Docstoc

UW Milwaukee

Document Sample
UW Milwaukee Powered By Docstoc
					                    Journalism Advertising and Media Studies 602
                        Specialized Reporting: Crime Reporting
                     Spring 2012 / Thursdays 2:00-4:40 p.m. / Johnson G23
                Kurt Chandler / Email: chandle7@uwm.edu / Cell 414-232-4909


DESCRIPTION OF COURSE
  This course focuses on coverage of real-life cases within the criminal justice system. A lot will
be required of you in this class – hard, enterprising reporting; strong, authoritative writing; and a
skill in putting together a long-form article that will excite, amuse, anger, charm, shock, sadden,
inspire, intrigue and inform the reader. Your first reader will be me. As an instructor, and as an
editor, I’m a reasonable guy. But this is not a class you’ll be able to waltz through. To succeed in
this class, and to make it as a journalist in the outside world, you’ve got to be engaged. And if
you’re engaged, I’m engaged.
  Frequently I will run the class as a writing workshop. Because the class meets in a computer
lab, we’ll have the opportunity to do in-class writing and editing exercises.
  Often we will meet outside of the classroom on required field trips. I will show you how to
track down police reports and criminal complaints, the fundamental stuff of crime writing. I will
send you to intake court, where dramas more spellbinding than any reality TV show unfold every
day. I will show you how to read an autopsy report, filled with details about death (and life) that
underscore the horrible impact of crime. In the end, these assignments will move you to write
powerful, evocative stories.

OBJECTIVES
- Finding a good story
- Finding a good angle
- Sourcing – including the Milwaukee Police Department’s open records, Milwaukee County
Medical Examiner, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, clerk of circuit court in
Milwaukee County, online Wisconsin Circuit Court Access (aka CCAP), and face-to-face or
phone interviews.
- Plying the techniques of narrative nonfiction through detail and dialogue; seeing profile
subjects not as sources but as characters; writing scenes with a lively, cinematic quality.
- Structuring way too much information into a cogent, sensible article.

REQUIRED READINGS
- The Best American Crime Writing (2006) – Introduction only
- The Best American Crime Reporting (2009) – Introduction only
- Q&A of journalist Ron Rosenbaum in The New New Journalism, pp.324-341
- “The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob,” by Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly
http://www.texasmonthly.com/cms/printthis.php?file=feature3.php&issue=2005-11-01
- “Blood Simple,” by Kurt Chandler, Milwaukee Magazine
http://www.insidemilwaukee.com/Article/242011-BloodSimple
- “The Joker,” by Kurt Chandler, Milwaukee Magazine
http://www.insidemilwaukee.com/Article/242011-TheJoker



                                                  1
- “Gun buff charged in fatal shooting,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 13, 2010:
www.jsonline.com/news/crime/93744194.html
- “Both Sides of the Law: Part 1 -- A Hidden Problem,” by Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel. http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/132268408.html
- HANDOUT, Criminal complaint, State of Wisconsin vs. Jesus C. Gonzalez
- The Journalist and the Murderer, by Janet Malcolm pp. 3-20

REQUIRED RESOURCES
- Milwaukee County Circuit Court Calendar:
http://county.milwaukee.gov/CourtCalendar15810.htm
- Access to Public Records of the Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP):
http://wcca.wicourts.gov/index.xsl
- Milwaukee Police Department:
http://www.facebook.com/milwaukeepolice
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, print copy or JSOnline.com
- AP Stylebook
- Additional newspapers, weekly magazines, monthly magazines, radio and TV news reports,
websites, etc.

ASSIGNMENTS
Your assignments will include brief papers on the readings, reporting assignments, and writing
exercises. For a final project, you will be required to report and write a news feature -- a
narrative of a criminal case -- based on a crime in the metro area. This final project – 1500-2000
words -- will take the place of a final exam and must be approved by me in advance.

REVISIONS
One measure of a good writer is how well s/he responds to an editor’s suggestions and/or
criticisms. You will be required to rewrite an edited assignment. These will be regular
assignments, not extra credit.

DEADLINES
With any publication, deadlines are hard and fast, and non-negotiable. All assignments will be
due before the start of the weekly class and submitted to the class Drop Box. Excuses -- “My
hard-drive crashed” “My dog ate my homework” -- won’t fly.




