I will be teaching an online undergraduate and graduate course in “Social Media and the News” at DePaul University in the spring term.

If you are an instructor at another university, or a student interested in enrolling in either the undergraduate or graduate sections, please feel free to contact me with any questions. The course overview is below.


Graduate Section

JOUR 542: Social Media and the News

DePaul University, College of Communication

Section 301, Class # 36412, Spring Quarter 2018


Undergraduate Section

JOUR 376 “Topics in Journalism”: Social Media and the News

DePaul University, College of Communication

Section 601, Class # 32402 , Spring Quarter 2018


Instructor: Dr. Jill Hopke, Assistant Professor of Journalism

Contact: jhopke@depaul.edu (I strive to respond to emails within one business day, excluding weekends); 312-362-7641 (office)

Office location: 1123 Daley, 14 E. Jackson, Loop Campus

Office hours: TBA (and by email appointment)

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jillhopke

Twitter: @jillhopke

Course Description

Journalists use mobile devices and social media in newsgathering, distributing content and engagement with active audiences. This course blends the theory and practice of social media to provide you will a hands-on introduction to, and practice on, a digital-first approach to journalism. We will analyze and apply a range of social and mobile media tools.

This course has a duel purpose:

  • On a skills level, you’ll be able to hone your professional social media practice and to build your technical skills with social media apps and platforms. By the end of the quarter you’ll have an online professional portfolio and should have developed a “voice” on social platforms for your professional self; and
  • We will put a critical lens to social journalism and develop a grounding in social media and news concepts and the application of journalistic ethics to mobile and social media, that you can then apply as you embark on your career in this ever-evolving field.

The course covers emerging theory on social media, including: networked gatekeeping, social listening as applied to journalism, audience engagement and analytics, citizen journalism, visual storytelling, best practices for content curation and covering breaking news events with social tools, as well as verification of social content and ethics. You will develop and implement a professional social media strategy, practice with a variety of mobile journalism and social media tools and curate an online professional portfolio. For your final project, you’ll conduct a social media audit and develop a professional social media plan.

Learning Objectives

Our learning objectives for the quarter:

  • Develop a “mobile-first” mindset for your reporting and mobile newsgathering technical skills;
  • Describe the changing role of audiences and the impact on journalism;
  • Be able to assess user-generated content (UGC) from social media apps and platforms and locate reliable information from social media to use in your reporting;
  • Design and actively manage your personal professional “brand” on social media;
  • Demonstrate the use of audience analytics to improve your professional social media strategy;
  • Assess the effectiveness of news organizations social media strategies and policies;
  • Identify how the core journalistic concepts of verification and objectivity apply to mobile journalism and social media;
  • Analyze future trends in social, “digital-first” journalism; and
  • Complete the Facebook for Journalists Certificate (joint with the Poynter Institute).


Adornato, A. (2018). Mobile and social journalism: A practical guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press.

Textbook website: http://mobileandsocialmediajournalism.com/chapters/ 


Multimedia Packages (30% of grade). You will produce three story packages. For every story, you’ll use a mobile device and apps for the majority of your reporting. You are expected to use social media tools to engage online during your reporting and to distribute your stories. For each, consider why the story matters, who is impacted, potential sources, and how you’ll use social media tools and apps in your reporting.

Drills (15% of grade). You’ll complete a series of social and mobile media drills throughout the quarter. These drills help you learn and practice skills needed to complete major assignments.

Discussion posts (10% of grade). For each, you will be required to post on the D2L “discussions” forum on a topic related to the weekly reading. Your analyses should be thoughtful but concise (<500 words).

To receive full points, you should include quotes or screenshots of supporting evidence and include your own analyze. For reaction points, you will respond to at least two of your colleagues’ posts.

Social media activity/participation (15% of grade). I expect that you will have set-up your professional Twitter account by the second week of class and tweet at least 10 times per week throughout the quarter (this is the minimum requirement and doesn’t guarantee full credit). Aim for at least twice per weekday. Interactive engagement is encouraged and expected!

Note: I don’t require that you follow my account. I expect you to follow the course hashtag (#JOUR542 or #JOUR376). I will use this hashtag for course-related material.

Final project (social media policy/strategy analysis) (30% of grade). The project is due the first day of finals week. Late work will NOT be accepted for the final project.

Weekly Topics:

Week 1 – Journalism as Social and Active Audiences

Week 2 – The Mobile-First Newsroom

Week 3 – Developing Your Professional Social Media Brand

Week 4 – Social and Mobile Apps for Reporting

Week 5 – Mobile Journalist Field Practice

Week 6 – Video for Social Media

Week 7 – Social Media Optimization (SMO)

Week 8 – Social Media Analytics

Week 9 – Social Media Ethics

Week 10 – Mobile and Social Media in Your Career