JOURN 417 – Specialized Writing: Online Journalism Summer 2007 CADD 217 Section 1 – Monday-Friday (daily) 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Instructor: Brett Atwood Office: Murrow East 200A Office Hours: Before and after class Other times by arrangement Office phone: (509) 335-0113 The best way to reach me out of class is by e-mail at: I check e-mail multiple times per day. If you require an immediate response, please put PLEASE RESPOND in the header of your e-mail. Otherwise, I will try to respond in a prompt, but less urgent, manner (usually within 24 hours). However, please note that there will be times that I may wait until class to address your inquiries.

Course Goals
This course is designed to enhance existing journalism skills and to apply reporting techniques to media delivered through the Internet and other new technologies. It will also focus on online public relations techniques with an emphasis on the creation of multimedia press releases, such as the new social media news release format. While this class is not meant to be a substitute for dedicated Web design and content development courses, it will expose you to some of the common online and multimedia publishing utilities. At the conclusion of this course, each student should have increased his or her knowledge of online content development, storytelling and public relations techniques through various tools and techniques. My teaching mission is to share and propagate the standards and ethics held by this school’s namesake – Edward R. Murrow. It is my goal to help instill a set of core values, ethics and skills that will help to immunize journalists against the inevitable temptations present in this industry. In the media industry, credibility is earned. One poor choice can destroy an entire career. For this reason, you will need to operate at the highest standards of truth, fairness, balance and accuracy.

Recommended course resources:
• The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, Norm Goldstein, editor. • OPTIONAL (but recommended) A 1GB or higher jump drive for your ongoing work. • A dictionary and grammar guide should be brought to class (or you can use on-line resources in class). • Please be sure I have your current email address, preferably a address that you check regularly.

Online reporting portfolio:
Throughout the semester, you will be working on writing assignments designed to use your reporting and online content development skills. You will maintain an online blog for publishing your work that will be accessible by the instructor and classmates. Please be aware that any information posted on this blog will be publicly viewable and, thus, may be held to many of the same legal and ethical standards as writings published in traditional media. Please be prepared to share and discuss your reporting in class. While there will be a midterm and final in this class, the completion of all assigned writings in your portfolio accounts for a large percentage of your grade. Any missed assignments will impact your final grade in the class.

Tests and quizzes:
There will be at least two in-class tests (midterm and final). In addition, there may be unannounced in-class quizzes that require attendance in order to complete.

Class attendance is vital, as there is no textbook. Poor attendance will be reflected in your grade because of missed assignments or problems with completion. Assignments missed due to absence generally can't be made up. Do not ask unless there are exceptional circumstances for an excused absence. Consideration might be given if there is documented hospitalization, family death, university-sponsored travel (documented in advance) or extended individual sickness. You will lose 5 points for every class session missed.

Computer use policy:
Since we are in a multimedia classroom, each student will have access to a computer that can be used to bring up your blog assignments. During some class sessions, there may be time to write in your blog or use the Internet to research a story. However, please do not

use the Internet during lecture and discussion. Students who use the Internet for any purpose not directly relating to class assignments or discussion may be asked to leave the classroom. In particular, please refrain from using class computers for instant messaging, downloading or indiscriminate Web surfing.

Projects and/or reporting assignments will be graded on a rigorous and fair system. Your reporting will be evaluated according to publishable standards, including quality of the lead, use of language, economy of expression, readability, organization of material and content. In evaluating mechanics, I will consider and review spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax and Associated Press style. Do not misspell words or names. If this happens I will have no other choice but to dramatically reduce your grade on that assignment (possibly less than passing). In evaluating story reporting, consideration will also include news judgment in gathering and selecting information, accuracy, story approach and fairness. Do not make major factual errors. Again, if this happens, I will have no choice but to dramatically lower your score on the assignment (possibly less than passing). The following will also be considered in grading your reporting: • Does the lead tell what the story is about? Is it creative, interesting and relevant? • Is the story well reported? Does it have multiple sources? Is it balanced and objective? Are all of the reader's questions answered? Are direct quotes informative and of high quality? Are all sides of a story represented with a diversity of voices? Is material organized in a logical fashion? Is writing clear and concise? • Is the story written like a news story (precise nouns, strong verbs, active voice, correct tense, short sentences and paragraphs, etc.)? Since there will be an online component to some of the work you submit, I will also factor in the technical execution of your storytelling.

Story letter grading:
Here is how I will assign grades to the stories you submit: • A (90-100 percent) = the story needs only minor editing (this is a publishable story). • B (80-89 percent) = the story is good, but contains some minor problems that need work (also a publishable story). • C (70-79 percent) = the story is an acceptable completion of the assignment, but it has one or two serious problems in the reporting or writing. (it is not publishable without some significant re-working). • D (60-69 percent) = the story is seriously flawed; three or more serious problems in reporting or writing, or not adhering to syllabus standards (it is highly unlikely this story can be published; it would be best to start over).

• F (59 percent or below) = the story has not been completed on deadline, or was seriously lacking in effort.

Extra credit:
Throughout the semester, there may be opportunities for extra credit. We will talk more about any possible opportunities as the semester continues. However, availability of extra credit is subject to change and, thus, you should not rely upon this option to reach a higher grade.

Anonymous sources:
In most cases, do not use anonymous sources. I must approve usage in advance or assignments will not be accepted.

You must always identify yourself to sources as a reporting student whose work might be published. Do not make any pre-publication review promises.

Other Housekeeping Items:
• Cell phones must be turned off in class. • Surfing the Internet is not allowed during class (unless it is related to an assignment). • Please be on time. Excessive tardiness may result in a lower grade.