                                                 2
GRADING

- Grading breakdown
10 percent -- Attendance and class participation
30 percent – Assignments and in-class exercises
20 percent -- Reporting updates and revisions
15 percent – First draft of final project
25 percent -- Final project
       - Originality, enterprise (15% of final project grade)
       - Sourcing (25%)
       - Organization, structure (30%)
       - Writing: creativity, style, voice (30%)

- Grading scale
100-93 = A                         84-85   = B-                      75-76   = D+
92-93 = A-                         83-84   = C+                      69-75   =D
91-92 = B+                         77-83   =C                        68-69   = D-
85-91 = B                          76-77   = C-                      0-68    =F


RULES AND REGS
- Interviews will be on-the-record unless I give you approval to use source material off-the-
record or not-for-attribution. Talk to me before making any deals with sources.
- Direct quotes taken from email interviews or texted interviews will be frowned upon. It’s too
easy for sources to spin you by giving contrived email answers to your questions. I usually can
tell when a quote is concocted online by a source. So see me in advance if you have a good
reason to bend this rule.
- Technology is a wonderful thing. Cell phones and electronic tablets are wonderful tools. But
use them on your own time, not class time. Please turn them off.
- A word about blogs: Blogging is not a substitute for journalistic reportage. Often blogs are
random opinions written by people with questionable credentials. As a paid skeptic, I’m leery of
blogs and any information that cannot be supported by facts. Yet I’m not totally against using
bloggers as sources. If you have info from a blog that you believe is credible and relevant to a
story assignment, talk to me beforehand.
- Assignment format – At top of page, include name, class, assignment, date. All assignments
should be in Times New Roman, 12 pt., double-spaced, 1-inch margins. Use doc or docx.
- Plagiarism will result in an F for the course.

INSTRUCTOR
Kurt Chandler, a senior editor at Milwaukee Magazine, has written dozens of crime
stories. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and editor for nearly
three decades and has authored or co-authored five books of nonfiction.




                                                  3
UNIVERSITY POLICIES

University policies overview: http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/SecU/SyllabusLinks.pdf

1. Students with disabilities. Notice to these students should appear prominently in the syllabus
so that special accommodations are provided in a timely manner.
http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/DSAD/SAC/SACltr.pdf

2. Religious observances. Accommodations for absences due to religious observance should be
noted. http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/SecU/acad%2Badmin_policies/S1.5.htm

3. Students called to active military duty. Accommodations for absences due to call-up of
reserves to active military duty should be noted.

Students: http://www4.uwm.edu/current_students/military_call_up.cfm
Employees: http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/SecU/acad%2Badmin_policies/S40.htm

4. Incompletes. A notation of "incomplete" may be given in lieu of a final grade to a student who
has carried a subject successfully until the end of a semester but who, because of illness or other
unusual and substantiated cause beyond the student's control, has been unable to take or
complete the final examination or to complete some limited amount of term work.
http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/SecU/acad%2Badmin_policies/S31.pdf

5. Discriminatory conduct (such as sexual harassment). Discriminatory conduct will not be
tolerated by the University. It poisons the work and learning environment of the University and
threatens the careers, educational experience, and well being of students, faculty, and staff.
http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/SecU/acad%2Badmin_policies/S47.pdf

6. Academic misconduct. Cheating on exams or plagiarism are violations of the academic honor
code and carry severe sanctions, including failing a course or even suspension or dismissal from
the University. http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/OSL/DOS/conduct.html

7. Complaint procedures. Students may direct complaints to the head of the academic unit or
department in which the complaint occurs. If the complaint allegedly violates a specific
university policy, it may be directed to the head of the department or academic unit in which the
complaint occurred or to the appropriate university office responsible for enforcing the policy.
http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/SecU/acad%2Badmin_policies/S49.7.htm

8. Grade appeal procedures. A student may appeal a grade on the grounds that it is based on a
capricious or arbitrary decision of the course instructor. Such an appeal shall follow the
established procedures adopted by the department, college, or school in which the course resides
or in the case of graduate students, the Graduate School. These procedures are available in
writing from the respective department chairperson or the Academic Dean of the College/School.
http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/SecU/acad%2Badmin_policies/S28.htm

9. The final exam requirement, dates, etc.
http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/SecU/acad%2Badmin_policies/S22.htm


                                                 4
                                   CLASS SCHEDULE
                       Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies 602
                         Specialized Reporting: “Crime Reporting”

                     Spring 2012 / Thursdays 2:00-4:40 p.m. / Johnson G23
                Kurt Chandler / Email: chandle7@uwm.edu / Cell 414-232-4909

        Schedule is likely to change week by week. Check D2L for updated assignments.

