Class Syllabus

Fall 2014
Course Information
MMJ 322.K301 Online News Page Design & Editing

Mondays and Wednesdays: 6:15pm-7:30pm
Instructor: Jonah Brucker-Cohen

Email: bruckercohen.jonah (at)
Description: This course explores the planning and production of news web sites, along with the techniques for managing multimedia and social media content. Students review the web’s best news sites along with the latest methods and tools used to build them – from HTML and Dreamweaver to Photoshop, WordPress and beyond. Prerequisites: MMJ 222.

Course Learning Objectives
– Students will have a solid understanding of digital news production.
– Students will be familiar with web site project management, including site planning documents, news design, production, and QA.
– Students will be able to create and modify WordPress sites
– Students will be able to process images and mock up web pages using Photoshop and CSS.
– Students will understand the basics of HTML and Dreamweaver.
– Students will understand the concepts of usability and user-centered design.
– Students will be able to optimize sites to increase traffic using SEO and web metrics.

Materials/ Use of Technology
The course will utilize a range of reading materials.


We will use examples from the book:

The Fundamentals of Interactive Design, Michael Salmond / Gavin Ambrose, AVA Books, 2013
Grading Policy
Attendance, participation & punctuality: 30%
Class assignments, quizzes: 20%
Final project: 50%

Accommodating Disabilities
Lehman College is committed to providing access to all programs and curricula to all students.  Students with disabilities who may need classroom accommodations are encouraged to register with the Office of Student Disability Services.  For more information, please contact the Office of Student Disability Services, Shuster Hall, Room 238, phone number, 718-960-8441.
Please inform me via email if you are unable to attend class. If you have more than three unexcused absences, your grade will be reduced. Please arrive to class promptly as a courtesy to your fellow students. Chronic lateness will result in a reduced grade. Assignments are due when indicated. Late assignments will be penalized.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Policy
Statement may be found in student handbook.  For more information refer to

Class Calendar  (Subject to modification by instructor)

Module I: Mastering WordPress/CMS
Students will learn how to produce a news site using WP: how to customize themes using plug-ins, widgets, HTML and CSS. They will also learn how to work with a host server, how to FTP and how to manage site files.

Sept 3: Digital news formats, WordPress functionality

Course overview, transformation of news from a print to online medium, elements of a web site, modifying WordPress templates.

September 8 & 10: Introduction to HTML & CSS
Review of HTML and CSS basics. Page formatting with HTML, links, tables. Designing sites with CSS.

September 15 & 17:  Advanced photo editing
Using Photoshop to edit, correct and process images for the Web. Using images and graphics in a WP design, WP multimedia plugins.

Module II: Advanced news design for journalists, immersive narratives

Students will learn about the elements of site design, layout and usability. They will advance their Photoshop skills so that they can produce basic web graphics. They will also create an immersive, multimedia feature story.

September 22: Digital design – use of colors, typography, and images
Review of visual storytelling, Photoshop (PS) tools. Adjustment layers brightness/contrast, color correction, layers, sizing, cropping, selections, masks, saving for the web, organizing with Bridge.

September 24: Class Cancelled

September 29 & October 1: Using Photoshop to mock up a news site
Understanding principles of web design, page layouts, online graphics, creating navigation, rollovers and logos. Modifying PS files to create unique site designs. Review of slices and usability — creating sites that reflect online behaviors of users.

October 6 & October 8: Multimedia story production
Weaving together video, audio, Google maps, text and graphics into a documentary site.

Module III: Code for storytellers

Students will learn how to create basic web pages using HTML and CSS. They will also be introduced to Javascript and PHP

September 29 & October 1: Introduction to Dreamweaver (DW), CSS/HTML

Basic page formatting with HTML, links, tables. CSS rules for text, ID and class attributes, and selectors.

October 6 & October 8: Dreamweaver tools, insert panel
Adding content to a DW page. Creating navigation, spry objects, working with backgrounds.

October 13: Class Cancelled
October 15: Developing a brochure site with HTML 5
Using CSS for page layout and modification, introduction to HTML 5 tags.

Module IV: Creating a news or documentary web sites

Students will use Photoshop and Dreamweaver to create the final project, a news or documentary web site.

October 20 & 22: Story selection and web site production process 

Identifying good story ideas, sources, and media. Planning documents: content outline, site map, wireframes, design brief and tech spec.

October 27 & 29 : Adding links, inserting media Final content outlines due. Developing site maps and storyboards using tools like MoqupsWireframe, Cliffy, Lumzy, and Mockingbird

Module V: Final Projects

Your final project must consist of a website with the following attributes:

1. You must include a site map / information architecture map of how your site functions / the page layout & flow

2. You must research your audience and scope of your site – explain who will be reading this and why

3. Design Criteria – color scheme, fonts, graphics, multimedia

4. Reasoning –  What is the primary message of this site? What are you trying to communicate.

5. Depth – Build on your content – pull from outside sources and generate your own content


November 3 – December 10: Work on Final projects – In class critiques
December 15 – Final Presentations – Look at Final presentation guidelines for how to prep your presentations

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