about the course
Journalism seems simple enough. It is the timely observation and chronicling of events, occurrences, people, and places for others. Telling stories. Simple indeed. The difficulty comes in the execution; doing journalism is not so simple. The chronicling (writing down, recording) part is tough. So is the observing. In this course we will tackle both. We will also analyze the ethical and legal challenges facing journalists and the cataclysmic changes the craft and profession are undergoing. I have divided these different ideas into two broad categories: “craft” (writing, editing and reporting) and “context” (journalism’s role in society). Craft will occupy most of our time, but it is important to take an occasional step back for perspective and that’s where classes on context come in.
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:
• Tell stories using a variety of different elements.
• Improve your ability to communicate to a broad and diverse audience.
• Think more critically, creatively and analytically and guide an audience through your analysis.
• Critically evaluate your work’s clarity, concision, accuracy, fairness, style and grammar.
• Better understand and be able to critically evaluate journalism’s role in society.