visual multimedia journalism feature story/project. There is no set formula to what the project should be or consist of though the tutors expect students to develop one of the projects they have been working on in the previous term into a coherent and well-rounded body of work that utilises multiple skills. For example, a student may choose to work on an interactive website that concentrates on one issue. The website would use text, audio, video, images and infographics to explain a newsworthy issue in an innovative and comprehensive way.

Learning agreements (Project forms) for the final projects are concluded in the first week of the term after which students have ten weeks to develop the work. Returning to the classroom a month before the final deadline students then spend four weeks with tutor support to finalise their choices. The practical work is underpinned by a theoretical dissertation developed through the Critical Analysis and Reflection Module and an extended journal that gives evidence of the process.

*Students may work independently or with a partner. If working with a partner you must fill out an additional ‘partner project statement form’ outlining how have worked together.

TIME COMMITMENT

This module is based on 400 hours study time divided into 16 weeks. They are divided as follows,

  • 1 Introduction Week
  • 10 Project weeks
  • 4 Edit weeks
  • 1 Assessment week

In each of the 14 Project and Edit study weeks you will need to dedicate 28.5 hours each week to your long-form visual multimedia journalism feature.

DEADLINES

  • The final deadline for your digital visual multimedia story/project and accompanying project form is: 19th August
  • Complete a high-quality story/project draft online at a working URL for feedback by 4th August. (Note, individual links to videos etc are not acceptable and WILL NOT be reviewed).
  • Links for your story/project must be submitted in replies to an email you will receive 2-3 days prior to deadlines. URL links must also be written in your story/project forms which will be placed in a drop box folder created for you.
  • There are a number of bi-weekly interim deadlines which can be found on the T3 Interim deadline page.

GRADING

You will be assessed on:

  • 1 x practice based project consisting of a digital visual multimedia journalism feature story or project published online at a single URL. A multimedia story is a story told in multiple formats and published on a single web page or site, or microsite.
  • 1 x story/project form to accompany your story/project (If partnering, each student needs a completely independent story/project form).
  • 1 x presentation assessment (A face to face summative assessments requires that you present your final advanced body of practice. You will have 15 minutes to present that folio to a panel of tutors and discuss the merits and shortcomings. Tutors may ask questions about your work and processes, especially the decisions you took and basis and reasoning for those decisions. This assessment supports tutors in their final marking of the practical work.
  • Studentship
  • You will be assessed and given two marks overall, one for the two practice-based projects/studentship, and one for the two project forms / and accompanying presentations. There is plenty of guidance for the project forms here.
  • You will also need to hand in a digital folder of individual assets used in your final project.

You need to pass both Term 3 modules to continue to successfully complete your degree. Assignments must be handed in on time and to requirements. Penalties for late assignments are below:

  • Up to 7 calendar days late = 10 marks subtracted but if the assignment would normally gain a pass mark, then the final mark to be no lower than the pass mark for the assignment. (50%)
  • More than 7 calendar days late = 1 mark will be awarded. This means you will fail and have one final chance to resubmit work on a refer status (6 weeks after the original deadline). Work submitted on a refer status is capped at the lowest grade (50%).

If you have serious mitigating circumstances, which means you need to defer your submission up to (6 weeks after the original deadline). You must provide documentary evidence (e.g. medical certificate). Please see your tutor or refer to the school handbook for details of how to submit mitigation documentation. Please come and see your tutor 4 weeks before the due date with any problems you may be having.

This page does not contain comprehensive module or course information, and you should all read, in full the IMMJ Handbook PROGRAMME HANDBOOK — MA in International Multimedia Journalism 2015/2016. 

Module: IMJ 4012 Advanced Practice 2 – General Assessment Requirements, Grading & Deadline Guidance Notes

DIGITAL VISUAL MULTIMEDIA JOURNALISM FEATURE STORIES

What exactly is a visual multimedia journalism feature story or project?

Your story needs to be MULTIMEDIA in that it must combine two or more media forms. (photography, video, audio, text, graphics). At least one of your chosen media forms has to be VISUAL. (photography, video, audio, text, graphics). You cannot, for example, combine only audio and text. Your chosen mediums will depend on your story and how you think best to tell that story. You may or may not use multiple platforms too.

The terminology project and story can be somewhat interchangeable, therefore confusing. Generally, a multimedia story is the common type of features you regularly consume online, with a clear focus and a beginning, middle and end. A multimedia project is often, but not necessarily,  something bigger and longer, sometimes with a broader or more fragmented scope. For examples, view An Unbelievable Story of Rape by ProPublica / The Marshall Project it’s a multimedia story, while The Counted by The Guardian is a multimedia project. While IMMJ-MA students typically work on stories, we like to keep things open, in the past students have worked on projects, for example, developing apps or building complex databases for economic news. Story or project, the choice is yours!

What should my multimedia journalism feature story or project look like?

Sorry, there is no easy answer for this one. Digital technologies along with the proliferation of the internet and mobile have transformed how we produce, distribute and consume stories. Old storytelling formats and formulas are still important, but many more now exist – and many more are yet to be imagined. There is no formula for a successful multimedia feature. As you can see from the contently page, multimedia stories and projects are extremely diverse in terms of topic, approach, methodology and design. So please be inspired, creative and innovative, and choose an approach that fits the story you want to tell.

