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Comms 385 Syllabus

Comms 385 Syllabus

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Published by Dale Cressman
Syllabus for Television News Producing at Brigham Young University.
Syllabus for Television News Producing at Brigham Young University.

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Dale Cressman on Jun 08, 2013
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Fall 2009 – Brigham Young University
: Dr. Dale Cressman
: 308 BRMB, 422-1686
: Mon 3-5:30; Tues 9:30-11 a.m.
Lab Instructor
: Chad Curtis
: 151 BRMB, 422-7110
(801) 362-8973
Communications 325 (Broadcast News Reporting)
Required materials
Dow Smith,
Power Producer: A Practical Guide to TV News Producing,
4th ed
. (RTNDA,2008). This book provides how-to information for your lab work and is the primary text for theopening weeks of the course. It is available at the Bookstore. The class schedule will refer tothis book as “
.”Tom Rosenstiel, et al.,
We Interrupt This Newscast: How to Improve Local News and Win Ratings, Too 
(Cambridge University Press, 2007). This book provides the latest research onwhat does and what doesn’t attract audiences. It is available in the Bookstore. The classschedule will refer to this book as “
.”AR&D (Audience Research & Development),
Live, Local, Broken News: The Re-engineering of Local TV
(AR&D, 2009). This book is available on Amazon.com. The classschedule will refer to this book as “
The New York Times 
is available for free on the first floor of the Brimhall Building andat the Kennedy Center (just south of the library). A limited number of copies areavailable on a first come, first serve basis. Weekly quizzes will be given on currentaffairs, as reported in the
You may also read online, but you may miss storiesyou might otherwise see in the print edition.
Other readings:
Additional readings will be provided on Blackboard.
Course Description
In this course you will learn what it’s like to be a television news producer. You will have the opportunity to learnin a laboratory newsroom under the direction of experienced broadcast professionals. During much of yourtwice-weekly lab, you will help to produce the award-winning daily newscast aired on KBYU-TV, Channel 11.Initially, you will serve as an associate producer to the lab assistants who will serve as the executiveproducers. Later, you will have the opportunity to be the producer in charge – which means making editorialdecisions and directing your colleagues and other personnel to get the newscast on the air. This class isunusual in that you will have a great deal of real-world responsibility. You will get to use the department’s state-
of-the-art broadcast news facility, which includes the latest version of Grass Valley Ignite(control room automation) with robotic studio cameras, Pathfire digital video deliverysystem, and the Avid iNews news management system which interfaces with Ignite andthe Deko character generator. You have already worked with the Avid Newscutter in your reporting class, butyou will come to appreciate it even more in your producing role. During part of the semester, some students willhave the opportunity to have alternative producing experiences outside the newsroom. These assignments willbe arranged in the first weeks of the semester.
Course Purpose
Many students don’t plan on becoming a producer, but find they enjoy it and can find gainful and fulfillingemployment as a producer. However, even those who go on to be reporters, anchors, or managers will benefitfrom this course. You will attain skills in newsroom leadership, team-building, editorial decision-making, andaudience analysis. The overall goal is that you will be “capable of competing with the best students in thefield” (see
Aims of a BYU Education).
Course Learning Outcomes
1. By the end of the course, you will be capable of producing a 30-minute television newscast (or othertypes of broadcasts).
Relates to Program Learning Outcome that “Students will be able to communicate effectively withtheir audience.”2. By the end of the course, you will be able to demonstrate excellent leadership and team-building skills.
Relates to Program Learning Outcome that “Students will act professionally in their practice.”3.By the end of the course, you will be able to critically analyze newscasts and their audiences.
Relates to Program Learning Outcome that “Students will be scholars of the mass communicationprocess.”4.During the course, you will engage in issues related to diversity in the news and ethical decision-making.
Relates to Program Learning Outcome that “Students will be able to apply Gospel-centered valuesas they contribute to society.”
Student Learning Goals
You are encouraged to set personal goals for this course and refer to them often throughout the semester.
Class Procedures
You will participate twice a week to your assigned lab position. While you are assigned to the newsroom, youwill have weekly contact with the course instructor (Dr. Cressman) and will be under the daily supervision of thenews director (Bro. Curtis) and his assistants. If you are assigned to a KBYU project, you will be supervisedand mentored by a BYU Broadcasting professional. Throughout the semester you will begiven reading assignments and brief video lectures. Learning assessments will come in theform of newsroom or studio evaluations, quizzes, and written assignments as describedbelow. The deadlines for these assessments are listed in the class schedule. Assignments,readings, and and discussions will be placed on Blackboard, which, of course, requires thatyou maintain a Route Y account. The instructor will also use the email address associatedwith your Route Y account to communicate with you. Please ensure that you have updated your Route Yprofile.
If you have recently married and changed your name, please use the name by which you are listed on the class roll 
Communications 385 Syllabus – page 2 
Newsroom Lab Procedures
You must attend lab on the days for which you are registered. The lab is set up to be just like a workingnewsroom. Thus, you are expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner and in accordance with the“Aims of a BYU Education.” In the course of lab participation, the following policies must be followed:You are expected to arrive on time. This isn’t just courtesy, but the behavior of the professional youare striving to become. Short of dire emergencies, you must advise a lab supervisor of anyanticipated absences before a scheduled lab day. Planned absences must be approved in advanceand may require that you find a replacement. Any substitutions must be approved by the full-timelab staff. You should not plan on missing lab for outside work schedules, vacations, or other non-medical or non-extraordinary circumstances.
During Fall 2009, the University is particularly concerned about a possible outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus. If you show signs of the flu, you are to contact the newsroom immediately and you are encouraged to stay home according to the guidelines provided by the University (included with this syllabus).
You should come prepared to discuss the day’s events and news occurrences. In an effort to build aforward-thinking newsroom, we don’t want to report yesterday’s news, but rather what people will betalking about the next day.You are expected to dress professionally. BYU Dress and Grooming standards are a
 requirement; more professional dress is recommended when representing the university in anofficial capacity (this includes while working in the newsroom, as we often have official visitors).Please refrain from using your cell phone for personal conversations or text messaging. Also,please refrain from browsing the internet, reading personal email or other materials not related tothe class.You are expected to practice teamwork, treating others with dignity and compassion. You are urgedto refrain from gossip and other activities that degrade the BYU learning experience. By helping tobuild a supportive environment for your colleagues, you will find that you will gain friendships thatwill last a lifetime. You will also be developing a skill that will help you in the future.We are blessed with an excellent facility. Please treat the it with respect and remember that otherssacrificed for us to have it. Please remember to clean up after yourselves and take unused clothinghome.In order to be treated as a professional news-gatheringoperation, we must act like one. Much trust is beingplaced in us by airing our newscast on KBYU-TV.Corrections will be made for factual errors or errors in judgment; clarifications are expected when material isnot actually inaccurate but is used in a context thatimplies something untrue (consult the newsroomstyle guide, the full-time lab staff, and the faculty forfurther guidance).We will not perpetuate bias against any person orgroup.You must not accept free trips, reduced rates, orsubsidized travel in connection with yournewsroom roles (this includes attendingconferences sponsored by think-tanks).Exceptions may be made when free or reduced-rate transportation is the only way to cover anews event, but prior approval from the newsdirector is necessary.You are to refrain from taking any partisanpositions in coverage of political events, as wellas refrain from participating in public politicalactivities while you are associated with thenewsroom.
Communications 385 Syllabus – page 3 

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