Broadcast News

Course Details

Course Number: 4263  Section Number: 1

Spring 2012

Location: Fain Fine Arts Center

Classroom Number: B122

Days & Times:

MWF - 9 a.m.

Course Attachments


MSU Faculty Member
Dr. Jim Sernoe   
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Course Objectives

Course Objectives/Description

  • This course is designed to give students an opportunity to gain television experience through the campus newscast.
  • Students will shoot, edit, write and produce material for broadcast.
  • Students will participate in the weekly taping of the newscast and will rotate duties so as to learn a little about everything.
  • Students will learn to make decisions based on ethical, legal, technical, journalistic and other factors.


Grading Standards


Final grades will be based on weekly story assignments (65 percent), attendance/participation/attitude (20 percent) and crew assignments

(15 percent). There will be no mid-term or final exam. Students should take note that they will be required to do a lot of writing over the course of the semester, and the quality of their writing will be a factor in their final grades.


Story Assignments - 65%: Most stories will be due on Thursday at 5 p.m. unless other arrangements have been discussed. Students will earn weekly grades on their stories. A critique sheet will be completed for each story.


Attendance/Participation/Attitude – 20 percent: Perfect attendance is required. As in past semesters, we will tape the show on Mondays. If you miss a taping without a valid excuse, your weekly grade will be reduced by 20 points. If you are late on the day of a taping without a valid excuse, your weekly grade will be reduced by 10 points. We will be in the studio until taping is completed.


This is the TENTATIVE taping schedule:


Jan. 30

Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27

March 5

March 12–16      Spring Break – Classes Canceled

March 26

April 2 or April 4

April 5–6            Easter Break – Classes Canceled

April 16, 23, 30

May 4 or May 7


On Wednesdays, we will critique the show and plan future shows. This will include discussing story ideas and making crew assignments. Each student is required to pitch at least three story ideas every Wednesday. Your weekly grade will be reduced by 5 points for each story idea that is missing.


On Fridays we will practice for the next Monday’s show. If you miss a practice without a valid excuse, your weekly grade will be reduced by

10 points.


If you cannot make it a priority to complete every assignment, on time, please drop now.


If you have to miss a class or a deadline for any reason, please contact me IN ADVANCE to let me know. CONTACTING ME IN ADVANCE DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY EXCUSE AN ABSENCE, but it is a lot better than calling after the fact. If you fail to contact me before the next class period to explain an absence, it will be very difficult for me to excuse the absence. Please note that work, non-emergency medical and dental appointments, hangovers, intramural games, visitors from out of town, fixing your roommate’s computer, fraternity/sorority events, arguments with boyfriends/girlfriends and studying for other classes do NOT constitute excused absences.


You are also required to contact the newscast producer whenever you know you will miss a class or deadline or that you might be late.


If you need to miss class due to a religious holiday, please see me as far in advance as possible.


If you need to miss class due to university-sponsored events such as field trips and sports, please see me as far in advance as possible. You will be required to complete the assigned work on or before the due date, and you will be required to submit an official form from the university before your absence.


As one of my former colleagues says, in the “real world,” you can not do your job if you are not present to do it. Employers do not generally tolerate such behavior, and employees who offer weak, irritating excuses frequently find themselves unemployed and unemployable. The same rules apply in this course. I don’t judge anyone who chooses to make attending class a secondary (or lower) priority. However, this choice is not without consequences.


If you cannot make it a priority to attend every session, please drop now.


IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO SEE ME IF YOU MISS CLASS. I will not chase students around the city.


A related note: You are required to be on time and I have little tolerance for those who are continually late. I am not above embarrassing students who walk in late.


If you cannot make it a priority to have a good attitude, please drop now.


Cellular phones, pagers and other similar devices will not be tolerated. I will not tolerate annoying jingles and beeps. If you own such a device, turn it off (not on vibrate) or somehow make sure it doesn’t make any noise while we are trying to get our work done. If your other commitments are so pressing that they can not wait until the end of the class session, it may be in your best interests to reconsider the priority you place on being here. In any case, I reserve the right to ask you to leave immediately or to embarrass you mercilessly if your beepers/phones/ pagers/etc. make noise at inappropriate times. If cell. phones become more than a one-time problem,

I reserve the right to lower your final semester grade and/or take further disciplinary actions.


Sending and receiving text messages will not be tolerated.


Appropriate conduct – in the classroom, with the instructor, with the studio director, with the newscast producer and in any other class-related situations – is required at all times. The instructor has the right to remove disruptive students from the course and take other disciplinary actions as necessary.


Please remember also that when you are conducting business as a member of Campus Watch, you are representing the organization, the Mass Communication Department, and, if off-campus, the university. You may be the only contact sources have with the group, and as such it is critical that you conduct yourself appropriately.


I reserve the right to drop any student with an F if he/she has excessive absences or missed assignments, engages in disruptive behavior, has a poor attitude, or in any other way is clearly not taking the class seriously.


By accepting this syllabus and remaining enrolled in this course, you are indicating that you understand my expectations for students concerning attendance, attitude and work ethic.


