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Instructor Information

Name: Dr. Lauren Furey

Office: Building 1, Room 307
Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon or by appointment
Phone number: (909) 869-4588
Email: (Email is the fastest way to reach me.)

Course Information
Course Description
The purpose of the course is to provide you an introductory overview of reporting and the
practice of journalism. It places emphasis on news values, the societal role of journalism (and its
importance in a functioning democracy) as well as the fundamentals of quality news writing,
including grammar and AP Style, lead writing, inverted pyramid style, story organization and
information gathering techniques.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
• Develop an awareness for the issues and events that shape our world, the importance of
journalism and what makes a strong news story.
• Demonstrate thoughtful sensitivity to news fairness and accuracy, news ethics and news
• Write grammatically and structurally sound sentences.
• Apply AP Style to news writing and understand its purpose and applications.
• Organize and structure news stories according to common news writing styles, such as
inverted pyramid.
• Write concise, cogent and informative copy under deadline constraints.
• Identify relevant sources, conduct interviews with primary sources as well as accurately and
fairly attribute information to sources.

Course Materials
Required Readings
• Associated Press Stylebook
• The New York Times and Los Angeles Times (online and follow them on social media)
• There will also be some readings on Blackboard.

Optional Reading
Rich, C. (2015). Writing and Reporting News: A Coaching Method

Course Assessments
Writing Assignments
With the exception of writing a profile, which will serve as your final project in this course (more
detail about this assignment will be provided later in the quarter), all of your writing assignments
will be timed and written in class. You cannot complete them at home. Treat these assignments
as simulated newsroom assignments that assess your ability to write compelling, accurate and
concise copy under tight deadlines. You will have 90 minutes to complete and file these
assignments on Blackboard.

All of your writing assignments must adhere to the following formatting guidelines:

• Type your assignments in Microsoft Word and submit them as an attachment under the
assignments tab on Blackboard. Please do NOT use Pages, copy and paste your work
into the submission box on Blackboard or submit your work as a PDF.
• Use 12-point Times New Roman font. Double space your papers with one-inch margins,
and tab the start of each paragraph.
• Your work must be free of factual, grammatical and spelling errors.
• Your work must conform to AP Style. To help with this aspect of your writing
assignments, you will be allowed to consult your AP Stylebook as you write.

Your articles will be graded based on a “content” grade minus a “mechanics” grade. The content
grade reflects the overall structure, how well you covered your topic, etc., while the mechanics
grade is based on your writing, including proper use of grammar, spelling and AP Style. In
addition, one point will be deducted for each factual error (e.g. misspelling someone’s name).
For more detail, see the grading rubrics available under the assignments tab on Blackboard.

There are three different types of quizzes that will be given in this course: five current events
news quizzes, four AP Style quizzes (two open book and two closed) and a news writing quiz,
which will cover your assigned readings and lecture material.

• Although AP Style may seem arbitrary at times, it is the most common style guide used
in communications. Knowledge of AP Style will simplify your life, help you write more
swiftly and bring consistency to your writing. Therefore, it is important that you memorize
the most used AP Style rules as well as learn how to navigate your AP Stylebook easily
and efficiently. Your AP Style quizzes will consist of 10 sentences containing common
AP Style errors. You will need to identify and correct those errors.
• Five pop news quizzes will also be given throughout the quarter to assess your
awareness of the top news stories of the past seven days from The New York Times and
Los Angeles Times. These quizzes will consist of five multiple-choice questions, worth a
half a point each. Because they are pop quizzes, the dates will not be announced.
However, to help narrow down the list of possible dates, news quizzes will not be given
on days where another quiz or in-class writing assignment is to take place. To prepare,
make sure you are consistently reading these publications’ top news stories on their
individual websites, apps or social media.
• Finally, a 20-question, multiple-choice quiz covering the major takeaways from this
course (from the readings and lecture material) will be given toward the end of the
quarter. More details and a study guide will be provided closer to the quiz date.

