Bdj strategic Planning Action Plans

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Broadcast & Digital Journalism Department Action Plans – 4/16/12

BDJ Strategic Planning Action Plans
This document is the collective vision of the Broadcast & Digital Journalism department. We began by reviewing the six priorities of the Newhouse Strategic Plan and then identified the initiatives within those priorities that seemed most relevant to our department’s needs at this time. Different department members, some working in teams of two, took responsibility for developing action plans to address those initiatives. Before producing this final document the entire department met to discuss each action plan being put forward.

Because this document was generated by multiple people there are some formatting inconsistencies from section to section. However we made every effort to be consistent in making clear what priorities and initiatives are addressed in each section. Also, it should be noted that there are some inherent contradictions in a document of this kind. A proposal in one area may be inconsistent with a proposal in another area. (For example our attempt at interdepartmental agility would obviously impact curriculum and goals in other areas.) Generally though, proposals are made under the departmental structure that now exists in the full realization that some of those structures could change.

Finally, while this document is written from the perspective of the BDJ department, we believe many of these action plans are universally applicable to the entire school. Again, for simplicity, this is a BDJ-centric document but that does not mean we are not open many types of collaborations with other Newhouse departments.
Respectfully submitted,

The faculty of the Broadcast & Digital Journalism department

Preeminence: Initiatives

  • Recruit and retain outstanding faculty with a passion for teaching and who create an environment that nurtures learning and creativity.

  • Support and reward excellent teaching, entrepreneurship and cutting edge scholarship.

Goal: To advance the Newhouse School’s world class status and global leadership in public communications education and to be recognized as Number One in all of our majors and programs
Recruit and retain outstanding faculty with a passion for teaching and who create an environment that nurtures learning and creativity.
Already Doing: The BDJ department excels because it has outstanding teachers who make their work with students in the classroom and laboratory the center of their academic endeavors.

Action Plan: In order to continue this preeminence, the department will continue to focus on recruiting people who are, above all else, passionate and highly competent classroom teachers. But challenges are ahead.

  • First, we see the need to cast a wider net in order to attract a more diverse teaching corps. That effort should include looking for potential teaching candidates in places beyond local television newsrooms, (e.g. alternative and community news organizations; online news outlets; other, perhaps smaller college programs) and appealing to a wide range of program alumni to help identify recruitment targets.

  • Second, we should position the department to take advantage of what will soon be a new recruitment target: earliest “digital natives” to whom the traditional broadcast newsroom from which the current faculty has sprung is something of a relic. Some of these workers may soon be seeking a life in the academy and should be identified and tracked, with the help of alumni and Professors of Practice who have good connections to the industry. We should look for professionals who have a good record of effective training and/or mentoring in their news organizations. These professionals could be a source of renewal for the department as our present faculty ages.

As new teachers are recruited, the department should emphasize that, in addition to teaching skills, we will be seeking candidates who have a fervent interest in a creative or research agenda that has the potential to make Newhouse a generator of new ideas for the news businesses and that has opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students to participate in that work. We should create innovative ways to encourage and support their work beyond the successful completion of tenure or PoP processes.

Traditionally, this has been done with course buyouts and relief. But fewer grants are allowing for buyouts and the pressures of filling teaching positions for the classes offered in the BDJ department make it difficult for administrators to encourage senior research and creative work.

So we suggest some alternative ideas:

  • Provide IA help for classes that do not currently get that support, notably BDJ 204. That will help ease the burden of these classes and allow professors to engage in research.

  • Provide monetary incentives to senior professors who engage in research or creative work and do so as work overloads.

  • Reduce what is considered a full teaching load to give senior faculty more time to explore and execute research and other projects. This would also make us more competitive in hiring new faculty. (For example an apples-to-apples comparison with USC and ASU shows that full time tenured faculty at those institutions teach 4 classes per year versus our 6 courses).

