Journalism workshop: reality show as pedagogy

This semester, I have been leading a class at Marist College called News Workshop. This is the crowning course in the journalism concentration within Marist’s communication major. At the beginning of the semester, I asked each of the 15 students enrolled in the course to propose a start-up publication. Then I set them a series of tasks aimed at launching those publications. They had to name their publications, create a recurring department, research their market niche, and even design a logo. A few of the teams have consolidated as we’ve moved through the first half of the semester, but now we are a week past spring break, and the initial promise of the course—that some projects would be getting the axe, reality-show style, is coming true.

There are currently ten projects remaining in the course (don’t worry: the remaining five students have joined on with those, and haven’t been banished from the class). But the students themselves will be making the choice as to which five of them make it to next week. The poll embedded below is only for those students enrolled in the class, but there may be a round of public feedback at some point.

Two projects will still be competing when we get to the final week of the semester, when I will be bringing in a panel of professional reporters and editors to serve as judges.

For now, I wanted to give these sites some public exposure. One of their assignments last week was to create a survey on their own sites. If you should find yourself on this post, I encourage you to click through some of these sites and if you feel the desire, take some time to give them feedback. I want them to have the experience of a real audience reading and responding to their work.

The competitors (listed in the order that I received their urls in my email):

  • The Crunch:Time—an irreverent and yet “dead serious” site about cooking
  • Mind Gallery—dedicated to combing the social web for the best art (visual, audio, video) you haven’t heard of yet
  • Pizza Boxes and Politics—political news and analysis aimed at the interested, but so far uninformed, undergraduate
  • Life on the Bright Side—a guide to combining positive thinking and healthy living to improve your life and outlook
  • International Undergrad—a site that explains the world to undergraduates through the lens of the breaking news they’ve only vaguely heard about
  • The StyleLust—how to look like you’re wearing haute couture, even if you’re only earning minimum wage
  • The Campus Years—the transition from high school to college life made easy
  • Soundboard Sports New York—obsessively covering the world of New York sports media
  • Team Puzzled—a community devoted to exploring the benefits and challenges of sports for children on the autism spectrum and their families
  • Workout Warrior (updated 4/1)—an unflinching and unbiased look at workouts and supplements from someone who knows them and who doesn’t get them for free
Click here to rate your peers' projects.

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