Academic Dishonesty, Integrity and Plagiarism:
PLAGARISM OR CHEATING OF ANY KIND ON ANY ASSIGNMENT OR EXAM WILL NOT BE TOLERATED AND WILL RESULT IN A FAILING GRADE IN THE COURSE. (Consult the WSU Student Handbook for further details). In other words, do your own work. If using the ideas, work or wording from another source in written assignments you must acknowledge the source. Academic dishonesty includes cheating, plagiarism, and fabrication in the process of completing academic work. When a student enrolls in Washington State University, the student assumes an obligation to pursue academic endeavors in a manner consistent with the standards of academic integrity adopted by the University. To maintain the academic integrity of the community, the University cannot tolerate acts of academic dishonesty including any forms of cheating, plagiarism, or fabrication. Washington State University reserves the right and the power to discipline or to exclude students who engage in academic dishonesty. Please understand the following definitions: • Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty includes cheating, falsification, fabrication, multiple submission, plagiarism, abuse of academic materials, complicity, or misconduct

in research, all of which are defined below. • Cheating: Cheating is the intentional use of, or attempt to use, unauthorized material, information, or study aids in any academic activity to gain advantage. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, communicating improperly with others, especially other students, during tests or the preparation of assignments for classes; copying from books, notes, or other sources during a test when this is not permitted; copying from another student’s work (reports, laboratory work, computer programs, files, etc.); making improper use of calculators or other devices during a test; illegitimately procuring or using copies of current examinations; allowing a substitute to take an examination or write a paper for oneself. • Falsification: Falsification is the intentional and unauthorized alteration of information in the course of an academic activity. Falsification includes, but is not limited to, altering the record of data, experimental procedures, or results; falsely describing the source of information (e.g., reproducing a quotation from a book review as if it had been obtained from the book itself); altering academic records; altering a returned examination paper and then seeking a higher grade based on the result. • Fabrication: Fabrication is the intentional invention or counterfeiting of information in the course of an academic activity without proper authorization. Fabrication includes, but is not limited to, counterfeiting data, research results, information, or procedures with inadequate foundation in fact; counterfeiting a record of internship or practicum experiences; submitting a false excuse for absence or tardiness. • Multiple Submission: Multiple submission includes, but is not limited to, submitting the same paper or oral report for credit in two courses without the responsible instructor’s permission; making minor revisions in a paper or report for which credit has already been received and submitting it again as a new piece of work. • Plagiarism: Plagiarism is knowingly representing the work of another as one’s own, without proper acknowledgment of the source. The only exceptions to the requirement that sources be acknowledged occur when the information, ideas, etc., are common knowledge. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, submitting as one’s own work the work of a “ghost writer” or work obtained from a commercial writing service; quoting directly or paraphrasing closely from a source without giving proper credit; using figures, graphs, charts, or other such material without identifying the sources. Identified cases of plagiarism will result in a grade of "F" for the work in question or for the whole course. Basically, there are two forms of plagiarism: (1) the unintentional or careless use of other writers' words and ideas as though they were your own, and (2) the intentional submission of another's work as your own. The important issue is that published material, whether in print, electronic, or other media format, must be cited and not presented as your own. For example, material obtained from the Internet is still subject to academic integrity guidelines, and even may be identified more easily by special online search engines used to evaluate suspect material. If you commit the first type of plagiarism, you might be asked to rewrite part or all of your paper so your sources are properly acknowledged. If you knowingly turn in a paper written by someone else and claim it as your own, or copy sections of a book or article without proper documentation, even though you understand how to document, you have cheated and thus violated WSU's academic integrity policies. Creating quotes or inventing sources will result in an "F" on the

assignment, possibly an "F" in the course. • Abuse of Academic Materials: Abuse of academic materials occurs when a student intentionally or knowingly destroys, steals, mutilates, or otherwise makes inaccessible library or other academic resource material that does not belong to him or her. Abuse of academic materials includes, but is not limited to, stealing, destroying, or mutilating library materials; stealing or intentionally destroying another student’s notes or laboratory data; hiding resource materials so others may not use them; destroying computer programs or files needed in others’ academic work; copying computer software in ways that violate the terms of the licensing agreement that comes with the software. • Complicity in Academic Dishonesty. A student is guilty of complicity in academic dishonesty if he or she intentionally or knowingly helps or attempts to help another or others to commit an act of academic dishonesty of any of the types defined herein. Complicity in academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, knowingly allowing another to copy from one’s paper during an examination or test; distributing test questions before the time scheduled for the test; collaborating on academic projects when students are expected to work independently; taking a test for another student; or signing a false name on a piece of academic work. • Misconduct in Research: Graduate and undergraduate students on research appointments for the University are responsible for compliance with the University’s Policy and Procedural Guidelines for Misconduct in Research and Scholarship found in the Faculty Manual. Misconduct in research is treated as academic dishonesty. • Responsible Instructor: The responsible instructor in the academic integrity process is the person who assigns the grades, supervises students’ work, or is responsible for teaching operations in the course of study in which the alleged violation occurred. The term “responsible instructor” can include, but is not limited to, instructors, graduate assistants, another instructor, and clinical supervisors. If the conduct does not relate to a particular course, the role of instructor for these procedures may be a department chair or academic advisor.

Class schedule:
I reserve the right to change the class outline and even class location. If you miss a class, I expect you to find out from your classmates what you must do for the next class. I may give a quiz without prior notification. At this time, I am not providing a week-by-week calendar for each session. However, here are some notable dates: May 25 – Midterm May 28 – HOLIDAY (Memorial Day) June 15 – FINAL


Students who have a documented disability may arrange for reasonable accommodations. Please notify me during the first week of class of any accommodations needed for the course. All accommodations must be approved through the Disability Resource Center (DRC). Students requesting accommodations must have documentation of their disability on file at the DRC, and must complete an accommodation form with a DRC staff member and take it to each instructor for his/her signature