JOUR276 Feature Writing for Print and Online Media

Department of Language & Literature: Journalism

I. Course Number and Title
JOUR276 Feature Writing for Print and Online Media
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes Per Semester
IV. Prerequisites
JOUR175 (C or better)
V. Other Pertinent Information

This course is scheduled in a computer lab/classroom so that students can learn computer skills necessary for success in today's journalism field. Students in this class write articles for the College newspaper.

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

VI. Catalog Course Description
This workshop course is devoted to the preparation of feature material for magazines and online media, with attention to the ethics of freelancing. Coverage of news events on and off-campus is supplemented by in-class deadline writing exercises. Students learn how 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. write a variety of feature articles, including profiles, news features and trend stories;
      2. demonstrate an understanding of the press freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as libel law;
      3. generate their own story ideas and write articles for the College newspaper and for the class;
      4. demonstrate an understanding of the requirements of writing for the web;
      5. use websites, including social networking sites, to aid in their reporting and promote their work; and
      6. maintain their own blog or website in which they archive their articles.

    3. Core (if applicable)
    4. Catagory 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); and
      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; and
      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; and
      1. identify the effects of a person's actions on the community.
  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities:


    Students read assigned chapters from the textbook and take quizzes based on those readings. They take weekly news quizzes and are required to read a newspaper or news website on a daily basis; they demonstrate that they understand the importance of staying abreast of current events and know where to find a variety of news outlets and sources, including online and in print. They read a variety of feature articles from newspapers and magazines and hold discussions in which they critique and analyze those articles.


    Students write a series of feature-writing exercises, articles for the class, and articles for the College newspaper. Students learn collaborative skills in working with editors of the College newspaper to produce articles suitable for publication in the College newspaper. Students collaborate in producing a package of feature articles that examine a single issue in-depth. This package is produced for the College newspaper.

    Journalism Fundamentals

    Students obtain information from a variety of sources, including internet websites, online databases and public records, and critically evaluate various sources of information for accuracy. Students conduct interviews; cover various cover stories; and demonstrate a knowledge of the basics of the First Amendment, press freedoms and libel law. Students write stories for the web. Students 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 feature writing exercises to assess their writing skills.
      4. Students write a series of feature stories for the class and for the College newspaper. These stories are edited and graded by the instructor.

    2. Core (if applicable)
      1. Critical Thinking/Problem Solving: Students' critical thinking skills are evaluated in the context of the accuracy and reliability of information they gain from a variety of sources, including interviews with contacts, websites, electronic databases, and public records.
      2. Information Literacy: Student writing is 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; obtain information from these sources; assess the reliability of both the source and the information; and demonstrate that they are able to incorporate the information without copyright infringement.
      3. 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.
  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 by new and revised syllabi as of 12/10/08.

Review/Approval Date - 3/98; Core Goals/Objectives added 4/04; Revised 05/2010