Brosse St. News Desk

Student syllabus for Reporting I

 

Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management

Tbilisi, Georgia/Baku, Azerbaijan/Yerevan, Armenia

2011

Course Syllabus: News Reporting and Writing I

For Students

Instructors: Margie Freaney, B.A., LeMoyne College, Syracuse, N.Y.; former editor, Record Newspapers, Baltimore Business Journal; executive editor, Atlanta Business Chronicle.

ADD INSTRUCTORSXXXXX

 

E-mail: freaney@mac.com

Office Hours: Every day after class or by appointment as needed

Course Description: This course will introduce students to the basics of reporting and writing, for print and web. Will include reporting, research, interviewing, document checks, fact verification, basic writing skills. Students will learn to cover the basic stories–fires, accidents, speeches, meetings. They also will learn the principles of good journalistic practice.

Overall Objective: Students completing this course will have a basic understanding of covering and writing the news and will be able to develop their own story ideas.

Specific Objectives: Students completing this course will:

• Know the importance of finding and verifying facts

• Know the difference between news and opinion

• Recognize the elements that make news

•Take accurate, comprehensive, readable notes; use a recorder when necessary

• Know how to cover a basic news story

• Identify authoritative sources for stories

• Use quotes accurately and in proper context

• Prepare and conduct an effective interview

• Understand what information belongs in a story and what should be left out

• Create and maintain a blog that is refreshed regularly with new material

• Understand and use photos in stories

Handouts and/or other materials from:

Getting the Story, International Center for Journalists, pdf

Writing and Reporting News: A Coaching Method, Carole Rich

The Elements of Journalism, Tom Rosenstiel and Bill Kovach

The Universal Journalist, David Randall

The Reuters Handbook of Journalism, pdf

Reporter’s Guide to Multimedia Proficiency, pdf

Course Schedule: Reporting and Writing I will continue for four weeks. The first three classes will be conducted online. In each of weeks 2, 3 and 4, there will be three 90-minute classes and one lab class of three to four hours.

 

Entrance Competencies: Students will meet entrance standards established by Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management, including passage of the TOEFL English proficiency test. Students will have an expressed desire to become media professionals with the highest standards of fairness, accuracy and objectivity.

Grading: Approximately 50 percent of the grade will be based on student performance on assignments; 30 percent on work done during the newsroom laboratory and quizzes; 10 percent on participation in discussions and 10 percent on initiative shown in digging up stories. Notice will be given in mid-course if student is in danger of failing. Grades will be given at the end of the course.

 

Attendance Policy: Attendance is mandatory. Punctuality is essential. Class will begin at the scheduled time. If students arrive late, they are to enter the classroom quietly and take a seat. It is the student’s responsibility to attend and participate in all classes. If a class must be missed, the instructor must be notified before class. Students must hand in written assignments on or before the due date.

Late Assignments, Lab Work and Make-up Assignment Policy: It is imperative that each student attend each class session. Student absences from class sessions are rare exceptions, not the rule. If any part of the course work is missed, either excused or unexcused, the missed work must be made up. Make-up assignments must be arranged with the professor in person. Assignments submitted late for any reason will be marked down at a rate of 10 percent of the total possible points. If a student misses the class in which oral presentations are made, the points for the oral presentation are forfeited. All make-up work must be handed in no later than Friday of the week in which the class was missed.

Plagiarism Policy: Penalties for plagiarism are very serious. The policy will be that students who plagiarize will fail the course. Using another’s work, regardless of the source, diminishes credibility as a professional, and by association, it reduces the integrity of the discipline in general. Plagiarism in any form will be dealt with severely. Any papers prepared by someone other than the students in this class will receive an automatic failure.

Classroom guidelines: No cell phones are to be used at any time during class without express consent of instructor. This includes texting or surfing as well as calling. Students may use laptops only for in-class work (no e-mailing, web surfing or other activities). Violation of these policies will affect the student’s grade.

There is an in-class exercise at most meetings and a reporting and/or writing assignment will be given at the end of most classes.

Note to students: Assignments may be different than those described in the syllabus, and the order of lessons may change, depending on class performance and other factors.

 

 

Meeting 1 (week I, ONLINE)

 

RECOGNIZING NEWS, NEWS VS. OPINION

Reading assignments and handouts:

Accuracy Tip Sheet (ICFJ)

Getting It Right, handout

Writing and Reporting the News, Rich: Chapter 7, “Listening and Note-taking Skills,” pdf

Fact vs. opinion, handout

News value quiz

Top 10 stories assignment

Assignments:

  1. News value assignment
  2. Top 10 stories assignment

MEETING 2 (WEEK I, ONLINE)

 

THE BASICS OF THE NEWS STORY

Reading assignments and handouts:

Getting the Story, International Center for Journalists (no assignment, use as background)

“Accuracy–Guarding Against Errors,” ICFJ Tip Sheet.

