Winter Semester 2012

Section 1: Room 380 BRMB on Tuesdays at 04:00 pm - 06:30 pm Course Website Address:

Instructor: Dale Cressman, PhD Office: 360A BRMB Office Hours: Call receptionist for app't Office Phone: 422-1686 Email:

Teaching Assistant: Julianne Horsley Email:

Welcome to Comms 239! During this semester we will have the opportunity to together explore, discuss, analyze, and define the practice of journalism. Our class sessions will consist mostly of discussions as we try to understand the role journalism plays in a democracy. This is an exciting and revolutionary time for journalists: there are many new developments that are changing the field.Thus, this class will strive to be a community of learners, where each member will contribute to another's knowledge as we try to make sense of the current media environment. We will not necessarily arrive at any "right" answers, but we will better equip ourselves for understanding and adjusting to disruptive technologies that are sure to be encountered in the course of your journalism careers.   Please note that this syllabus maps out the teaching strategies aimed at accomplishing the course's learning outcomes. At best it should provide you with a road map for navigating your way to success in this course; at worst, it is a good-faith effort to describe our plans. Any changes will be announced in class and posted to the course website. It is your responsibility to learn about any of these changes.

Declared pre-comms major

Texts & Materials
Copies of the New York Times are provided Monday through Friday in the Brimhall Building, courtesy of the Department of Communications and the New York Times. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Kennedy Center also provides copies at the Herald R. Clark Building.
Vendor Price (new) Price (used)







Brimhall Free Bldg


Comms 239 - Principles of Journalism (Dr. Cressman, Winter 2012)


Learning Outcomes
• Journalism Fundamentals Students will be able to define the characteristics, purposes, problems, and potential of journalism. Web 2.0 Technologies Students will demonstrate an ability to deploy Web 2.0 technologies for the purposes of newsgathering, distribution and discourse. Professional Conduct Students will articulate their own personal code of conduct for best practices of journalism. Journalism context and role Students will understand how journalism has evolved and shaped contemporary practice, and the role it plays in democracy.

• •

Teaching Philosophy
I want you to know how excited I am about sharing this course with you. One of my jobs is to share that enthusiasm for this subject and guide you through the learning experience. While I look forward to helping you however I can, I believe you are responsible for your learning. Together we will create an enjoyable and fruitful learning community.

Classroom Procedures
Please be on time for this class and expect to stay for the entire class. This isn't just academic courtesy, but also the behavior of the professional you are striving to become.    Please turn off your cell phone when you get to class and refrain from using it for conversation or text messaging during the class.    The use of laptops or tablets is permitted. However, you are asked to restrict its use to the activities of the class; please refrain from surfing the web, reading the newspaper, emailing, "face booking," or using other materials not related to the class.    Use of Twitter is permitted, provided it is related to the topic under discussion in this class (please use hashtag #comms239).   Please read the department's Statement on Professionalism, included with this syllabus, as it will alert you of other expectations universal to all students in this major.

Attendance Policy
In order to do well in this class, you need to attend all classes and be prepared to participate. While you are not being graded on attendance, per se, any absences or tardies may be reflected in quiz scores or in-class activities. These cannot be "made up," even for excused absences.   It is expected that you will arrive on time and remain for the entire class session, so as not to disrupt your fellow students.

Participation Policy
Your active participation is essential to your success and the success of your classmates. You should consistently demonstrate that you have knowledge of the news and that you have completed the assigned readings.   Please note that in-class activities, such as quizzes, may not be "made up" in the event of an absence.

Comms 239 - Principles of Journalism (Dr. Cressman, Winter 2012)


Study Habits
Please be prepared to work well in groups. If you are averse to working in groups and receiving peer review, you may be better served in another section of this class. (In the event that you do promptly transfer to another section, no offense will be taken.)    You are strongly encouraged to read newspapers (primarily the New York Times and Salt Lake Tribune), as well as the assigned readings.   Not big on reading? We need to change that, because part of being a good reporter and writer comes from voracious reading habits. If you want to be a journalist, you better learn to read widely.