  • Recruit into the Ph.D. program students who have had professional experience in news and who can make effective classroom teachers when needed. This may also require a more liberal policy toward teaching by the Ph.D. program administrator.

  • Identify and mentor local news professionals who can become reliable and effective adjunct professors to teach lower division BDJ courses like 204 and 311.

Support and reward excellent teaching, entrepreneurship and cutting edge scholarship.
Already doing: Newhouse supports faculty members in various stages of their careers with the goal of maintaining a reputation for preeminent teaching and student success. Soon after they arrive and throughout their first year of teaching, junior faculty members are exposed to Newhouse strategies and philosophies in the Future Professoriate Program. In their third years, junior faculty are afforded a semester free from classroom responsibilities to dedicate themselves to pursuing their creative agendas, which form the basis for future research projects. Daily internal communications and monthly faculty meetings highlight professor contributions to scholarly publications, industry collaborations and academic awards. All faculty members are awarded several thousand dollars a year to assist in their scholarship endeavors.
Action Plan: Areas where more support could be provided by Newhouse to faculty focus on the opportunity to pursue creative, scholarly work. Specifically, Newhouse could do more to facilitate cross-departmental, inter-university and professor-industry collaboration through:
-creating a centralized location (physical or virtual) where faculty could share their ideas for research;

-working with the university to promote an on-line clearinghouse for university-wide research ideas and projects;

-working with the university to channel various and disparate funding sources to an inter-departmental team working on a single project;

-reaching out to academic organizations such as BEA and AEJMC to create a network where research collaboration opportunities among schools across the country could be more easily discovered.

Agility: Initiatives

            • Develop a system to ensure faculty and staff are up to date in their understanding of new trends and technologies.

            • Reorganize journalism major to address new industry realities.

Goal: Create a culture that values flexibility, nimbleness and openness to change and which encourages pursuit of emerging opportunities in the media and communications.

Develop a system to ensure faculty and staff are up to date in their understanding of new trends and technologies.

Action Plan: Fund annual visits for at least two BDJ members to visit cutting-edge news and/or other media outlets. Travel would rotate among the BDJ faculty and staff from year to year. Those on these visits would be required to write an executive brief and make a presentation to the rest of the BDJ department (and other interested parties) as soon as possible after the trip but no later than the next semester after the trip. These briefs and presentations should also, when appropriate, include lesson plans to help other faculty members integrate any “best practices” into BDJ classes. These trips could also be used as the basis for annual “State of the Field” seminars.
Reorganize journalism major to address new industry realities.
Action Plan: Changes curriculum in tandem with other J departments to increase convergence and agility. All J students (from BDJ and other majors) would take the same curriculum through a new COM 200 cross-media writing class. COM 200 would then replace each department’s current first level writing class and would allow students in each J major to progress further in another major than is possible under the current curriculum with current pre-requisites. This plan has been shared with NOJ, MAG & MPD departments for their consideration.
First Year and Second Years: Credits
COM 101 1

COM 107 3

COM 117 3

BDJ 265 1

BDJ 204 3

COM 200* Cross-mediaWriting 3

BDJ 311 3

BDJ 364** 3

Second Year:
MPD 205 2
Third and Fourth Years:
COM 344 1

NEW 345 3

BDJ 464 3

COM 505 3

BDJ 465 3

COM 500*** Journalism Entrepreneurship 1

Electives**** 6



*COM 200 – Cross-media Writing


-Modules / # of Weeks:

Newsworthiness 2 weeks

Print 5 weeks

BJ 5 weeks

Web 2 weeks

Newsworthiness 2 weeks

BJ 5 weeks

Print 5 weeks

Web 2 weeks

-Team Taught
**BDJ 364

-Lecture and “mirrored” 4 hr. lab (Profs to get 1.5 teaching credits)

-Incorporate BDJ writing slammer into extra lab time

-Incorporate current BDJ 204 content units into extra lab time
***COM 500 – Journalism Entrepreneurship

-BDJ, NOJ, MAG (J-track students), MPD (J-track students)

-Seminars on latest in J.

