assignments

There are two types of assignments for the course. The four big assignments are spelled out below. The other type of assignment are those completed in class. These cannot be made up without one of the excuses mentioned in the attendance policy section.

• meeting/speech story

This story will require you to attend and report on a meeting.
For the last few weeks we have been talking about writing and doing some dry runs. Now it’s time to actually do some reporting. This will be the semester’s first big assignment.

Task: Find a meeting or speech to cover. Your idea for the story should be spelled out in the pitch that you hand in on Friday, Feb. 5. If your speech is before Feb. 5 then hand the pitch in sooner.

Deadline: The story is due in class within 48 hours of the speech or meeting. So if you cover a meeting or speech on Wednesday night, your story would be due in class Friday.

Mechanics: Your story should be about 500 words long and should include a hard news lead. The story should include at least two quotes from the speaker(s) and quotes from at least two people in the audience. The story should follow the basic structure that we have covered so far. The structure should include enough background on the speaker, the meeting and the issue(s) involved to provide context for a reader who may have never thought about the issue before.

• Event story

Much like the meeting/speech story, this story will require you to attend and report on an event. Unlike the speech/meeting story, in this story you will have to work a little harder to find the focus of your story.

Deadline: The story is due in class within 48 hours of the speech or meeting. So if you cover a meeting or speech on Wednesday night, your story would be due in class Friday.

Mechanics: Your story should be about 500 words long and should include a hard news lead. The story should include quotes from at least two sources. The story should follow the basic structure that we have covered so far. The structure should include enough background on the event (the context) and the issue(s) involved to provide context for a reader who may have never thought about the issue before.

• profile

This story requires you to report and write about a specific person, group or place. You choose this one. We will discuss at length in class what makes a good profile.

Deadline: The story will be due in stages. A story pitch is due March 19. You should explain the subject of your profile and spell out a plan of how you will do the story (other sources, interview venue).  A rough draft of the story is due April 12. The final draft is due April 16. The rough draft is 20 percent of your grade for the assignment. The final draft is 60 percent and the rewrite, due on the last day of class, is another 20 percent.

Mechanics: The story should be about 1,000 words long. This story will require spending a fairly significant amount of time with your subject. You are also required to interview two other sources related to the subject of the profile. Generally, the story should not be about friends or family unless they have a very compelling story to tell. Your choice of subject will be reflected in my assessment of your story. In other words, the more you push yourself out of your own comfort zone the better.

• video/audio story

This story will require you to collect sound and interviews and produce a short (3  minute) audio story or video. This story is due during the last week of classes and will require you to present it to the class.

Ongoing list of “smaller” assignments

Building blog

Embedding video

Doctors as reports blog post – including embedded links

Media diet blog post

Amtrak story

Bono story

Leads assignment

Event pitch

Hands on a Hardbody blog post

Ethics case blog post

AP style take-home quiz

Spring break blog posts

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