News Writing and Reporting I

Course Details

Course Number: 1243  Spring 2014

Location: Fain Hall

Classroom Number: B124

Days & Times:

 

21466 MCOM 1243 202 News Writing & Reporting I MW 0200pm 0320pm FA B124

21467 MCOM 1243 21B News Writing & Reporting I Lab W 1100am 1220pm FA B124



Course Attachments

Syllabus spring 2014  reporting Sp14-20140123-102323.pdf

Textbooks

MSU Faculty Member
Bradley Wilson   
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Course Objectives

To introduce you to journalistic writing and principles of good journalism. Upon successful completion of the class you should be able:

  1. To apply a news sense to finding stories and sources;
  2. To have the ability to write a news story whether for a public relations entity, a marketing entity or a news media outlet for both print and online;
  3. To apply social media skills to news writing;
  4. To evaluate a news story based on criteria established in class including, but not limited to, news value, readability, grammar, spelling and punctuation;
  5. To know and apply Associated Press style to ensure consistency;
  6. To possess the ability to conduct an interview and gather information;
  7. To make decisions based on ethical, legal, technical and journalistic criteria;
  8. To understand basics of covering general news, spot news, meetings and speeches; and
  9. To work successfully under deadline pressure.

Course Expectations

 

Tentative Schedule

This schedule may change with little or no notice.

Jan. 13 Classes begin; Interviewing skills and attribution, meet a new friend; expectations

Jan. 15 Lab: Scavenger Hunt

Jan. 15 Fundamentals of reporting, using social media as reporters, FOI

Jan. 20 NO CLASS (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)

Jan. 22 Lab: Write classmate profile, story angles/ideas

Jan. 22 Story ideas; the story process

Jan. 27 Writing photo captions like mini news stories

Jan. 29 Lab: Caption competition, news brief 1 due

Jan. 29 Lead writing; speech stories

Feb. 3 AP style

Feb. 5 Lab: work on stories; news brief 2 due

Feb. 5 AP style and leads review

Feb. 7 Bradley at Assn. of Texas Photography Instructors convention

Feb. 10 The English language, a review of common problems including passive voice

Feb. 12 Lab: Major story 1 due at end of lab

Feb. 12 Covering science and tech; generate five science and tech story ideas

Feb. 17 Editing. Evaluating. Review major stories: What did we learn?

Feb. 19 Lab: story angles/ideas, news brief 3 due

Feb. 19 Covering business and economics

Feb. 24 Covering business and economics

Feb. 26 Lab: work on stories; news brief 4 due

Feb. 26 Math for journalists

March 3 Review

March 5 Lab: Mid-term due; news brief 5 due

March 5 Alternative story forms

March 9 Daylight Savings Time begins

March 10 Working with PR folks; writing a press release; Last day to drop class with a “W”

March 12 Lab: Major story 2 due at end of lab

March 12 Covering politics and politicians

March 17-21 NO CLASS (Spring Break)

March 24 Covering sports

March 26 Lab: work on stories; speech brief (news brief 6) due

March 26 Covering sports

March 31 Writing / editing exercise

April 2 Lab: work on stories; news brief 7 due

April 2 Writing / editing exercise

April 4-6 Bradley at Virginia J Day

April 7 Review of interviewing skills, attribution and AP style

April 9 Lab: work on stories; news brief 8 due

April 9 Covering spot news; working with police, fire, EMS; the crime beat

April 10-12 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention (San Antonio)

April 14 Covering spot news; working with police, fire, EMS; the crime beat

April 16 Lab: work on stories; news brief 9 due

April 16 Why geography matters for reporters; DJNF editing test

April 17-18 NO CLASS (Easter break)

April 21 Review

April 23 Lab: Major story 3 due at end of lab

April 23 Review

April 28 Media law / ethics review. Credibility.

April 30 Lab: work on stories; news brief 10 due

April 30 Media law / ethics review. Credibility.

May 7 Final exam, 5:45 - 7:45 p.m.

