Intro News Writing & Reporting

Introduction

Be careful. Journalism is more addictive than crack cocaine. Your life can get out of balance.
                ~Dan Rather

I always thought writing was the foundation and the basis for journalism in the same way being able to draw is the foundation for art.
~ Bob Schieffer

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.
               ~ T. S. Eliot

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.
            ~ Joseph Pulitzer

The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.
            ~ Mark Twain

Course Description

This course is designed to give you an opportunity to improve on your journalistic writing skills and help you develop a deeper understanding of the role that journalistic writing plays in mass media. You will be introduced to the nature of news, citizen journalism and convergence, interviewing, quotations and attribution, gathering and verifying information, reporting with numbers, telling the story, writing to be read, how to approach writing multiple types of stories, beat reporting and investigative reporting. There are three texts required for the course, Elements of News WritingAP Stylebook. I also highly recommend America’s Best Newspaper Writing, from which I will bring in several examples of writing to discuss. You will be required to produce professional journalistic work for the AASU student newspaper, The Inkwell. Once you are set up with The Inkwell, you will be required to write six articles over the period of the semester. I will also need to know the name and title of your section editor. This editor will help me to assess your progress and improvement over the course of the semester.

You will also develop and maintain a class online news site. This site will give you experience that you will need work in today’s highly synchronized news outlets, the Web 2.0 world in which most journalists work today.

Course Goals

This course is designed to help you discover, uncover, respond to and evaluate your abilities as a journalist. We will study many forms of the journalism process, including:  writing leads, developing stories, revision, editing, interviewing and researching. You will write stories (6) for the student newspaper, The Inkwell. You will also write a minimum of 5 stories for your newsblog. We will meet once in the semester to discuss your progress in the course (areas of success and where you need improvement). The course is designed to give you the hands-on practical experience and preparation for moving into your area of expertise.

  • To think critically about news context/content
  • To develop the basic elements and skills of news writing/editing
  • To develop a working understanding of covering beats (meetings, speeches, police, courts, disasters, strategies, features, editorials, etc.)
  • To develop a working resume’ and letter of introduction and make you first approach to getting work in your field
Course Outcomes
  • To sharpen skills in developing journalistic writing modes (including magazine, promotional, editorial, etc.)
  • To enhance awareness of the importance of purpose, audience, and tone in writing
  • To become acquainted with the various levels of print and online professional writing skills
  • To improve journalistic writing skills through the successful completion of multiple news or magazine articles
  • To refine writing skills through varied sentence construction and appropriate word choice.
  • To gain self-confidence in journalistic writing
  • To develop an understanding of the value of the computer as an aid in composing, particularly the tools of word processing, spell checking and electronic thesauruses
  • To introduce basic research and Associated Press documentation skills