Team Structure

Projects 2, 3 and 4 are team projects. Project 1 is an individual project for which students work in pairs. For an overview of each project, see Required Work.

  1. You will be on different teams for all three team projects.
  2. Each person will be Project Editor once.
  3. For point value, see Grading.
  4. Each project as a whole will receive a team grade. This grade will be the same for each team member.
  5. A project may also have an individual grade. This will be based on identifiable individual work.
  6. Disputes will be resolved by your professor at your request. We might need to have an Apprentice-style boardroom meeting (but no one will be fired).
  7. Throughout each project, do your best to be fair and honest with your team colleagues, whether you are the Project Editor or not. If you help each other, the project will be better. Show up on time. Stay in close touch by phone as well as by e-mail and IM. Fact-check one another. Keep a sharp eye (and ear) out for any questionable practices.
  8. If anyone makes up, fictionalizes, plagiarizes, copies or steals anything, the whole team is at risk. Jayson Blair's bosses at The New York Times turned a blind eye to his dishonest practices. Some of those bosses had to resign as a result. In journalism, we all have to be watchful of carelessness and sloppy work by our colleagues. Watchfulness benefits all of us.
  9. Even if you are not the Project Editor, try to keep abreast of what both of your colleagues are doing for the project. When you can help, pitch in. When you need help, ask.
  10. The Project Editor will divide the tasks among all team members (including the Project Editor) in a manner that makes sense. Fairness does NOT dictate that each team member shoots the same number of photos, for example. Maybe one of you is a much better photographer than the others. Maybe a different person is a better photo editor. The Project Editor can decide who does which tasks.
  11. Team members should speak their mind -- politely. Don't let your Project Editor act like a petty dictator. But realize that compromises may well be necessary.
  12. This is a learning experience. Professional journalists tell us they need team players in their newsrooms. Experience is the best teacher. Please try to learn how a team becomes functional and effective. Make it happen.
  13. Your professor is still the boss. If there's chaos in a newsroom, then the managing editor or the news director may need to step in and take charge. If a team has a crisis of some kind, count on me to intervene -- as soon as I'm made aware of the crisis. (I am not psychic. Communicate with me before anything gets too far out of hand.)

The team grading scheme makes students feel nervous. It requires you to trust people you may not know very well. It requires you to believe that humans tend to be good and not evil. This is harder for some people and easier for others.

Keep the lines of communication open at all times -- between you and your team colleagues, and between your team and your professor.

I want you to work hard to solve problems on your own, for the good of the project, and your team grade, and your own grade. But if you hit a dead end, get in touch with me as soon as possible. Even if only to ask for advice.

Above all, just try your best to do a great job on the project! That alone will go furthest toward avoiding all problems and disputes.