JRN 100: Information and Visual Resources for Journalists Course Outline – Fall 2007 The news of the

day as it reaches the newspaper is an incredible medley of fact, propaganda, rumour, suspicion, clues, hopes and fears, and the task of selecting and ordering that news is one of the truly sacred and priestly offices in a democracy. Walter Lippmann

Course Instructors

Anne McNeilly
Room 155 RCC (416) 979-5000 ext 2699 anne.mcneilly@ryerson.ca Lab – Section 5 – Room 185 - Fridays 1 p.m -5 p.m.

Dan Westell

dwestel@ryerson.ca Lab – Section 4 – Room 185 - Fridays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Charles Kopun

charles.kopun@ryerson.ca Lab – Section 2 – Room 185 - Thursdays 12 p.m.-4 p.m.

Gavin Adamson
Lab – Section 1 – Room 183 - Thursdays 12 p.m.-4 p.m.

Jasmine Miller
Lab – Section 3 – Room 187 - Thursdays 12 p.m.- 4 p.m.


Overview To be a successful journalist, you need to ask good questions, discover relevant information, and deliver your discoveries in a meaningful way to viewers, readers and/or listeners. This course will give you the tools to begin your career as both an academic and a journalist, with time spent on: • search techniques, both traditional and online, • the importance of understanding and verifying information, • the use of numerical information, and • ways of presenting facts as part of news stories, using words, images and numbers. You will be encouraged to develop your abilities using spatial and visual resources, both in terms of reading and creating images. This will include a brief introduction to photojournalism. Required • • • • Full attendance at and participation in each lecture and lab A blank journal (with unlined pages) with at least 10 pages, 8.5 x 10 inches An active Ryerson e-mail account and log-on for Blackboard Regular consultation of the course website: http://my.ryerson.ca/, choosing JRN100

The JRN 100 website on Blackboard will be used as a key resource for the course and students are required to regularly consult it and read materials posted, and are encouraged to participate in online discussions. • • • The backing-up of work (you need a disk, USB drive or e-mail, or web-based method of saving copies of what you do) Two AA batteries for use with the cameras (it is recommended that you use rechargeable batteries). Adherence to CP style and spelling (students should have the most recent copy of the Canadian Press Style Guide and Caps and Spelling.

Teaching/Learning Methods JRN100 is different than any other journalism course you’ll take this year: it mixes a large lecture with small lab groups, and students cycle through a series of labs. The whole thing is tied together by a major project: a single story. You come up with the story idea, you do the research, you illustrate it with photos, and you write a final news story using all the tools discussed in the course.


Sound daunting? The story is handled piece by piece, with elements completed throughout the course through the labs. Attendance is important. A mark for participation is assigned. You may have to complete assignments outside of class time. If you don’t own a digital camera, see the Blackboard site for details on checking them out. Computer labs are available in the RCC and at other locations on campus throughout the week. The weekly quizzes will consist of questions reviewing the previous week's lecture, as well as current events. They will be timed, and must be taken at the beginning of each week’s lab. Your final mark will include 10 per cent based on the scores of all the quizzes. It can be an easy way of increasing your mark, so take them seriously. While you may (and indeed must) use the Web to search for some of the quizzes and tests, use of e-mail, or any other means of communicating during the quiz period will result in an automatic failure. Your career as a journalist hinges on personal integrity; don’t start squandering it over a quiz. If you can foresee an absence, please let your lab instructor know ASAP. If you are unable to attend or complete assignments on time due to illness or other personal difficulty, please contact your instructors as soon as possible, and provide a copy of any relevant documents (e.g.. doctor's note). It is much better to give your professors a "heads up" when you have trouble meeting expectations, rather than try to beg for leniency after the fact. Students may use office hours or e-mail or phone to contact the instructors; check with each of us first to see what will be best. E-mail will generally not be answered before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. on weekdays, and not at all on weekends. Only Ryerson e-mail addresses will be used to correspond with students. Marking Scheme Mark Component Participation Weekly quizzes Visual journals Story proposal Database/online assignments Spreadsheet assignments Visual assignments Final package including story Due Throughout Throughout Weeks 7 and 13 Week 3 Completed by end of workshop Completed by end of workshop Completed by end of workshop December 4, 4 p.m. Percentage of Total Grade 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 30


