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Sylabus Reporting and News Writing
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Sylabus Reporting and News Writing



CM 274 Reporting and News Writing - Boise State University

CM 274 Reporting and News Writing - Boise State University



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Sylabus Reporting and News Writing Sylabus Reporting and News Writing Document Transcript

  • REPORTING AND NEWSWRITING: FALL 2008 Mary Dawson Fall 2008 Office: C-120 CM273-002 Office hours: Mon 12-3p (Arbiter) Wed 12-3p (C-120), Fri by appointment Tues/Thurs 1:40-2:55 Office phone: 426-4359 marydawson@boisestate.edu TA: KC Driscoll kcdriscoll@u.boisestate.edu COURSE OBJECTIVES Students will learn the fundamentals of news judgment, reporting, writing and of Associated Press style. These skills are directly applicable for work in newspapers, but also are foundations for careers in broadcast and other electronic and converged media, public information and public relations. Lab Tuesday labs will be in the Campus School computer lab (PAAW125) and lectures in the Communication Building, Room 230. REQUIRED TEXTS 1.) Goldstein, Neil, ed. The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual. 2007. The Associated Press. 2.) Harrower, Tim. Tim Harrower Inside Reporting (paperback), 2007. McGraw-Hill. 3.) A paperback dictionary. Bring your AP stylebook and dictionary to every class. STUDENT PREPERATION 1. Complete the required readings prior to each class. 2. Complete any other assigned work and return it in a timely fashion. 3. Come to class on time prepared to participate in class discussions and group work. COURSE POLICIES 1. Turn off all cell phones 2. Arrive on time. Five tardies are equal to one absence 3. Plagiarism is an inexcusable offense and will not be tolerated in my classroom. This is a hands-on course. I will explain many of the concepts and techniques, but much of our classroom time will be spent writing and evaluating stories, taking quizzes and editing. Students are expected to keep ahead on their reading in the textbook. The text will fill in details on what it is like to work in the media, components of stories, what news is, tools of the trade, story structure, different kinds of stories, and components of research, interviewing, using sources, law and ethics. Always read the appropriate part of the text for how-to-do-it tips before attempting a writing assignment.
  • Prerequisites Successful completion of E-102 (English Composition), or the equivalent. CM273 trains you to absorb and organize facts and to present them in written form on deadline. Consequently, your typing and computer word processing skills must be sufficient to do this. Homework assignments must be typed. Attendance You are responsible for your own attendance, however, as there are many in-class writing assignments, coaching sessions and tests, you do not want to miss class. If you anticipate an absence contact your TA and the instructor IN ADVANCE. I encourage my TA not to bend him or herself out of shape doing makeup quizzes for people who do not contact them in advance of the absence. Any make-ups must be completed within a week of the due date. It is not possible to make up missed in-class lab assignments or editing participation points earned during the AP editing sessions. All assignments must be turned in on deadline. They will not be accepted unless an agreement has been made in advance with the TA and the instructor. Late assignments have missed the press run or the airtime of the radio and TV show. They are old and irrelevant. Requirements As you learn to be better consumers of news, you are expected to keep yourself aware of international, national, and local news including The Arbiter. Turn off your cell phones and pagers before class. Do not use the computers in the lab unless it is time to do an assignment that requires it and your instructor tells you to log on. Students will be held accountable on their assignments for accuracy, Associated Press style, spelling, and proper grammar. Reporters’ careers are based on their credibility, and their credibility is partly based on accuracy. In the real world, reporters and communication professionals who develop a reputation for not being accurate will loose their job. The editing, quality of research and accuracy required of a journalistic institution are what separates a journalistic Web site from an amateur blog or hobby site. ASSIGNMENT ELABORATION Individual writing assignments: You will write a total of ten articles that relate to the weekly topic of study. For example, when we are covering basic news and inverted pyramid style, you will write an article applying these skills. You will then bring the final draft of your story into the AP editing sessions for review. Each individual article is worth forty points. AP style tests: There will be three AP style tests throughout the semester. The tests will be multiple choice and each will cover a third of the AP style manual. By the time we reach the first test you should be well versed in the basic aspects of news editing including: abbreviations, capitalizations, numbers, punctuations, and titles. Each test is worth one hundred points. And remember; don’t assume you know the correct style. Just because you’ve seen a word used in a particular way doesn’t mean that it is correct. AP Stylebook tip: Always start your stylebook search as specifically as possible. Although you will find information related to a topic throughout the text, the fastest method is usually to look up the precise word or phrase. For example, when unsure about the capitalization of “senator” you can look under capitalization, senator, congress, legislative, politics, titles, etc. You also want to read the entire entry because there are often exceptions to the rule.
