Welcome to CMAT 240, Introduction to Journalism & Public Relations. This course will be taught entirely online and will span from from Monday, July 9 thru Friday, August 3. 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 first year at SU, and I love it. My husband- instructor Jeremy Cox – our daughter and moved here from Florida where I was working on my Ph.D. at 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.
I have included the course syllabus in your welcome email. 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.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 class website, cmat240summer.wordpress.com. 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.
You will need to subscribe to our class blog immediately by clicking on the “Subscribe to blog via email box” on the right-hand side of the screen as shown. You should provide whichever email you check most frequently (doesn’t have to be your SU email). When you do this, you will get an email notification every time I post information on the blog that way you will not have to constantly check the blog on your own to make sure you don’t miss anything. You are responsible for any material posted on there, so please make sure you subscribe as soon as possible.
You will be required to purchase 2 books for this class. The Writing & Reporting News textbook is different from the one previously used in this course, so if you planned to borrow an old one, you won’t be able to do that. I will be listing the chapters for your reading assignments according to the latest edition, but you will not need to have the latest edition if you don’t want. Just be sure to pay attention to the course chapter titles and email me if you are not sure you are reading the right thing. Also, I highly recommend using Amazon to purchase used textbooks, as the price for a new book is pretty expensive.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.
You will be provided links to an online lecture each 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 5 p.m. on the assigned day. You will submit your work via email as a Word document attachment. Work turned in after 5 p.m. will receive a 5-point deduction, and after midnight 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. Quiz grades will be posted to MyClasses, so you will be able to view those shortly after completing the quizzes. In lieu of exams, you will complete two major projects during the semester. 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 be required to interview at least three people that you do not know (no friends or family or co-workers). 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 througout the semester, each worth 100 points. These include news stories written from prompts I provide you, public relations materials, and some social media.
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 zero 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.
You will also have two quizzes each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which you will need to complete by 9 p.m. on the assigned days. On Tuesdays, you will take an AP Style quiz, testing your knowledge of style and grammar rules. You will be encouraged to use your books on the quizzes, as they are meant to help you learn to use the books rather than have you memorize the materials. On Thursdays, you will take a current events/readings quiz. You will be required to follow the local news in Salisbury using the website for The Daily Times’ website.
As soon as possible, visit the website, delmarvanow.com. You will need to sign up for their daily emails. This can be tricky to find, so please pay close attention.
If you scroll down the homepage, you will see this box on the right-hand side almost at the bottom of the page. Select the link that says “email.” From there, you will select the link that says “click here to select a newsletter.”
You will be directed to this page. Select only the first one titled “newsletter.” From there, you will be prompted to enter your email address and various other pieces of information.
Once you are signed up, you will receive an email each morning that looks like this. You will be responsible for any material contained in those emails on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, excluding editorials and opinion columns. You will not need to memorize numbers, names, or any particulars like that, but you will be tested to ensure you have read the stories. For example, I might ask you what county in Maryland experienced the most storm damage Tuesday or what decision council members reached on some matter on Monday. The purpose of this is to get you reading news stories, as there is no better way to learn how to write like a journalist than to read journalists’ work.
You will also be graded on your participation in the class. I will not require you to post things on discussion boards or anything like that. Instead, I will be placing you in peer editing groups of 3-4. You will be responsible for communicating with your editing partners throughout the semester before you turn in any work and assignments. How you communicate will be up to you: You can email each other your stories, post them in Google Docs for sharing, video conference, or whatever. The bottom line is, you will need to seek and offer feedback on your writing assignments from partners before turning them into me. This can only help you improve your work and help you to learn from each other.Your participation grade will be based on two things: First, any worksheets or additional assignments I ask you to complete and email me will be part of this grade. Second, I will email you an evaluation sheet for your group members due each Friday. You will provide your group members’ names and tell me how (or if) they helped you edit during the week. If you fail to turn in your evaluation sheet, you will receive a zero on participation for the week, regardless of how your group members rate you.
Here is the breakdown for points for the semester. 500 points for projects, 600 for homework, 400 for quizzes, and 300 for participation. Please make sure you keep up with all your own grade totals and let me know if you ever have any questions.
A couple of closing remarks: I have posted a tentative schedule on our class blog, so that should help you to keep up throughout the semester. The readings are highlighted in blue, and I have noted where quizzes will be and due dates.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!
CMAT 240 Welcome Presentation
Welcome to cmat 240 online! Professor Jennifer Cox Summer II 2012 July 9-Aug. 3
About me• Professor Jennifer Cox• Just finished my first year at SU• Finishing my Ph.D. from UF• Several years as newspaper journalist throughout Florida• Worked on various multimedia projects in Alabama and The Washington Post
The course• Working knowledge of principles and practices shaping the journalism and public relations fields today• Be able to write clearly and concisely, using AP Style and appropriate grammar.• Understand and have practiced good reporting techniques• Understand strong relationship between journalism and public relations
communicating• No in-class meetings• Online lectures Monday-Thursday; Friday workday• Lectures will be posted on our course website: http://cmat240summer.wordpress.com/• I am available via email, Facetime, Skype, and phone• I will reply within 24 hours of your email (by 3 p.m. Monday if emailed during the weekend)
Course materials• Writing & Reporting News: A Coaching Method (Carole Rich) • Different from the book previously used in this course • 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
expectations• View/listen to a lecture Monday-Thursday• Homework/projects due at 5 p.m. on assigned day • Work turned if after 5 p.m. will receive a 5-point deduction • After midnight – 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
grading• Homework grades emailed; quiz grades in MyClasses• Projects: 250 points each • Reported news story • Media kit• Homework: 100 points each
grading• Based on rubric• Varies with each assignment• Includes: • Writing Style CONTENT • Organization of Information • Clarity • Thoughtfulness • Appropriateness
grading• -2 = grammar & punctuation errors• -2 = AP style errors MECHANICS• -2 = spelling errors (including typos)• -10 = factual error• ZERO = using friends or family as sources DO NOT PANIC! One or two bad grades will not sink you!
Grading• Homework grades emailed; quiz grades in MyClasses• Projects: 250 points each • Reported news story • Media kit• Homework: 100 points each• Quizzes: 50 points each (by 9 p.m. on quiz days) • Tuesdays: AP Style • Thursdays: Readings & The Daily Times (DelmarvaNow.com)