Assignments & Tips

Class websites and some tips:

Course info site:

  • Syllabus and course schedule
  • Assignment details
  • Readings

Links to class forums:

 2pm Forum

5pm Forum

Your reporting site, where you’ll publish your journalism starting in October:

I will invite you to join Multimedia Reporting @ Texas State, a Facebook group, where you’ll be expected to share occasional posts, photos, maybe Facebook live

Our Twitter and Instagram hashtag is #txstmultimedia

We’ll use both Soundcloud and YouTube this semester. Our class login is: / bobcat1899

Assignment expectations! These are the things I’ll be grading you on:

 For ALL stories (print article, photo gallery, audio or video story):

  • Who, what, when, where, why
  • At least two sources; three is better

-One “official” source (an organizer, expert, etc.)

-One “participant”

  • Any relevant facts/numbers/history
  • Try to anticipate and answer questions (if you’re covering Arbor Day, be sure to show me trees; pet adoption, I’d better see and hear animals; an awareness walk, definitely people walking)

Photo essays:

  • You’ll submit at least 10 photos, using the techniques described below:

-One or two creative posed portraits;

-Otherwise, all “candids” – not staged, but images captured organically

  • Include detailed captions. You should tell me the story through your captions, so “who, what, when, where, why”
  • ID anyone we can identify in the photo including their name and a fact or two about them. For example “Kelly Kaufhold teaches multimedia journalism at Texas State.”

Audio stories:

  • About 2 minutes (between 1:30 and 2:30)
  • At least two sources; three is better
  • Introduce your interview subjects before we hear them
  • Natural sound, both under your voice at low volume and at full volume (called a “nat pop”)
  • Descriptive language – describe what you see, hear, smell, feel…

Video stories:

  • About 2 minutes (between 1:30 and 2:30)
  • At least two sources; three is better
  • Introduce your interview subjects before we hear them AND, show them to me with an introductory shot of them doing something other than the interview
  • A mix of shots, including a wide or “establishing” shot, medium shots and at least 6 closeups
  • Shoot for “say dog, see dog” (if you mention food grilling, let me see and hear food grilling)
  • Natural sound, both under your voice at low volume and at full volume (called a “nat pop”)
  • An on camera standup is optional but if you do a standup, be as creative as possible, including using props, interacting with a scene or doing multiple shots. Remember, and standup should do one of two things:
  • Help put us, the viewers, “at the scene” by you interacting with the environment, or;
  • Tell us information that you don’t have video for (for example, “last week’s city council meeting…”)

Print articles:

  • At least 750 words
  • At least 3 sources
  • All relevant facts, numbers, statistics, history, nuance, explanation. Print articles have more information and details than other stories


  • These should complement the story, not try to tell it all alone
  • Use any tool (Canva,, interactive data) but approach it from a storytelling perspective, so it should be clear, understandable and attractive

Pro tips:


“IFS”- ISO, f-Stop and Shutter Speed

This video shows how to reset these settings on our Canon Rebel cameras

 ISO          Low light = high ISO (3200 or 6400); bright light = low ISO (100 or 200)

 F-Stop    Controls “aperture” or how much light your camera lets in;

Also adjusts “depth of field,” or how much of the world is in focus. Low f-

Stop (f 3.5 or 4.2) good for low light and seriously narrow focus (a few

things in focus; lots out of focus)

 Shutter Speed        Your last setting – controls how fast the lens fires. Speed is

good; a slow shutter speed risks blurry photos. The display will be in

fractions of a second, 10 “20” is “1/10th of a second”

Photo technique:

  • Work the room” – get up high, down low; stand on something and hold the camera over your head; kneel on the floor and hold the camera on the ground; set it on a desk or against a wall; walk around and look for interesting angles
  • Use depth – frame your shot with the camera really close to one thing, like a tree branch, notebook on your desk or a window frame on a door; and something else in the distance, like your subject
  • “capture a moment” – “moments” almost always involve either emotion or motion – either a person, an animal or something else moving, frozen in time and just the right “moment.”

Audio (including for video):

  • If you’re covering a scene with music or a defined audio (a drag race, for example, foot race, rushing water, etc.) roll audio and video and record that uninterrupted for 2 minutes (or for a whole song). That will be really useful for smooth editing later.
  • Use a wireless microphone, if you can – and let an important interview subject just wear it for a stretch while they go about their business. You’ll capture interesting voice audio that you can use as “nat pops” in your story (like, “hey, great job!”)