  • Current event quizzes The quizzes are an in-class activity in which you will be required to apply the information you learned the week prior to a specific article or series of facts. Each quiz may change in structure depending upon the topics we cover that week. For example, when learning about writing basic leads you will be provided with a list of story facts. You will then have fifteen minutes to find your hook and write a lead for the story. You grade will be based upon your ability to apply the concepts you learn in class. Each quiz is worth ten points. AP editing sessions/participation On the Thursdays on which we have editing sessions, you will come to class with your written story for the week. You will be given ten minutes within your group to find as many spelling, punctuation, grammatical, and AP style errors as possible. Each group will then swap papers with another team. You then have twenty minutes as a group to find and mark as many errors as possible. Each team will earn positive points for the errors they found and negative points for the errors found by their peer teem. You will then have ten minutes to challenge any errors. The AP stylebook decides all challenges. You will earn your full twenty points for participating in the editing sessions unless you sit back and do not participate. In this case, you will be deducted five points for the day. If you miss a session, you loose the full twenty points and there will be no makeup work for this assignment. These groups give you the opportunity to develop your editing skills within a supportive environment. You will find quickly that a strong editor makes an even stronger writer. GRADING CRITERIA (10) Individual writing assignments 40/400 (3) AP style tests 100/300 (10) Current event quizzes 10/100 (10) AP editing sessions/participation 20/200 1000 total Letter Grade Points attained in class Quality Points Meaning A to A+ Distinguished work 900 – 1000 pts. 4.0 A- Distinguished work 870 – 899 pts. 3.7 B+ Superior work 830 – 869 pts. 3.3 B Superior work 800 – 829 pts. 3.0 B- Superior work 770 – 799 pts. 2.7 C+ Average work 730 – 769 pts. 2.3 C Average work 700 – 729 pts. 2.0 C- Average work 670 – 699 pts. 1.7 D+ Below-average work 630 – 669 pts. 1.3 D Below-average work 600 – 629 pts. 1.0 D- Below-average work 570 – 599 pts. .7 F Failure below 570 pts. 0
  • READINGS AND ASSIGMENTS WEEK 1: HISTORY OF JOURNALISM AND INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE Aug 26 Introduction to the course 28 The story of journalism p. 6-13 WEEK 2: HOW THE NEWSROOM WORKS Sept 2 What is news? p. 16-21 Current event quiz 4 Who’s in the newsroom? p. 22-29 WEEK 3: NEWSWRITING BASICS-THE FIVE W’S AND THE BASIC LEAD 9 The five W’s p. 33-37 Current event quiz 11 Writing basic leads p. 40-45 AP Editing Session WEEK 4: NEWSWRITING BASICS-INVERTED PYRAMID AND BEYOND BASIC NEWS 16 The inverted pyramid, the nut graf, and the parts of a story p. 38-40 Current event quiz 18 Story structure, rewriting, editing, and deadlines p. 46-58 AP Editing Session WEEK 5: REPORTING BASICS-GATHERING INFORMATION AND INTERVEWING 23 Where stories come from and finding sources p. 64-69 Current event quiz 25 Using the internet and observation p. 70-73 AP Editing Session WEEK 6: REPORTING BASICS CONT. 30 Methods of gathering information p. 74-79 AP Style exam 1 Oct 2 Interviewing, attribution and taking notes p. 80-85 AP Editing Session WEEK 7: COVERING THE NEWS-BEATS AND TYPES OF COVERAGE 7 Beats and obituaries p. 90-93 Current event quiz
  • 9 Accidents, disasters, fires, and crime p. 94-99 AP Editing Session WEEK 8: COVERING THE NEWS-BEATS AND TYPES OF COVERAGE CONT. 14 Courts, speeches, and meetings p. 100-105 Current event quiz 16 Politics and sports p. 106-109 WEEK 9: BEYOND BREAKING NEWS-FEATURES AND GENERATING STORIES 21 The world of features and generating stories p. 112-115 AP Style exam 2 23 Feature style and structure p. 116-119 AP Editing Session WEEK 10: BEYOND BREAKING NEWS-INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING AND EDITORIALS 28 Writing profiles and investigative reporting p. 120-125 Current event quiz 30 Package planning, editorials, columns and reviews p. 126-134 WEEK 11: LAW AND ETHICS-CIVIC JOURNALISM Nov 4 press rights, libel, and invasion of privacy p. 136-142 Current event quiz 6 Copyright and journalistic ethics p. 143-151 WEEK 12: ONLINE REPORTING-WRITING FOR ONLINE MEDIA 11 From print to web, Media convergence, and online storytelling p. 154-159 AP Style exam 3 13 Writing for online and the future of news p. 160-162 AP Editing Session WEEK 13: BROADCAST JOURNALISM-WRITING FOR BROADCAST 18 Broadcast news (work with visual comm. student on news show) p. 164-165 Current event quiz 20 Writing for broadcast p. 166-167 AP Editing Session 24-30 Thanksgiving Break WEEK 14: BROADCAST JOURNALISM-GROUP BROADCAST WITH VISUAL COMM STUDENTS Dec 2 News reporting for radio p. 168-169 4 News reporting for television p. 170-173
  • AP Editing Session WEEK 15: PUBLIC RELATIONS 9 Defining public relations, and planning a PR strategy p. 176-179 Current event quiz 11 Writing a news release, balance bias and media manipulation p. 180-185 AP Editing Session 15-19 Finals Week