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Course : Media Writing and Reporting

Course Number
MCOM 2243
Section Number
101
Semester
Fall 2022
Location
Fain Fine Arts Center, D202
Days & Times
Final Exam Day/Time
Thursday, December 08, 2022 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Prerequisite: Cannot be enrolled concurrently with MCOM 3313.


A workshop course focusing on news reporting and writing techniques used in both traditional print media and Internet publishing. Students will be introduced to the basics of accuracy, clarity, word choice, journalistic style, story structure, and deadlines. Coverage of on-campus news events is supplemented by deadline writing exercises in a classroom laboratory.


COURSE OBJECTIVES

To introduce you to journalistic writing and principles of good journalism. Upon successful completion of this hybrid class you should be able:

  1. To use an online educational environment (D2L/Brightspace) to accent learning in a classroom environment;
  2. To apply a news sense to finding stories and sources;
  3. To have the ability to write a news/feature story whether for a public relations entity, a marketing entity or a news media outlet for both print and online;
  4. To apply social media skills to media writing;
  5. To evaluate a news/feature story based on criteria established in class including, but not limited to, news value, readability, grammar, spelling and punctuation;
  6. To know and apply Associated Press style to ensure consistency;
  7. To possess the ability to conduct an interview and gather information;
  8. To make decisions based on ethical, legal, technical and journalistic criteria;
  9. To understand basics of covering general news, spot news, meetings and speeches; and
  10. To work successfully under deadline pressure.


GRADING

  • 50% Stories (eight possible)
  • 50% In-class assignments (including participation, attendance, weekly quizzes, other stories)


Notes

  • Fain D202 code = 2, 4, 1; Fain D101 code = 24, 3
  • I will not discuss grades in any fashion via electronic means. You must discuss grades in person or by videoconference.
  • Stories are due with all drafts and notes from classmates at the end of lab.
  • Late work receives a grade of zero.
  • Any story submitted with a name misspelled in a final draft receives a grade of zero.
  • You may not submit a story that has been (or will be) submitted in any other class unless you get my explicit, written permission.
  • ANY story (and ALL stories) you write for this class should be considered publishable material and may be submitted to local news media, including MNG Media and The Wichitan, for publication. Hence, in ALL cases you should identify yourself as a reporter for MNG Media or The Wichitan. Make it clear that your story has a audience broader than just the instructor.
  • Initial interviews must be conducted in person, by videoconference or telephone. Reporters may ask follow-up questions via e-mail, texting or social media.
  • Avoid all perceived conflicts of interest. You may NOT write a story for which you could be a source. For example, if you are a football player, you may not write a story on the football team or using other football players/coaches as sources. You should NOT use MCOM students as sources except in very rare instances.  
  • Review and follow the Society for Professional Journalists Code of Ethics available online at http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp.


REQUIRED

  • The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual (recent edition), $20.95.
  • Or online version http://apstylebook.com/, $26/year
  • Kahoot! app.
  • A public Twitter account.
  • Something to write notes on and with; transcribe onto computer later.


Writing Intensive

This course is designated as Writing Intensive. This means that at least 50% of the final course grade comes from at least three writing assignments. Additionally, this course emphasizes writing as a process, meaning that students are expected to plan, draft, and revise their written responses. Finally, passing this course will partially fulfill the Writing Proficiency Requirement.

Students are expected to be in class each and every time the class meets. Students will not be able to make up unannounced quizzes given in classes they miss. E-mail Dr. Wilson prior to the absence as a courtesy. Students are responsible for making up any work missed on their own time, working with classmates.


Students who miss class due to University-sponsored events such as field trips or athletics, should visit with the course instructor in advance and will be required to complete the assigned work on or before the due date. Students should submit an official notification form before the absence.


Exams (all of which will be available in D2L/Brightspace for an extended period of time), projects and stories with advance deadlines will not be accepted late. Plan ahead.


After a warning, a student with more than four absences may be dropped from a course by the instructor or summarily given a failing grade.

No late work will be accepted.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MSUTexas e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and 2) earned 60 hours. Students may meet this requirement in one of three ways: by passing the Writing Proficiency Exam, passing two Writing Intensive Courses (only one can be in the core), or passing English 2113. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at https://msutexas.edu/academics/wpr, or call 397-4131.

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at https://msutexas.edu/campus-carry/rules-policies.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at patrick.coggins@msutexas.edu.