JOUR 1345.006 Writing for Mass Media ELAB 256, Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. Instructor: O.K. Carter Office information: FA 257, W-817-272-2160 C 817-480-4919 Office hours: Monday and Wednesday 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. or by appointment E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org Description of Course Content: This course is an introduction to basic theories and techniques required when writing for the print media, (newspapers, magazines) the Internet, broadcast media, (radio, television) public relations and advertising with much emphasis on writing and practice in research. Student Learning Outcomes: This prerequisite course will give you a sampling of several exciting professions and introduce you to the fundamental skills required by them. This class will provide techniques about how to make your writing more readable and to use the Associated Press Stylebook, which is the basic style guide for the news industry. Upon completion, you should be able to write basic news and feature stories, press releases, broadcast and ad copy. Objectives: Students will be able to discuss ideas involved in the freedom of speech and the press including media’s role in today’s society. Students will be able to discuss and apply basic components of media law and ethics to fact gathering, research and writing to produce clear, accurate work. Students will be able to use basic research methods to gather accurate information necessary for media writing. Students will be able to locate and discuss current local, national and international events through various news venues. Students will be able to use creative, critical and independent thinking skills to conduct interviews, conduct research and to discover all aspects of issues to write objective media stories. Students will be able to produce creative ideas for feature stories and advertisements through various presentations for media stories using images, graphics, visual communication and written word processes. Students will be able to use fundamental number and statistic methods to report and write media stories. Students will be able to use basic technology and software prevalent in today’s media. Students will be able to construct quality news and feature stories appropriate for print and broadcast media; advertisements; press releases; other types of media writing styles. Students will be able to use Associated Press style, correct spelling and grammar in constructing media stories. Students will be able to produce accurate media stories on a deadline. Students will be able to improve skill through receiving constructive critiques concerning their work and by performing constructive critiques by using the guidelines of media accuracy, fairness, clarity, AP style, spelling and grammatical correctness. Required Textbooks and Other Course Materials: “Writing for the Mass Media” by James Glen Stovall, Seventh Edition. “Associated Press Stylebook 2009 or 2010 When Words Collide, Seventh Edition by Lauren Kessler Supplies: An appropriate size thumb/flash drive, compatible floppy disk or CD. Notebook for taking notes in class. Steno notebook for interviewing Optional but highly recommended references: A paperback version of Webster’s New World College Dictionary, fourth edition or Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, latest edition. A paperback thesaurus. o You will need these while writing stories. Although computers are equipped with spell check programs, they are not the same as having a printed dictionary. o Word meanings and subtle differences in connotation are important when writing. Class Policies/Behavioral Expectations: 1. This class is an upside-down mouse and cell phone-on-silent class, which means that all computers will remain off and each attached mouse will remain turned upside down until the instructor indicates that it is time to use the computers. o This means no Web surfing, e-mail reading or writing, or any computer activity during lecture time, guest speaker presentations or discussions. o It also means that no one should use a cell phone orally, as a camera or to receive/send text messages during class work time or lectures. o Phones need to be turned off, or in the “silent/meeting” mode during class, as well as out of sight o Failure to comply will result in the loss of attendance points for that day and a possible zero on the day’s assignment 2. For every class students will need to bring the following items: o The AP Stylebook o The Media Writing textbook o Notebook o Your MavID to print work. o A thumb/flash drive, CD or floppy disk to save your work: Problems with disks, saving and computer crashes will not count as an excuse for not turning in assignments on time. You are responsible for having your work saved in different places in case of accidents. 3. Arrive on time for every class ready to participate. o Quizzes will be given at the beginning of class on time. o Students arriving after the quiz begins will only be allowed to participate for the rest of the time allotted for the quiz. o Absent students will only be allowed to make up quizzes with an excused absence. 4. Good communication and attendance is crucial in this industry and will be expected for this class. Class instructional lessons are comprised of material from many sources, not just the textbook, missing instructional time prohibits a student’s success. It is your responsibility to contact a classmate concerning missed lecture notes and assignments given during an absence. o Students must stay in touch with the instructor by e-mail or telephone concerning a possible absence or possibly not meeting a deadline. o An excused absence involves incidents such as a car accident or a death in your immediate family. o Most situations will require you to bring authentic proof such as a doctor’s note, funeral program or police report. o Absences will be excused for required attendance of official UTA- sponsored events or activities and religious holidays recognized by UTA. Documentation will be required for these absences as well. 5. Respect: Communication professionals should show respect for others regardless of whether they share the same opinion as a coworker, supervisor, instructor or source. If someone should show disrespect in any way for a classmate, a guest speaker or me, I will address that person’s behavior appropriately: o During class listen closely and disagree calmly with others’ opinions. o Please listen attentively when someone is speaking to the class. 