Comm 231: 8-30


Snow Fall

Syllabus: on Blackboard

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Comm 231: April 21

Tips for writing a digital story

Feature Writing 101:

– Be objective. You are the narrator, not the main character.

– Write in third person. Do not use: I, you, we, our, etc.

– Write in AP style.

– Use short paragraphs. Usually, one to three sentences. Five at the most.

– Write a lead that hooks the reader. Should be one sentence.

– Use quotes and attribute them. Start the sentence with the quote and then use saidExample: “This challenge is the real deal,” Chiara said.

– Hyperlink if possible. Especially, if it will clear up confusion or gives more context.

– Check for spelling and grammar. EDIT in layers.

AP Style GuidePurdue Online Writing Lab

Headlines: Only the first word, the first word after a colon, and proper nouns should be capitalized.

Correct Example: How marketers can easily create infographics 

Incorrect Headline: How I Learned To Incorrectly Write A Headline

Names: Full name on first reference. Only last name with no titles after that.

Example: Adam Chiara, a professor at University of Hartford, taught a class on AP style. Chiara knew his students would dislike him for it. 

Titles: Capitalize a title if it’s before the name. If used after, it’s lowercase.

Example: Gov. Jane Smith is considering running for another term. Smith, who has been governor for seven years, …

Quotes: Commas and periods inside the quotation mark. If the quote is the beginning of the sentence, the first letter is capital. If the quote is a continuation, the first letter is lowercase. More details on quotes.

Example: “This challenge is the real deal,” Chiara said. He said it’s not the time that’s the problem but, “getting up in the early morning is hard for me.”

Location: Town, Conn. | Town, Conn., more text…  | However, if you just mention the state, it is written out. 

Example: He lives in Connecticut. He grew up in Hartford, Conn., before now living in West Hartford, Conn.

Dates: Oct. 21, more text…. |  He was born in October.

Example: He was born on Oct. 21, 2015. His mom is happy is was born in October

Numbers: Zero to nine is written out. 10 and higher is a number (unless the paragraph starts with a number, then write it out).

Time: 5 a.m. — 3 p.m.

Money: $100,000 — $1 million — $7.25. You do not follow the rules for numbers above. 

Example: First he owed him $7.25, then $100,000, and the $1 million.

In-Class Assignment

Interview your classmate, and write a 500-word story about why they came to CCSU, and profile who they are as a student.  

Include a picture, relevant hyperlinks, and quotes. Follow the feature writing 101 rules and use AP style. Also, follow the aesthetic lessons we’ve learned about creating a good visual post.

Homework: Write a 500- to 750-word feature story on your blog.

The story can be a profile of someone (cannot be a family member or friend – you won’t be objective), about an event, or profiling a business/organization.

It must:

  • follow the feature writing 101 standards
  • follow AP style
  • include at least two original quotes recorded by you
  • have at least one original picture shot by you (use the techniques we’ve learned in class)
  • include at least one relevant hyperlink
  • put in a category on your blog
  • incorporate other lessons we’ve learned in this class about aesthetics, SEO, etc.

Email me the post before the start of next class


  • Infographics are still due by Friday, April 14.
  • You will have the option to do redo the assignments you got the two lowest grades on (the redos will not replace that grade). You do not have to do this. At the end of the semester, I will divide your grades by however many you turned in. You can start one of your assignments now, but wait to see what you get on your infographic before starting the second.
  • If you want to do a video assignment instead of a redo, please email me, and I will send you the instructions.
  • We will have one more additional assignment due before the end of the semester, but we will start and do most of it in class next time we meet.
  • The last class will be a working session where I am here to help.

P.S. I’m ending class 20 minutes early today, but you will get to keep working in the room. 

Final Assignment

Create a multimedia story and post it to your site (one post). Write a 650- to 800-word story that profiles a person, organization/business, event, or a combination. 

It must:

  • be written in the third person and using AP style.
  • include at least two hyperlinks that open in new tabs
  • have at least one original photo shot by you.
  • have at least two digital media componentsExamples: infographic, slide show, video
  • be aesthetically pleasing (no excess white space, text wrap around pictures, media component placement is strategic, etc.).
  • have at least two original quotes recorded by you.
  • not have obvious errors (spelling, grammar, basic AP, mistakes pointed out from previous assignments).

Assignments will be graded stricter. It must be better than before.

