Writing for Print Media JOUR 2315

Professor: Dr. Ecarma
Office: MC108 . Office Hours: TBA
Phone: 977-7139 E-mail: reecarma1@yahoo.com


Olasky, M. (1988). Telling the truth: How to revitalize Christian journalism. Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.
Goldstein, N, ed. Associated press stylebook and briefing on media law. Cambridge MA: Perseus Books (order latest version).
Rich, C. Writing and reporting news. Belmont, CA: Thomson & Wadsworth (order latest version).
Rich, C. Workbook for writing and reporting news. Belmont, CA: Thomson & Wadsworth (order latest version).

Recommended Materials & Readings:

1. An e-mail account and access to the Internet.
2. Computer access to type assignments.
3. Read World magazine [Belz, J. ed. World. Asheville, NC, subscription order: (800) 951-6397 or e-mail worldmag@palmcoastd.com or visit website @ www.worldmag.com], or Greenville News, U.S. News & World Report, or other news daily or weekly.

Course Description

According to the catalog, this course will consist of “the study of the theory and practice of writing basic news and feature stories for the print media, including practical work in covering a variety of news events and preparing computer-ready news copy for publication.”

Course Objectives:

Students will:
• identify the elements of news judgment and how they are used;
• write hard news leads, nut grafs, bodies, ends, headlines using guidelines discussed in class;
• explain the central role of Christianity in the development of a free press;
• understand how to write a news piece from biblical objectivity and non-biblical perspectives;
• understand the failings or weaknesses of current journalism and how Christian principles may resolve problems and abuses, while anticipating dilemmas;
• generate story ideas and self-correct copy to conform to AP style and grammatical usage;
• write news stories in the inverted pyramid style;
• learn directed reporting, field reporting and interviewing.

Story Budgets: During the fourth or fifth week of class, each student will be expected to begin preparing a story budget of three story proposals per week. Each week, you will choose one story to work on that will be turned in the next week. Such stories may be offered for publication in the Skyliner or local paper.

Two Portfolio evaluations: This will be based on stories written throughout the semester. Portfolio grading is an alternative to grading every paper. I will edit all papers and write comments when they are turned in on the due date, but the paper will not be graded. After the edited papers are returned, you will rewrite them and place the stories, including class exercises and outside assignments, in a portfolio. Three times during the semester (see attached class schedule), I will schedule each of you for a 15-minute evaluation. A student cannot fail a paper if he/she/ does the work. The student can always make it better by revising it before the deadline; however, there are three ways to fail: plagiarism, misspelled name or factual error, or no assignment turned in on the due date.

Grading: Grading will be based on the publication quality of your assignments after revision. No one will be graded on their first draft:
2 Portfolio (3 articles each; 6 articles total) 600 points
Workbook Exercises 6 @ 50 pts each 300 points
Quiz 50 points
Test 50 points
Total: 1000 points
A = 900 B = 800 C = 700 D = 600 F = 599 or less
Expectations for students:
1.Meet deadlines: All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the date due. The professor reserves the right not to accept any unexcused late papers; if accepted, late papers will receive at least one letter grade penalty for each day late. If a student is late for class more than 10 minutes on the date an assignment is due, that assignment will be marked as late.
2.Read assigned reading: Students should read the assigned reading before the class listed in order to be ready to discuss the material in class. Students should be ready to respond when called upon in class. If a student is consistently unprepared for class, they may receive a deduction from their final grade in class.
3. Arrive on time for class: See attendance policies below.
4. Participate in discussion: Every student arrives in class with a different background and knowledge of news practices. We will all benefit from a full, open discussion of any observations, comments or questions you may have.

Attendance Policies:

Students are expected to attend all classes. Only college-sponsored or medical emergency absences will be excused. All cell phones and pagers need to be turned off before entering class. Leaving class to answer either will be considered an unexcused absence. You will not be allowed to make up assignments missed during an unexcused absence. In accordance with the college’s XF policy, you will be dropped from the class after four unexcused & excused absences (you will receive a written warning at four absences). Also, 15 points will be deducted for every unexcused absence.
If you must miss a class, please let me know PRIOR to the class period to be missed. The only way you will be excused is by emailing me of your pending absence and a doctor’s note or letter from your college activity sponsor upon your return. Failure to notify me by email prior to the absence will constitute an unexcused absence. Please do not phone me; only email is acceptable.
We will begin class promptly. Do not come to class late. Walking into class late is disruptive; be courteous. Coming to class late or leaving early will be counted as an absence for the entire class period. If you are absent/tardy for any reason, you are responsible for the material covered and any announcements made while you were gone.