During the term, marks will be posted on the Blackboard site, where students can see their own grade, and where possible, the overall course average, minimum and maximum grades. Students can not see anyone else’s mark. Grades for participation are calculated at the end of term and will not be posted online. Final grades are sent out by the University and will not be posted on Blackboard. As with any journalism course, deadlines are important, and a partial letter grade will be deducted for each 24 hours an assignment is late. Failure to hand in an assignment by the specific time given by the instructor will result in an automatic penalty. (In other words, an assignment that might have merited an A will become an A- if handed in 5 minutes late, and becomes a B+ if handed in over 24 hours later.) Unless told otherwise, each assignment is due at the beginning of class (generally this is the beginning of your lab session). Information is only useful if it is accurate and major spelling or factual errors will result in deductions, the severity of which will depend on the mistake made. A mistake in a proper name, or a key fact or number will carry a substantial penalty, potentially dropping an entire assignment's mark by a letter grade. Part of the evaluation of assignments will be adherence to CP style. Plagiarism of any kind will not be tolerated. Students should refer to the Student Code of Academic Conduct found in their Ryerson University calendar and the journalism school website for definitions and penalties. On a positive note, students should know that there is an award given annually to the student with the best standing in this course. It could be you!
Additional Course Policies:

If you require time off due to religious observance, the request must be made within the first two weeks of class. If you are absent due to illness, a medical certificate is normally required. Students with physical or learning disabilities who wish to make arrangements for accommodation (extra time on assignments, alternative mechanisms for testing and performance evaluation) must first register their disability with the Access Centre at Ext. 5290 to make an appointment to see a disability counselor or learning disability specialist. The use of laptops, electronic or digital recording devices in class is prohibited without prior approval. Cellphones should be turned off. In all of your work, remember that the Code of Ethics for Ryerson’s School of Journalism applies. http://www.ryerson.ca/~journal/school/ethics.html

• •


Students are required to adhere to all relevant University policies, such as the student code of conduct, set out in the Ryerson calendar and the student handbook, available online. Students must abide by the School's truth-telling document and by the University’s policies on student academic and non-academic conduct. Please note that this means you must identify yourself as a Ryerson student when conducting interviews. Should you wish to try to sell or distribute your story outside of the class, for payment or not, you must get explicit permission to re-use the interview material.

Workshops/ Lab - JRN100 – Fall 2007 Information and Visual Resources (NB – some slight changes may occur) Week 1 - Sept. 6 -7 Introductions Log on and get acquainted with class website – Blackboard. Complete trial quiz Survey Begin thinking about big question proposal Assignment – 1. Reading: Informing Ourselves to Death – Neil Postman. 2. Interview a reporter (magazine/print/broadcast – student/faculty/working) and ask them how they found some information that resulted in a story they were particularly proud of. How was it illustrated? Suggest an alternative. Week 2 - Sept. 13 -14 - Online Quiz First visual journal assigned Scavenger Hunt 1 – Library Resources Finish proposal Week 3 - Sept 20-21 - Online Proposal due by e-mail by beginning of workshop session Complete second quiz Second visual journal topic given. Scavenger Hunt 2 Week 4 - Sept 27-28 - Online Complete third quiz Scavenger Hunt 3 Work on proposal(s) Week 5 - Oct. 4 -5 - Online Complete fourth quiz Assign third visual journal topic


End of First (online) workshop – Final assignment/test for this workshop Week 6 - Oct. 11-12 – Excel Second (Excel) workshop begins Complete fifth quiz Week 7 - Oct. 18-19 – Excel/Numbers Complete sixth quiz Visual journals (3) collected for marking Week 8 - Oct. 25-26 – Excel/Numbers Complete seventh quiz End of second workshop – Unit test Week 9 - Nov.1-2 - Visual Complete eighth quiz Fourth visual journal assigned Week 10 - Nov. 8-9 - Visual Complete ninth quiz Week 11 - Nov. 15-16 - Visual Complete tenth quiz Assign final visual journal. Week 12 - Nov. 22-23 – Visual Complete eleventh quiz. Week 13 - Nov. 29-30 Last class Visual journals due *Final Big-Question package with related assignments due Dec. 4 at 4 p.m.