Welcome to CMAT 240, Introduction to Journalism & Public Relations. This course will be taught entirely online and will span from from Monday, July 8 thru Friday, August 2. Please watch this short presentation to help you prepare for the brisk class and answer any questions you might have before getting started.
My name is Jennifer Cox, and I will be your instructor throughout this semester. A bit about me: I just finished my second year at SU, and I love it. My husband, Daily Times reporter Jeremy Cox, our daughter, Charlie, and I moved here from Florida where I finished my Ph.D. from the University of Florida. We spent several years working as newspaper journalists throughout Florida covering a variety of topics, including education, business, crime and government. We also had the opportunity to work in online journalism at the Anniston Star in Alabama and intern at The Washington Post constructing hyperlocal video content. At SU, I teach several courses, including this class, mobile journalism, and public affairs reporting in the fall.
I have included the course syllabus in your welcome email, and I have also provided a copy in the MyClasses website. Please make sure you have it handy as I review key portions of it for this presentation.
Successful students will obtain several useful skills from this course. Upon completion, you will have a working knowledge of the principles and practices that are shaping the journalism and public relations fields today, including ethics, business models, and the implementation of new technology.You will be able to write clearly and concisely, using AP Style and appropriate grammar, which we will spend a large portion of our time on this summer. You will also be able to understand and have practiced good reporting techniques that can help you communicate effectively in either field. Finally, you will have a clear understanding of the strong relationship between journalism and public relations and the tools to decide which path may be best for you. Journalism & PR are intrinsically linked, and whatever path you choose, you must be aware of how the two work together to communicate with mass media audiences.
As this is an online course, we will not be meeting face-to-face during the term. However, I am available for one-on-one sessions using Facetime or Skype, should you wish to arrange those with me. I will also make myself available via phone as needed.I have included my cell phone number, which you are welcome to use during my call-in hours: Tuesday & Thursday 11 a.m.-12 p.m., and other times by appointment. Please do not leave messages on my office phone, as there is no telling when I will receive them.The best way to contact me for course-related communication is via the university email address provided above. Email correspondence will be read and replied to with 24 hours of delivery. Weekend emails will be answered by 3 p.m. on Monday.Daily lectures will be posted on our MyClasseswebsite. There will be online lectures to view most Mondays thru Thursdays. Fridays will be reserved for completing assignments, peer feedback, and projects. You will need to keep up with viewing the lectures in order to stay up to date with your assignments. Assignments and other materials will also be posted on the class website.Keeping up with the materials and assignments is YOUR responsibility. These four weeks will go by extremely fast, so please keep up and let me know immediately if you fall behind.
To help you stay on track, I have created this course calendar, which details exactly what you need to do each day. Make sure to make copies of this and keep it available throughout the semester so that you can plan out your work and know what to expect each day. There is no excuse for forgetting work that is listed on this calendar, so be diligent! I would suggest marking each activity that you do on the calendar with a check mark to ensure you have completed that day’s tasks.As I will explain further in a minute, each assignment is due by 11:59 p.m. each day, unless otherwise stated. This deadline is especially crucial for peer feedback, as your peer-editing partners will not be able to proceed with their work until they get your comments.
You will be required to purchase 2 books for this class. First, the Writing & Reporting News textbook. I will be listing the chapters for your reading assignments according to the latest edition, which is the 7th. If you have an older version of the book, some pages we will cover may not be available, and the chapter numbers will likely be different from what I post, so be sure to pay attention to the chapter title, rather than just the chapter number if you have an older book. Also, I highly recommend using Amazon to purchase used textbooks, as the price for a new book is pretty expensive. You will need this book to succeed in the course, for two reasons. First, given the lack of face-to-face interaction, it is critical that you do the readings and view the examples in the book to make sure you have a thorough understanding of the assignments. Second, we will have weekly readings quizzes that you are not likely to pass without completing the readings.You will also need The Associated Press Stylebook, which you will use every day in this course and in future courses, such as Writing for the Professions. You will also have a weekly AP Style quiz that will be open book, so be sure to get this book prior to starting the class. You may get an older edition if you want, but please do not get anything older than 2010. Obviously, the best way to learn how to write like a media professional is to read similar work. I highly recommend reading a newspaper every day to help acquaint yourself with the writing you will be doing. If you don’t read the newspaper, it will be painfully obvious to me when I am grading your assignments. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel – newspaper articles have very similar structures. Learn them and use them, and you will likely succeed in this class.
You will be provided links to an online lecture almost every day, Monday-Thursday. You will be able to listen and look at them any time throughout the day, so you can work at your own pace. However, be sure not to fall behind on the lectures, as your assignments due will come straight from the lecture and will be explained at the conclusion of each lecture.Even though you can listen to lectures whenever you want, your homework and projects will be due no later than 11:59 p.m. on the assigned day. You will submit your work via MyClasses as a Word document attachment. Work turned in after 11:59 p.m. will receive a 10-point deduction for each day it is late.If you are having issues with the pacing of the class or turning in assignments, let me know BEFORE it is too late. Just make sure you communicate with me should a situation arise so we can keep you up to speed.Finally, as this is an online course, we will rely more heavily on the readings than ever before. I will assign you chapters to read in the book that are very instructive and can help you a lot as you work on your assignments. I will also send out links to articles from time to time that you will be expected to read. These are not meant to be “busy work,” rather they can be very helpful in providing you the extra assistance you would normally get in the classroom.
