This one goes out to My Beloved Multimedia Journalism Students:

This is just to give you a gauge on your progress on the blogging portion of your grade. As you know from reading the syllabus, 30 percent of your grade in the course comes from your regularly posting items on your blog that are related to your blog topic.

Some of you have been creating killer content. Others haven’t been blogging much. You know who you are. So do I. Check yourself against the next several paragraphs to know what you need to do to earn the grade of your choice. Hey, it’s your grade; how well do you want to do?

If you have about 10 blog posts up at this point and they are substantial, you’re right on track. Keep it up at the current pace and you’ll lay down enough to ace this part of your final grade. (No, just a photo and one sentence are not enough to even qualify as a post for our purposes; see “What is enough content to be considered a complete post?” below for guidance.)

If you have about eight up, you’re a little behind an “A” pace and at this rate you’ll probably eke out a B if you continue at this pace.

If you have six or fewer, you’d better get a couple of posts up each week for the rest of the semester unless you just want to end up with the minimum of 10 posts for a C.

Five or fewer? There’s still time to turn things around, but you have backed yourself into a serious hole. Find stuff to write about that’s interesting and relevant to your topic. Repeat as necessary, which for you will be two or three a week till the end of April.

What is enough content to be considered a complete post? It’s not enough to just post a picture, a photo gallery, even an audio slideshow or a video, without providing a short introduction to what awaits the viewer if they click the link. You need a headline with good SEO principles applied, about 75 words of introduction to your photo/slideshow/gallery/video/what have you, and the content (either embedded in the post or linked to on a host server such as Google Drive, which everybody now knows how to do after the audio slideshow assignment). Multimedia means more than one kind of media. In most parts of the online world, you have to sell audiences on your content. Give them a reason to click the link! Just don’t do one of those Upworthy headlines, of which I am sick. When you tease to multimedia content, you are making a promise of what to expect. Be sure you don’t promise more than you can deliver.

We’re into the homestretch. I want to see you all get good grades, but you do have to earn them through your effort, skill, creativity and enterprise (not necessarily in that order).

In case you have misplaced your syllabus, these are the guidelines for grading the blog posts:

The instructor will, from time to time, assign you to write a blog entry discussing online journalism and related topics. These will be identified as mandatory blog posts. Mandatory topics will be announced in class and posted on the class blog, located at Beyond that, you need to keep up a regular blog. “Regular” means “every week and a half or so.” In addition to mandatory blog posts, you’ll be shooting for 10 to 15 blog posts throughout the semester…

The key here is that you write something interesting and witty. It must be a professionally oriented blog. Your blog needs to be passionate and subjective and have feeling. There should be some primary source reporting. For examples of what I am looking for, check out You are expected to publish in your blog about once a week. If I see that you have dumped a lot of blog entries in the days before the semester ends, I will mark you down significantly. I will grade you on a minimum of 10 entries during the semester (note that this is a minimum; if you want an A, work it!) We will use WordPress, a free blogging platform …

You will do three kinds of posts for this course: Three mandatory focused, three mandatory critique, and at least four freestyle. Grammar, style, punctuation, and AP style all matter. Accuracy matters. Attribution (giving credit to others’ work, ideas, and quotes) matters. Here’s what I’m looking for from you:

Mandatory focused posts: Three of your posts will be on a topic of your choice relating to your topic area. These must be 300 to 500 words, with links to at least two websites.

Mandatory critique posts: Three of your posts will be journalistic critiques, each dissecting a journalistic/nonfiction audio story; a video story; and an interactive story or a data visualization. These will be 300 to 500 words, with links to the stories you critique. It’s up to you to pick the subject of your critique. These are the ingredients of a good critique: description of the content; link to the content; assessment of its content (use of human and document sources, whether and how it hooked your attention effectively, whether it was well organized); and assessment of its presentation (Was sound/video quality good? For data visualizations, were they usable?).

Freestyle posts: At least four of your posts need to be briefer posts (75 to 200 words) on a topic of your choice relating to your topic area. You may report your own original content, or you may comment on others’ journalistic work (and you must always link to that work). As an alternative, you may use to curate shared and sharable online content and embed or link to it on your blog.

Keep the blog posts coming. Regular posting is the way you build a following and boost your blog’s position in search results.

Dr. Fuhlhage