The essentials: Your blog, the course outline and managing your time

Document: JN8501 Course Outline (Spring/Summer 2019)

Welcome to the first week of JN8501: MRP 1 – Story Development!

This online course is the first in a sequence of courses designed to help you research, develop and produce your Major Research Projects. We will explore current journalism practice in relation to your project objectives, focusing on the preliminary stages of research and story development. We’ll also be looking at the fundamentals of effective digital, narrative, audio and video feature projects.

This course does not require you to sign onto D2L Brightspace to view the course outline and read and submit assignments. My blog will be where you’ll find information about the course and weekly assignments. It’s a good idea to bookmark it. You will be posting to each of your individual blogs as part of your assignments, which include media critiques, reflections, secondary research and notes on your reporting. Please review the course outline closely and only email me with questions AFTER you have finished reading it.

You must set up your blog before the end of the first week of this course, June 14. Your first three assignments must be completed on the blogs.

To set up your individual blog:
1. Go to
2. Sign in using your Ryerson username (without and password.
3. Email Lindsay Hanna ( once you have set up your account.

As I’ve just said, our primary mode of instruction in this class will be via the course blogs.

Instructor’s blog:
Here you will find a new blog post every Monday from June 10-July 19. It will contain links to the week’s reading, listening and viewing materials as well as details about upcoming assignments. I’ll also share examples of exceptional features in the news.

Individual blogs:
This link is your hub for all blogs for this course. You’ll find links to yours and your classmates’ blogs. While you will be posting most of your assignments to your blog, you can also use it for your own notes and reflections on your MRP. This hub will be up and running after the first week of class, once everyone has created their individual blogs.

Online learning and managing your time

All of your course materials and assignments will also be available on D2L Brightspace at the start of this course. You can choose to complete some assignments ahead of time, such as the digital feature critique and the research and pre-interview plan. However, you must read, watch and listen to the course materials in the order in which they appear on the course outline. These are requirements, not just suggestions. You will miss essential concepts and insights into your MRP if you do not complete the coursework in the order in which it is presented.

Your feedback on your classmate’s research and pre-interview plan can only be completed between July 12-19. If you need more time, please contact me directly to make arrangements.

You have been given more than six weeks toward the end of the course to complete your extended treatment for your MRP. Use your time wisely. Treatments that don’t sufficiently reflect a depth of research, reporting and analysis and offer no significant information beyond the preliminary plan will receive a failing grade. Successful completion of this course is a prerequisite for JN8502 MRP II: Storytelling Seminar in the Fall semester.