Grading Scale
A AB+ B 93-100 90-92 87-89 83-86 BC+ C C80-82 77-79 73-76 70-72 D+ D DE 67-69 63-66 60-62 59 and lower

Grading Policies
There will not be a grading "curve." Rather, we will assess the quality and depth of students' intellectual work, as reflected in learning activities. In other words, students who immerse themselves in learning about journalism and can demonstrate that learning will receive higher grades. 

Late assignments
Because so much of what we do in journalism is deadline-critical, I will not accept late assignments.

Incomplete grades
An incomplete grade will be granted only in unusual circumstances. You must submit a written request for an incomplete grade, describing the circumstances, then having it approved by me. Requests must be made prior to the end of the semester. 

Assignment Descriptions
Quizzes (class participation): There will be a number of unannounced quizzes (nearly every week) during the semester. They will be based on the assigned readings, particularly the New York Times. Personal code (class participation): The final assignment of the course will be an essay, not less than four pages and not more than five, that articulates your code of conduct for practicing journalism—both here at BYU and beyond. Further instructions, including the due date, will be provided in class and on the class website. Discussion (class participation): It is hoped that you will fully participate in class discussions, offering thoughtful viewpoints. Journalists are not wallflowers; it is hoped that our journalism students won't be, either. Blogging (class participation): Each student is asked to maintain a personal blog for this class. This blog is to be used to comment on the following: • • Issues discussed in class, particularly the group presentations; Issues addressed in the assigned readings;

Comms 239 - Principles of Journalism (Dr. Cressman, Winter 2012)

Current developments in journalism and new media (as reported in the New York Times and elsewhere).

Each student will post two blog entries before the 6 due dates established in the class schedule. These entries will be peer reviewed, for a grade, by the groups that presented the corresponding topics. Group presentations (presentation & peer review): You will be assigned to a group of students with whom you will make a presentation in class of approximately 30 minutes. Your job will be to "bring to life" your assigned topic, amplifying and expanding on the related assigned readings. This means that presentations should be more than just a PowerPoint regurgitation of the readings. For example, they may include such elements as video clips, role-plays, debates, current examples in the news, guest speakers, handouts, games, etc. Of course, you are asked to use good judgment and don't include material contrary to our values or BYU Standards. Also remember that this is a learning activity; your not graded on how entertaining you are but how well you bring the subject mater to life and make it relevant to your fellow students. On the day of your presentation, you will submit a short report with your names, sources of information, and notes used. Peer review (presentation & peer review): After your presentation you will be responsible for reviewing and grading class members' blog entries. As part of this process, you will provide to the instructor five exam questions pertaining to your presentation, as well as any powerpoint files, web links, or other files used in your presentation (the questions may be used in the final exam; the electronic files & links will be posted on the course website). See the class schedule for due dates pertaining to these materials. Final exam: A final exam will be given in the Testing Center during Finals Week. It will be based on the assigned readings and class discussions.

Point Breakdown
Assignments Class participation (assignments & quizzes) Presentations & peer review Final exam Total Points Points 60 30 10 100

Librarian Information
Name: Julie Williamsen Office: 5720 HBLL Phone Number: 422-6763 Email:

Reference Desk Information
Name: Humanities" " Email:"" " " " " Phone Number: 422-4006 Hours: M-Th : 8am-9pm; F: 8am-6pm; Sat: 10am-6pm

Department Research Information

E-reserve Information

Comms 239 - Principles of Journalism (Dr. Cressman, Winter 2012)


BYU Honor Code
In keeping with the principles of the BYU Honor Code, students are expected to be honest in all of their academic work. Academic honesty means, most fundamentally, that any work you present as your own must in fact be your own work and not that of another. Violations of this principle may result in a failing grade in the course and additional disciplinary action by the university. Students are also expected to adhere to the Dress and Grooming Standards. Adherence demonstrates respect for yourself and others and ensures an effective learning and working environment. It is the university's expectation, and my own expectation in class, that each student will abide by all Honor Code standards. Please call the Honor Code Office at 422-2847 if you have questions about those standards.

