Journalism Course

Journalism - Fall 2014 
Mount Angel Seminary
St. Benedict, Oregon

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

When one looks back over three hundred years, and even three thousand, it is impossible to separate news from community, and over time more specifically from democratic community. - Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel

Course Description:
This course introduces students to the field of journalism and trains them to write for the Mount Angel Seminary journalism blog, the Mount Angel Seminary website, the Mount Angel Letter, and other publications.  Students will learn to recognize and analyze different types of news stories and gain experience with journalistic writing and newsgathering techniques.  They will also discuss the major principles of journalism ethics.

Course Goals and Outcomes:

A successful student in Mount Angel Seminary's journalism course will: 1) be able to research and compose a short news story with a clear lead, 2) understand and apply the elements of a good photograph, and 3) understand basic journalism ethics.

Class Texts:
Our texts will be the Mount Angel Seminary Journalism Style Guide and handouts based on The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel and News Reporting and Writing by the Missouri Group.  Additional readings and handouts will be given throughout the semester.


Assignments: All work is due by 11 a.m. on the assigned due date and must be submitted by email or flash drive.  Late work is not accepted.

Reporter's Prep: You will complete a reporter's prep at the beginning of the semester.  You will receive a separate sheet concerning this initial assignment.


Classmate Interview:
Your first assignment is a 500-word interview with one of your journalism classmates.  The first draft of your interview is due to Sister Hilda on the assigned due date.  Missing first drafts result in one grade lower for the interview's final grade.

News Stories: 
You are required to submit two 500-word news stories.  First drafts of each story are due to Sister Hilda on the assigned due date.  Missing first drafts result in one grade lower for the story's final grade.

Revisions: 
The classmate interview and the three news stories may be revised once for a higher grade.  The due date for revisions will be announced when Sister Hilda returns your stories.

Photo Essay and Story Photographs:

You are required to submit photos to accompany at least two of your news stories and to submit a photo essay.  You will receive a separate sheet concerning the photo essay.

Elements of Journalism Exam:
You will take an exam in which you explain and apply the elements of journalism to your work as a reporter and photographer.


Grades:
New Stories: 30%
Photo Essay: 20%
Classmate Interview: 10%
Exam: 20%
Reporter's Prep: 10%
Participation: 10%

The quality of your participation grade is determined by your completion of the online course The Language of the Image, your preparation for and engagement during our press conferences, your viewing of Shattered Glass, and your contributions to our other class presentations and activities.


For extra credit, you may submit a 200-word news brief that covers a seminary event.  Your news brief must be submitted within three days of the activity you chose to cover.  If your news brief is publishable, I will add 1% to your final grade for the semester.  You may submit up to two news briefs.


Class Schedule:
As I learn more about your needs and interests, we will make the appropriate adjustments.  Additional handouts and readings will be given on various dates, and we will also do various writing exercises in class throughout the semester.

The date listed indicates the week during which the readings, assignments, and activities listed beneath it will take place.

8/25:
Syllabus and Introductions


9/1:
Interviewing / Writing for the Web


9/8:
Reporter's Prep Due

Writing for Public Relations - Guest Speaker Jodi Kilcup
Preparation for Press Conference #1

9/15:

Press Conference #1
First Draft of Classmate Interview Due

9/22:
Story Patterns

The Elements of Journalism 1-4

9/29:
Classmate Interview Due

Completion of The Language of the Image Due
Photo Workshop #1

10/6:
First Draft of News Story #1 Due

Story Workshop #1
Beat Reporting / Preparation for Press Conference #2

10/13:
Final News Story #1 Due

Press Conference #2
Guest Speaker - Steve Ritchie

10/20:

The Elements of Journalism 5-7
Preparation for Press Conference #3

10/27:
Press Conference #3

First Draft of News Story #2 Due
Story Workshop #2

11/3:

Obituaries

11/10:

Final News Story #2 Due
Elements of Journalism 8-9
First Draft of Photo Essay Due

Photo Workshop #2

11/17:
Elements of Journalism 10-11
Film - Shattered Glass (scheduled during an evening)

11/24:

Photo Essay Due

12/1:

Final Elements of Journalism Discussion
Elements of Journalism Exam

12/5 or Finals Week:
Reading Roundtable and Closing Thoughts