You must email me before the start of class on Friday, May 12. You must attend class that day to receive full credit for your final.

Comm 231: March 31 & April 7

65% of your audience is visual learners. 93% of human communication in nonverbal. 90 percent of all information transmitted to our brains is visual. People remember 80% of what they see. People remember 20% of what they read.







What the Heck are… Infographics? And Why You Should Use Them!

5 Tips on creating infographics:

  • Keep it simple! Don’t go overboard on flashy graphics and 3D effects on your graphs – it has to be easy to understand, and the message of every element of the graphic should be immediately obvious.
  • Make sure the message (information you want to convey) is what jumps out – not the methodology, or quality of the graphic design.
  • Make the best use of space – brevity is key when you are trying to keep hold of an audience’s attention.
  • Tell a story – intelligently order the information contained in your infographic, in a way that will engage the audience. Often you can have a beginning, middle and end – or start with a question, and end when you have presented evidence of your answer.
  • Juxtapose – give careful thought to how elements relate to each other. The audience should see how each element fits together to form a bigger picture.






Creation Guide:

Elements to an InfographicColors for Infographics


Class Assignment:

Student Enrollment

The largest of four comprehensive universities within the Connecticut State University System, CCSU enrolls about 8,500 full-time and 4,000 part-time students. Of these, about 10,000 attend as undergraduates, and 2,400 as graduates.

Students comprise 42 percent of the School of Arts & Sciences enrollment (5,300).

Female students account for 48 percent of the undergraduate student population; males, 52 percent.

CCSU is richly diverse: about 20 percent of students are of traditional minority heritage; African American students comprise more than 8 percent of the student body; Latinos, nearly 8 percent; and Asians, almost 3 percent.

Assignment 6: Infographic 

Create an infographic using Photoshop. You will make an infographic that simplifies complex data (an example would be this lobbying story). Any piece from another infographic cannot be used in your work.

It must:

  • have numbers (data) from a news story, research (a report), or just a raw data source
  • be aesthetically pleasing and informative 
  • tell the story with no confusion
  • make sure the message (information you want to convey) is what stands out
  • have no spelling or grammar mistakes
  • source where you got your data from (have the Web link on it or the title of the news article/publication/report)

Embed your infographic in a blog post with a paragraph setting it up

 Email the blog post with your infographic before the start of class on Friday, April 14

Comm 231: March 24

How small screens impact photojournalism — and tips for adapting

Rule of Thirds

Vantage points 


Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 9.52.28 AM

Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 9.52.51 AM

Wide, Medium, and Close Shots

Credit: Karen LeBoulluec (
Credit: Karen LeBoulluec (

Assignment 5: Create an informative slide show. How-To, Top 10, Informative

You must:

  • have five- to 10-original pictures (shot by you and incorporating the techniques we learned this week)
  • create informative slides (images). Using Powerpoint, put each image on a separate slide. The Powerpoint file is what you will upload to SlideShare.
  • have informative facts (researched) on each slide
  • include a source slide (this slide does not count as one of your five)
  • have no spelling/grammar mistakes
  • have consistency on each slide. Background color, font style and size, image size
  • tweet the blog post with your project out using best practices. Use the hashtag #com231

Email the blog post with your embedded slide show. 

Comm 231: March 3

Group work:

Social media has greatly disrupted traditional business models in the media. Industries like journalism, public relations, advertising, entertainment, etc., have to rethink the way they do business because of social media. 

  • What are some of the changes? 
  • Why do you think that is? 



Getting Started With Twitter

Twitter Post.png


Homework: Live Tweeting

Report on or promote an event using Twitter. 

“A good live tweet, however, takes speed, accuracy, context, wit, a strong visual sense and a good tool kit.” – LANCE ULANOFF

Your assignment must:

  • have at least five original tweets (these do not include retweets. You have to have compose the tweets). Your tweets must have valuable information. It’s not just what you are experiencing — give your followers insight. Five tweets does not guarantee an A.
  • include at least one original picture in a tweet, which was taken at the event (you shot the image). Having just one picture does not guarantee an A.
  • use the same #hashtag in every tweet to identify and organize the tweets.
  • embed the tweets in chronological order on your blog. Set up the tweets with a couple of paragraphs of context.

Possible events to cover could be: a concert; sports game (professional or amateur); a school event; a speaker; public meeting, etc.

Example of A tweets.

Email me your blog post with the embedded tweets before the start of the class after Spring Break.