-Interdepartmental student projects - entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial
****Electives (9 credits)

-More opportunity to explore interests

-Most importantly in terms of agility, COM 200 becomes the common writing course for all J students regardless of specialty. Students can then use their 9 elective credits to “move up the ladders” of the other J specialties.

Multiplatform and Multimedia Content Creation: Initiatives

  • Establish a cross-departmental digital content production initiative

  • Develop a multi-media repository for presentation and archival purposes

Goal: Teach all Newhouse students to produce content on multiple platforms using the latest technologies and multimedia tools.
Ensure that the curriculum in all majors is designed to teach all students to produce multimedia content on multiple platforms
Already doing: The committee believes the BDJ department has been aggressive in this area and that an effective way to promote it is to make a list of what we are doing available to all other Newhouse departments and obtain from each of them a list of what they are doing. That way we can learn from one another and we can see what else BDJ might be able to incorporate as well as enabling decisions as to what programs and practices should be effected school-wide.
We define social media as a platform to encompass Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest, Foursquare and whatever comes along next!
Here is a list of what we have come up with in the BDJ curriculum.

    • COM 117

      • Platforms: TV/video and web

      • Content: Projects include writing for a web site, writing and producing a mini-documentary, writing and producing a PSA.

    • BDJ 204

      • Platform: web, radio and newspaper, social media

      • Content: Students produce web packages including text with hyperlinks original photographs, and captions. They tweet from the field. Their final group project is a web package with text, original photographs and captions and an audio and/or video element.

    • BDJ 311

      • Platform: Web, The NewsHouse. Radio

      • Content: Students write for radio, web and TV

    • BDJ 364

      • Platform: NCC News in-house radio news and NCC News Online, social media

      • Content: Students produce news stories and newscasts for radio, and the web and news headlines and promotions on twitter

    • PHO 204

      • Platform: TV/video

      • Content: Students produce TV stories

    • BJD 464

      • Platform: TV, and web, NCC News Online. Sometimes NCC News TV newscasts, Social media mobile?

      • Content: Students produce TV stories and a version for the web. They write

news headlines and promotions on twitter

    • BDJ 465

      • Platform: TV, web, social media and mobile.

      • Content: Students produce stories for TV and the web. One person each class is a web producer, writing multiple stories for the web, using other multimedia elements (maps, graphs, etc.)

    • Electives

BDJ 500 Sports Reporting (radio)

Platform: radio

Content: sports play-by-play, sportscasts, interviews, sports talk

BDJ 500 Sports Reporting (TV)

Platform: TV, packages on YouTube

Content: production of sports packages, sportscasts.

BDJ 567Advanced Producing

Platform: TV and web

Content: Students work professionally in local TV stations producing for a professional TV webcast and (in some cases) for its website

NOTE: Required skills courses and JTools instructions listed in Appendices A and B of this section.
2. Design and build a state of the art studio facility that will benefit all students who are creating content

Two BDJ faculty members now serve on the studio committee.

3. Seek partnerships and collaborations with industry to make use of new and existing facilities

This is covered in a separate area.

4. Establish a cross-departmental digital content production initiative

This is connected to #1 and would progress based on what happens there. One idea is to build on the Newshouse.

5. Develop a multi-media repository for presentation and archival purposes
Note: This is also included in the studio project.
The committee agrees that setting up such a repository is extremely important and suggests that a Newhouse committee be set up to make this happen, with one or two members from BDJ on that committee. NICS would design the repository. We agree that this should be done digitally as saving a large amount of material in physical form would require a large space and would limit use of the material to one student/faculty member (or group) at a time.
Converting large amounts of physical material will require a great deal of digital conversion. One or more people probably will have to be hired to handle the conversion and then be in charge of cataloguing and keeping the repository current and accessible. This could be done by work-study people but that would lead to repeated breaks in continuity. Students could contribute but without a professional overseeing the creation and maintenance of the project it will be extremely difficult for it to be effective at the level we want.
A suggestion is that Newhouse seek grant money for this project and/or look for a naming donor to finance the project.
The project would require each department in Newhouse to identify material it has and will have to contribute to the repository.

