- News suggestions and Quizzes (individual): 15 points
- Twitter reporting (individual): 10 points
- Profile story (pair or group): 25 points
- Group presentation (group): 20 points
- Final take-home exam (individual): 30 points
Note on News suggestions and Quizzes (15 points):
Starting from the third week, about 10 students will be asked to submit individually the three most important or interesting news stories of the week on or before Wednesday (5 points). Additional details will be provided once class begins. Two quizzes on course material and current affairs (news) will be held during the course of the semester (10 points). The news questions are based on major local and international current events; and you are strongly encouraged to read at least the front page stories of a few local newspapers, watch prime time local TV news programs and some international TV news programs, or check news websites such as CNN.com and BBC News every day during the semester.
There is no make-up for a missed quiz.
Note on the Twitter assignment (10 points):
You will be contributing to The Westside Stories website as well as the hKUDOS project. You are required to “tweet” about events and happenings around the University of Hong Kong (#hKUDOS) and in the western side of Hong Kong island (#WestHK). Regardless of its content and language (you can write in Chinese, too), each month you need to submit your best five tweets of the month to us (in February, March, April).
You can use your existing twitter account or create a new one, but in each case you will need to include in each of your tweet the hashtag #WestHK or #hKUDOS if you would like it to be counted for the course. You are also encouraged to use other hashtags when appropriate (#traffic, #food, etc). If you have never used Twitter before, you will need to sign up for the service and explore how it works.
Your topics can be about anything as long as they convey a piece of information that might be useful to the HKU community. For example, you can write something like “#WestHK Traffic horribly slow on Pokfulam Road. Major accident this morning” on the way to the campus; “A concert titled Student Recital on 5 Dec 2012 at 1:10pm in CYM Theatre #hKUDOS”; “Political parties debating now at the Sun Yat-sen Place now #WestHK #hKUDOS”.
Note on the profile assignment (25 points):
You will be reporting and writing a profile story of 600-700 words in pairs or in groups of three about a shop or other establishment or person in or around HKU campus. You can choose any shop or establishment or person you like, EXCEPT for any staff or faculty in the Journalism and Media Studies Centre.
Please be aware that this is NOT a review of the products and services you can get from the shop or restaurant – or the knowledge you might get from a faculty member. It is a PROFILE that illuminates an interesting aspect of the subject. Say, for example, a shop’s history, its cultural significance, uniqueness of its business model, a life story of the shop owner, employees.
The goal of your story is to engage the reader with information that he or she will find novel.
It is essential to interview the owner (or manager) of the shop or establishment or the actual person you are profiling. You should also talk to employees of the establishment or colleagues of the individual as well as other people who interact with them (customers, students, spouses, friends, etc). You will also need to take photos to accompany the story (photos would also help you describe the place and people in your story later on).
If your interviewees request an official confirmation that you are doing this as part of your study (which sometimes happen in Hong Kong), you can give my name and contact to them. It is always a good idea that you ask for permission from the shop owner when you take photos and talk to people. Before or after the interview, please also make sure to get full names of the people you talk to and tell them that your story might be published on the internet.
The key to good story in this assignment is to identify an interesting aspect of that shop and find good quotes to illustrate that. In other words, your “news sense” and editorial judgment you have developed through discussions in lectures and tutorials is very important. The story should be no longer than 700 words.
We will discuss more details about how you could find and identify a good story angle in the lectures and tutorials. This assignment accounts for 25 percent of your total grade. The project will be evaluated based on the grading scale of Excellent (5 points), Very Good (4 points), Good (3 points), Average (2 points), Poor (1 point), on the following criteria:
- Story interest
- Quality of research and background information
- Appropriateness of quotes and sources
- Attribution and accuracy
- Story structure, grammar, spelling, punctuation
Note on presentation (20 points):
We will have three to five groups within each tutorial. Each group will present a 30-minute research project addressing one of the following three topics:
- Apple Daily’s animated news:
Groups should examine at least two recent examples of animated news stories from Apple Daily (Action News). An essential part of the presentation should compare the information in the animated news stories with the information in other news stories by other news outlets on the same topic (television, newspapers, magazines and websites). Groups should answer the question: is animating news stories journalism? Some people say it distorts the reality and others say it fills the gap necessary to understand news better. What is your group’s view?(For your information, Action News has videos in English as well as in Mandarin and Cantonese)
- News reports on the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute:
Groups should examine how local Hong Kong media, mainland Chinese media, Japanese media and other international media have been covering the dispute between China and Japan over the islands.Compare their news coverage on the diplomatic row, political debate, street protests and other related news stories in terms of their selection of sources, news angles, usage of photos and videos, editorial stance, and any other aspect appropriate for comparison. The presentation should answer the question: what has contributed to the difference in coverage? Were the news media you examined truthful and fair?
- Coverage on the protest against the “moral and national education” curriculum:
Groups should examine how Hong Kong and international news media covered the series of protests outside the government headquarters in 2012 that eventually led to the cancellation of the plan to make the “national education” curriculum compulsory for every school in 2015.Discuss how the media reported on the controversial topic while keeping in mind that law experts, educators, government officials, politicians, academics and other members of the public have voiced different opinions and views about the introduction of the curriculum to the local schools. The presentation should answer the question: How should news media report on a highly controversial, very emotional topic such as this? What are the journalists’ responsibilities? What does you group think about the actual coverage you’ve gone through?
The research presentations will make 20 percent of the course grade. Groups should submit a list of sources they used for their research before the presentation starts (you may also distribute your PowerPoint slide printouts, if you think it helps understand the presentation better). Grades will be assessed according to the following criteria:
- Summary of topic: Did the group adequately introduce the topic?
- Sources: Did the presentation demonstrate an exhaustive exploration of news samples relevant to the topic?
- Analysis of research: Did the presenters demonstrate a thoughtful examination of their research?
- Time: Did the presentation fall within the 25-30 minute time requirement?
- Presentation skills (visual and spoken communication skills): Was the presentation interesting and organized? Did the presenters speak clearly?
Note on take-home exam (30 points):
The exam will be based on what is discussed in the lectures and tutorials. It counts for 30 percent of your grade. All questions are short essay questions and each answer will be graded for clarity of your views, fairness of your argument and depth of your thoughts and analysis.