______________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 1 / Jan. 26

Introduction / Finding a good story idea

IN-CLASS ASSIGNMENT: Write a paragraph on how crime has impacted you or someone you
know – as witness, victim, investigator, juror, whatever. Discuss.

ASSIGNMENT, due Feb. 2: Bring three crime-related story ideas to class, one of each of the
following: an idea for a news story, a profile, and an in-depth news feature. Be prepared to show
where you found the ideas. Check various sources, including, but not limited to:
  - Milwaukee County Circuit Court Calendar:
  http://county.milwaukee.gov/CourtCalendar15810.htm
- Milwaukee Police Department:
  http://www.facebook.com/milwaukeepolice
- Access to Public Records of the Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP):
  http://wcca.wicourts.gov/index.xsl
  - News reports – newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, internet.
  - News tips or word of mouth

READINGS FOR NEXT CLASS, Feb. 2:
- The Best American Crime Writing (2006) – Introduction only
- The Best American Crime Reporting (2009) – Introduction only
- Q&A of journalist Ron Rosenbaum, The New New Journalism, pp.324-341
______________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 2 / Feb. 2

Sourcing, Round 1: From databases to court calendars.

ASSIGNMENT I, due Feb. 9:
- Find your way to Milwaukee County Intake Court, 949 N 9th St, Milwaukee / 414-278-4502.
Write a brief description (150 words max) of an offender’s “first appearance.” Why was the
offender arrested? What were the circumstances? What is the offender’s next appearance? Add


                                                 5
detail and quotes (judge, defense lawyer, offender) if you can. (Counts as 5 percentage points of
your grade in the Assignments & In-Class Exercises category.)
ASSIGNMENT II, due March 1:
- Come up with three ideas for an in-depth crime narrative. After class discussion and feedback,
you will chose one of these ideas as your final project for the course – a 1500 to 2000 word
article -- which will replace a final exam.

READINGS FOR NEXT CLASS, Feb. 9:
- News story (and readers comments) “Gun buff charged in fatal shooting,” Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel, May 13, 2010: www.jsonline.com/news/crime/93744194.html
______________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 3 / Feb. 9

Sourcing, Round 2: Court documents: How to read criminal complaints, incident reports,
transcripts, victim statements, etc.

FIELD TRIP: Class will meet at 2 p.m., Milwaukee County Clerk of Courts, Criminal Division:
821 W. State St., Room 117, 
 Milwaukee, 414-278-4538 phone
http://county.milwaukee.gov/ClerkofCircuitCourtC210507.htm

ASSIGNMENT, due Feb. 16:
- In the form of a news article or short narrative, write 250-300 words about compelling facts you
gleaned from the Jesus Gonzalez case file, including the criminal complaint handout. (Counts as
5 percentage points of your grade in the Assignments & In-Class Exercises category.)

READINGS FOR NEXT CLASS, Feb. 16:
- HANDOUT -- Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood acknowledgements page, showing attribution.
- HANDOUT -- Criminal complaint: State of Wisconsin vs. Jesus C. Gonzalez
- “Both Sides of the Law: Part 1 -- A Hidden Problem,” by Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel. Article: http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/132268408.html


WEEK 4 / Feb. 16

Crime reporting: From beat coverage to investigative projects.

