SYLLABUS – JRN 221
SYLLABUS – JRN 221 (Subject to Change)
Reporting I – JRN 221 – 3 hours, 3 credits
Hybrid –Meets Wednesdays at 2 p.m. in Carman #119
Fundamentals of news reporting and writing in a multimedia context. News-gathering and storytelling styles and approaches to writing for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet. Emphasis on grammar, syntax, punctuation, and spelling. Pre/Co requisites: None.
Professor Miguel Pérez
Office: Carman Hall #251
Office hours: Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
3. Learning Objectives
The students will gain an understanding of journalism’s role in society, and a skill-base for reporting and writing the news for all media. They will learn:
• The basics of news writing and reporting for newspapers, magazines, broadcast TV, online news sites and public relations.
• How to read newspapers and online news sites to follow significant news stories.
• Proper use of the English language.
• How to strive for accuracy.
• Work under deadline pressure.
4. Expected Learning Outcomes (ELO)
Students will be competent in researching and writing reportage, such as news and features that conforms to genre conventions.
5. About the Course
Through writing assignments, some fieldwork, current events pop quizzes, as well as discussions with active participation of all students; the course is designed to provide training in a range of essential journalism skills. Students are expected read daily newspapers and online news sites and to participate actively and frequently in class discussions. We will explore ideas together and critique each other’s work. Students will be asked to help each other with story ideas, sources for interviews and ways to improve their writing.
All homework assignments are to be turned in via email to firstname.lastname@example.org OR via Blackboard, depending on the assignment.
6. Books and Materials
Inside Reporting: A Practical Guide to the Craft of Journalism by Tim Harrower, second edition.
AP Style Book. Latest Edition
Bibliographical sources will also include newspapers, magazines and these online news sites (More links will be added to this list):
'Hot 100' News Writing Tips http://jdwritingctr.iweb.bsu.edu/workshop/hottips.html
7. Grading Policy
Although in the end this course is not about grades, but about the experience of news writing, I respect the fact that grades are important to you. So please understand that sloppy, irresponsible, slapped-together work will be penalized, as will constant tardiness, absences, and unresponsiveness in class. Instead of a midterm exam, students will be as asked to write either a 600-to-800 word news or feature story. But there will be a final exam for this course. Other grades will be based on frequent current event quizzes, class participation and writing assignments, both in class and as homework. Grading will reflect both the content and quality of your writing, the clarity of your ideas, the organization of your presentations, and the overall accuracy and correctness of your reports.
The breakdown of the final grade will be as follows:
An aggregate of quizzes, writing assignments, in-class exercises, homework, class participation grades will account for 80% of your final grade. Your final exam will account for the other 20%. The quizzes will be based on current news events, reading assignments and/or class lectures and discussions. All grades will be affected by deadline violations.
• This is a journalism class, and deadlines are treated with utmost seriousness. You are expected to MEET YOUR DEADLINES and to consider the timeliness of your work as important as the work itself.
• Late assignments will not score better than a B and very late assignments (two or three days) will not score above a C. Beyond three days= D. Beyond a week= F.
• Failing to show up on the day an assignment is due does not excuse you from handing in that assignment on time – especially since all homework assignments are to be turned in via email to email@example.com or Blackboard.
• If you absolutely have to miss a deadline, you must contact me and provide a reasonable (and plausible) excuse. Otherwise, if you are late beyond a week. Your grade will be an F.
• IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU NOTE THAT HANDING IN LATE ASSIGNMENTS AT THE END OF THE SEMESTER IS NOT AN OPTION.
• MAKEUP CLASS WORK (EXAMS, QUIZZES, WRITING EXERCISES) WILL ONLY BE ALLOWED FOR STUDENTS WITH VALID MEDICAL EXCUSES AND DOCUMENTATION. OTHERWISE, IF YOU MISS A QUIZ, YOU GET AN F.
• Incompletes will only be considered if you have been involved in the course and have completed the majority of your course work.
I am here to help you succeed. No one who does his/her work will fail. However, please keep in mind that your final grade depends on the quality of your research, written reports, class participation, keeping up with current events, and deadlines!
During the school term, you may not have more than two absences from class without a medical note and a good reason. Both must be e-mailed to me before class.
• If you have more than three unexcused absences, your grade shall not be higher than B. For each additional absence, your average will be lowered one full grade.
• Students who miss five meetings will receive a grade of F. No exceptions will be made.
• Please note that sending an e-mail ten minutes before class is scheduled to begin is NOT acceptable. It is your responsibility to make every effort possible to contact me before class.
• Emergencies DO happen, so if you think you will be missing more than three meetings, contact me as soon as possible. Medical excuses will be accepted only if accompanied by proper documentation.
• You are required to attend every class meeting. Students who consistently arrive late will be marked as ½ absent . In other words, two tardiness marks makes one absence.
• AGAIN, MAKEUP CLASS WORK (EXAMS, QUIZZES, WRITING EXERCISES) WILL ONLY BE ALLOWED FOR STUDENTS WITH VALID MEDICAL EXCUSES. OTHERWISE, IF YOU MISS A QUIZ, YOU GET AN F.
• This is a hybrid class; NOT an online class. Most assignments are given in class, NOT online. Students who assume they can get by online, without coming to class, will quickly find that they are mistaken.
Instructors are required to record attendance to certify eligibility for financial aid. Please see the “Attendance Policy and Procedures” section of the Lehman Student Handbook.