6. Authorized attendees: Only enrolled students are permitted to attend the class. Visitors such as family members, friends or children are not allowed in the classroom without prior approval from the instructor. Work Expectations: This course is intensive. You may often be working on a project and/or homework assignments at the same time plus keeping up with readings for class and quizzes. Lectures cannot cover sufficiently everything you need to know about media writing. You are expected to be prepared for class daily by reading your textbook and completing homework assignments. You will need to begin projects in enough advance time to turn in quality work and not start working on them the night before they are due. If you are struggling with the material or workload, I expect you to come see me during office hours to discuss it. Do not wait until the last month of class — see me immediately when you sense the struggle. Assignment Expectations: Writing journalistic-style stories involves lots of practice and may require you to attend on-campus and/or off-campus events. You will be given advance notice of this so you can arrange your schedule accordingly. When possible, you will be given a choice of days and times with the required event. Substitution for a required event can only be made with the instructor’s approval in advance. Grading Policy: Basically you’ll be working on a cumulative point system…20 points for in-class individual assignments (including style, writing, current events and textbook tests), 20 points for satisfactory participation in each group project and 100 points for both the mid-term exam and final exams will apply. Penalties for errors on writing assignments: individual points off for basic grammar, style and punctuation errors, five points off for misspelled names and five points for fact errors, with more severe penalties beginning in October.. An A-plus or 19-20 grade on a daily writing assignment means the article is very close to being publishable as is. And yes, grading of writing can be subjective. Grading Typed Assignments: Typed assignments will be graded according to publishable quality which includes all the required elements such as: qualified sources, thoroughness, quality of quotes, objectivity, accuracy, story focus, grammar, AP style, leads, story organization, creativity, pacing/flow and clarity. Grading is ultimately subjective. In the media world, editors and supervisors edit stories and press releases according to AP style, organizational guidelines and their preferences. Consider me your editor. Following the journalistic writing guidelines learned in class and comments written on your assignments will earn higher grades. An automatic “F” will be given beginning in October for misspelling a name, plagiarism and/or a factual error. These elements are crucial in media writing. Someone making these errors can get fired. Most of these errors open the door to lawsuits against the individual and/or the organization. Grading key for daily written assignments: 18-20 = Publishable quality (A) 15-18 = Publishable with little editing (B) 14-17 = Substantial editing needed (C) 12-13 = Marginal quality (D) 11 or less = Unacceptable (F) Basic story instructions: The following is a list of requirements to follow with every assignment unless otherwise specified: 1. All assignments need to be typed, printed and a hard copy needs to be submitted to the instructor unless otherwise specified. All assignments for print media stories and exercises need to be typed in this format, no handwritten assignments will be accepted: Use Microsoft Word and set the font to Times New Roman or Arial 12 point. Paragraphs need to be double spaced (after the heading). Indent all paragraphs (not including Internet articles) In the top left side place the heading: -- Student name, course #, section #, date and assignment name (not a title for the story). You can use the header/footer option for this. Example: Jessica Simpson/Tony Romo JOUR 1345-6 Sept. 21, 2010 Crime story Hit the Enter key twice and begin the assignment. Insert numbers in the top right side of each page on assignments longer than one page. If the story is more than one page, center the word – more – at the bottom of the page that the article is continued from. Type “first ad” at the top of the second story and your slug, for example: First ad Crime Story Below the last line of the assignment center either #### or -30- to indicate the assignment’s conclusion. 2. Unless specified otherwise, each outside assigned story must have at least three qualified sources. o Sources are people interviewed and quoted for a story. They must be used in the story. o The following do not count as source substitutes: Information from the Internet, information printed in books, newspapers, newsletters, magazines, other reference books or information broadcast on TV or radio. o If you want to use information from a government database, news release or any research studies, you must obtain prior instructor approval. o Interviews with sources need to be conducted in person or via telephone unless the instructor gives prior approval. o Sources need to be appropriate to the story subject — no random interviewing to meet the required number of sources for a story. Example: If you are writing a story about a new treatment for a disease, talk to health professionals and researchers involved in treating that disease. You may also interview people afflicted with the disease and their family members. Members of support organizations for that disease may also be interviewed. o Sources are not family members, friends or classmates. They can help you find sources, but cannot be used as sources. o Sources do not include you. Stories will be written in third person, objectively. Keep yourself and opinions out of the stories unless specifically assigned an opinion piece. 