Participation is a key, required component of this class. That means you'll be expected to read
the assigned readings, thoughtfully complete in-class assignments, listen attentively to lectures and
the comments of classmates as well as contribute to class discussions. Contributions may include
asking and answering questions, sharing comments that build upon discussion, responding to a
classmate’s point or sharing relevant examples with the class and/or professor. Quality class
participation is determined through consistent contributions, not by dominating the discussion or
steering discussion away from material relevant to the course or the course’s learning
objectives. One point will be given for each class, except the days where there is a graded in-
class writing assignment.

Extra Credit
One of the best things you can do to advance a career in communication is getting involved with
student media and professional organizations. Students active in The Poly Post, CPP
Radioactive or the department’s professional clubs, the Society of Professional Journalists
(SPJ), the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and Lambda Pi Eta, will
receive 5 extra credit points to be averaged with your overall news quiz grade. Students who
can’t join The Poly Post can still earn 1 point per byline (up to five stories) published during the

Final Grade Breakdown
Your final grade in the course will be arrived at through the following combination:
• Lab Writing Assignments 40 points
• Profile 20 points
• AP Style Quizzes 10 points
• News Quizzes 05 points
• News Writing Quiz 10 points
• Participation 15 points
• Total Possible 100 points

Grading Scale
A = 94-100 B = 84-86 C = 74-76 D = 64-66
A- = 90-93 B- = 80-83 C- =70-73 D- = 60-63
B+ = 87-89 C+ = 77-79 D+ = 67-69 F = 59 and below

Course Policies
Attendance and Tardiness
Attendance in this class is mandatory and will be taken at the beginning of class. We will be
doing valuable in-class activities and having important discussions, so it is essential you attend
class and arrive promptly. You can miss one class without documentation or penalty against
your participation points. However, if there is a quiz or in-class writing assignment on the day
you miss, your grade on that assessment could be affected.

Late Work Policy
Journalism is a deadline-driven industry, and it is my job to prepare you for the realities of
working in this profession. Therefore, my late work policy for this course is especially stringent. I
excuse absences resulting from family emergencies, documented/known illnesses, legal or
military obligations, athletic participation, religious holidays, conferences or other engagements I
deem beneficial to your career. However, work shifts are no excuse for absences or late work.

If you feel an extension is necessary, you must request one at least one day in advance of any
quizzes or in-class writing assignments. If you fail to show up to class when there is a quiz
or assignment due, you do not have the luxury of make-up work unless the absence is
due to extreme circumstances (e.g. severe medical or family emergency) or you made
prior arrangements with me. I reserve the right to require documentation for make-up work.

Technology Policy
Computers are for completing in-class assignments as instructed and note-taking purposes
only. However, students are strongly encouraged to take notes by hand given that research
shows that hand-written notes result in greater levels of comprehension and better exam
performance. Cell phones must be on silent or remain off. Yes, communication is a technology-
driven field, and there will be times we will use technology as part of class, but it should be a
learning tool not a distraction. If it is an emergency, quietly excuse yourself from the classroom.
Using devices for unexcused reasons could result in the loss of participation points.

Save Your Work

As many of your assignments will be completed in class on the computer, remember computers
crash and freeze all the time, so please save your work often. It also might be a good idea to e-
mail assignments to yourself or save everything to a jump drive. When there is an in-class
writing assignment, you will be expected to turn in it at the end of that class, so take every
precaution you can to make sure this happens.

Classroom Demeanor
I want this class to be fun and energetic with great discussions. Therefore, I expect you to be
attentive and courteous to your fellow classmates and to me. Please do not engage in side
conversations. Also, this is a safe space to share and express opinions. Please be polite to
others while both expressing opinions and responding to them.

Academic Integrity
Cal Poly Pomona students live by an honor code that prohibits academic dishonesty such as
(but not limited to) cheating, plagiarism, fabrication of sources or information from sources,
reusing a paper from another class, writing a similar paper for two classes, drawing too heavily
on another’s work for your own and having someone else complete your work for you. If you’re
unsure of whether something constitutes a violation of academic integrity, refer to the University
catalog and/or ask me before turning in an assignment. Ignorance is not an excuse.

