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. Number of Instructional Minutes
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 require a 5000-word minimum in writing assignments.

This course meets the Information Literacy and Writing General Education requirements.

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. Course Learning Goals

    Students will:

    1. demonstrate an understanding of libel law and the press freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment [Information Literacy];
    2. perform basic reporting techniques, including conducting interviews and using online databases to gather information [Information Literacy];
    3. write a basic news story [Writing];
    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 [Writing];
    6. write effectively for the web; and
    7. create and maintain their own blog or website in which they archive their own articles and promote their work.
  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 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 Course Learning Goals

    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.
    5. Students produce articles for the course that 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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 Student:

    Departmentally-approved textbook. See course syllabus.

Review/Approval Date - 12/07; Revised 3/2010; New Core 8/2015