Appendix A: Recap: required skills courses


COM 117

BDJ 204

BDJ 311

BDJ 364

PHO 204

BDJ 464

BDJ 465



writing only

writing only








X (Newshouse)


(NCC News Online)


(NCC News Online)


(NCC News Online)



writing only; final project option

writing only







final project option

writing only





Mobile/small screen








Social media
































Google plus








Appendix B:Jtools schedule for Spring, 2012














Internet Searching & Validity of Sources



Intro to Online Resources



Finding People Online



Finding Stories Online



Basic Mapping



Mapping: More


Web Extras: Timelines and Curation



Diving Into Databases



Online Tools for the Job Hunt




Apps Reporters Need to Know










Industry Leadership and Partnerships: Initiatives

  • Identify potential partner companies and share what we have to offer (e.g., faculty research, student internships, faculty externships and executive education.)

  • Create one and two-week residencies for professionals who can spend more time on campus to share their knowledge and expertise with students.

Goal: Seek out industry partnerships and collaborations to provide learning and research opportunities for faculty and students and to maintain strong ties to the profession.

Identify potential partner companies and share what we have to offer (e.g., faculty research, student internships, faculty externships and executive education.)
Already Doing: Part of the overall goal is to “maintain strong ties to the profession.” This is already central to what the BDJ faculty does. We are in constant contact with working professionals. One major reason for that is the almost daily request from news mangers looking for students to hire. Also working professionals as both in-person and Skype guests are a staple of all of our classes. Extending and formalizing these relationships makes perfect sense.

Action Plan: The Newhouse BDJ faculty—in a strategy to build journalistic partnerships in the broadcast industry---will approach the major media players among the nation’s Top 30 group owners. In addition to the primary networks, (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC) the most likely targets include Hearst, Gannett, Tribune, Belo, Cox, Scripps, Meredith, Media General, LIN Television and the Post-Newsweek station group.

We as a faculty would propose a two-week residency for news professionals… one in the Fall, another residency during the Spring semester each academic year. The invited professional might be a news director, an executive producer, a general manager, a news talent recruiter, a broadcast legal associate or even a broadcast group news consultant. Realizing the likelihood of any professional leaving the workplace for two weeks might present problems, we would explore the option of two professionals visiting for just one week each semester. In either case, Newhouse would offer the visiting guest an honorarium or stipend as an additional incentive.

These media leaders would share hands-on experience with our BDJ majors and faculty a) through evening workshops in the Herg auditorium open to all Newhouse students and b) through guest appearances in lectures and labs. Such an in-residence partnership would help immerse our student journalists with a reality check into the day-to-day business of producing 6-7 hours of live content every day, and help them develop a critical mindset about the news industry.

The goals of the residency program would be to:

  • Expose student journalists to the current but fast-changing work environment –the challenges, the opportunities and the distractions-- in both large and small market broadcast news operations

  • Assist students in making intelligent choices when researching and evaluating post-graduation career opportunities in any of America’s 210 broadcast/digital markets.

  • Provide networking/mentoring experiences for Newhouse students with in-residence guest speakers promising priority access to summer/winter internships --or after graduation, first consideration for reporting/producing jobs in entry-level markets.

  • Allow Newhouse faculty to stay current with new journalism strategies and business models for engaging a younger, more mobile audience

  • Explore the myths and realities behind 21st century innovations in delivering news content to a rapidly changing consumer demographic.

  • Interact with students on the latest trends in social and emerging media, community engagement in the newsroom with real world examples of how the employment of social media in newsgathering has rewards and pitfalls

  • Tap into an already-strong network of Newhouse alums in the industry by creating a permanent relationship between visiting media professionals and all Newhouse students.

