course objectives/policies

This course is about producing compelling, important, timely stories. Producing those kinds of stories requires a grasp of the fundamental tenets of journalistic writing. This style likely differs from writing that you are asked to do elsewhere in the university.
A sound grasp of journalism also requires a basic grounding in the consequences of telling stories to an audience. So this course also includes discussion of the role of journalism and “the media” in society.

The objectives for the course are that by the end of the semester you will:

• Improve your ability to communicate to a broad and diverse audience.
• Develop critical, creative and analytical storytelling skills.
• Critically evaluate a work’s clarity, concision, accuracy, fairness, style and grammar.
• Tell stories using a variety of elements – primarily words, sounds and photos.
• Better understand and be able to critically evaluate journalism’s role in society.


Get stuff in on time and come to class. It’s as simple as that. Each 24-hour period, including weekends, something is late will cost you a letter grade. Extensions can be provided for documented illnesses or family emergencies. You need to notify me in advance to get an extension on a story. These will only be granted for emergency situations. Exams or assignments in other classes don’t count as emergencies. Good deals on plane tickets that take you out of town early for fall break don’t count either. Sorry.

on cell phones and civility and being a knucklehead

Please put your phones on vibrate when come in and forget about texting until class is over.
Also, we will talk about many controversial things this semester that many of you will have strong feelings about. Please respect the opinions of others as you would like to have them respect yours. Lastly, the success of this course depends on the constructive criticism of your classmates’ work so basically don’t be a knucklehead.

students with special needs

For those who have or think that you may have a disability  (learning, physical or psychological), are encouraged to contact Services for Students with Disabilities, Room 113, Science Center, 610-660-1774 or 610-660-1620 as early as possible in the semester. Accommodations can only be provided to student with current (within three years) documentation.

Students are encouraged to discuss their instructional (“reasonable academic adjustments”) and accommodation needs with me.

All student requests for extended time to take examinations in a distraction free environment, must be discussed with the professor a minimum of one week prior to the scheduled date of the exam; the student must complete the Extended-Time Request Form and obtain the professor’s approval; and submit the form to the office – Services for Students with Disabilities a minimum of 3 days prior to the date of the scheduled exam.  Failure to follow these procedures could result in a denial of the request.

Exceptions to assignment schedules require prior written approval of the professor.

The syllabus and course schedule are subject to change – you will be notified in advance of any modification.

academic dishonesty

Journalism depends fully upon honesty and a commitment to the truth. I am assuming none of you will take any unethical shortcuts in your work. In case you are unsure about what constitutes academic misconduct, here are some rough guidelines:

• All work must be your own.
• You must accurately quote and represent all sources in your stories.
• Making up quotes, presenting material as your own interview quotes when you have simply lifted it from a Web site, inventing sources are examples of serious academic dishonesty.

For more information on academic dishonesty consult the university’s policy here.

Penalties for academic honesty could include failure of the course or worse.


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