Tips on preparing copy, handout

Reuters handbook, pages 25-31, pdf

AP style tips, handout

Writing Assignment: Write a 250-word profile of yourself. (See assignment sheet)

 

Meeting 3 (Week I, ONLINE)

WRITING THE NEWS LEAD; USING QUOTATIONS

Reading assignments and handouts:

Chapter 4, Journalism of Verification, Elements of Journalism, pdf

Finding your lead tip sheet

Using quotation marks, handout

Using quotes, handout

Classmate profile assignment

Story example: “Buildings Burn….” Sept. 12, 2001, New York Times

Writing assignments: 1. Interview a classmate and write a 250-word profile

2. Rewrite self-profile, correcting errors

 

MEETING 4 (WEEK II, 90 MINUTES)

VERIFYING SOURCES; INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES

Reading assignments and handouts:

Getting started With Word Press, pdf

Class questionnaire assignment

Guide to using anonymous sources, handout

Interviewing tips, handout

Loosening lips, handout

Reuters handbook, pp 481-487 on sources, pdf

Writing assignment: Rewrite classmate profiles

 

 

MEETING 5 (Week II, 90 minutes)

 

NEWS VS. FEATURE STORY; USING NUMBERS IN STORIES

 

Reading assignments and handouts:

Make numbers your friends, handout

Percents, means, averages, handout

Nut graph I, handout

Nut graph II, handout

Class poll assignment

Assignment: 1. Post your own profile (written by yourself or by a classmate) and photo on your blog

  1. Using materials from class questionnaire, and quotes from interviews, write a 250-300 word news/feature story about class.

 

MEETING 6 (WEEK II, 90 minutes)

ATTRIBUTION; USING PRESS RELEASES

In-class exercise:

1. Take facts from press release and write a 250-word story in inverted pyramid style

 

Reading assignments and handouts:

Attribution checklist, handout

Attribution tips, handout

Reuters handbook, pages 50 and 51 on polling and polling stories, pdf

Writing assignment: Rewrite class poll story

 

 

Meeting 7—lab (WEEK II, 3-4 hours)

Newsroom laboratory: In-class assignment: Street poll. Students will work in teams to conduct a street poll, with each person in the class interviewing 5 people. All results will be compiled into one overall poll. Students will use results of poll plus their own interviews to write a story during the lab.

 

Reading assignment:

Chapter 5, “Independence from Faction,” The Elements of Journalism

 

MEETING 8 (Week III, 90 minutes)

COVERING MEETINGS AND PRESS CONFERENCES

Reading assignment:

Covering meetings handout

Writing assignment: Rewrite street poll story

 

 

Meeting 9 (Week III, 90 minutes)

COVERING A DISASTER

Reading assignments and handouts:

Disaster basics, Carol Rich, handout

Journalists covering catastrophes, handout

Baku/T/Y at Work, assignment

 

Writing assignment: Baku (Tbilisi, Yerevan) at Work: interview a working person, take a photo, write 250-300word story

MEETING 10 (WEEK III, 90 MINUTES)

WRITING A SECOND-DAY NEWS STORY

 

Reading assignments and handouts:

Developing sources, handout

Guide for evaluating sources, handout

Source definitions, handout

Story example: “Shaquille O’Neal funds girl’s funeral,” NY Times

Writing assignment: Rewrite Baku at Work story

MEETING 11 (WEEK III, LAB, THREE-FOUR HOURS)

Newsroom laboratory: In-class assignment: Fire press conference.

Story written on deadline.

 

Reading assignments and handouts: Read Chapters 1 and 2, Elements of Journalism

 

MEETING 12 (WEEK IV, 90 MINUTES)

NEWSWRITING QUIZ

Assignment: Find one news story and one feature story. The story may be from any source, but must be in English. Analyze both stories and explain the key elements (what kind of lead, story structure, use of quotes, etc.). Explain what is good about the stories, and whether anything could be improved. Bring copies for everyone, or e-mail in advance to instructor and students.

MEETING 13 (WEEK IV, 90 MINUTES)

DISCUSSION OF PRINCIPLES OF JOURNALISM

Reading assignments and handouts:

Read chapters 6 and 7, Elements of Journalism

Look at RGMP book

Assignment: Find examples in local media and analyze how the content is verified. You should look for one sample of strong verification and one that is weak. Your samples should be accompanied by written notes pointing out elements of verification (or their absence). Articles and notes will be collected and evaluated.

MEETING 14 (WEEK IV, 90 MINUTES)

STORY IDEAS; DISCUSSION OF PRINCIPLES OF JOURNALISM

Reading assignments and handouts:

Read chapters 8 and 9, Elements of Journalism

MEETING 15 (WEEK IV, 90 MINUTES)

 

WRAP-UP AND DISCUSSION OF PRINCIPLES OF JOURNALISM; PREVIEW OF REPORTING II

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: