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Fall 2013: Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m.9:45 a.m. Brian Duggan, instructor
Phone: 7022037679 (call or text) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (please put “J107” in the subject line) Twitter: @brianduggan (a good way to contact me, via Direct Message) Office hours by appointment. Generally available any time in the morning before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Class website: journalism107.wordpress.com
Journalism 107 is an introductory journalism class where you will learn by doing the basics of news gathering and writing. I run the class like a newsroom, and you are expected to work as if you were a reporter. You will publish your work for the entire world to read on a Wordpress blog. The class is divided into three, fiveweek sections. Each section develops the theory that turning out a decent story involves a good idea, reporting, research, writing and editing. Each fiveweek section digs deeper into each one of those steps. This is not a lecture class. Instead, we will spend time in class discussing the important ideas that build the foundation for journalism: Ethics, the First Amendment, the idea news and how it can differ, attention to detail, AP style and the trends affecting the media industry. You must enroll in the counterpart 108 class to take this class.
By the end of this course, you will be introduced to and demonstrate progress in doing the following: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Write correctly clearly and concisely in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences, and purposes they serve; Write with few, if any, spelling or grammatical errors; How to use styles and forms, appropriate to a variety of news stories; How to fashion stories that flow well using text, and images to engage audiences; Gather information through observation, the Internet, electronic databases, printed documents, public records and by interviewing human sources; Analyze information for its importance in achieving the purpose of the communication and make good decisions about what should be included; Demonstrate an understanding of gender, race ethnicity, sexual orientation and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in our society specifically as they relate to the assignments; Understand the First Amendment, its application to the freedom of speech and the investigation and production of news stories; Apply professional ethical principles to your work.
● ● ● ● ● ● ● Find and tell news stories Write a coherent hard news lede and a coherent story on deadline. Write a straight news story using multiple sources. Identify what is newsworthy and why. Conduct effective interviews, be able to research people, and use public records laws to accomplish that. Develop curiosity and skepticism. Have dedication to accuracy, fairness and balance. Develop news judgment. Have an understanding of ethics, media law, libel and defamation.
What you need for this class:
● ● ● Associated Press Stylebook and Libel manual. Textbook: Writing and Reporting News: A Coaching Method (Seventh edition), Staying consistently uptodate with news sources: Reno GazetteJournal, Nevada Sagebrush, Reno News and Review, local TV stations, national media outlets such as the New York Times, the Guardian, Gawker, NPR, etc... Your job is news. You must read it. Discussions and tests on current events will happen so be prepared. Equipment: You must either have a cloudbased system for saving documents or bring a flash drive (8G or higher) to save your work. Jschool computers will not save your work.
Assignments and grading:
3 Major Projects: (100 points each, 300 points total) Three multisource news stories will be required. Grading will be based on drafting process, quality of research and reporting, clarity and strength of storytelling, grammar and spelling, and quality of accompanying elements. More explicit instructions will be given as we near the assignment due dates. Drafts will be required before the final project is turned in as well a list of sources with contact numbers and a copy of any formal document used in your reporting. These projects will also be turned in to your Journalism 108 instructor for a technical grade. The assignments: 1. A news story with photo. 600 words (Due: 8:01 a.m. Sept. 24) 2. A news or feature story that includes audio and photography 900 words (Due: Oct. 29) 3. A news or feature story incorporating audio and photographs 1,200 words (Due: Dec. 10) How the grading works for the three major assignments: 1. Participation in drafting process (25 points): A hard copy draft of your story must be presented to me, in class, before the assignment’s final due date. The draft must be a nearfinal version of what you intend to turn in for the final draft and include a source list. You will also need to bring a second copy for peer editing. This ensures you get the editing attention you need to succeed. 2. Quality of research and reporting (25 points): Did you get three or more sources to tell your story? Did you use a formal document to help tell your story? (Hint: You need all four or more). Are they the right sources? Did you conduct interviews with relevant and interesting people? (Hint: No friends or family) You must also provide a list of source names and their phone numbers and a copy of any formal document you used as a source. 3. Clarity and strength of writing (25 points): Basically, is your piece an example of good storytelling? Is it well organized? Does it use its sources well? Enticing lead? Good nutgraph? Good quotes? Is it interesting? Will I learn something from it? 4. Quality of accompanying elements (25 points): Did you get a good photo to help tell your story? Does the audio add to the idea you’re trying to get across? What about the video? Basically, does this multimedia element help tell the story I’m trying to tell? ***Getting it right: AP Style, grammar and spelling: I expect your work to be free of any Associated Press Style, grammatical factual and spelling errors. Every spelling, grammatical, factual and style error results in five points off your final grade. Punctuation errors are one point each.***
Inclass quizzes: (510 points each; 100 points total) Quizzes cannot be made up unless you’re absent for a preapproved reason. Otherwise, you must be in class to get the points. Aside from extraordinary circumstances, no exceptions. This is where attendance counts. Talk to me about any absences ASAP.
Inclass and outofclass writing assignments. (510 points each, 100 points total) Regular writing assignments will be assigned. Grading will be based on clarity, accuracy (both factual and grammatical), organization (use of compelling lead, strong quotes, smooth transitions), adherence to AP style, relevancy and creativity. Some assignments will be graded based solely on completion.
Total points: 500 A to A: 450500 points B to B: 400449 C to C: 350399 D to D: 300349 Fail: 299 or fewer points (Hint: 200 points will largely come from just showing up and doing the quizzes and writing assignments)a
Class Schedule (I'll let you know if anything changes along the way)
Week 1: Introduction to news Aug. 27: Class syllabus, writing test and what is news? Set up Twitter account. Create WordPress blog. Aug. 29: Outofclass assignment: Go out and talk to a total stranger on campus and report back what you find with a photo of your source. The question: “What issues concern you the most at UNR?” Discuss the three main assignments for semester.
Week 2: The Basics Sept. 3: Discuss Chapters 1 and 2: “The Basic News Story”. What makes a news story a news story? Active vs. passive voice, leads and nutgraphs (oh my!). In class writing assignment. Story ideas... Sept. 5: Grammar and AP Style: How to use the style book. (Expect the first of many AP style quizzes). Project 1: We will come up with story ideas together that relate to diversity on the UNR campus and assign stories for the first big project. Please make sure you’ve read Chapter 16: Multicultural sensitivity.
Week 3: Sources, research and reporting Sept. 10: Discussion on Chapters 5 and 6. Conducting interviews and finding credible sources. What is a credible source? (Hint: It’s not Wikipedia) The importance of using multiple sources. Sept. 12: Public records: There’s a vast world of publicly available information to help your reporting and most of it is on the Internet. Also, time to plan and work on Project 1.
Week 4: The parts of a story Sept. 17: Discuss Chapter 7: Writing a good lead and nutgraph. Practice in class with a “breaking news” assignment. Sept. 19: Continue working on leads and nutgraphs. Update on Project 1 progress.
Week 5: Story forms and organization Sept. 24: Story structure: How to organize your writing (it’s the easiest part if you’ve done the reporting). Discuss Chapter 8: Story organization. Sept. 26: Project 1: Draft due. Bring two hard copies and your source list. Inclass workshop and peer editing.
Week 6: Journalism in 2013: Multiple platforms and new audiences Oct. 1: Project 1: Final draft and source list due by 8:01 a.m. Each student will briefly present story to the class and discuss the reporting and writing behind it. Class will live tweet the presentations. Oct. 3: Discuss Chapters 4 and 12: How does online writing differ from our traditional notions of journalism? Bring story ideas to class and brainstorm for Project 2: This time, each student will focus on different topics that relate to the UNR campus. Assign stories.
Week 7: Feature storytelling techniques Oct. 8: Chapter 10: Making your story sing. Writing workshop and guest speaker, RGJ Senior Reporter Guy Clifton. Oct 10: Discuss Chapter 17: Profiles and Obituaries. In class assignment: Write snapshot profiles on each other. Writing workshop and an update on Project 2.
Week 8: Ethics and journalism. Oct. 15: Discuss Chapter 15: Media ethics: Why they matter and why ethical questions rarely have clearcut answers. Guest Speaker: Professor Caesar Andrews. Oct. 17: More ethics. Would you run this photo? How about this story? Come prepared to debate. Update on Project 2 status.
Week 9: First Amendment issues Oct. 22: Discussion on Chapter 14: Your rights as a journalist. Guest speaker: Scott Glogovac, lawyer for the Reno GazetteJournal. Oct. 24: Project 2 drafts due. Peer editing.