Preventing Sexual Discrimination and Harassment
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in an educational program or activity that receives federal funds. The act is intended to eliminate sex discrimination in education. Title IX covers discrimination in programs, admissions, activities, and studentto-student sexual harassment. BYU's policy against sexual harassment extends not only to employees of the university, but to students as well. If you encounter unlawful sexual harassment or gender-based discrimination, please talk to your professor; contact the Equal Employment Office at 422-5895 or 367-5689 (24-hours); or contact the Honor Code Office at 422-2847.

Students with Disabilities
Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities Office (422-2767). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified, documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the SSD Office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures by contacting the Equal Employment Office at 422-5895, D-285 ASB.

Academic Honesty Policy
The first injunction of the BYU Honor Code is the call to be honest. Students come to the university not only to improve their minds, gain knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life's work, but also to build character. President David O. McKay taught that 'character is the highest aim of education' (The Aims of a BYU Education, p. 6). It is the purpose of the BYU Academic Honesty Policy to assist in fulfilling that aim. BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct.

Plagiarism Policy
Writing submitted for credit at BYU must consist of the student's own ideas presented in sentences and paragraphs of his or her own construction. The work of other writers or speakers may be included when appropriate (as in a research paper or book review), but such material must support the student's own work (not substitute for it) and must be clearly identified by appropriate introduction and punctuation and by footnoting or other standard referencing.

Respectful Environment Policy
"Sadly, from time to time, we do hear reports of those who are at best insensitive and at worst insulting in their comments to and about others... We hear derogatory and sometimes even defamatory comments about those with different political, athletic, or ethnic views or experiences. Such behavior is completely out of place at BYU, and I enlist the aid of all to monitor carefully and, if necessary, correct any such that might occur here, however inadvertent or unintentional." "I worry particularly about demeaning comments made about the career or major choices of women or men either directly or about members of the BYU community generally. We must remember that personal agency is a fundamental principle and that none of us has the right or option to criticize the lawful choices of another." President Cecil O. Samuelson, Annual University Conference, August 24, 2010
Comms 239 - Principles of Journalism (Dr. Cressman, Winter 2012) 5

"Occasionally, we ... hear reports that our female faculty feel disrespected, especially by students, for choosing to work at BYU, even though each one has been approved by the BYU Board of Trustees. Brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be. Not here. Not at a university that shares a constitution with the School of the Prophets." Vice President John S. Tanner, Annual University Conference, August 24, 2010

Devotional and Forum Attendance Policy
Brigham Young University's devotional and forum assemblies are an important part of your BYU experience. As Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated, 'You neglect your education and fail to use a unique resource of this university if you miss a single one' (from the address 'Challenges for the Year Ahead', 6 September, 1973). Your attendance at each forum and devotional is strongly encouraged.

