Unbound magazine coverage of 9/11 attack

Spring semester, 2015 Research opportunities for TCNJ Journalism, Media and Public Health Students

One course unit, two opportunities for hands-on experience in building new media enterprises

Contact Prof. Pearson (kpearson@tcnj.edu or 215-253-8624) to enroll in JPW 391 or JPW 397 for Spring 2015

What’s this all about?

We've been telling you in every class - you've got to learn how to collaborate and work in teams. You've got to get comfortable with technology. You've got to understand social media strategy. You've got to understand the business side of the news business. This is an opportunity to do that, working in one of two small teams with a professor. One team will write a business plan for a new media venture, drawing upon the experience gained from two prior media ventures launched by the program, and input from experts. The second team will complete work on the SOAP project - an environmental information system developed over the last several years through a collaboration between computer science students, journalism and Interactive Multimedia Students, and Trenton Habitat for Humanity.

JPW 391: SOAP (Students Organized Against Pollution)

The goal of the SOAP project is to create a software system that helps residents, developers and policymakers in Trenton, New Jersey easily access information about the environmental condition of a particular piece of property. This includes whether there are pollutants, whether there have been enforcement actions or remediation efforts, the potential health effects of those pollutants and additional sources of help and information. Substantial progress has been made in the development of the system, and a prototype should be near completion by the end of 2014. Students working on this project would collaborate with computer science students working under the direction of Dr. Monisha Pulimood to augment content for the system, improve its esthetics and usability, and build a social media strategy, among other projects. Students will complete a multimedia reporting project, a mapping project, and learn to write simple scripts to scrape public data from websites.

This project will be useful to students pursuing study in public health, health communication, and the environmental studies concentration. Although students who previously took Topics: Health and Environmental Reporting are encouraged to enroll, prior experience with that class is not required.

Although the weekly meeting time for this project will be flexible. Students must be available for for approximately six joint class meetings with Prof. Pulimood's students, occurring at Tuesdays and Fridays at 12:30.

Students enrolling in the independent research course need to fill out an independent study enrollment form that must be signed by Prof. Pearson and either Dr. Jean Graham or Dr. Glenn Steinberg. The independent study enrollment form is available in the English department office, Bliss 129.

JPW 393*: Reinventing unbound

In the journalism/professional writing curriculum, the practicum course is intended to allow students to pursue a substantial project related to the management of a campus publication. For Spring, 2015, we are launching a group practicum project that

Unbound was an experiment in online journalism that originated in Kim Pearson's magazine writing class and Elizabeth Mackie's graphic design class in the spring, 1996 semester. It ran continuously from then until the end of 2008. It was based, in part, on lessons learned from an experiment in launching a print magazine, College Money, which published four issues between 1991 and 1994. In the summer of 2006, students working under the direction of Dr. Monisha Pulimood created a content management system for unbound, running on a Postgres SQL database. Due to technical limitations of the system, we were unable to implement many interactive features that had become commonplace for online publications, and the project seemed to reach a dead end.

Now, however, we have an opportunity to start fresh. Students in the Fall, 2014 Writing for Interactive Multimedia class are reconceptualizing unbound as a dynamic platform for millenials seeking knowledge and resources that will give them a leg up in pursuing media-related careers. We will use their ideas, and consultations with industry experts, as a starting point for developing a formal business plan that will include:

1. A competitive analysis
2. Market research
3. A review of potential business models
4. Prototype development
5. A preliminary financial statement

Students enrolling in the practicum need to fill out an independent study enrollment form that must be signed by Prof. Pearson and either Dr. Jean Graham or Dr. Glenn Steinberg. The independent study enrollment form is available in the English department office, Bliss 129.
*An earlier version of this announcement identified the course as JPW 397. It should be JPW 393.

Posted in Collaboration, journalism education, Research, Teaching and tagged , .


My professional background is in public information, magazine journalism, blogging and journalism education. My current research is founded on the premise that democracy requires the broad participation of a computationally fluent citizenry. Civic media industries must reflect the communities they serve at the level of ownership, research and development, news gathering, presentation and community engagement. This adds greater urgency to the already critical need to broaden participation in computing. To that end, I have collaborated on curricular models for infusing computing into journalism education at both the scholastic and collegiate levels, and for promoting civic engagement in computer science education. My current interest is in exploring the potential of stochastic networks and as enhancement to social computing tools for broadening civic participation.
While most of this blog is devoted to my research in computational journalism and trends in journalism education, I occasionally do some storytelling of my own. This blog picks up where my other blogs, Professor Kim’s News Notes (http://professorkim.blogspot.com) and The Nancybelle Project (http://kimpearson.net/nancybelle.html) left off.

Leave a Reply