News Writing & Reporting I

Course Details

Course Number: MCOM-1243  Section Number: 201

Spring 2014

Location: Fain Fine Arts Center

Classroom Number: B124

Days & Times:

TR @ 11 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.



Course Attachments

Spring 2014 News Writing & Reporting SyllabusPDF version of MCOM-1243 News Writing & Reporting I syllabus.   news1 syllabus spring 14-20140114-160607.pdf

Textbooks

MSU Faculty Member
Liz Minden   
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Course Objectives
COURSE DESCRIPTION & OBJECTIVES
 
A writing course focusing on news reporting and news writing skills, students will be introduced to the basics of accuracy, clarity, journalistic style, news story structure, and deadlines.  Lecture information is supplemented by writing assignments that cover on-campus news and events; in-class writing exercises; and laboratory assignments.  Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:
 
1. Apply a news sense in finding stories and sources.
2. Write a news story using appropriate journalistic structure and style.
3. Evaluate the quality of a news story based on journalistic criteria.
4. Apply Associated Press Style.
5. Conduct an interview and gather information.
6. Make decisions based on ethical, legal and other journalistic criteria.
7. Work under deadline pressure.

Course Expectations
COURSE REQUIREMENTS
 
1. THREE MAJOR STORIES.  = 100 pts. each
 
a. Story ideas must be approved by the instructor (see due-date schedule on pg. 2).
b. Each story must be a minimum of five typed pages, including the source list.
c. Stories must be typed in Times 12-point font, black ink. It should be flush left on the page. Spacing between lines should be 1.5 and the first sentence of each paragraph must be indented one-half inch.
d. Stories must be in depth and based on several sources.
e. Students are expected to generate their own story ideas.
f. If you turn in an idea by the due date but it is not approved, you have until the next class period to submit a new idea.
g. Story notes must be well organized and typed.  Photocopies are acceptable.
h. The names, titles and phone numbers of the persons you interview and the dates they were interviewed must be attached to each story (source list).  This information must be typed on a page separate from your story.
i. These assignments are due at the beginning of the class period on their due dates.
j. DUE DATES FOR THE FOUR MAJOR STORIES:
   Story 1 – idea due January 30; February 13 notes due; February 20 story due
   Story 2 – idea due March 6; March 27 notes due; April 3 story due
   Story 3 –idea due April 15; May 1 notes due; May 6 story due by 3 p.m.
 
2. CLASS & LAB ASSIGNMENTS = 10 pts. each
Assignments may be writing, research and interviewing exercises, quizzes over lecture information, and other exercises relevant to journalistic writing. Most class and lab periods will include an exercise or assignment.
 
3. MID-TERM EXAM = 50 pts. (March 11)

Grading Standards
GRADING POLICIES
 
1. LATE WORK WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.  Journalism requires strict deadlines.  
2. Fabricating sources and facts, and/or quoting people without actually interviewing them, earns you an “F” for the course.
3. Points will be deducted for any factual error in a story.  NUMEROUS factual errors in a story will result in a ZERO grade for that story.
4. Points will be deducted for misspelled words, poor grammar, incorrect punctuation and Associated Press style errors.
5. Numerical grades will be awarded for all assignments.  Since this is a journalism writing course, quality work includes not only clarity of thought and correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, but also meeting the goals of good journalism and using correct journalistic style.  The grading scale is: 
 
       A = 90% -100% (exceptional/outstanding)
       B = 80% - 89% (above average)
       C = 70% - 79% (average)
       D = 60% - 69% (below average)
       F = Less than 60% (unacceptable)
 
**NOTE:  The instructor reserves the right to adjust or cancel assignments as the course progresses.  The method of calculating the final grade will remain the same, regardless of the total number of assignments for the course:  A percentage will be obtained by dividing the total points a student achieves for his assignments by the total possible points for all the assignments; a grade will be assigned according to the percentage scale outlined above.

Final Exam5/6/2014  1 - 3 p.m.