3. For each outside assignment, you will submit a source list to include the name and contact information for each source you spoke with and quoted in the story. Stories will not be accepted and/or graded without a source list. If approved to use information from a database, provide a full citation for each article or document using AP style. I will randomly contact people on the source list. Late Work: o Hard copies of in-class assignments are due at by the end of class the day they are assigned unless specified otherwise. o Out-of-class assignments are due at the beginning of class (within five minutes of the class start time). o Any out-of-class assignment turned in later than the beginning of the class period on the due date could receive a lower grade. o An assignment turned in a week late will receive one letter grade lower and will continue to receive point deductions for each day it is late unless a grade deduction is waived by the instructor. o Grade deduction waivers may be given due to an extended confirmed illness or confirmed emergency situation. o Approved late work due to illness or emergencies must be turned in on the date specified by the instructor to avoid a grade penalty. Rewritten Work: Some work will be returned to students with instructions to rewrite and submit for a higher grade. The work needs to be rewritten and submitted by the next class period unless the instructor specifies otherwise. Extra Credit: 1. * Working with a college or a professional newspaper/magazine: a. If you get a story published in a major publication, The Shorthorn or another college newspaper, you may receive as many as four points in the current event category of the grading policy for each published article. There is a limit of four published articles. b. Articles published before the fall 2010 semester start date will not be accepted. i. Articles should be attached to a typed page with the article name and date published. ii. This should be done in the typed format style to include your name, course and section number. c. *If you work as an editor, page designer, photographer or advertising copywriter for a college or professional publication, you may receive the same amount of points as above during the fall semester: i. Photographers should submit pages containing your published photographs. 1. The publish date must be shown on the page. 2. The photo credit line must be present with your name. 3. The limit is four photos. ii. Editors, designers and copywriters need to submit four different published pages with the staff box. 1. The page must show the publish date and your name as staff. 2. The pages can not all be within the same week. 3. The limit is four staff boxes. 2. * If you apply for and obtain an internship with a media company during this class, you could receive as many as five points in the major assignment category of the grading policy. Internships applied for and/or started before the fall 2008 semester start date are not eligible for the bonus points. A copy of the internship approval with the date on the organization’s letterhead is required before the last day of class (the week before final exams) for the semester. 3. * The first person to bring in a specific spelling, grammar, AP style or factual error from a professional newspaper, not a college or high school newspaper, each error will earn two points of extra credit on a daily work assignment. The newspaper errors need to be in issues published during the spring 2008 semester. A maximum of six points for finding errors may be earned during the semester. To get extra credit for finding an error, use the typed format to include a one-sentence description of the mistake. Attach the article or a photocopy of the article with the error circled — just the page with the error on it — not an entire magazine or newspaper section. 4. *Perfect class attendance will result in a reward of 40 extra points on the cumulative point total. No credit is given for excused absences. Students eligible for this extra credit must be present in class and on time (within five minutes) every day the class meets. *If all class assignments are not completed and turned in by the deadlines specified by the instructor,, no extra credit points will be awarded—no exceptions. Department, College and University Policies Drop Policy: It is the responsibility of the student to process the official class drop and add forms. Faculty cannot drop students from any class. Students need to go to his/her "major" department to drop a class. For example, if you are a HISTORY MAJOR, and you want to drop a MATH class, you need to go to the HISTORY DEPARTMENT to drop your class. This is a new rule as of summer 2006). The last drop rate for this semester is Nov. 5. Students can drop classes until 4 p.m. CST on that date. Americans with Disabilities Act: The University of Texas at Arlington is on record as being committed to both the spirit and letter of federal equal opportunity legislation; reference Public Law 92-112 - The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. With the passage of federal legislation entitled Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, there is renewed focus on providing this population with the same opportunities enjoyed by all citizens. As a faculty member, I am required by law to provide "reasonable accommodations" to students with disabilities, so as not to discriminate based on that disability. Student responsibility primarily rests with informing faculty of their need for accommodation and in providing authorized documentation through designated administrative channels. Information regarding specific diagnostic criteria and policies for obtaining academic accommodations can be found at www.uta.edu/disability. In addition, you may visit the Office for Students with Disabilities in room 102 of University Hall or call them at (817) 272-3364. Academic Integrity: It is the philosophy of The University of Texas at Arlington that academic dishonesty is a completely unacceptable mode of conduct and will not be tolerated in any form. All persons involved in academic dishonesty will be disciplined in accordance with University regulations and procedures. Discipline may include suspension or expulsion from the