Undergraduate students using J4974 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. Grad students are encouraged to be a part of a project but do not have to take part in the presentation portion.

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) Election Year Engagement

Synopsis: As the journalism school’s newsrooms work on a partnership, Project Open Vault, this is your chance to reach out into the community and find stories that go beyond what the politicians are talking about. Over the summer, #jenclassers surveyed people in Boone County to find target topics for you to focus on. Now you get to dig in. The newsrooms recently partnered with the Public Insight Network to tap into new portions of the mid-Missouri market. This could be one of our main tools we use to help this Fall. This engagement team will partner with Joy Mayer’s Missourian engagement team. You also have a chance to recruit students working on enterprise stories in B3 and people taking advanced reporting

Research questions: How does engagement play out in other news markets? Should KOMU have a year-round engagement team?
[Stacey Kafka, Cody LaGrow, Stacey Welsh, Kayleigh Milas, Alon Giboa (BTW – the site builder is interested in HTML help if you’re interested)]

(2) Social Media Management Team

Synopsis: Over the summer, KOMU purchased a new tool to manage social media, Social News Desk. The goal of this team is to analyze this tool and others  (ChartBeat, Google Analytics, Hootsuite)

Research questions: How should KOMU better incorporate social media into its newsroom workflow? Should KOMU have regular training sessions? How do other newsrooms helps its employees stay up to date?
[Stacey Ike, Andrew Weil, Wendy Mader, Mariel Seidman-Gati, Joe Chiodo]

(3) Building a consitent blog plan

Synopsis: Create an action plan and consistency to KOMU.com’s blogs: We have a tech blog, weather blog, sports blog and 8 goes green blog. None of them have been properly moved into the new komu.com! This can happen and there are ways to bring a team together to make a consistent effort. (By the way, each of you in this class will get to write for one of KOMU’s blogs at least once this semester as part of your blogging requirement.)

Research questions: How do other newsrooms manage blogs? What can you do to grow readership of KOMU blogs?


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 can assist in the projects but they must also complete substantial research or complete the graduate component of this course.

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