Digital Journalism Syllabus
Elizabeth Losh

lizlosh (at) ucsd (dot) edu

Office Hours: Pepper Canyon Hall 249, Thursday 2-4 PM

TA: Stephanie "Sam" Martin

Class Blog for the Course



Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives (Peter Lang, 2009)
Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times (MIT Press, 2008)


Public Journalism 2.0 (Routledge, 2010)
Journalism 2.0 (Knight Foundation, online resource at

Grade Distribution:

20% Class Blog
30% Individual Blog
5% Team Video Report
30% Individual Video Project
15% Class Participation

This is a hands-on digital journalism course in which students will learn to use multimedia authoring software for online publishing and digital storytelling.  We will also read criticism involving new media journalism. 

The course will emphasize the following four themes:

Note: There will be two to three Monday evening hands-on lab sessions in this class about basic skills in HTML coding and video editing in FinalCut Pro at dates to be determined. These lab meetings will take the place of two to three of our traditional seminar meetings. To check out cameras or use the department's editing computer lab you must have completed the COGN 21/22 or VIS 70N requirement


Week One:  The Crisis in Journalism and New Forms of Reading

4/3 Meeting 1: The Crisis in Journalism


4/5 No Seminar: Readings about the Crisis in Journalism


Clay Shirky, “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable” 
John Palfrey, “How Digital Natives Read the News


Chapter 1 from Journalism 2.0
Chapter 2 from Journalism 2.0 (“Web 2.0”)


Week Two: Creating an Online Persona

4/10 Meeting 2: Online Personae

Viewing: Howard Rheingold
Viewing: Kara Swisher and Nicholas Kristof videos


Axel Bruns, “Gatewatching, Gatecrashing,” Digital Media and Democracy


Chapter 9 from Journalism 2.0 (“Shooting Video for News and Feature Stories”)

Case study #1: David Folkenflik, NPR


4/12 Meeting 3: Online TV

Skype with James Kotecki

Viewing: James Kotecki videos


Megan Boler, "The Daily Show and Crossfire: Satire and Sincerity as Truth to Power"


Chapter 10 from Journalism 2.0 (“Basic Video Editing”)

Case study #2: James Kotecki, of The Daily formerly of


Week Three: User-Generated Content

4/17 Meeting 4: The Pulitzers Change Journalism, Journalism Changes the Pulitzers

Is it a crisis in journalism or a golden age?


4/19 Meeting 5: Participatory Culture

User-generated materials from the New York Times

Wikifying the News

User-generated materials from the Los Angeles Times
Why didn’t the Wikitorials experiment succeed?  What should their policy for comment moderation be? 


Paul Bradshaw, “Wiki Journalism,” Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives

Jane B. Singer and Ian Ashman, “User-generated Content and Journalistic Values,” Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives


Susan D. Moeller, “Media and Democracy,” Digital Media and Democracy


Week Four: The “Are Blogs Journalism?” Debate

4/23 Digital Storytelling Workshop in the Digital Playroom on the Second Floor of Pepper Canyon Hall 5PM

4/24: Meeting 6


Nicholas Lemann, “Amateur Hour,” The New Yorker
Joshua Foust, “Echo Chamber,” Columbia Journalism Review
Andrew Cohen, “Journalism’s Amateur Hour
Andrew Sullivan, “Why I Blog


4/26: Meeting 7


D. Travers Scott, “Tempests in the Blogosphere,” Digital Media and Democracy

Team Video Project Due


Week Five: Credibility and Sources

5/1: Meeting 8 (online) Skyping with Sam Gregory of
Viewing: Three views of Haifa Street from the Pentagon (, CBS (, and The New York Times  ( 
And “Haifa Street Revisited, Revisited," which does not use digital video


Stuart Allan, "Introduction" and “Histories of Citizen Journalism,” Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives


117-122 of “Government YouTube,” Elizabeth Losh at about Haifa Street coverage.  Did CBS handle the issue of cell phone footage appropriately?  Did the NYT handle the issue of online video from the Pentagon appropriately?