University. "Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts." (Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Series 50101, Section 2.2) As communicators, your professional reputation is your greatest strength. o Honesty and ethical behavior build a positive professional reputation. You are expected to model the ethical behavior in this course that you would be expected to follow as a professional communicator. o Examples of cheating, plagiarism and collusion are provided in your student handbook. o The following behaviors also constitute academic dishonesty: o Making up sources, information or quotes except as explicitly specified for certain class assignments. o Failing to properly attribute quotes and ideas to sources. o Asking someone to say you interviewed them when you did not. o Getting other people to write or edit class assignments for you. o Lying to a source or misrepresenting yourself to get information. o Copying a story or any part of a story from a published news account, Web page or press release. o Using information from any sources without proper attribution. o Turning in a story you’ve already written or published for another class. I take academic honesty seriously. At the very minimum, violating the university or class standards for academic honesty will result in a zero on any class assignment, quiz or exam. Depending on the severity of the violation, I may assign an “F” for the course. I will report any violations to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and will pursue hearings there if necessary. Anyone receiving a zero for violating academic honesty policies will not be eligible for extra credit points. Student Support Services Available: The University of Texas at Arlington supports a variety of student success programs to help you connect with the university and achieve academic success. These programs include learning assistance, developmental education, advising and mentoring, admission and transition, and federally funded programs. Students requiring assistance academically, personally, or socially should contact the Office of Student Success Programs at 817-272-6107 for more information and appropriate referrals. Librarian to Contact: Rafia Mirza, Communication Department liaison; email@example.com; 817-272-7428 E-Culture Policy: The University of Texas at Arlington has adopted the University e-mail address as an official means of communication with students. Through the use of e-mail, UT-Arlington is able to provide students with relevant and timely information, designed to facilitate student success. In particular, important information concerning registration, financial aid, payment of bills and graduation may be sent to students through e-mail. The university assigns an e-mail account to all students. Information about activating and using it is available at www.uta.edu/email. New students (first semester at UTA) are able to activate their email account 24 hours after registering for courses. There is no additional charge to students for using this account, and it remains active as long as a student is enrolled at UT-Arlington. Students are responsible for checking their e-mail regularly. I am required to accept student e-mail through the UTA e-mail system only. I will use it regularly to communicate with students concerning updates, changes in assignments and/or class schedule and tips to help with assignments. E-mail sent to faculty from outside IPs are usually placed in a quarantine file — instructors don’t get regular notification of quarantined items. Grade Grievance Policy: In attempting to resolve any student grievances regarding grades, first it is the student’s obligation to make a serious effort with the individual with whom the grievance originated. to resolve the matter. Individual course instructors retain primary responsibility for assigning grades. The instructor’s judgment is final unless compelling evidence shows discrimination, preferential treatment or procedural irregularities. If students wish to appeal, their request must be submitted in writing—on an appeal form available in departmental or program offices—to the department chair or program director. The student has one calendar year from the date the grade is assigned to initiate the grievance. The normal academic channels are department chair or program director, academic dean and the office of the provost. However, before considering a grievance, the department chair or program director (dean) will refer the issue to a departmental or program (college/school) committee of faculty. If the committee cannot reach a decision acceptable to the parties involved, the matter will follow the remaining academic channels. The decision of the provost is final. Information specific to the procedures for each academic unit is available in the office of the academic dean. This syllabus is not a contract, expressed or implied, and may be amended by the instructor as deemed necessary. Correct grammar usage, as well as AP style, spelling and punctuation need to be used in all assignments.. AP Style Quizzes: Students are required to study the AP Stylebook and the correct editing marks and be prepared for a weekly quiz. The first few weeks’ quizzes will be open- book style. The quiz will require students to identify and correct AP style mistakes, spelling and grammar errors using correct editing marks. The quiz will be given Wednesday of each week. Tentative schedule The class schedule may change. Please make sure you complete readings prior to coming to class that week. Additional material may be handed out throughout the semester for which you will be responsible for as well. Changes may occur to accommodate guest speakers and other activities. Weeks 1-7 Introduction, theory, news values, media ethical and legal issues, research process, writing basics, news stories, interviewing, reporting, feature writing and Web writing. An AP style quiz will occur every Wednesday the class meets. Weeks 8-11 Midterm exam, photojournalism and public relations An AP style quiz will occur every Wednesday the class meets Weeks 12-14 Broadcast writing and advertising copywriting Weeks 15-16 Dead Week – conclusion and review for final. Final exam.
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