JOUR175 News Reporting and Writing

Department of Language & Literature: Journalism

I. Course Number and Title
JOUR175 News Reporting and Writing
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes Per Semester
IV. Prerequisites
Writing Placement score of 6 or COMP107 (C or better)
V. Other Pertinent Information

This course is scheduled in a computer lab/classroom so students can learn the computer skills necessary for success in today's journalism field.

The Department of Language and Literature has determined that journalism courses will require a 5000 word minimum in writing assignments.

VI. Catalog Course Description
This is an intensive workshop course that stresses the hard news reporting and writing techniques important in both traditional print media and Internet publishing. Coverage of news events on and off-campus is supplemented by in-class deadline writing exercises. Students learn to gather information and check facts using Internet search engines.
VII. Required Course Content and Direction
  1. Learning Goals:

    1. Course
    2. Students will:
      1. demonstrate an understanding of libel law and the press freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment;
      2. perform basic reporting techniques, including conducting interviews and using online databases to gather information;
      3. write a basic news story;
      4. cover various beats, including police, courts, town government, and live speaking events;
      5. generate their own story ideas and write articles for the College newspaper and for the class;
      6. write effectively for the web; and
      7. create and maintain their own blog or website in which they archive their online articles and promote their work.

    3. Core (if applicable)
    4. Category III
      Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
      Students will:
      1. use methods, concepts, and theories in new situations (Application Skills);
      1. integrate and/or combine knowledge from multiple sources to create new knowledge. (Synthesis);
      2. assess the credibility of a communication and the strength of claims and arguments. (Evaluation Skills);

      Information Literacy
      Students will:
      1. determine the nature and extent of the information needed;
      2. determine the technologies and information formats appropriate for the information identified;
      3. access needed information effectively and efficiently;
      4. evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into their knowledge base and value system;
      5. develop an understanding of many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and use information legally and ethically.

      Responsible Citizenship
      Students will:
      1. demonstrate an understanding of major ethical concerns;
      1. identify the effects of a person's actions on the community.
  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities:


    Students will read assigned chapters from the textbook and take quizzes based on those readings. They take weekly news quizzes and be required to read a newspaper or news website on a daily basis; they seek out and use a variety of news outlets and sources, including online and in print.


    Students write a series of news-writing exercises; articles for the class in the basic news beats including police, town government, and the courts; and articles for the College newspaper. Students work with editors of the College newspaper to produce articles suitable for publication in the student newspaper and the paper's website.

    Journalism Fundamentals

    Students conduct interviews and gather information from both live sources and the Internet. They learn about tools used for reporting, including online databases such as Lexis/Nexis. They report on stories in a variety of news beats, including the police, courts and town government; and they cover a live speaking event on campus. They learn about the First Amendment, press freedoms and libel law. Students learn about the techniques used in writing for the web. They create and maintain a basic website or blog in which they archive their online articles.

  3. Assessment Methods for Core Learning Goals:

    1. Course
      1. Students take a series of quizzes based on the readings in the course textbooks.
      2. Students take weekly news quizzes to assess their knowledge of current events.
      3. Students complete a series of timed news writing exercises to assess their news writing skills.
      4. Students write a series of news stories for the class and for the College's student newspaper.

    2. Core (if applicable)
      1. Information Literacy: Articles produced for the course are evaluated on the student's ability to determine the most effective and efficient sources of information, including internet websites, electronic databases such as Lexis/Nexis and EbscoHost, and public records, learn how to obtain information from these sources, and demonstrate that they are able to incorporate the information without infringing copyright.
      2. Responsible Citizenship: Through discussions and evaluation of their writing, students are assessed on their understanding of plagiarism, libel, and objectivity and fairness of news coverage. By studying and evaluating specific examples of newspaper work by professionals, students demonstrate their understanding of the need to promote the public good and recognition that their actions carry responsibilities and consequences.
      3. Critial Thinking/Problem Solving: Through evaluation of their news stories, students are assessed on their ability to judge the reliability of a variety of sources of information, both live and online. Students are also assessed on their ability to overcome obstacles and solve problems in the newsgathering process by finding alternative information sources when the most common sources are unavailable or not adequate.
  4. Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Students:

    Texts: Instructors must select an introductory text that focuses on the process of reporting and writing. Other texts may include a news agency style guide, a handbook, or other reference texts selected by the instructor. See course format.
VIII. Teaching Methods Employed
Section VIII is not being used in new and revised syllabi as of 12/10/08.

Review/Approval Date - 12/07; Revised 3/2010