> teaching > new media issues

New Media Issues (a.k.a. Issues in Online News)

Fall 2006
Room 511c
Mondays, 7-9 pm

Prof. Sreenath Sreenivasan *

This class serves as an introduction to the world of online journalism and the changing media landscape. Over a the 10-week period, students will learn about journalistic issues relating to credibility, ethics and standards on the Web, and the struggle to grow audiences. They will learn how to adapt the best traditions of reporting and editing to online journalism. They will discuss how the tough business environment presents challenges as well as opportunities for all journalists. They will learn about, and work with, such technologies as blogging, podcasting, wikis, tagging and Web 2.0. Two reported assignments, along with a group website, will be enhanced by the material and skills taught in Advanced New Media Skills, the mandatory Skills course for New Media concentrators.

Assignments: Student work consists of class participation in the discussions; reading of articles and websites in advance of each class; two reported assignments (max. 1,000 words - photos, audio optional); and at least four shorter postings on a group website/blog (an ongoing resource about issues in online news).

Students pick TWO topics from the following list to report on (each story idea has to be pitched and approved in advance)...

  • ETHICS: An ethical issue that new to journalism.
  • CREDIBILITY: How corrections are treated on the web.
  • CREDIBILITY: Lessons from Photoshopgate.
  • CITJ: A rebuttal to Nick Lemann's New Yorker piece.
  • CITJ: In support of Nick Lemann's New Yorker piece.


  • PROFILES: Profile of a working new media journalist.
  • PROFILES: Profile of a print journalist looking to retool.
  • WEB 2.0: Does it have anything to do with journalism?
  • VIDEO: What online video says about America.
  • SOCIAL NETWORKING: Who needs so many new friends?

Four student volunteers will run the site and will only have to do ONE of the reported assignments instead of two.

LAST UPDATED: Sept. 18, 2006 - please note that the descriptions here are subject to change

Session One - Sept. 11
Introduction and overview

  • Where we have come from
  • Where we are headed
  • Explanation of assignments and class structure
  • Picking editors for group site
  • LINK:
    Writely collection of articles, data, resources
    See writely page

o o o o o

Session Two - Sept. 18
Agendas at Work?

  • GUEST: Emma Batha, journalist with AlertNet, a humanitarian news site based in London (formerly with the BBC)
  • DISCUSSION: The ethics of photo editing + Photoshopgate
    [ Roundups - Zombietime | Aish video ]
  • LINKS:

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NOTE: On Monday, Sept. 25, students will meet with Prof. Duy Linh Tu as prelude to Advanced New Media Skills (which ends Wed., Nov. 16)

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Session Three - Oct. 2
Blogs & More

  • WORKSHOP: Figuring Out Blogs, Wikis, Podcasting & Whatever's Next
    The best blogs FOR and BY journalists and how you can join the blogging revolution as a consumer and/or creator of blogs - and how to make sense of all the other new technologies changing our business.
    Other students and faculty will be invited to this session.

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Session Four - Oct. 9
Working in Online News - the charms and the challenges

  • GUEST: Arik Hesseldahl, J'97
    Senior writer, Businessweek Online; formerly with

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Session Five - Oct. 16
Is There Room for Traditional Ethics in Online News?

  • Examples of the changing ethical dilemmas in online news.
  • Corrections, anyone?
  • Assignment #1 due.

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Session Six - Oct. 23
Citizen What? Citizen Journalism and Its Role in Society

Session: Seven - Oct. 30
New media from inside of a non-media company

  • Field trip to Google's NY HQ
    Meeting with Craig Neville-Manning, senior scientist and head of NY office;he will address Google's mission of organizing the world's information.

o o o o o

NOTE: No Issues class on Nov. 6. 

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Session Eight - Nov. 13
International reporting: A Changed Game

NOTE: On Tuesday, Nov. 14, students will attend the following panel.

PANEL: The Changing Media Landscape 2006
A discussion moderated by Sree Sreenivasan
(with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales,'s Bill Grueskin, among others) about the revolution taking place all around us.
6:30-9 p.m.

o o o o o

Session Nine - Thursday, Nov. 16 (moved from Nov. 20, when you will have Skills instead)
Wrapping It Up

  • Lessons learned
  • Next steps
  • Site closes

NOTE: On Tuesday, Nov. 21, students will attend the following panel.

PANEL: Politics and the Internet: Is the Web Revolutionary?
A discussion moderated by Dean Nicholas Lemann about issues such as government censorship and the ability of technology to change politics.
7-9 p.m.

Speakers include:

  • Sheila Coronel, Stabile Professor of Investigative Journalism
  • Hugh Hewitt, blogger and radio host
  • Rebecca MacKinnon, co-founder,


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