Course Syllabus

JPW 322/IMM 370-03: Future of the News

Kim Pearson

Spring, 2014

SSB 336

X 2692

Office hours Tuesdays and Fridays, 10-11:20, or by appointment


The Future of the News is a theoretical and practical exploration of the impact of technological, economic and cultural change upon the news industry. Through readings, papers, class discussions and projects, students will ponder the significance of these changes for the role that journalism plays in democracy, as well as the ways in which news is defined, gathered disseminated and evaluated. Students will also contribute to elements of an emerging field known as computational journalism: an alternate reality game known as #TrentonTrending, our site on a platform called Crowdmap and a software system for collecting and interpreting environmental information known as SOAP. You will complete specific assignments in collaboration with Prof. Pulimood's Software Engineering class, working in teams. 

This course serves as an option or elective in the journalism major, the professional writing and journalism minors and interactive multimedia major and minor. 

This course is part of a NSF-sponsored project to determine how to improve undergraduate computer science/journalism education.  To this end, students enrolled in this course will participate in assessment of projects, learning goals, and the like.  While participation in these assessment procedures is not required and does not affect the grade you earn in this class, it will help shape curriculum development nationwide, and is thus, both valued and important.  Additional information on this project will be provided to the students on the first day of class.

Learning Goals

As a result of this class, students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Critique the arguments of others in the discipline and the construction of one’s own arguments in the discipline, using data/evidence are a focus of instruction and/or the ability to analyze linguistic and cultural patterns
  • Evaluate the validity and/or reliability of a source
  • Research, write and edit news and features
  • Produce entry-level material that meets professional standards
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the history and traditions of journalism and professional writing


Required for purchase

Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

Other readings are hyperlinked within the syllabus.

Class policies

    • Readings and assignments are due for the next class, unless otherwise noted.
    • Class participation is essential for success in this class, both in person or online. Significant absences may impair your ability to participate fully in class activities and to fully complete assignments. Please note the College's policy with regard to absences:
      • "When a student must be absent from classes due to extended illness, a death in the family or similar genuine emergency, the Dean of Student Life should be informed immediately so that the appropriate notice can be provided to individual instructors. Students who must miss classes due to participation in a field trip, athletic event or other official college function should arrange with their instructors for such class absences well in advance. The Office of Academic Affairs will verify, upon request, the dates of and participants in such college functions. In every instance, however, the student has the responsibility to initiate arrangements for makeup work"
    • Late assignments will not be accepted unless you have obtained prior permission, or you have a documented emergency. If you obtain an extension and fail to hand in your assignment by the extended due date, you will lose ½ grade for each class period that the assignment is delayed. 
    • Students requiring accommodations for differing abilities are encouraged to register with the Office of Differing Abilities and bring documentation to me at the beginning of the semester.
    • In the event of the College closing due to inclement weather, I will attempt to hold class and/or office hours online.
    • Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the College's Academic Integrity Policy
    • Please speak up early and often – but appropriately and professionally, if there are questions or concerns. Everyone here has something to teach, and something to learn. That includes me.
    • This course has a final evaluation that consists of a final essay, in accordance with College policy
    • "All 4-credit courses in the English, and IMM Departments require students to attend a regularly scheduled 4th hour of class meeting time (as indicated in PAWS) OR to complete additional work outside of class that constitutes the equivalent of a 4th hour of class meeting time (in the form of group work, attendance at campus events, rigorous reading assignments and/or research, field trips, community-engaged learning, internships, and/or other academic work as stipulated by the individual instructor).  This course adheres to a combination of field trips, group work and additional academic work; please see below for specific course assignments, requirements, and due dates."

Course Summary:

Date Details