Chapter 7 of Journalism 2.0 (“Digital audio and podcasting”)  How was voice-over deployed in these stories?

Case Study #3: Sam Gregory of WITNESS

5/3: Meeting 9

Viewing: “Terrorist Videogame or Pentagon Snafu?


15-37 of Virtualpolitik on “Digital Monsters,” Elizabeth Losh and "Facebook Journalism," Elizabeth Losh


Week Six: News Games

5/8 Tuesday Web Design Workshop in the Digital Playroom on the Second Floor of Pepper Canyon Hall 5PM

5/8: Meeting 10


Newsgames: Theory and Design,” Miguel Sicart

Cutthroat Capitalism


5/10: Meeting 11


"Newsgames: Procedural Rhetoric meets Political Cartoons," Mike Treanor and Michael Mateas

Viewing: Games from Newsgaming and Persuasive Games (of Food Import Folly)


Excerpts from News Games by Ian Bogost


Week Seven: Information Graphics and 3-D Computer Simulations

5/15: Meeting 12

Viewing: The New York Times style template: from a collapsing bridge to a luge accident.
An analysis of animations of school shootings by a Denver graphics editor: 
The much lampooned 3-D simulation of the Tiger Woods car crash and Keith Olbermann’s commentary

Viewing: videos by Draxtor and video blogging at the Josh Wolf trial

Case study #4: Nonny de la Peña


5/17: Meeting 13


Melissa Wall, “The Taming of the Warblogs,” Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives.


Week Eight: Globalization

5/22: Meeting 14

Viewing: The Neda Video (
Digital mapping of election protests in Tehran


Excerpts from Iraqi English speakers who have produced blogs and books based on blogs.  Readings include work by Salam Pax and Riverbend on blogs that eventually became books and from pro-war Iraqi blogs such as “Iraq the Model”

Excerpt from Visual Explanations and The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte.

Case study #5: Laila Shereen Sakr aka VJ Um Amel


5/24: No Seminar

Week Nine: Media Conglomeration and Network Neutrality

5/29: Meeting 15

5/29 Final Cut Pro / After Effects Workshop in the Digital Playroom on the Second Floor of Pepper Canyon Hall 5PM


Gholam Khiabany and Annabelle Sreberny, “The Iranian Story:  What Citizens?  What Journalism?” Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives

“The State of the Media: An Interview with Robert McChesney,” Digital Media and Democracy


5/31: Meeting 16


Excerpts from The Googlization of Everything by Siva Vaidhyanathan

Draft of Final Video Project Due


Week Ten: Copyright and Crisis

6/5 Meeting 17

Special Guest: Jeff Brazil


Chapter 8 from Journalism 2.0 (“Shooting and Managing Digital Photos”)

Readings from stories involving the Associated Press

6/7 Meeting 18


Readings from Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture (Introduction) and Code 2.0 ("cyberspaces" and "what things regulate")

Case study #6 photographer Lauren Greenfield or documentary filmmaker Gina Levy who also create online news content for major online newspapers


Finals Week Meeting: Monday, June 11 11:30AM-2:30 PM

Showcase of Final Video Projects


Assignment information:

Class blog: Students will post blog entries and respond to the posts of others at our class blog about digital journalism.  The class blog will include items about how current events are depicted in different modes of digital journalism and reflect up-to-the-minute trends. Students will be expected both to work on assignment and to develop their own stories. 

Personal blog: Students will also maintain their own personal blogs on a specific non-fiction topic of their own choosing.  Blogs will present in-depth reporting and non-fiction storytelling and be ready for bi-weekly peer reviews.  

Team Video Project: Working in teams of two, each student will create two very short videos (no more than a minute and a half each with minimal cutting between shots) about an on-campus story on the theme of “making the invisible visible.”  One version will use first-person camerawork and the other will be shot by the student’s partner to show a third-person reporter-in-the-field

Final Video Project:  Students will script, shoot, record, and edit a video that must be four to eight minutes about digital journalism using techniques learned in the course.