Objective: To give the student the opportunity to apply his/her newswriting skills by covering actual meetings, speeches, news conferences, etc. and writing stories for publication. In addition, the course is designed to train the student in techniques for gathering news through lectures, readings and problem-solving assignments. News gathering will emphasize government documents and personal sources, as well as other information resources, including the Internet. Strong emphasis will be placed on meeting deadlines. The objectives will be reached through lectures, outside reading assignments and class discussions in which each student is expected to participate.
Prerequisite: Communications 200 (Introduction to News Writing)
Inside Reporting, third edition, Tim Harrower (McGraw-Hill)
Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual (New York: The Associated Press)
Note: Edit ONLY with a pencil on the paper copies of your work. Keep your stylebook handy. A calculator would be helpful.
Grading: Various graded activities will be worth a certain number of final points. To determine where you stand at any time, add your final points earned, based on a 100-point scale. Graded activities carry the following points:
Writing assignments: 75 points (five stories at 15 points each)
Miscellaneous assignments/portfolio of work: 20 points
Participation: 5 points (includes attendance, attitude and class participation)
Please remember that all assignments must be typed, double-spaced, copy-edited and on time.
Grading scale: Grading will be based on the points earned. Letter grades will be given according to the following numbers of final points:
A = 90-100 and at least five published stories
B = 80-89 and at least four published stories
C = 70-79 and at least three published stories
All Communications majors must make a C or better in order to avoid retaking the course. Please note that all assigned work must be completed and turned in on time for a student to receive any grade in this course. Also note that the points allotted are dependent upon the progression of the course.
Attendance: It is essential and mandatory. Be here and be on time. Some one-on-one sessions also will be scheduled later in the semester, and those also are mandatory.
Makeup and late work: Neither is allowed, unless, of course, Armageddon occurs or the "Big One" strikes on the New Madrid fault line. If we suddenly are faced with either situation, or something equally disastrous, I expect you to grab a pen and notebook (or camera and laptop) and start reporting. It's your job.
Cheating: Academic dishonesty and plagiarism will not be tolerated. Cheating on exercises or copying a previous or current student's work will certainly result in a zero for the assignment without a chance to redo the work and, depending on the severity of the offense, could result in a zero for the course. Plagiarism is defined as using or stealing others' work and presenting it as your own. You should be careful, particularly when you begin to write stories for The Pacer, to correctly cite all sources. Example: Finding a movie review on a Web site, then copying it and pasting it into a file, changing a couple of sentences and putting your byline on it, then submitting it to The Pacer for print, is considered plagiarism. If you wish to be sure that you are not guilty of plagiarism, please do not hesitate to consult with me on how to use others' words in an appropriate manner. As with any other form of academic dishonesty, plagiarism will result in a zero for the assignment and could result in a zero for the course. If you've read your Student Handbook, you already know that plagiarism is a cardinal sin in the academic world and could get you expelled from the university.
Extra credit: I give few extra credit opportunities in this class. If I do assign extra credit work, it will have a due date, just like any other assignment. No extra credit will be given beyond the last day of classes.
Reminder: If you have any questions or concerns about the content or direction of this course, or your progress in it, please do not hesitate to contact me. Any discussions we have are privileged and will not affect your grades. I prefer to keep problems to a minimum.
For those students who, for physical reasons, must ride the elevator, I will be tolerant of problems that arise when the elevator is not working. Be sure to tell me if such a situation exists or occurs.