Honesty Policy

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited and will result in course failure. Apply Christian and ethical standards to all you do.

Portfolio Statement

Work in this class can be used for inclusion in a portfolio (required in MCOM 4395 – Mass Media Capstone) and for a prospective employer or graduate school.

Format of Papers

Papers are to be stapled. Do not put papers in binders, report folders or paper clips. Document all sources using APA style (manuals should be available in the library or at a bookstore). Grading will include grammar, spelling and punctuation.
All papers turned in for a grade should be typed and proofread with any errors corrected. Double space, type on one side of the page only and number each page. Use 1-inch margins around the page and 12-point type. The title page should be the first page of the paper and labeled with the following information centered each vertically on the page: name, assignment title, News and Feature Writing, Month/Day/Year

Tentative Class Schedule (professor reserves the right to change the syllabus, including the schedule)

Date Class Information Reading/Assignment
Wk 1 Introduction Syllabus, handouts
Wk 2 History & Current Events;American Constitution & a Free Press Handouts
American Constitution & a Free Press Handouts
Wk 3 The Decline of American JournalismQuiz on American press history Prodigal Press, chapter 1; Also same article in Telling the Truth appendix c
Biblical Objectivity Telling the Truth, chapter  1AP Style Manual
Wk 4 Directed ReportingThe Basic News Story Telling the Truth, chapter 2W & R News, chapter 3
A Great Cloud of Journalistic WitnessesSources & Online Research Telling the Truth, chapter 3W & R News, chapter 6
Wk 5 Field Reporting & interviewingInterviewing Techniques

Assign 1st article: interview a professor

Telling the Truth, chapter 4W & R News, chapter 7

AP Style Manual

Organizing for ReadabilityStory Structure Telling the Truth, chapter 5W & R News, chapter 10
Wk 6 Article 1 dueThe Streets Declare the Sinfulness of Man Telling the Truth, chapter 6
Investigating & ProfilingProfiles

Assign 2nd article: profile a person

Telling the Truth, chapter 7W & R News, chapter 24
Wk 7 Leads, Nut Grafs, Bodies, Ends, HeadlinesLeads and Nut Graphs Telling the Truth, chapter 8 

W & R News, chapter 9

Article #2 dueTheocentrism or Egocentrism Telling the Truth, chapter 9
Wk 8 Portfolio #1 due; Special Activity/Movie
Conclude movie; discuss media ethics & law  Prodigal Press, Chapter 6Chap. 6; AP Style Manual pp. 340-374
Wk 9 Media ethics/law continuedBiblically Directed Reviewing Telling the Truth, chapter 10
First Person Accounts and Sports StoriesAssign 3rd article: narrate a sports game Telling the Truth, chapter 11W & R News, chapter 24
Wk 10 Line-by-Line Editing: Example Telling the Truth, appendix A
Article #3 dueStorytelling & Feature techniques W & R News, chapter 11
Wk 11 Public RelationsAssign 4th article: PR piece W & R News, chapter 12
Broadcast Writing W & R News, chapter 13
Wk 12 4tharticle dueWeb Writing, Beat Reporting; W & news, chapter 14, 18
Accuracy & LibelMedia Ethics W & R, chapter 15, 16AP Style Manual, pp. 340-374
Wk 13 Speeches, News Conferences, MeetingsAssign article #5 W & R News, chapter 20
Crime & Punishment  W & R News, chapter 22 
Wk 14 Article #5 dueChristian Journalism Revival Telling the Truth, Appendix DAssign Article #6 or Assignment
Assign article 6
Wk 15 Article 6 due Distribute Final Exam
Final Exam Week Portfolio #2 and Final both due


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