Syllabus for JOUR 5300 by fionan


									Jour 5300 Public Affairs Reporting—Spring 2005
Class meets: M-W-F, 10:10 a.m. -11:00 a.m., Room 241 Professor: Dr. Hugh J. Martin Office: 227 Grady College Office hours: Mon. 1:30 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.; Thurs., 4:00-5:00 p.m. Also by appointment. Phone: 706-542-5033 e-mail: Class web site: Web CT Course description Advanced techniques in news reporting and writing, with special emphasis on practical assignments outside of class covering local government and specialized issues in such areas as business, science, the environment, and health. Purpose Public affairs reporters cover the use of power in our democracy. Power can be exercised by the government, by businesses and other organizations, and by individuals or groups of people. The decisions made by these groups, and the effects of those decisions, are the focus of public affairs reporting. Journalism 5300 teaches you to identify news about public affairs, to accurately get the facts about that news, and to organize and write an understandable story based on your reporting. The practical skills taught in this course will help make you successful in any area of journalism. The course emphasizes stories providing essential information that citizens need to make democracy function. Sept. 11, 2001, was a brutal and tragic reminder of the importance of public affairs reporting. The course also offers you a chance to experience the rewards of public affairs reporting. These include the thrill of knowing something before most other people do, and the chance to indulge your curiosity. Required Materials 1. Texts —“An Introduction to News Reporting: A Beginning Journalist’s Guide,” by Jan Johnson Yopp and Beth A. Haller. —“The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual.” Most recent edition. 2. Other materials —Dictionary, thesaurus, and access to daily newspapers. Useful Materials —A large pocket folder to save and keep track of your work. Grading Distribution 1. Public affairs stories 2. Beat memo 3. Exercises and quizzes 4. Participation in classroom discussion

60 percent 15 percent 15 percent 10 percent


Grading Good reporters possess objective and subjective skills. Examples of objective skills include understanding the jobs done by people and organizations that you cover, knowing how to dig up different kinds of information, and accurately reporting what you learned. An example of a subjective skill is the ability to write a story that is compelling to read. Grading will reflect your ability to demonstrate, and to integrate, both kinds of skills. The best way to develop these skills is through practice. The class will emphasize assignments which allow you to develop and cover an area of interest, or beat. The goal is to understand this beat well enough to produce stories that are published in a newspaper or magazine. Each assignment will be worth a specified number of points. Errors in completing the assignment will result in deductions from that total. The value for each assignment will be announced when the assignment is made. Deadlines All assigned work must be completed by the assigned deadlines. No late work is accepted. Missed assignments receive a failing grade. Public Affairs Stories You will develop a beat that produces story ideas. These ideas must be submitted to the instructor for approval. If an idea is approved, you will then report and write the story and submit it for a grade. You will write eight of these stories. The instructor will edit each story. If appropriate, the instructor will allow you to rewrite your stories. If a rewrite produces a substantial improvement in the story, you will receive a higher grade. SOURCE LIST: Each story must be based on interviews with a minimum of three sources. Documents and reports should also be used as sources where appropriate, but they will not count against the three-source minimum. At the end of each draft of the story there MUST be a list of names, addresses and phone numbers for all people interviewed. You may also include e-mail addresses. Documents must be fully cited along with the location where they can be examined. GRADING Stories will be graded according to their news value, how complete the reporting is, how accurate the reporting is, and the clarity of the writing. Each story will be graded on a 100-point scale. Any factual errors will result in the loss of one letter grade (10 points). These lost points cannot be restored even if you rewrite the story. Each error in grammar, punctuation, and AP style will result in a 3-point deduction. Each deduction can be restored if you identify and correct the error on the draft where the error was marked. REWRITES Each story that is completed by deadline can be rewritten for a higher grade. If you want to rewrite a story, you must first consult the instructor. The original draft must be turned in along with the rewrite. The rewrite must result in a substantial improvement to receive a higher grade. PUBLICATION The goal is to produce stories that are published in a newspaper or a magazine. The instructor will determine if a story is ready for publication. The instructor may also offer suggestions about where the story might be published. For each story that you then submit and publish, extra credit of 3% will be added to your semester grade. 2

Beat Memo You will select a beat that you want to cover and write a memo detailing the characteristics of the beat. The memo also will identify sources and provide a list of story ideas. The memo will help you plan coverage of your beat. Detailed requirements will be provided in class. Exercises and Quizzes These will test your understanding of the readings and lectures. Makeup policy You cannot make up a missed assignment for a grade. However, if you miss an assignment because of an excused absence that assignment will be dropped from calculations of your course grade. Assignments missed for any other reason receive a zero and are included in the calculation of your final grade. Attendance and tardiness Attendance is required, and you should arrive on time. Students who arrive after the start of a quiz or exercise may be asked to wait in the hall until it is over. You may miss up to two class sessions without violating attendance rules. However, absences will only be counted as excused if you can document that you were ill or had to deal with an emergency. If possible, you should tell me in advance that you have to miss class. I also will consider excusing absences if you must miss class for a legitimate educational reason. I will determine what is legitimate. Such absences must be requested in advance and documentation will be required. Food, drink and common courtesy No food or drinks in the lab please. Food and drink can damage computers and other expensive equipment that you and your fellow students depend on to complete coursework. Using cell phones, pagers, music players and other electronic devices during class is rude and disruptive. Please turn off all such devices before you enter the classroom. Academic honesty All academic work must meet the standards contained in “A Culture of Honesty.” You are responsible for informing yourself about those standards before performing any academic work. The policy holds you responsible for maintaining the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Penalties for academic dishonesty are severe and ignorance is not an acceptable defense. Academic dishonesty includes plagiarism, cheating, lying, tampering, stealing, receiving unauthorized or illegitimate assistance from any other person, or using any source of information that is not common knowledge. You should read the policy at: Disability policy The University of Georgia is committed to providing equal educational opportunities for qualified students with disabilities in accordance with state and federal laws including the American Disabilities Act. Help for disabled students is available from the Disability Services/Learning Disabilities Center. More information is available at: 3

Tentative Weekly Reading Schedule (Note: This syllabus is a general plan for the course. Deviations from the syllabus, including adjustments of this schedule, may be announced to the class). Week of Jan. 10 Introduction to the class “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 1 Week of Jan. 17 No class Monday, MLK birthday Finding information “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 2 Week of Jan. 24 Conducting interviews “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 3 Week of Jan. 31 Law and ethics “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 4 Week of Feb. 7 Diversity and the news “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 5 Week of Feb. 14 Basics of local government “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 6 Selection of a beat will be completed this week. Week of Feb. 21 Paying for local government “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 7 Beat memo is due. Week of Feb. 28 Covering education “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 8 First story due. Week of March 7 Midpoint of semester. Midterm drop deadline is Tuesday. Covering business “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 9 Second story due. Week of March 14 No class this week, Spring break. Week of March 21 Covering public safety “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 10 Third story due. Week of March 28 Covering courts “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 11 Fourth story due.


Week of April 4 Covering specialty subjects “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 12 Fifth story due. Week of April 11 Elections and polls “Introduction to News Reporting,” Chap. 13 Sixth story due. Week of April 18 Seventh story due. Week of April 25 Eighth story due. Week of May 2 Last class meets Monday. Finals begin Wednesday. Final Exam period is Friday May 6, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.


To top