NEWS REPORTING & WRITING
04:567:324 Section 3, CIL-114A
Rutgers University, Spring 2009
T-F 11:30 am – 12:50 pm
Instructor: Jan Barry
Office hours: Before or after class; also, by appointment
Class Web site: http://raritanjournal.blogspot.com/
Overview: This course is required for journalism majors and for most advanced journalism courses at Rutgers. It is focused on the basic steps of gathering and writing news reports. These skills are the building blocks in writing for newspapers, magazines, radio and television and Internet Web sites, as well as newsletters, reports and press releases for businesses, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and civic groups.
Learning Objectives: Students will become familiar—through reading, reporting and writing assignments—with various news reporting formats, Associated Press style of writing, and posting news items on a Web site.
Grades: In-class and homework assignments and quizzes = 75 percent; class project, 25 percent. Emphasis will be placed on factual accuracy, use of AP style, attribution of sources, clarity in conveying a story, fairness to subjects and to various sides of a story, writing within assigned story length and making deadline. Extra credit for writing for campus or community publication, attending Society of Professional Journalists events.
Rutgers SCILS allows the following standard grades: A, B+, B, C+, C, D and F. An F is used for failing work or for a student who has stopped attending class without formally withdrawing. An incomplete, IN, can only be assigned to a student who due to unforeseen, and generally emergency, circumstances cannot finish coursework within the given semester; the student then has extra time to complete the coursework and have the grade changed or else the incomplete becomes permanent.
Attendance Policy: In general two excused absences are acceptable in a course that meets twice per week. It is University policy to excuse without penalty students who are absent from class because of religious observance. Students are advised to provide timely notification to instructors about necessary absences for religious observances and are responsible for making up the work or exams according to an agreed-upon schedule.
Academic Integrity: The consequences of scholastic dishonesty are very serious. Rutgers’ academic integrity policy is at http://ctaar.rutgers.edu/integrity/policy.html. If you are doubtful about any issue related to plagiarism or scholastic dishonesty, please discuss it with the instructor.
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Disabilities: Students with disabilities (both short- and long-term) who wish accommodations in this class must do so through the Rutgers Disabilities Services Office and/or the Dean of Students of your school.
Further Assistance: Students seeking help with this course should contact the instructor during office hours or via email. Students seeking help with scheduling of classes or registration should contact the SCILS Student Services Office, Room 214 in the SCILS Building. Rutgers has Learning Centers on each campus that provide tutoring and other help; for information, http://lrc.rutgers.edu/. Rutgers also has a Writing Program that provides help with writing skills and assignments: http://plangere.rutgers.edu/index.html. SCILS IT Services offers help with technology problems. They are located in the SCILS Building in Room 120; 732-932-7500 x8999; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assignments: In-class and homework assignments must be presented double-spaced as hard copy to the instructor. Put your name, date and assignment title in the upper left hand corner. Center a headline above the text of stories. Assignments include reporting on a local government meeting or other public event and on a public speaker. The class project is a researched news story due on April 28 and posted on class Web site on or by May 1.
Rewrites: Editors often return stories to reporters for revision. If you receive an “R” on a story, a revision is being requested. Revision may include adding or trimming to meet a given story length, rewriting the lead, or clarifying an element in the story. Final grade on that story will be given on the revised version, which will be due on a set deadline.
Deadlines: Providing news copy by a deadline is a vital part of journalism. Late assignments will receive lower grades; i.e., an A becomes a B, etc.—unless an extension is approved by the instructor.
Classroom Rules: Turn off beepers and cell phones during class. No Web surfing, computer games or playing music during class. Keep a copy of work you hand in. Be on time. Handle computers in the lab with care; many people use them.
Books: News Reporting and Writing textbook and workbook, ninth edition, by the Missouri Group (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008); The Associated Press Stylebook; a dictionary and thesaurus (using http://www.dictionary.com/ is fine). Bring the textbook, workbook, and AP stylebook to class each session. Also bring a notebook for taking class notes, assignments, and field notes.
Instructor: Jan Barry is a veteran journalist, recently retired from an award-winning career at The Record of Bergen County. A past North Jersey Media Group Journalist in Residence at Rutgers, he is a graduate of Ramapo College and has taught investigative reporting at NYU and municipal/school budget workshops at Rutgers’ Journalism Resources Institute. For further information, see http://www.janbarry.net/.
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Readings and assignments due on assigned dates:
(REVISED on 3/6)
Jan. 20: introduction to course; watch Obama inauguration and take notes for writing a news story
Jan. 23: class discussion and 500-word story on Obama inauguration due
Jan. 27: Textbook chapters 1-2; rewrite of Obama inauguration story due
Jan. 30: workbook assignment due
Feb. 3: chapter 3; AP stylebook A-D
Feb. 6: quiz on AP stylebook; workbook assignment due
Feb. 10: chapter 7: stylebook, E-F
Feb. 13 workbook assignment due
Feb. 17: chapter 4; stylebook, G-H
Feb. 20: quiz on AP stylebook; workbook assignment due
Feb. 24: chapter 5; stylebook, I-K
Feb. 27: workbook assignment due;
*500-750-word story on a public meeting due
Mar. 3: chapter 6; stylebook, L-N;
Mar. 6: *rewrite of meeting story due, post on class Web site
Mar. 10: chapter 8; stylebook, O-P; quiz on AP stylebook
Mar. 13: workbook assignment due
Mar. 24: chapter 9; stylebook, Q-R;
Mar. 27: workbook assignment due
Mar. 31: chapter 10; stylebook, S
Apr. 3: *500-750-word story on public speaker due,
quiz on AP stylebook
Apr. 7: chapter 12; stylebook, T-V
Apr. 10: workbook assignment due
Apr. 14: *rewrite of public speaker story due, post on class Web site,
chapter 11; stylebook, W-Z
Apr. 17: quiz on AP stylebook, workbook assignment due
Apr. 21: chapter 13
Apr. 24: *draft of 750-1000-word final project due
Apr. 28: *rewrite of final project story in class
May 1: post project story on class Web site