Two final notes on grading: Critics from both within and outside of higher education have accused faculty of engaging in “grade inflation,” the idea that grades don’t truly reflect quality and instead have been devalued to the point that an A means very good, a B means average, and anything less than a B is failing. I’m not sure whether those people would include me in their criticisms, but I do know I try my best to adhere to the system as

I understand it: an A means outstanding, a B means above average, and

a C means average. Please remember these interpretations as the semester progresses.


Please remember also that attending every class and completing every assignment do not constitute outstanding quality or guarantee an A for the course. Attending every class and completing every assignment are only prerequisites for achieving a desired grade in the class. Too many students have argued that these are the reasons they deserved an A in the class, and I do not buy into this way of thinking.


By accepting this syllabus and remaining enrolled in this course,

you are indicating that you understand the grading policies for the

course. If you have questions, you should see me as soon as possible.


Submission Format PolicyNote: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception. Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student. We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed. Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Other Policies


  • Completion of MCOM 3613 – Television Production


You are expected to follow proper check-out and check-in procedures, including filling out the proper forms correctly and completely. You are also expected to return the equipment in a timely manner, and if you are unable to do so as a result of unforeseeable circumstances, you are expected to call Lisa to let her know.


The equipment is expensive to replace and to repair. Students are expected to use the equipment carefully and correctly. While accidents do happen through no fault of the student, carelessness will not be tolerated.

If equipment is damaged while it is checked out to you, you are expected to inform Lisa so she can make arrangements to have it repaired. If she determines that the damage is due to your carelessness, you will be billed for repair or replacement costs. As my colleague says, “If you break it,

you buy it.”



The MSU Student Honor Creed, written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate, covers expectations related to cheating and other forms of

academic dishonesty. The main statement from this document is:


 “As an MSU student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so.”


All students in my courses are expected to abide by this student-produced document, as well as all other related university policies. I will provide copies of the MSU Student Honor Creed to any student who requests one.

It is also on page 4 of the 2011-2012 MSU Student Handbook (the handbook is also available online at


In addition, the university requires faculty to provide this statement to all students:


By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course. The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and educational purposes.


By accepting this syllabus and remaining enrolled in this course,

you are indicating that you understand the statement provided above and agree to comply with it.


I require COMPLETE honesty in producing your work. Working professionals are often encouraged to confer with their colleagues on strategies and wordings, but there is a difference between advice and blatant plagiarism.


I also realize the Internet provides a convenient source of information,

but students need to be aware that proper citation will be required.


Past students will tell you I take this issue very seriously and have not hesitated to confront them. A slightly higher grade on an assignment is not worth the extremely unpleasant experience of taking an accusation of academic dishonesty through the university hierarchy. Please don’t force me to do it.


I reserve the right to drop any student with an F if he/she engages in any form of academic dishonesty. I further reserve the right to recommend other sanctions as may be appropriate. Students are also encouraged to consult the following sources for additional discussion of students’ rights and responsibilities regarding cheating, attendance and general conduct:

  • The MSU Student Honor Creed
  • Pages 22, 51-53, 72-78, and 83-85 of the 2010-2012 MSU Undergraduate Catalog
  • Pages 4, 43-48, 59-70, 73 and 75-88 of the 2011-2012 MSU Student Handbook (the handbook is also available online at


By accepting this syllabus and remaining enrolled in this course,

you are indicating that you understand the seriousness of academic dishonesty and realize I will impose the harshest sanctions possible if I can prove you have engaged in academic dishonesty. You are also indicating that you understand what constitutes academic dishonesty; I will not tolerate the excuse that the student did not know he/she was engaging in academic dishonesty.



Federal privacy law prohibits me from releasing information about students to certain parties outside of the university without the signed consent of the student. Thus, in almost all cases I will not discuss your academic progress or other matters with your parents. Please do not have them call me. Regardless of these important legal considerations, it is my general policy to communicate with the students, not their parents, even when a student has signed a consent form. College students are adults and are expected to behave accordingly.


Special Accommodations

Students with disabilities or who are in need of special arrangements should see me as early as possible in the semester. I will do what I can within reason to accommodate your needs. Please note that in order to qualify for consideration of special accommodations, you must be registered with the MSU Office of Disability Support Services, and I must have a memo on file from that office, along with the Special Accommodations Request form.


If you have specific medical information that needs sharing or you need specific accommodations in case of emergencies or emergency evacuations, please see me as soon as possible.


A Reminder Regarding The Portfolio Requirement

Please note that all mass communication majors are required to submit a portfolio during their Internship course (students who took Internship before Spring 2012 must submit their portfolio to Dr. Sernoe the semester before they take Senior Production on October 1 or March 1). This requirement is a part of MSU’s reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is non-negotiable. Students are required to demonstrate the following competencies: communication through the written word, communication through the spoken word, visual communication, and critical thinking skills.

Two examples of written communication and two examples of visual communication are required for the portfolio. 


As you go through this and other classes, you are responsible for saving course work that could be included in your portfolio.


Please see me, your adviser, the department chair or any mass communication faculty member for handouts with more information ("Mass Communication Portfolio Competencies" and "Mass Communication Portfolio FAQ").


The handouts are also available online: (editable


Writing Proficiency Requirement All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.