May 10 Commencement


Grading Standards

 

  1. 45% Major stories
  2. 30% Weekly news briefs
  3. 10% In-class assignments (including participation, attendance, quizzes, other stories)
  4. 7.5% Mid-term exam
  5. 7.5% Final examNotes:
  • Unless otherwise indicated, material is due at the beginning of class. Late work receives a grade of zero.
  • Any story submitted with a name misspelled in a final draft receives a grade of zero.
  • You may not submit a story that has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in any other class unless you obtain my explicit written permission.
  • ANY story (and ALL stories) you write for this class should be considered publishable material and may be submitted to local news media, including Campus Watch and The Wichitan, for publication. When published, submit the timely Tweet and the published version to me for additional credit

Final Exam5/7/2014  5:45 p.m.

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.

Late Paper Policy

Unless otherwise indicated, material is due at the beginning of class. Late work receives a grade of zero.


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

Students are expected to be in class each and every time the class meets. Students will not be able to make up unannounced quizzes given in classes they miss. E-mail Dr. Wilson prior to the absence as a courtesy. Students are responsible for making up any work missed on their own time, working with classmates.

If you need to miss class due to University-sponsored events such as field trips or athletics, 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.

Students with excused absences — as determined by the Office of the Dean of Students or other appropriate University departments — may make up major exams on a schedule mutually agreeable with the instructor and the student. Projects and stories with advance deadlines will not be accepted late. Plan ahead.

Any student can be dropped from the class after the fourth absence in accordance with University policy.


Other Policies

STATEMENTS

As the instructor of record for this course, I reserve the right to change any part of this syllabus for any reason. The most current version of the syllabus will be maintained online. I reserve the right to drop — with an F — any students who have excessive absences, who miss assignments, who engage in disruptive behavior, have a poor attitude or who are not taking the class seriously.

WRITING PROFICIENCY

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 more than 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.

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY

Neither plagiarism, the use of someone else’s thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation, nor copyright violation in any form will be tolerated whether intentional or not. Both plagiarism and copyright violation involve the theft of intellectual property and will be considered not only a violation of the Student Honor Creed as well as University policy and applicable laws. To avoid any instances of plagiarism or copyright violation, credit the sources of all information appropriately and obtain written permission for the use of copyrighted works when necessary.

Cheating and collusion are also unacceptable. Cheating includes, but is not limited to: (1) use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations; (2) dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; or (3) the acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the university faculty or staff. The term “plagiarism” includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. The term “collusion” means collaboration with another person in preparing work offered for credit of that collaboration is not authorized by the faculty member in charge.

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 / SPECIAL NEEDS

The Americans with Disabilities Act 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.

Students that need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, that need to share emergency medical information, or students that require special accommodations in the event of an emergency should contact Dr. Wilson as soon as practical.

STUDENT PRIVACY STATEMENT

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 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 or any other party. 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. For more information on FERPA, visit http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/

STUDENT CONDUCT

Classroom behavior that interferes with either the instructor’s ability to conduct the class or the ability of other students to profit from the instruction will result in the removal of that student from class. Such students may be referred to the appropriate university departments including, but not limited to, the University Police, Office of the Dean of Students, Vinson Health Center or the Counseling Center.

Moreover, social justice is one of Midwestern State University’s stated core values. The professor considers this classroom to be a place where everyone 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.

GRADING

Grading is on a scale of:

  • 90 A Excellent
  • 80-89 B Good
  • 70-79 C Satisfactory
  • 60-69 D Passing
  • <60 F Failing

Semester grading follows the same scale. Grading will be determined from specific assignments, projects, written exams, quizzes, a final exam, and class attendance. Take home assignments are due when announced and will not be accepted late. Any assignment turned in after the deadline receives a grade of zero. Written exams will include material covered in the class and may include, but may not be limited to, multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. 

The instructor reserves the right to add, adjust, or cancel assignments as the course progresses. The method of obtaining the final grade will remain essentially the same: the total points achieved will be divided by the total points possible to obtain a percentage, and a grade will be assigned according to a percentage 


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.