Week 10: Alternative versions of "The News" Oct. 29: Project 2: Final due to me no later than 8:01 a.m. Class presentations of stories, live tweeting. Oct. 31: The Daily Show, The Onion, and the many ways to generate news beyond the socalled legacy media. Inclass writing assignment. Bring story ideas for Project 3, a story about an offcampus topic (think crime, downtown, businesses).
Week 11: Beat reporting Nov. 5: Discuss Chapter 19. How to do a beat: From city hall to the Capitol. Project 3: Finalize and assign stories. Nov. 7: Field trip! Reno City Hall. Meet at the public plaza across the street from Reno City Hall. Request a document.
Week 12: Broadcast stories Nov. 12: Chapter 11: Broadcast writing basics, inclass writing assignment. Channel your inner Anderson Cooper. Nov. 14: Field trip! Meet Las Vegas Sun reporter and To the Point host Anjeanette Damon at the KRNV studios.
Week 13: Enterprise and investigative reporting. Plus data! Nov. 19: Chapters 20, 21: Covering crime, disasters and tragedy. Guest speaker: Martha Bellisle, RGJ reporter Nov. 21: Data! And why it matters even more for journalists to think beyond traditional sources of information.
Week 14: Back to basics Nov. 26: Writing working shop, crafting leads. Review Chapters 2 and 7. Nov. 28: Turkey Day, no class
Week 15: Writing workshop (The Home Stretch) Dec. 3: (AL) Individual meetings with Brian to discuss final drafts of Project 3, grades and whatever else you need. Class time to work on project. Dec. 5: (MZ) Individual meetings with Brian to discuss final drafts of Project 3, grades and whatever else you need. Class time to work on project.
Week 16: You survived! Now about those journalism jobs... Dec. 10: Project 3 Final due. In class presentations and live tweeting. Discussion on the media industry, where it's going and how you could become a part of it.
Final day: Dec. 17 (8 a.m.): Final Exam. Loose ends. Breakfast pastries. Coffee. (I'm buying.) Shall be grand.
A few more important notes:
A word about writing assignments...You will be required to write dozens of news stories during
the semester, both in class and as homework (and not always for a grade). This isn't like an English class. You typically will have word limits that are fairly low. Every word must mean what you want it to mean. You must be accurate. I don't care about your opinion in articles. Firstperson writing isn't allowed. Sources are generally people. Generally, the best writing in this class comes from the best reporting. A word about deadlines…Deadlines are of paramount importance in journalism and in this class. Deadlines are absolute. Homework assignments must be turned in at the beginning of the class for which they are due. They will not be accepted after deadline except in rare instances involving extreme (and documented) hardships. A word about participation… Thoughtful and enthusiastic participation is expected. This class is run like a newsroom that means that you must participate in the discussion. I will try to provoke you and get a response I want to hear your opinion! Disagree with me. Argue. This is journalism not cold cut, soulless math. A word about Twitter... If you haven't already, sign up and start practicing. We'll be using this over the course of the semester. A word about attendance ... Attendance is taken through AP style quizzes and inclass assignments. We have one most weeks and they will be unannounced. The point is, if you're not there to take the quiz or do the assignment then your grade for that quiz or assignment will be a zero. Chronic lateness, absences or missed deadlines will affect your grade. Incompletes will not be given except in extreme and documented cases. If you cannot invest the time this class requires, please drop it. Cheating… don’t do it. Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. According to the Student Conduct Code, academic dishonesty is “cheating, plagiarism or otherwise obtaining grades under false pretenses.” Penalties are severe and will most likely include an "F" grade for the assignment or course. Disability: Any student with a disability needing academic accommodations is requested to speak with me or contact the Disability Resource Center (Thompson Building, Suite 101), as soon as possible to arrange for appropriate accommodations. Academic Success Services: Your student fees cover usage of the Math Center (7844433 or www.unr.edu/mathcenter/ <http://www.unr.edu/mathcenter/> ), Tutoring Center (7846801 or www.unr.edu/tutoring/ <http://www.unr.edu/tutoring/> ), and University Writing Center (7846030 or http://www.unr.edu/writing_center/ <http://www.unr.edu/writing_center/> . These centers support your classroom learning; it is your responsibility to take advantage of their services. Recording Lectures. Surreptitious or covert videotaping of class or unauthorized audio recording of class is prohibited by law and by Board of Regents policy. This class may be videotaped or audio recorded only with the written permission of the instructor. In order to accommodate students with disabilities, some students may have been given permission to record class lectures and discussions. Therefore, students should understand that their comments during class may be recorded.
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