It could be a 5 – 8-minute short documentary incorporating graphics and accompanied by a story portrait series on Instagram, or it could be a more typical snowfall like story incorporating a number of short videos, still pictures text and graphics on a single page. It could be a series of gifs accompanied by other relevant media. It could be a single scrolling page or a website. Or you might produce a single story in multiple media to publish on multiple platforms – see Rape on the Nightshift for an example of this. Think big and then consult with teachers and peers to find a ‘doable’ approach in the timeframe you have. Ultimately, we want to see you tell an important, interesting and engaging story, and tell it well. Do not approach your story as a student turning in an assignment for a tutor. Instead, approach it as a journalist turning in a story for a specific professional publication. We are looking for innovative stories/projects that start with a strong story or issue and have considered the best way to tell that story.

How long should my multimedia journalism feature story or project be? How many videos? How many words?…

Again, sorry, there is no easy answer for this one, we judge by the quality, not the quantity. Every project is unique we cannot dictate exactly how you spend or manage your own time. There are some basic minimum requirements on time commitment and you’ll need to log your work time clearly in the diary section of the project form.

40 hours a week – You need to spend 40 hours a week reporting, interviewing, filming, editing, transcribing, experimenting with new tools or platforms, practicing new techniques etc. You will also, of course, need to keep reading and researching as you go along.

22 x 8-hour days ‘on the ground’ shooting and interviewing – Out of ten reporting weeks, we expect you to spend a minimum of 22 x 8-hour days ‘on the ground’ shooting and interviewing. Other days are for research, setting up interviews, practice, editing, working on your platform etc. Please highlight your 22 on the ground’ shooting and interviewing days in your diary by highlighting the text in RED.

One word of advice, as a working journalist you rarely ever get this amount of time to report on a single story – it’s an incredible luxury, use it! Students who do excellent Term 3 projects have the portfolio they need to progress the next stage of their careers.

“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.”  

-Joseph Pulitzer 1847-1911

The quote above is over 100 years old – yet it’s perfect for multimedia journalism today!

 Journalism is not about condensing down everything you have found and delivering it to an audience, it’s about solid, copious research and reporting followed by a process of analyzing, selecting, prioritizing and editing with your audience in mind. Beware many students in Term 2 did some wonderful reporting but fell short at the editing stage and final projects lacked the final polish edit needed to take them from good to great. This is common in Term 2 as the editing time is limited.

The biggest difference between Term 2 and Term 3 is the editing stage. Final submissions will be graded in terms of how closely they resemble professional journalism stories and standards. Term 3 projects should adhere to the same standards of quality and professionalism as digital visual multimedia stories found in international, English language news sites like; The BBC, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, Sixth Tone, The New York Times, Quartz,  The Atlantic, National Public Radio, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, Wired, ESPN, Vice and The Guardian. Your stories will be engaging, have news value, be beautifully produced with a great user experience for your chosen target audience.

You will notice that few stories take longer to consume than 20 or 30 minutes – and in most cases, we believe this is a good guideline. Stories from start to finish should take no longer than 20 or 30 minutes to consume. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, some of your stories or projects may be much shorter and some much longer. We are absolutely open to exceptions but you must discuss these ideas with your tutors early on.

There are a few explicit requirements:

  • Your stories/projects must have clear news value
  • Your stories/projects must have clear and journalistic driven story focus. This focus may change or evolve during the course of your reporting.
  • Your multimedia stories or projects must be visually lead. That means your primary media or mediums MUST be visual. The primary medium cannot be text. It’s not a journalism writing course and while text might be a significant part of your project it should not be the primary medium. With this in mind, it’s imperative that when you choose your story you choose one with a strong and accessible visual element.
  • Your stories may be linear or non-linear, but they need to be logically structured so that an audience can navigate your story or project in a meaningful way. And so, that when they arrive at the end, they have been given a deeper insight into an interesting topic.
  • The reporting must meet high standards of accuracy, fairness, and balance.
  • You will also need to adhere to ethical guidelines. See the IMMJ-MA Code of Ethics
  • You will gather quality, relevant and reliable sources of information and properly attribute, hyperlinking when and where possible. You must include primary and secondary sources such as field and expert interviews, research papers, documents,
  • English and grammar must be excellent throughout, including subtitles etc.
  • We have mentioned and are looking for innovation – this includes, for example, employing ideas or experimenting with new techniques, devices, platforms or methods. Creative or strategic solutions utilized in research, reporting, presentation, distribution, social engagement or proposed new models for funding or generating revenue?

STORY / PROJECT FORMS

 The Advanced Practice 3 sections of your story/project forms are as follows:

  • Story Focus & Summary
  • Production Plan
  • Production Methodology
  • Ethical Assessment
  • Risk Assessment
  • Engagement Plan
  • Media Archive
  • Diary – This should provide a day by day account of what you did with your weekly 40 hours. It should also provide reflections on what you are learning about your story and multimedia journalism.

You will, in addition, need to complete the story/project forms sections included in your theory module as directed by your tutor Cong Yan.

STUDENTSHIP

Studentship means conducting yourself in a professional and independent manner. For example, it means hitting scheduled intermittent deadlines and completing ‘mini assignments’ on time and to requirements. Tutors will want to see, review and give feedback support on your work as you go along. To do this efficiently, work must be presented for feedback in an organised manner – uploaded online at working URL’s. We will not download random zip files for example, nor will we view any un-subtitled or poorly subtitled video, nor will we read text where the English and grammar prohibits understanding. Should you miss feedback deadlines or turn in work for feedback that too sloppy or unorganised for tutors to give feedback support, not only will you will lose grades, also the work will not be viewed until the next submission deadline meaning you lose critical feedback support.

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