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Capstone/Project Description

Undergraduate students using J-4974 to fulfill their capstone requirement will lead the research and analysis portion of the class, a function that is critical to the success of the station web site.

Capstone students will work as a team to conduct and evaluate original research and present recommendations based on the data. In many cases the research analyzes an element of the KOMU or KBIA websites to understand what its online users want or need. Capstone students are expected to research answers to a question affiliated with the project. That research and its conclusions should be presented at the end of the semester.

All students in the class will participate in a project. Students taking this class as an elective do not need to conduct research.

(1) Covering a green economy

Synopsis: As the economy changes, there is a bigger focus on saving money and paying attention to the environment. This is your chance to cover some of those stories for KOMU.com with its 8 Goes Green project. I would like to create a a blog-style website similar to what students completed in Fall 2009 called GoGreen573.

Research questions: What kind of "green" stories interest the general public of mid-Missouri? Is there a difference between covering business news and green business news?
[Elyse PIckle, Mark Kelly, Lauren Styler, Jessie Fowble, Bonnie Thomas]

(2) How can the journalism school better communicate with freshman?

Synopsis: As the journalism school's population grows, many of the incoming freshmen are getting lost in the hustle and bustle of a large school. The journalism school would like to take advantage of its Apple computer bundles to reach students. This year all freshmen journalism students got an iPod Touch for free with the purchase of a computer. Your job would be to enhance and expand on the tools available to the students who have an iPod.

Here's what some schools are doing with iPods:
*Abilene Christian University
*Duke researched what they did right and wrong with iPods in 2005
*A report on emerging technologies in higher ed

Research questions: How are freshmen using the iPod Touch and what are ways the journalism school can take advantage of the technology?
[Jordan Vandenberge, Tim Kanak, Meredith Miller, Allan Thompson]

(3) How can KOMU and KBIA use social networking to connect with mid-Missouri community face-to-face?

Synopsis: Your task will be to find the best tools for the station and the best ways to make this a long-term expectation for reporters, producers and web employees. You will also be expected to help advance the use of tools that exist but aren't being put to a lot of use like CoverItLive and Livestream.

KOMU has a facebook page, a twitter account and you can find it in other various places.

There are three possible opportunities to collaborate: (meaning there could be as many as three teams working under this theme but with three separate end goals)

1) Expand a how-to guide on KOMU.com that will help mid-Missourians learn how to use new media tools.

2) Help launch face-to-face training new media sessions in conjunction with KBIA's economy project. Take a look at the Public Media Camp project NPR and PBS is working on. We could do something similar in mid-MO.

3) Help launch a Twestival in mid-MO. Check out Columbia's Twestival from last year to get an idea of how it will work this year. (Last year's was put together in two weeks, we have a lot more time this year)

Research questions: How can KOMU keep up with community connections? What are the long term implications of social networks?
[Group 1: Aly Myles]
[Group 2: Eliza Murphy, Ben Paul]
[Group 3: Kasey Breda, Laura Xiao, along with volunteers @ KOMU]

(4) Can the sports department extend a high school basketball blog?

Synopsis: A team of sports reporters from this class will work on an ongoing project called "Opening Drive." It is a weekly online program that features the best of high school football in mid-Missouri.  

There has been talk for awhile on figuring out ways to extend the Opening Drive program into a weekly online show about local sports instead of just focused on the football season. We got things rolling in Fall 2009, you can help it really take off.

Research questions: What to KOMU sports viewers want when it comes to high school sports? Are there ways mid-Missouri sports fans want to interact with KOMU Sports?
[Will Maetzold, Brian Mortensen, Cassandra Novy, James Steward]

(5) Can you attract younger kids to a news site created for their age group?

Synopsis: Is it possible to create a site that attracts youth to learning and sharing the news. You would be challenged with launching a site that takes KOMU content and original content while encouraging the site's audience to participate in collecting and sharing information.

Research questions: What age group is interested niche news sites? Are there any niche news sites that focus on youth? How do those succeed?
[Erin Stevenson, Adrienne Pedersen, Laura Nichols, Chance Seales]

Additional Projects:
KBIA topic sites: Elle Moxley, Justin Rottger

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The capstone team will then make a detailed oral presentation of its research to Jen and other management of KOMU, KBIA, Columbia Missourian and/or the Missouri School of Journalism. Graduate students in the class may also choose to assist with this research presentation in lieu of their graduate assignment.

Students taking this class as an elective must choose a project, but do not have to participate in the research component.

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