Submission Format Policy

MAJOR STORIES

a. Story ideas must be approved by the instructor (see due-date schedule on pg. 2).
b. Each story must be a minimum of five typed pages, including the source list.
c. Stories must be typed in Times 12-point font, black ink. It should be flush left on the page. Spacing between lines should be 1.5 and the first sentence of each paragraph must be indented one-half inch.
d. Stories must be in depth and based on several sources.
e. Students are expected to generate their own story ideas.
f. If you turn in an idea by the due date but it is not approved, you have until the next class period to submit a new idea.
g. Story notes must be well organized and typed.  Photocopies are acceptable.
h. The names, titles and phone numbers of the persons you interview and the dates they were interviewed must be attached to each story (source list).  This information must be typed on a page separate from your story.
i. These assignments are due at the beginning of the class period on their due dates.


Note: 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.

Late Paper Policy

LATE WORK WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.  Journalism requires strict deadlines.


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.

Attendance Requirements

Attendance:  Students are expected to attend, be on time for and participate in class.  The instructor reserves the right to drop any student who misses more than three class periods, which includes lab periods.


Other Policies
COURSE POLICIES
 
1. Attendance:  Students are expected to attend, be on time for and participate in class.  The instructor reserves the right to drop any student who misses more than three class periods, which includes lab periods.
 
2. Plagiarism and cheating:  The MSU Student Honor Creed, found in both your student handbook and the university catalog, includes the statement:  “As an MSU student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so.”  Plagiarism, lying and cheating include, but are not limited to:  fabricating information and sources, copying material from publications without crediting the author, turning in another student’s work as your own, and copying quiz/exam answers from another person.  STUDENTS FOUND CHEATING, PLAGIARIZING OR MAKING UP INFORMATION WILL RECEIVE AN “F” FOR THIS COURSE.
3. Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act: Any student with a disability who is registered with the MSU Office of Disability Support Services should notify the instructor at the beginning of the course to ensure that alternatives may be found to provide the student with full class participation.
 
4. Limited Right:  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. This “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 for educational purposes.
 
5. FERPA:  The instructor abides by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  The instructor also will not release a student’s academic information or discuss a student’s academic progress or class attendance with his/her parent or guardian.  Additionally, the instructor will not discuss a student’s grades with him/her in class, over the phone or by email.  STUDENTS WHO HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR GRADES MUST MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE INSTRUCTOR.
 
6. Disruptive Behavior:  Anyone disrupting the class – or violating any other Standard of Conduct applicable to the classroom environment – will be dropped from the course.  (See MSU Student Handbook, “Standards of Student Conduct.”)
a. Turn off the sound on your cell phone during class.  No text messaging either.  If your phone rings or you’re found sending a text-message during class, you will be dropped from the course.
b. Turn off your iPods and similar technology.  Like ringing cell phones, this is a class disruption issue and you will be dropped from the course if you do not comply.
c. Be polite.  Discourtesy of any kind will not be tolerated.
 
7. Senior Portfolio:
 
Please note that all mass communication majors are required to submit a portfolio as part of their internship course, which is a pre-requisite for Senior Production. This requirement is a part of MSU’s reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is non-negotiable. Through the portfolio, students are required to demonstrate communication competence through the written word and visual communication; two examples of each competency are required.
 
As you go through this and other classes, you are responsible for saving course work that could be included in your senior portfolio.
 
Please see your instructor, adviser, the department chair or any mass communication faculty member for handouts with more information (“Mass Communication Senior Portfolio Competencies” and “Mass Communication Senior Portfolio FAQ”).  These handouts are also available on the department web page:  http://finearts.mwsu.edu/masscomm/.
 
8. Other:
a. You may be asked to provide your assignments on a thumb/jump drive. Be sure to back up your work on such a device, just in case your computer crashes or you are asked to turn in your work this way.
b. Do not email your assignments to me. You are expected to print out and turn in hard copies of your assignments for this course. You may use the Mass Communication Department computer lab for this purpose. However, you must have a signed equipment agreement on file with the department if you wish card-key access to the lab.
c. If you use the lab computers during class or the lab period for ANY purpose other than the course assignments, you will be dropped from the course.
d. Do not bring food or drinks into the lab.  If you do, it will be immediately disposed of.
 
The instructor reserves the right to change any part of this syllabus for any reason, but will give sufficient notice if changes are necessary.

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 http://academics.mwsu.edu/wpr, or call 397-4131.