Oct. 1: Creating Spotify playlists

Oct. 1 class: The next round of mini-projects are due from Katelyn Churchill, Matt Luhmann, Avni Patel and Carter Chapley. After the premiere of their projects, we are breaking up into groups to create news-inspired music playlists based on stories that have appeared in St. Louis news in the past week.

Here is your group’s mission:

  • Come up with a fun, newsy name for your group! (Examples: The Deadlines; Off The Record)
  • THIS IS IMPORTANT: Take a look at the playlist examples to get a sense of how to combine news and music. Watch out for pairings that could be offensive.
  • Previous examples:
  • Check out the master playlist from a previous class to get a sense of how to combine news and music.
  • Plug in your headphones/earbuds and start browsing local news sites. Make a list of at least 15 stories and save the links to those stories. You’ll choose 8-10 stories from this group to build your playlist.
  • Search on Spotify for songs that somehow relate to stories/videos published in the past week.
  • Be creative! Have fun! Feel free to include songs that your parents and professors have never heard of! But it’s also OK (encouraged, even!) to include music from different decades and genres.
  • Get together as a group. Settle on 8-10 songs suited for the stories on your playlist.
  • Divvy up the duties to write 3-4 sentences explaining the news connection to each song.
  • Appoint a Spotify-savvy curator to compile your playlist and a WordPress-savvy scribe to embed the playlist and write/publish your post. Each member should publish to their own blog – it is OK to copy & paste from your group members.
  • Each group member must publish a blog post containing: 1) The name of your group in the headline; 2) An embedded Spotify playlist of 8-10 songs; 3) An intro explaining the project along with brief explanation of why you picked each song and a link to the story it was inspired by; 4) The name of each person in your group, with links to your Twitter handles.
  • Last step! Each group member should tweet the link to your published blog post/playlist, along with the class hashtag #mpj2018. Explain it to your followers with some context.

Remember these helpful tips on compiling a newsy playlist, created just for you by the Texas Tribune’s Reeve Hamilton:

  • The connection to the story should be clear from the title of the song.
  • If you can’t follow the first rule, you can explain why the lyrics work. But as they say in politics, when you are explaining, you are losing.
  • With exceptions, the lyrics of the song should seem applicable to the news situation if you use your imagination and squint a little. If this is just impossible, that’s ok. But before you settle, see what other options are out there.
  • The playlist should be listenable (obviously this is subjective). But if you are going to take the time to make something like this, make something people can actually get enjoyment out of.
  • Don’t take it too seriously (but do put effort into it).

Due Oct. 1: Create a WordPress story of your livetweeting assignment! Tweet out your story link with the class hashtag and your event hashtag!

Guidelines for your WordPress story

  • Have a relevant headline that uses SEO
  • Create a lead/nut graph that entices us to read more and shares basic info for the event (5Ws and H)
  • Use your tweets to provide context—think of them as quotes for your first-person news story
  • Write original transitions and other content to help explain your embedded tweets
  • Do not stack more than two tweets together without writing a transition
  • Include at least six of your own tweets (one must be with a photo, and another must be a quote from an attendee)
  • End with a closing that gives useful info, such as the next event in the series or an in-text link to additional relevant information. (Don’t end with cheese.)


Oct. 2: Watch our class blog for a post about how to earn extra credit on News Engagement Day!


Oct. 3 class: Field trip to St. Louis Public Radio! Field trip to STL Public Radio! We will meet there at 1:10 p.m. We’ll take a tour and chat about St. Louis Public Radio’s digital/social media strategies with two editors and two journalists there. The station is at 3651 Olive St., which is one block north of campus.

  • Please arrive promptly at 1:10 p.m. We will meet in the lobby to begin our tour.


Due Oct. 3: Follow St. Louis Public Radio on Twitter and Instagram and check out the Twitter feeds of our hosts Shula Neuman, Brian Heffernan, Kae Petrin and Brent Jones. Also visit the St. Louis Public Radio website and check out its news coverage/other endeavors.

  • Before our tour, tweet one relevant, meaningful question to ONE of our hosts. Your question *must* demonstrate you’ve done some research about them and/or the station and cannot be answered by doing a simple online search. Draw questions from your analysis of the station’s social media and website.

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