JRN 411 Convergence journalism

  • Instructor: Holly Shreve Gilbert
  • Email:
  • Cell: 248.255.5447
  • Office hours as posted


  • “JournalismNext” by Mark Briggs
  • Reporter’s Guide to Multimedia Reporting by Mindy McAdams (online)

Course description

  • This class will teach students how to assemble and package journalistic stories across mediums, as well as introduce them to the unique tools and assets the Internet provides for reporters. Students will learn about the challenges and opportunities provided by social media platforms and discuss their potential for use in the profession.


  • You already know a great deal about journalism; in this class you’ll expand your horizons by learning how to use a variety of software programs and mobile and computer applications to tell stories. In order to do that you’ll have to train yourself to use the necessary tools. Consider it the beginning (if you haven’t already started) of a constant learning process mandated by the merging of digital technology and journalism. I’ll give you basic introductions but you’ll be responsible for sorting out the details.

If you want to do well in this class

  • You must be a self-starter, capable of working on independent projects and meeting deadlines.
  • You should have a clear understanding of the tenets of news writing, the rules of wire service style, grammar and punctuation.
  • You should be willing to learn new software and take responsibility for making yourself an expert in the chosen program.  Ingenuity, enthusiasm, resourcefulness, and participation will enhance your grade.
  • You should be an avid consumer of credible, well-written journalism.
  • You should be fully engaged in social media and willing to utilize it for reporting and marketing (clean up your digital footprint if necessary).

Course goals

  • Become a journalist who can report, write, edit and publish on the Internet using a variety of story-telling techniques.
  • Learn how online journalism applies to your career direction, and how an
  • expanded skill-set can help you to get a better job.
  • Learn to present multimedia stories in exciting new ways while maintaining
    traditional journalism standards of fairness, accuracy and quality.
  • Learn to maximize the audience for your story-telling with social media and search engine optimization.
  • Become more comfortable with the software and hardware used to tell stories online.



You are expected to be here for the full class period. Missing classes in whole or in part will compromise the grades on your assignments, as well as the participation grade points possible during each half of the semester.

Students who miss classes are responsible for obtaining lecture notes and assignment information from colleagues

Athletic/excused absence

You are responsible for obtaining course information for missed class time from a colleague. This is an absence, not an exemption! You are also responsible for turning in assigned work early, if necessary.

Class participation

You are expected to attend class prepared to discuss the scheduled topics.  Take time to consider the impact these ideas have on you and how evolving electronic technologies may impact your career and your future.  During each class period, you can expect to be called upon to comment on the readings and related questions.  You are also encouraged to contribute additional, relevant information from outside the scope of this course.

Religious holidays

You may make up course work missed for major religious holidays but you must notify the instructor PRIOR to missing the class.


If you miss a deadline, for any reason, a full grade will be deducted.  After one week, late assignments will not be accepted.  If you believe you will have trouble completing an assignment on time because of a legitimate problem (i.e. illness, death in the family) communicate with me immediately.

Computer use

Students who tamper with the university computers will be subject to academic discipline. This includes alteration of any system preference, downloading of unauthorized software or deleting files other than your own.

Academic conduct policy

Cheating on examinations, plagiarism, falsifying reports/records, and unauthorized collaboration, access, or modifying of computer programs are considered serious breaches of academic conduct. The Oakland University policy on academic conduct will be strictly followed with no exceptions. See catalog under “Academic Policies and Procedures.”


The University add/drop policy will be explicitly followed. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the University deadline dates for dropping the course.

Special considerations

Students with disabilities who may require special considerations should make an appointment with campus Disability Support Services. Students should also bring their needs to the attention of the instructor as soon as possible.


The communication and journalism department strongly encourages you to be proactive about your future.Plan to meet with your program adviser or program director once each year. Schedule an appointment for advising by calling 248-370-4120.

Begin visiting the OU Career Services Office to make an appointment with a Career Consultant and to start preparations for your career and future employment search. Schedule an appointment by calling 248-370-3250. Also, check out their website regularly:

Graduate study

If you are considering graduate study, either at OU or another institution, please make an appointment to sit down with one of our faculty to explore your options.

Facebook and Twitter

The journalism department posts regular updates to the COM&JRN Facebook Group. Please join the conversation here. Also, follow us on Twitter.