II. The Newhouse BDJ faculty will establish and conduct annually a week-long seminar for the newest and brightest first-time broadcast newsroom managers and New Media web leaders.

Utilizing the resources of the Herg Auditorium, the program would build on the in-residence partnership and be structured similarly to high-profile symposiums hosted by journalists at USC’s Carole Kneeland Project and at the Poynter Institute…bringing together a team of academic specialists (Newhouse BDJ professors) and an invited panel of veteran industry professionals from the news management ranks: (R-TV news directors, producers, assignment managers,).

The seminar would engage in a practical, straightforward conversation aimed at strengthening the industry’s newest leaders in adapting to the new realities of doing more with less.

Among the talking points, the symposium would address:

  • Issues of newsroom leadership,

  • Communicating with your people on deadline

  • Diversity—assuring your staff and on-air product mirror the community

  • Journalism ethics and the law –the new reality

  • Using social media skills to drive traffic to your web and newscast

  • Embracing change via technological breakthroughs

  • Filling a daily six hour news hole…with six reporters

  • The cost of competing in an HD world

  • Recruiting and training multi-media journalists

  • Experimenting with new business models in the face of TV revenue and viewership declines,

Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Research: Initiatives

  • Hold an annual “State of the Field” in each major to keep faculty and students up-to-date on trends and issues in the communications industry.

  • Establish a research center and think tank to facilitate and promote faculty and student research.

Goal: Foster a culture that nurtures and supports innovation, entrepreneurship, and research activities of faculty, staff and students and enhances the reputation of the Newhouse School.

Hold an annual “State of the Field” in each major to keep faculty and students up-to-date on trends and issues in the communications industry.

Already doing: The BDJ department already partners with the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Associated Press on a bi-annual, day long Electronic News seminar. At least one of the panels could be re-badged “State of the Field.”

Action Plan: During the years when the NYSAB & AP seminar is not happening, a separate “State of the Field” could be staged based on the findings of the faculty visits to cutting-edge news and/or other media outlets mentioned as part of the “Agility” initiative. Using contacts made during these visits invitations can be extended to working professionals to be part of the seminar. Student attendance would be required.
Establish a research center and think tank to facilitate and promote faculty and student research.
Action Plan: Because the Newhouse school is currently conducting a search for a journalism innovation professor we don’t want to get too far out in front on this point when the person who will be leading us in this area isn’t here. Suffice to say, working with this person and other departments the BDJ department would plan to support and be fully engaged in this effort.

Diversity: Initiatives

  • Identify and make arrangements with international news organizations to offer internships to BDJ students who study abroad.

  • Similar to the present initiative on new and social media, design a program of teaching of issues relating to diversity in various levels of the curriculum.

Goal: Increase the availability of international internship resources; standardize and bolster resources for teaching of diversity issues in BDJ courses.

Identify and make arrangements with international news organizations to offer internships to BDJ students who study abroad.

Already Doing: Internships are not required, but strongly recommended in the BDJ curriculum. International internships are possible, on an ad hoc basis.

Action Plan: Design course offerings abroad in cooperation with SUA that could be combined with internships with news organizations. Work with SUA to build and increase relationships with potential internship sites abroad.
Similar to the present initiative on new and social media, design a program of teaching of issues relating to diversity in various levels of the curriculum.

Already Doing: Diversity is addressed in courses in the BDJ Department in a number of ways. There are designated assignments, examples brought up on an ad hoc basis, and discussions planned in syllabi. No coordination exists at present—there is no general agreement about whether certain aspects of issues related to diversity ought to be taught in specific courses.

Action Plan: A small group would put together a list of subjects and determine which should be placed in various courses in the BDJ sequence. Modules would be designed to be used by instructors in the various courses. Diversity modules that relate to newsgathering could be inserted into early classes in the curriculum, while modules that deal with understanding the audience and a diverse workforce could be put into later courses.

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