I will grade your assignments and email them back to you with feedback and comments. It is your responsibility to keep track of them. Grades will be posted to MyClasses, so you will be able to view those throughout the semester and track your progress in the course. In lieu of exams, you will complete two major projects during the semester, each accounting for 15 percent of your final grade. The first will be a self-reported news story on a topic of your choosing. You will obtain approval from me before beginning on the project, so that you don’t waste your time on an unsuitable topic. For this, you will cover and event or meeting, interview at least three people that you do not know (no friends or family or co-workers) and write a news story. You will also create a media kit containing important information about an organization of your chosing (again, you will get my approval before proceeding). To help you prepare for these projects, you will have six homework assignments scattered throughout the semester, accounting for 30 percent of your grade. These include news stories written from prompts I provide you, public relations materials, and some social media. You will also have two quizzes each week. Both will be open book, but you will only have 10 minutes to complete each, so you will want to review the materials and complete the readings prior to beginning the quiz. You will also only be able to attempt each quiz once, so make sure you’re prepared before you start! Each quiz will be 5-10 questions long.On Tuesdays, you will complete an open book quiz on AP style and grammar. We will cover AP style during our first lecture Monday, so you should be prepared for Tuesday’s quiz. On Thursdays, you will take a readings quiz, which will include all materials covered up to and including the day of the quiz.The last piece will be participation, which will include several aspects.
Throughout the semester you will be asked to fill out worksheets, provide information, and complete a variety of tasks that will further your learning on the subject matter. Each of these assignments will be graded by me based on your completion and participation.You will also be required to participate in peer editing sessions with assigned partners. I will pair you with a peer editor each week, who will review all of your work. Your partners will fill out a weekly evaluation detailing the quality of your feedback, the timeliness of your feedback and your level of communication, which I will use to grade your participation. If you do not fill out the survey for your partner that week, you will receive a zero. If your peer feedback partner is not being responsive, let me know ASAP. I will attempt to find another partner for you or contact your current partner to find out the problem. It is really important that you complete your own assignment before viewing your peer editing partner’s. If your assignments are too similar to one another, I will launch an investigation. If I discover that one person has copied the work or structure of another’s work, I will give you a zero and report the incident to student affairs.
Your writing assignments will be graded based on two areas: content and mechanics.
I will provide you with details for my expectations of your content that will vary for each assignment. Your content grade will be based on your writing style, how well you organize the information, how clear the information is, the work and thoughtfulness you put into the assignment and the appropriateness of your approach to the assignment. This grade will be out of 100 points.
From there, you will receive deductions based on grammar and style errors, so make sure you proofread carefully. This is where your peer editing team members should come in handy. You’ll receive 2-point deductions for each grammar, AP style, and spelling error. You will receive a 10-point deduction for fact errors. These include anything for which a newspaper would have to run a correction. For example, you provide the wrong phone number for an organization, or you say the council approved something when it actually denied it. Most importantly, you should NOT use friends or family as sources for your self-reported stories. If I find out that you have, you will receive a 20-point deduction on the assignment. If you receive a bad grade, try not to panic. There are a lot of assignments during the semester, so one or two bad grades will not be enough to completely sink you. Just hang in there and be sure to communicate with me if you have trouble with any of the concepts we go over throughout the semester.
A couple of closing remarks:Your first lesson will be online Monday, July 9. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me. If you would like to talk via phone or video chat, please let me know via email and we will set it up. I wish you the best of luck in the course. Talk to you soon!
Welcome to cmat 240 online!
Dr. Jennifer Cox
Summer II 2013
July 8-Aug. 2
• Dr. Jennifer Cox
• Just finished my second year at SU
• Several years as newspaper journalist
• Worked on various multimedia projects in
Alabama and The Washington Post
• Working knowledge of principles and practices
shaping the journalism and public relations fields
• Be able to write clearly and concisely, using AP Style
and appropriate grammar.
• Understand and have practiced good reporting
• Understand strong relationship between journalism
and public relations
• No in-class meetings
• Call-in cell phone hours:
• Tuesday & Thursday 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
• Other times by appointment
• Online lectures most days Monday-Thursday; Friday work
• Lectures will be posted on our course MyClasses site:
• I am available via email, Facetime, Skype, and phone
• I will reply within 24 hours of your email (by 3 p.m. Monday
• Writing & Reporting News: A Coaching Method (Carole Rich)
• Chapters listed are according to the 7th edition;
Pay attention to chapter titles rather than numbers!
• Buy used on Amazon – new books are quite pricey
• The Associated Press Stylebook
• You will need this for weekly style quizzes
• You will use it in many of your upper-level courses later
• Any daily newspaper in print or online
• View/listen to a lecture Monday-Thursday
• Homework/projects due at 11:59 p.m. on assigned
• Work turned if after 11:59 p.m.will receive a 10-point
deduction for each day late
• Communicate with me before you fall too far behind;
I can’t help you after the fact
• Keep up with the readings
• Projects: 30 percent
• Reported news story – 15 percent
• Media kit – 15 percent
• Homework: 25 percent
• Quizzes: 25 percent
• Tuesdays: AP style & grammar
• Thursdays: Readings
• Participation: 20 percent
Social media article
• Worksheets, practice assignments, information, etc.
• Peer feedback
• Assigned partner each week
• Graded on quality of feedback and timeliness
• Make yourself available to your partner!
• Turn in weekly evaluation
• No peer feedback – let me know!
• DO NOT COPY!