My default practice for an academic integrity violation is a failing grade for the assignment
and possibly the entire course, and the instance will be reported to Student Conduct and
Integrity, where the student may face additional consequences.

Journalistic Integrity
The fastest way to kill a career in journalism is by fabricating sources, quotes or embellishing
facts. You have a professional, ethical and often legal obligation to report news accurately and
fairly. Knowingly writing erroneous, falsified or exaggerated information is grounds for failure of
this course. Moreover, negligence is no excuse for violations in journalism ethics. Always fact-
check, clarify and follow up when necessary. Again, when in doubt, consult me.

Disability Assistance
Students with disabilities who seek reasonable accommodations in the classroom or other
aspects of performing their coursework must first register with CPP’s Disability Resource
Center. The center will provide documentation, and then you must meet with me within the first
two weeks of the quarter, so appropriate accommodations can be made. The DRC is located
in Building 9, Room 103, and you can contact them by calling (909) 869-3333. For more
information, visit the DRC’s website.

Student Success and Seeking Help

All of your instructors have high expectations of you, including myself. We are responsible for
conveying those expectations to you. You are responsible for ensuring you meet your course
obligations. Sometimes it will be draining and frustrating like it is in the communications field.
But ultimately, it should also be enjoyable and purposeful. You are always encouraged to
come to me both inside and outside of class with questions or concerns about this class and
your assignments or the communications field in general.

Course Schedule
Here is the tentative schedule for this quarter. All readings scheduled are due on the date listed
on the syllabus, meaning you need to have read them prior to coming to class that day. The
schedule is subject to change depending on the needs of the class.

Week Date Topic Readings & Activities

1 March 27 Course overview
The societal role of
journalism in a functioning
democracy and the changing
news environment

March 29 News ethics and news Read the SPJ Code of Ethics (on
values Blackboard)

2 April 3 Introduction to news writing Read “Authorities identify couple who

and the anatomy of a news they believe killed 14 at San Bernardino
story holiday party” and “Seeking custody and
answers: Sister of San Bernardino
shooter hopes to adopt abandoned
niece” (on Blackboard)

April 5 Important grammar and Read AP Cheat Sheet (on Blackboard)
punctuation rules and AP Guide to Punctuation (in your AP
Introduction to AP Style Stylebook)

3 April 10 More on AP Style Read remaining AP Stylebook chapters

AP Style games

April 12 Different types of leads and Closed Book AP Style Quiz on

writing leads Punctuation

4 April 17 Leads Lab Assignment

April 19 Story forms and story Read Poynter’s Guide to the Inverted
organization Pyramid (on Blackboard)

5 April 24 Nut Graphs Lab Assignment

April 26 Paragraphing, transitions Closed Book AP Style Quiz on

and ending a story Common Errors

6 May 1 Inverted Pyramid Lab Assignment

May 3 Primary and secondary Read “Documents Every Govt. Reporter

sources, public records and Needs” and “The Journalist and the PR
online research Pro” (on Blackboard)

7 May 8 Interview techniques Read “How Journalists Can Become

Better Interviewers” and “The Art of the
Interview” (on Blackboard)

May 10 Using quotations and Read Quotes and Attribution Handout

attribution and “Here’s how reporters use attribution
when writing news stories” (on
Open Book AP Style Quiz on
Chapters A through J

8 May 15 Full News Story Lab Assignment

May 17 Writing profiles, feature Read “This Psychologist Helps

leads and descriptive writing Comedians Keep Laughing” (on
techniques Blackboard)

9 May 22 Pitch Profile Subject

Open Book AP Style Quiz on
Chapters K through XYZ


10 May 29 Narrative writing and Read “A Boy Learns to Brawl” (on

storytelling Blackboard)

May 31 Lab time to work on profiles News Writing Quiz
Profile Draft Due for Peer Critique

Finals June 7 The final draft of your profile is due Thursday by noon.