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Photo journalism student Jan Ferrer (photo by Eric Lawson)

Photo journalism student Jan Ferrer (photo by Eric Lawson)

Life isn’t perfect, and neither is the power supply at SFSU. About 20 minutes into my first class at state on “Intro to Online Journalism,” the lights — and computers — went dark. Still the brightness of my students (you saw that coming) made up for the temporary outage.

To test/assess their abilities, I didn’t waste any time with their first in-class assignment: pair off, spend 5 minutes each interviewing one another about their passion and plans for journalism, and then post a mini profile online … in 20 minutes. I gave them no tips, no suggestions, no real guidance on how to do this. I was purposely vague. I told them they’d get points for creativity.

Despite hearing some deep sighs during those 20 minutes, the class, for the most part, delivered.

Although I haven’t closely reviewed all the assignments, several caught my eye for their creativity or execution. Like the classroom’s electrical system, none were perfect, but they did (wait for it) illuminate in my mind the potential of these aspiring journalists.

Here are links to a few; bear in mind they had all of 25 minutes to do this.

By Jan Ferrer (told in 140 characters, more or less)
http://twitter.com/TheFakeEricLaw

By Jenn Hernandez
http://jenz.vox.com/library/post/an-exercise-in-imagery-profile-on-lauren-crabb.html

By Eric Lawson
http://deathbycamera.com/janferrer/

Of course, the really big assignment is the hyper local blog on SFSU we’re attempting this semester. For homework, students will be reading the following articles (and if you have suggestions for other articles on hyper local, please e-mail me or let me know in the comments).

Fast Company: Can anyone tap $100 billion potential of hyper local?

New York Times: Hyper local deliver news without newspapers

Buzz Machine: Newbiznews – hyperlocal

New York Times: A latte with journalism on the side

NYT blog: Wash Post ends hyper local experiment

Also as part of the homework, students need to analyze actual hyper local sites, including this one out of UC Berkeley’s grad school for journalism:

http://missionlocal.org/

Separately, here is a link to the class syllabus:

http://docs.google.com/View?id=ddn9cmh2_343d62ppdw3

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