"The Rig"

Elsebeth Frey (Instructor) , Asbjørn Jørgensen (Researcher)

Topics: DJMX , Integrated newsroom , Multimedia , Web/Online

Intensive integrated media production workshop about press freedom

70 students work in groups in a coordinated newsroom setup of online journalism with text, video, audio, photo – and work with global press issues with a local focus. Emphasis on students' reflections.

University: Oslo and Akershus University
College/Department: College of Applied Sciences / Department of Journalism and Media Studies
Study Program: Journalism Level: BA
Students: 0 ECTS: 0 Duration: 3 weeks

'The Rig' is a 3 weeks long workshop summing up the students' first year of studies of the BA in Journalism.
From the start of their journalism education, the students produce journalistic stories for the school's web/news site 'Journalen'. In a rolling shift between different media platforms, they spend a couple of weeks each time with radio, tv, print/visual and web, before moving on to next media – in total 6-8 weeks per semester working in these 'media shifts' of production oriented journalism training.
Aims of The Rig are:

To grasp the meaning and significance of press freedom
To achieve journalistic skills
To use the possibilities that the web gives

The Rig about Press Freedom is introduced by the start of their 2nd semester (spring semester), with lectures and a fact finding assignment. In a parallel course, the students learn about human rights, minorities, press freedom and more.
And then in May, they work 3weeks full time with The Rig about Press Freedom. The first week is set aside for researching and producing stories. The second week is for improving and finalising. The third and last week is for publishing, reflection, and feedback.

The Rig Teaching Environment

The Rig Teaching Environment



Practical exercise / application

Learning outcome

Fact finding

Group assignment:Finding basic and relevant information about different countries, and the situation of the press in that country.Students work in groups of 7, each group has one specific country.Their search begins among 'starting sources', a list of open sources containing online databases, NGOs, statistic services etc.Each student in the group must start their search in different sources; however, the group must file a combined and structured document.(see link examples below)

Preparation for multimedia assignment.

Strong basis for focused research.

Forces groups to reach common level of knowledge. 

Journalistic stories on Press Freedom

Group assignment, 1 week:

Multimedia stories about press freedom issues in the country assigned to the group.

Groups work with a teacher giving advice and guidance.

The different elements include as a minimum:

-News story/stories.

-Background story/stories.

-Media landscape information (as separate story, or integrated in other stories).

-Story or stories on current issues and controversies.

-Facts boxes and links.

They must produce text, video and photos.

Other requirements:

Use people sources in or from the particular country. Find voices reflecting more sides to the selected angle.

To grasp the meaning and significance of press freedom

To achieve journalistic skills

To use the possibilities that the web gives 

Improvement of stories and website

Group assignment, 1 week.

Students work with a new teacher this week.

One day is set aside for a first review of all groups' work.

Three full days are set aside for improving and changing of the group's stories, and for finalising each group's sub-website.

Lists of sources and content are mandatory parts of this work (but are not published).

To grasp the meaning and significance of press freedom

To achieve journalistic skills

To use the possibilities that the web gives

Publishing, reflection, feedback.

Group and individual assignments, 1 week.

An editors' desk consisting of 4 teachers read, view and check all stories and websites. Students must be available for contact by the desk.

Students produce individual reports on their work (reflections on working methods, ethical issues, group work, etc.).

The Rig is concluded by a 1 day seminar with presentations, and assessment by external experts on media and press freedom.

To grasp the meaning and significance of press freedom

To achieve journalistic skills

To use the possibilities that the web gives


All assignments throughout the semester must be submitted and approved.
The stories submitted for "The Rig" must be accepted for publication in order to have them approved.
Students must participate in group work and attend the group reviews.



Title / Description of content

List of web-based resources

Some examples from the 'starting sources' list given to the students for the fact finding assignment; see more examples at the bottom:

Human development index: http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/ 


Corruption index: http://cpi.transparency.org/

Index on censorship: http://www.indexoncensorship.org/

Longer list of web based resources

More examples from the 'starting sources' list given to the students for the fact finding assignment (see above):

Human development index: http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/

Oil production data : http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Energy/Oil/ 

The World Bank: http://data.worldbank.org/country



Import and export data:

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/eco_exp_goo_and_ ser-economy-exports-goods-and-services

Corruption index: http://cpi.transparency.org/

Index on Censorship: http://www.indexoncensorship.org/

The World Factbook:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world- factbook/

Reporter sans Frontieres: http://en.rsf.org/

Committee to Protect Journalists – http://www.cpj.org

International Federation of Journalists: http://www.ifj.org

International Press Institute http://www.freemedia.at

Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org/

Freedom House: http://www.freedomhouse.org/

Article 19: http://www.article19.org/

Institute for War and Peace Reporting: http://iwpr.net/

Magazine "Journalisten": http://www.journalisten.no

Amnesty International: http://www.amnesty.org

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association: http://ilga.org/


'The Rig' 2014 about Press Freedom in the World: http://journalen.hioa.no/journalen/Pressefrihet2014/

'Journalen', the news site used by all production workshops of the Department of Journalism: http://journalen.hioa.no/journalen/


Download | The Rig Model Course.pdf (94kb)

The Rig Model Course