10. Course Outline
Weeks 1-2: Class introductions and discussion on the purpose of journalism and the goals of reporting. What is News? What readers read. How a story gets written. Identify good news web sites. Analyze local news articles from New York daily newspapers or website.
Weeks 3-7: Overview of news values such as timeliness, proximity, prominence, human interest, conflict and currency. The 5 Ws. The Inverted Pyramid. Writing basic news leads. How to structure a news story. In classroom writing assignments, students will learn how to write various kinds of news stories, including crime, weather, general assignment, meetings, speeches and obituaries, as well as profiles and feature stories.
Weeks 8-15: Interviewing techniques. Using quotes and proper attribution. Discussions on the First Amendment, defamation, slander, malice, negligence and invasion of privacy. Covering speeches, press conferences, government meetings and court hearings. The difference between writing for print, television, radio, the Internet.
There will be a final exam.
11. Course Grading Rubric (How you will be graded):
A quality work:
• You read the news well enough to keep up with class discussions and pop quizzes.
• You kept up with reading assignments and class lectures and demonstrated a clear understanding of the basics of reporting and writing.
• Your writing:
• Was accurate, clear, balanced, objective, fair, fluent.
• Effectively incorporated source material, background information and quotes.
• Demonstrated exceptional command of English grammar.
• Followed AP style.
• Captured the voice of those interviewed.
• Avoided clichés, unnecessary wordiness and passive sentences.
• Started with captivating leads.
• Was crafted with smooth transitions that held the readers’ interest to keep
• Dealt with specific details and avoided generalizations.
• Effectively used quotations without stating the obvious or repeating information; and properly attributed the information.
• Followed legal and ethical journalistic standards.
• Class participation: Your contributions to class discussions were frequent and demonstrated that you read and studied the assigned materials, as opposed to “improvising” on the topic.
• Deadlines: You met your deadlines for all your assignments. In journalism, the timeliness of your work is as important as the work itself.
B quality work:
• You deviated from the above criteria, by failing to keep up with the news and/or reading assignments, failing to meet your deadlines and/or to be prepared to participate in class discussions. Your writing also failed to meet the above criteria.
C quality work:
• You deviated – overtly – from the above criteria.
D and F quality work:
• You deviated – egregiously –from the above criteria.
12. Format Guidelines for Writing Assignments
• All stories and homework assignments must be typed and double-spaced. (Do not add any additional space between paragraphs.)
• Use only single sides of a page.
• Indent each paragraph five spaces.
• Make sure that you have paginated your story (that is, put in page numbers on the upper right-hand corner of the page).
• At the top left corner of each page. Place the following:
**Slug the name of the assignment.
• Begin the story one-third down the first page and at the top of all succeeding pages.
• Type the word “More” at the bottom of the first pages and place an “end” sign at the end of your story.
• Verify the spelling of every name, checking for consistency.
• Try to limit your lead to three typed lines, then start a new paragraph. Typically, leads average 20-35 words.
• Try to limit your story’s subsequent paragraphs to a maximum of six lines each.
Note: Beginning with the very first complete story that you will hand in, stories that fail to use the proper format will be graded down one letter.
13. Miscellaneous policies
• Food is not welcome in the classroom. Coffee, tea, etcetera, are okay.
• Absolutely no cell phones.
• TAKE NOTES IN CLASS. You may be quizzed on the material we discuss at any time.
• I welcome the opportunity to meet with you individually to address your questions and concerns. Feel free to drop by my office or to set up appointment if you need to.
14. Use of Technology and Blackboard
This is hybrid version of this course. We meet in class once per week, and on Blackboard throughout the semester. However, while Blackboard will be used for student to post some assignments and discuss them, all assignments will be announced and explained ONLY in the classroom – making your weekly attendance absolutely crucial. You will be receiving emails about this class – but only through Blackboard, so you must make sure to keep checking whatever email address you use for Blackboard. Blackboard can be accessed through the Lehman website at www.lehman.cuny.edu. If you have any questions about your Lehman email address or your password, or if you have any problems accessing the site please call the computer helpdesk at 718-960-1111.
15. Accommodating Disabilities
Lehman College is committed to providing access to all programs and curricula to all students. Students with disabilities who may need classroom accommodations are encouraged to register with the Office of Student Disability Services. For more information, please contact the Office of Student Disability Services, Shuster Hall, Room 238, phone number, 718-960-8441.
16. The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) and the Science Learning Center (SLC)
The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) and the Science Learning Center (SLC) are two of the tutoring centers on campus. The ACE provides appointment based and drop-in tutoring in the humanities, social sciences, and writing, as well as general writing and academic skills workshops. The SLC provides drop-in tutoring for natural and computer science courses. To obtain more information about the ACE and the SLC, please visit their website at http://www.lehman.edu/issp, or please call the ACE at 718-960-8175, and the SLC at 718-960-7707.
18. Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Policy
Reporters who make up sources, quotes or descriptions or who plagiarize are fired; students who do that, fail. The most common forms of academic dishonesty are cheating and plagiarism. Cheating is taking or giving help on a test: for example, using unauthorized books, papers, or notes during an examination; or procuring, distributing, or using unauthorized copies of examination. Plagiarism means the failure to give credit for the source of another’s words or ideas, or—as in the use of borrowed or purchased papers—passing off another person’s work as one’s own. The full policy statement may be found in the Lehman Student Handbook. For more information refer to http://www.lehman.cuny.edu/student-affairs/documents /student-handbook-02.pdf