Skip to Content

Course : News Writing and Reporting I

Course Number
Section Number
Spring 2021
Fain Fine Arts Center, D202
Days & Times
Final Exam Day/Time
Thursday, April 29, 2021 12:00 am

COURSE OBJECTIVES To introduce you to journalistic writing and principles of good journalism. Upon successful completion of the hybrid class making extensive use of Brightspace/D2L and WordPress, 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. 




  • 50% Weekly stories (12 possible)
  • 30% In-class assignments (including participation, attendance, quizzes, other stories)
  • 10% Mid-term exam (March 4, online)
  • 10% Final exam (Thursday, April 29, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)


  • GRADE DISCUSSION: I will not discuss grades in any fashion via electronic means. You must discuss grades in person or by videoconference. 

  • DUE: Stories are due with all drafts and notes from classmates at the end of lab.

  • LATE WORK: Late work receives a grade of zero.

  • MISSPELLED NAMES: Any story submitted with a name misspelled in a final draft receives a grade of zero.

  • WORK FOR ANOTHER CLASS: You may not submit a story that has been (or will be) submitted in any other class unless you get my explicit, written permission.

  • ALL CLASS WORK IS PUBLISHABLE: ANY material (and ALL material) you write for this class may be considered publishable material and may be published on the class website 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.

  • PUBLICATION: Publication is NOT a REQUIREMENT for this course. However, students who get their work published on the class website or in any other media outlet will be rewarded for their extra work through the portfolio due at the end of the semester.

  • TWEET: After you turn in story with all revisions, I will make final marks on it. If you make those corrections, publish the story on the class website, Tweet a link to it and hand in a printed version of the Tweet within a week, you will receive five extra points. Write on the tweet “Brief X” or “Major Story X” so I give you the appropriate credit.

  • INTERVIEWS: Initial interviews may NOT be conducted electronically and must be conducted in person or, in a rare instance, by telephone. Reporters may ask follow-up questions via e-mail or social media.

  • CONFLICT OF INTEREST: 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 soccer player, you may not write a story on the soccer team or using other soccer players/coaches as sources. You may NOT use MCOM students as sources except in very rare instances.

  • CODE OF ETHICS: Review and follow the Society for Professional Journalists Code of Ethics available online at


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 need to miss class due to University-sponsored events such as field trips or athletics, should see me as far in advance as possible. They will be required to complete the assigned work on or before the due date and will be required to submit an official form from the University before the absence.

Students with excused absences — as determined by the Office of the Dean of Students or other appropriate University departments — may make up major exams on a schedule mutually agreeable with the instructor and the student. Projects and stories with advance deadlines will NOT be accepted late. Plan ahead.

Any student can be dropped from the class after the fourth absence in accordance with University policy.


Unless otherwise indicated, material is due at the beginning of class. Late work receives a grade of zero.

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, 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

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at