GUEST SPEAKER: Journal Sentinel reporter Gina Barton will discuss her coverage of federal
courts and her October 2011 investigative project, “Both Sides of the Law.”
Bio: http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/33283159.html

ASSIGNMENT, due Feb. 23:
- Track down and visit a preliminary hearing, motion hearing, trial or sentencing in Milwaukee
County Circuit Court. Write a news account or narrative description of the hearing or case (250-
300 words), using additional sources when possible (ex. CCAP). What was the reason for the
hearing? Was the offender present in court? What were the circumstances of his/her arrest? Add


                                                 6
detail and quotes from judge, defense lawyer, witnesses, offender, etc. (Counts as 10 percentage
points of your grade in the Assignments & In-Class Exercises category.)
- Circuit Court Calendar: http://county.milwaukee.gov/CourtCalendar15810.htm
- Access to public court records (CCAP): http://wcca.wicourts.gov/index.xsl


WEEK 5 / Feb. 23

Sourcing, Round 3

ASSIGNMENT, due March 1:
- Make a list of all the sources used in the reporting of “Blood Simple” by Kurt Chandler (see
below). Include names of people, police and court documents, past news accounts, TV reports –
anything that was sourced in the article. (Counts as 5 percentage points of your grade in the
Assignments & In-Class Exercises category.)

READING FOR NEXT CLASS, March 1:
- “Blood Simple,” by Kurt Chandler, Milwaukee Magazine
http://www.insidemilwaukee.com/Article/242011-BloodSimple

REMINDER: Due March 1:
- Three ideas for in-depth crime narrative. A 1500- to 2000-word crime narrative will be your
final project for the course and will count as the final exam.
______________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 6 / March 1

Developing your story ideas.

IN-CLASS: Each student will present his/her ideas for the final project. Discussion.

ASSIGNMENT, due March 8:
- In Milwaukee County Clerk of Courts, Criminal Division, find the case file of the case you are
writing about for your final project. (To locate a case file number, look first to CCAP.) Check
out the case file from receptionist in Room 117 and read, front to back. Take notes or make
copies of anything and everything relevant to the story.
- Make a list or outline of the most salient facts of the case. From that list, come up with three
possible story angles. (Counts as 10 percentage points of your grade in the Assignments & In-
Class Exercises category.)
______________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 7 / March 8

Story Structure: Outline, organizational chart, storyboard – whatever it takes to shape a
mountain of info into a seamless narrative.



                                                 7
FIELD TRIP: Class will meet at 2 p.m., Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office:
933 W. Highland Avenue
 Milwaukee / http://county.milwaukee.gov/MedicalExaminer

ASSIGNMENT I, due March 15:
- Write a short profile (30-400 words) of homicide victim Danny John, based on his autopsy
report, the Gonzalez criminal complaint and news story. (Counts as 10 percentage points of your
grade in the Assignments & In-Class Exercises category.)
ASSIGNMENT II, due March 15:
- Write an analysis/critique (250 words max) of “The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob,” by Skip
Hollandsworth (see below). Briefly describe the structure of the story. Identify three writing
styles and techniques used by Hollandsworth that mirror styles and techniques used in fiction
writing. How does he handle attribution? (Counts as 5 percentage points of your grade in the
Assignments & In-Class Exercises category.)

READING FOR NEXT CLASS, March 15:
- “The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob,” by Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly
http://www.texasmonthly.com/cms/printthis.php?file=feature3.php&issue=2005-11-01
______________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 8 / March 15

Interviews: from stand-alone quotes to enriched dialogue.

IN-CLASS EXERCISE: Interviewing practice

REPORTING UPDATE: In-class reviews of feature idea, interviews, sources, etc.

ASSIGNMENT I, due March 29: Interview, by phone or in person, two sources for your long-
term final project. Write a summary (250-350 words total) of how the interviews went – what
went right, what went wrong. What was the most surprising piece of information revealed by
your sources? Include selected quotes from the interviews to illustrate. If possible, take a
photograph of the sources. (Counts as 10 percentage points of your grade in the Assignments &
In-Class Exercises category.)

______________________________________________________________________________

March 22                SPRING BREAK / NO CLASS
______________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 9 / March 29

Writing with authority: Descriptive writing.

IN-CLASS EXERCISE: Details, details, details



                                               8
ASSIGNMENT I, due April 5: Eavesdropping
- Sometime over the next week, eavesdrop on a conversation between two or three people you do
not know and surreptitiously take notes. Be complete. Record not only WHAT they say, but also
HOW they say it. Are they shouting, whispering, cursing, stuttering, panting? Are they nodding,
shrugging, smiling, pointing, pacing? Also, what do they look like? Record detailed descriptions.
Prime eavesdropping locations: Restaurants, coffee shops, movie theaters, libraries, bars, hotel
lobbies, buses. Bring your notes to the next class.
ASSIGNMENT II, due April 5:
From “The Joker,” by Kurt Chandler (see below), list six examples of descriptive writing --
sentences or paragraphs that drip with detail, including descriptions of at least three “characters”
in the story. (Counts as 5 percentage points of your grade in the Assignments & In-Class
Exercises category.)