Department Professionalism Policy
Professionalism A key mission of our department is to prepare students for their eventual workplace experiences. Whether a Communications graduate pursues a career in journalism, advertising, public relations, law, business or any other field, he/she will be evaluated, in part, on professionalism. Because we feel our responsibility strongly – and because it is essential to the career growth of our graduates – the Department of Communications instituted a Professionalism policy effective at the beginning of Fall Semester 2004. This policy applies both to students who have been admitted to one of our five emphases and to precommunications students. Some key features: • Any major found in violation of the university Honor Code, especially with regard to cheating and plagiarism, will receive a zero for the assignment involved, may receive an E in the course and will be referred to the Honor Code office. Execution of this policy will be at the instructor’s discretion. In addition, the offending student’s case will be reviewed by the department chair and/ or associate chair for undergraduate studies. If the offense is sufficiently serious, the student may be removed from his/her major – no matter how close graduation may be. A second violation of academic honesty, whether done concurrently or subsequently, will automatically result in dismissal from the major. • Any pre-communications student found cheating will be denied the opportunity to apply to any of our five emphases. This decision rests with the department chair and associate chair for undergraduate studies. • Students who demonstrate consistently unprofessional behavior in class may also be dropped from his/her major or not allowed to apply in the first place. Examples of unprofessional behavior include – but are not limited to – excessive absences, disruptive behavior, sleeping in class, chronic tardiness, reading non-course material during class, playing computer games and/or checking e-mail during class, use of cell phone or text- messaging, and regularly leaving class early without making arrangements with the instructor. Policy Enforcement If an instructor feels he or she has a student in violation of this policy, the following should be followed: • First warning: This will come from the instructor. A meeting between the instructor and the student will be conducted to resolve the issues of unprofessional behavior. If the violation is excessive enough, the department can be involved (cases of cheating and plagiarism). Following this consultation, the professor and student will sign a letter that describes the problem and subsequent resolution. The department will keep this letter in the student’s file. • Second warning: This will come from the department (either the Chair or Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies). At this time, the student will be reviewed for removal from the department. Both sides of the case will be presented to a review committee composed of faculty from the student’s emphasis, and a decision will follow a deliberation. A letter explaining the decision must be signed by the members of the committee and will be placed in the student’s file. • Appeal: The first appeal will be to the Undergraduate Committee. Second appeal will be to the Department Chair. Final appeal will be to the College. Why a policy on Professionalism? It begins with the demand for entrance into our emphases and the fact that some students are being turned away. However, some who are successful in their pursuit of a particular major then demonstrate unprofessional behavior. We have decided we would rather take a student who has a less-impressive
Comms 239 - Principles of Journalism (Dr. Cressman, Winter 2012) 6

academic record but will work diligently than a higher ranking student who treats the major casually and without respect. A second factor is the tendency of some majors to “coast” once in an emphasis. This behavior is potentially serious to a student, who is unlikely to suddenly develop professionalism if hired by an agency, newspaper or television station, nonprofit organization or other employer. This, in turn, reflects on the reputation of the university, our department and the degree conferred. Our new policy is consistent with those already in effect elsewhere in the university. With thousands of young people desiring to attend BYU – many with an interest in Communications – we feel an obligation to admit and retain the students who demonstrate the kind of work ethic and behavior that will enhance our collective academic and professional performance.

About your instructor
Dr. Cressman has worked as a television news producer in South Bend, Indiana (WSBT); as an Executive Producer in Waco, Texas (KWTX) and Salt Lake City (KUTV); as a Managing Editor in Green Bay, Wisconsin (WBAY); and as a line-up editor at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He was a chief liaison officer for the Host Broadcaster during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games. In 1995, Dr. Cressman won an Emmy for writing and producing the public television documentary “Russia: Hidden Memory.” He has also worked as a newspaper reporter at the Star-Phoenix in Saskatchewan, Canada. Before first coming to BYU in 1993, he was an assistant professor and news director at Lyndon State College in Vermont. He was an assistant professor at Brigham Young University and news director of KBYU TV and FM between 1993 and 1996. He left BYU to work on a PhD, which he completed in 2003. Before returning to BYU in 2000, he taught at Utah State University for three years. Dr. Cressman currently serves as the Department of Communication’s Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies. His research is on broadcast news history and he has published in the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Journalism History, American Journalism. He has also published in theJournal of Children and Media and his research has been highlighted in the Columbia Journalism Review. He is working on  a biography for the University of Missouri Press of Elmer W. Lower, best known as President of ABC News. He has served as a division chair for the Broadcast Education Association, is currently Historian of the American Journalism Historians Association, and serves as a contributing editor for three academic journals. He and his wife Rebecca (she’s also a broadcaster; you can hear her middays on FM100 in Salt Lake City) are raising three active boys in Spanish Fork.]

Comms 239 - Principles of Journalism (Dr. Cressman, Winter 2012)


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