Wikinews:Water cooler/assistance/archives/2013/October

Request: University journalism course seeks to renew partnership with Wikinews

Editors and Wikinewsies, After a successful partnership with Wikinews in Spring 2012, I plan to bring back another group of students to Wikinews in Spring 2014. Wikinews would be a laboratory for teaching online news and outlet for contributions. We would start in early January and end in early May, as is the university term here in the United States. The number of new editors should be 15 or 16. Last time, I put all of the editors on a rotating schedule so that we would not overwhelm Wikipedia editors and spread out our contributions. Here are the planned assignments (similar to last time):

  • First class, group article (In 2012, we collaborated as class to write a synthesis article about human trafficking awareness day.)
  • 2 x synthesis articles; one of them should have a student produced graphic such as an infobox or timeline (individuals)
  • Wikinews shorts (2 person teams)
  • (Audio) News briefs (2 person teams)
  • A group photo story - This assignment sadly collapsed on us last time, which would be why there is no previous entry.
  • Data/report driven story (15 individuals creating original stories.)
  • Space/time story with an original graphic (original)
  • Original event story with a video (original)
  • Multimedia feature story (original)
  • Using social media/blogging throughout the course to promote readership.

I welcome any input based on our previous experience, thoughts about proposed assignments or any ideas about process. Thank you, Crtew (talk) 02:07, 23 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

  • First point I'd note as 'potentially challenging' is video; Commons (and Wikinews) require media be in OGV format. The WinFF utility can handle conversions pretty well, but there's nothing on the back-end to re-scale video to the resolution chosen for display. The upshot of that is you may end up having to provide multiple-sized versions of videos. Plus, there's a 100MB upload limit. That can be worked around by speaking nicely to the devs and having the file(s) available elsewhere via FTP.
  • Secondly, social media/blogging. I'm still working on that in my spare time. I know many students will have their own blogs, which can be a really good way to spread Wikinews articles outside the current reader base; but, unless any of your students are actually paying for their own hosting I'd guess they'll find how they can lay out any blog quite constrained. Hopefully will give them more scope on that.
  • Counterintuitively, it'll be the shorts pieces that hit reviewer resources hardest. If there's any way to stagger when your teams are pushing those to Wikinews it will help manage that workload. --Brian McNeil / talk 19:45, 24 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
@Crtew:, We have installed the education extension on English Wikinews, and if you find that helpful, we can give you course instructor rights. This would be particularly helpful to a certain degree for those of us doing the largest chunk of the reviewing as sometimes change our approach when it comes to student editors. We also have some instructional materials in Category:Wikinews training materials which you may find useful. If there are any type of instructional materials that you may want created, please let me know and I can see about customizing ones to suit your needs.

We could probably find some examples of various types of the reporting you cited that may be useful for students to model from. Data reporting has been one I have been big on myself as a reporter, and between pi zero and myself, we've begun to figure out what some of the requirements for these are. (They can be one source original reporting, and they can make a really nice series of articles along the same theme.)

There are a number of free tools to allow conversion to acceptable file formats. I have been using this one for video converting recently as the one I have on my computer does not produce the same level of quality. If you or your students would benefit from such a list, please let me know.

Speaking purely as a reviewer dealing with student work, our three biggest potential issues have been in no particular order:
  1. Students have not read and do not follow the style guide. They do not read published examples and model after these. This takes up a lot of time for reviewers because we often have to make a lot of cosmetic changes to find an article is not ready. Thus inverted pyramid, relative dating, formatting sources is key.
  2. Plagiarism. I do not think it is as bad as English Wikipedia classes, but I think the numbers are around 10 to 20%.
  3. Newsworthiness. Students chose topics that are out of date or on the edge of being news. This problem is compounded when the style guide is not followed, because it requires either a not ready or a lot of extensive fixing. This eats up eligibility for publication time.
Outside that, I would support your work given your reputation. Please let me know how I can assist you, and if you would like instructor rights. --LauraHale (talk) 08:59, 25 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]