READING FOR NEXT CLASS, April 5:
- “The Joker,” by Kurt Chandler, Milwaukee Magazine
http://www.insidemilwaukee.com/Article/242011-TheJoker
______________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 10 / April 5

Characterization: Voices and movement.

IN-CLASS EXERCISE: Using notes of the conversation and descriptions from your
eavesdropping subjects, create a short scene, a sketch of these people, with direct quotes and rich
descriptions. Make them talk, make them move. (Counts as 5 percentage points of your grade in
the Assignments & In-Class Exercises category.)

ASSIGNMENT, due April 12:
- Write a profile sketch of two subjects or sources that you’re using in your long-term narrative,
your final project. Work quotes into monologue or dialogue. Each sketch, 75-100 words. (Counts
as 10 percentage points of your grade in the Assignments & In-Class Exercises category.)

IN-CLASS CONFERENCES, MANDATORY: One-on-one discussion, progress of final
projects.

_____________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 11 / April 12

Scene-writing: CSI Milwaukee / Crime scene

GUEST PRESENTATION: CSI Milwaukee (location to be determined)
- Tom Hanratty, former crime-scene investigator and forensics expert with the Milwaukee
County Medical Examiner’s office, will set up and demonstrate how he processes a crime scene.

ASSIGNMENT, due April 19:


                                                  9
- Take photographs of crime scene and Hanratty.
- Write a descriptive narrative (500 words max) of Hanratty’s crime-scene investigation, using as
much detail as possible. Describe the scene, describe the investigator. What were the methods he
used? What was the outcome? (Counts as 10 percentage points of your grade in the Assignments
& In-Class Exercises category.)

_____________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 12 / April 19

Storytelling: Show vs. tell

IN-CLASS EXERCISE: Show vs. tell

REPORTING UPDATE: In-class reviews of feature idea, interviews, sources, etc.

ASSIGNMENT I, due April 26:
- Write an essay (250 words) of The Journalist and the Murderer excerpt, by Janet Malcolm (see
below). Explore Malcolm’s point: That journalists are con artists, and what they do is “morally
indefensible.” Agree or disagree? Take notes and be prepared to discuss.
ASSIGNMENT II, due April 26: For in-class exercise next week, BRING TO CLASS all files,
documents, reports, notes and written drafts of long-term story assignment.

READING ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT CLASS, April 26:
- HANDOUT, The Journalist and the Murderer, by Janet Malcolm pp. 3-20
______________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 13 / April 26

Narrative writing I: Culling the best from a mountain of materials.

IN-CLASS EXERCISE: Using all files, documents, reports, notes, photos and written drafts of
long-term story assignment, begin to organize your crime story.
- read all notes
- make list of all sources
- outline story structure
- write scene or anecdote that could be used as a lede

IN-CLASS CONFERENCES, MANDATORY: Updates on progress of final projects.

ASSIGNMENT, due May 3:
- Write a first draft (750-word minimum) of your crime story, incorporating multi-sources,
descriptive writing, and storytelling techniques to create scenes, dialogue and a driving narrative.
(Counts as 10 percent of your overall final grade for the course.)




                                                  10
WEEK 14 / May 3

Narrative writing II: Piecing together the puzzle.

IN-CLASS CHECK LIST / PROBLEM SOLVING:
- Does the organization of the piece make sense? Are your sources complete? Are your quotes
accurate? Do you have correct attribution?

REPORTING UPDATE / REWRITING: In-class reviews of interviews, sources, reporting
progress, and in-class rewriting of excerpt of edited draft.

______________________________________________________________________________

WEEK 15 / May 10

LAST CLASS: Attendance mandatory

IN-CLASS: EDITING SESSIONS AND ONE-ON-ONE CONSULTATIONS

DEADLINE: FINAL PROJECT DUE: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16
_____________________________________________________________________________




                                                11

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:2
posted:11/2/2012
language:English
pages:11