Multimedia Content Strategy (Autumn 2013)

Course Description

Photographs, videos, and other forms of multimedia content play an essential role in the rhetorical and communicative work of organizations today. In NMS 509/WRD 530, we will learn about the range of multimedia genres, tools, and distribution platforms available to organizations, as well as the processes by which organizations can determine strategic and sustainable plans for creating and maintaining multimedia content. Our inquiry will be grounded in the work we do with four Chicago-area nonprofits that have an interest in developing their multimedia content strategy and practices. By applying ideas from course readings to the real situations of these organizations, we will learn about the emerging practice of content strategy, as well as the practicalities of shooting, editing, storing, and circulating multimedia content for organizational use.

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, you should be better prepared to

  • Describe both the key opportunities and the key challenges for organizations that wish to integrate multimedia content into their communications work.
  • Identify a range of hardware, software, and distribution platforms that organizations can use to capture, store, and circulate multimedia content.
  • Evaluate which multimedia tools and practices will likely be sustainable in a particular organization.
  • Recognize and produce the key genres used to determine and enact an organizational content strategy (e.g., content audits, editorial calendars).


DeVoss, D. N., Cushman, E., & Grabill, J. T. (2005). Infrastructure and composing: The when of new-media writing. College Composition and Communication, 57(1), 14-44.

Halvorson, K. & Rach, M. (2012). Content strategy for the web (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

Maugh, C. M. (2012). Seeing the world through their eyes: How Peace Corps and its volunteers confront the universalism/particularism continuum. American Communication Journal, 14(2), 14-40.

Miller, K.L. (2013). Content marketing for nonprofits: A communications map for engaging your community, becoming a favorite cause, and raising more money. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Porter, N. (2013). “Single-minded, compelling, and unique”: Visual communications, landscape, and the calculated aesthetic of place branding. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 7(2), 231-254.


  1. Paper Exploring Practitioner-Oriented vs. Academic Approaches to Multimedia Content Strategy: 1200-1700-word paper that explores the important differences between and the potential mutually reinforcing aspects of practitioner-oriented and academic approaches to multimedia content strategy.
  2. Resource Sheet for Partner Organizations: Concise resource sheet on a particular topic related to photography, video, digital asset management, or social media. The resource sheet should both summarize key information and link to useful resources. The audience for the document is our nonprofit partners: your resource sheet will be aggregated with those of your classmates and appended to each group’s recommendation report.
  3. Recommendation Report to Partner Organization: 2000-2500-word team-authored report, plus Executive Summary (not included in word count), for your partner organization. The report will include the results of a multimedia content audit; competitor/peer analyses; recommendations for tools, practices, and platforms for shooting, storing, and circulating multimedia content; and a communications timeline and editorial calendar.