GJMole is a hyperlocal news experiment conducted by the Emerging Media (MASS 441) class at Colorado Mesa University. GJMole is not an official school publication, rather it is a sandbox-style learning experiment in technology and journalism.
Students in the course are generally seniors and juniors working toward a degree in Mass Communication. All students have completed courses in news writing, design, and most have either completed or are concurrently enrolled in media law and ethics courses.
While most of the content on GJMole has been peer edited, the instructions to the editors are to edit for libel concerns and wildly incorrect information. The burden of correct writing practices falls on the authors.
At midterm and at the end of the semester, students turn in their five and ten best content items respectively. All other content produced is not given an individual grade. This practice is intended to encourage students to experiment and produce work they are curious about, but unsure about the method of execution.
Spelling, grammar and general sloppiness in writing are all considered when calculating grades. Common errors or gross mistakes in style or practice are used as a basis for classroom lectures reviewing proper practices in AP style, writing, photography, video production, podcasting, etc.
In other words, GJMole is a tool used for a course that uses a modified flipped-classroom format. Mistakes are common, but so are learning experiences that cannot be duplicated through traditional writing exercises. We expect readers to comment on stories so that the authors will fully realize the accountability they have to their audience when it comes to accuracy, careful writing, and engagement.
If you would like to know more about the history of GJMole and lessons learned by both the students and the instructor, visit Hyperlocal Handbook.