Thursday, September 29, 2016

What's coming up soon

Here's what's coming up in the next few weeks.

Tuesday OCT 4 -  Local blogger/drone reporter Larry Kelley visits class 
FIRST DRAFT PROFILE DUE (1,000 words, INCLUDE WORD COUNT) PEER EDIT.  Discuss feature stories.
NEXT: Read and complete worksheets for Chapter 18 on Accidents and Disasters and Chapter 19 on Obituaries. Write Feature Pitch for next class.

Thursday OCT 6    FEATURE PITCH, 500-word mini-feature about Larry Kelley visit due. 
 If time, work on blogs. NEXT:  write 500-word feature PRE-first draft to peer edit next class. Read Chapter 21 on Courts


Tuesday OCT 11 NO CLASS/ Monday class schedule
Thursday OCT 13 TOPIC: accidents, obituaries and courts (We'll go over the worksheets for these chapters.) Peer edit PRE-first draft Feature stories. 


Tuesday OCT 18  In-class deadline assignment (5 percent of total grade) Next: Read Chaps. 11 on layered reporting and 14 on sources.

Thursday OCT 20  TOPIC:  “Layered” reporting   FINAL DRAFT PROFILE DUE (1,000 words, INCLUDE WORD COUNT, 10 percent of total grade) Discuss Chapters 11 and 14.  In-class work on features. 


Tuesday OCT 25 Review for MID-TERM QUIZ.  Discuss potential  Issue paper topics & interviews with 2-3 "experts." 
Thursday OCT 27   ***MID-TERM QUIZ *** If time, work on features and blogs

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Speech story example




Speech story example

Laughing about Climate Change with Brian Adams

By Alexandra Pigeon


Students, professors and community members did the unthinkable on Tuesday afternoon at a STEM talk in Hasbrouck at UMass Amherst-- laugh at climate change.  


Brian Adams, a professor emeritus of environmental science at Greenfield Community College, displayed his unconventional approach to teaching and writing about global warming using humor in front of about 30 people during this event put on by the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Institute.


Adams recognizes that the subject is overwhelmingly devastating and alarming, which caused him to reevaluate his methods of teaching it. He feared that simply laying down the facts would drive his students into a deep depression, causing them to “weep into their cereal,” or worse, to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the issue altogether.


While Adams could not reiterate enough that “there is absolutely nothing funny about climate change,” mentioning ocean acidification, world-wide famine and the mass-extinction of our fellow Earth-inhabiting species as a few of the disastrous consequences, he made the claim that we should laugh at the matter to stay sane.


The first part of his presentation consisted of a series of “memes” that he unapologetically stole from the internet, meant to display the ridiculousness of being a climate-denier, or one who believes that global warming is not real.


Adams, pointing out that about 95 percent of the world’s scientists accept and have substantial evidence that climate change is, in fact, happening, used a quote from John Oliver, a political commentator and television host, to criticize all the attention given to debating this issue.


“One in four Americans is skeptical of climate change. Who gives a shit?” said Oliver. You don’t need people’s opinions on a fact.” To constantly debate the issue is to suggest that there is equal weight to both sides of the argument, which is not the case, said Adams.


To those who still do not acknowledge the facts, Adams uses a poster from the Occupy movement to reason with them, pleading that they think logically about what makes more sense: environmental groups and activists everywhere using their limited funds to conspire with the majority of the world’s scientists to create a hoax that could destroy the global economy, or big oil companies using their outrageous profit to bribe anyone they can to protect their future profit.


Making the necessary changes to stop and reverse the effects of global warming would not only be devastating to the profit of the oil companies, but for the average citizens would drastically change life as we know it, he said.


“We are all addicts. We have a profound addiction to fossil fuels,” Adams said, admitting that he drove his 2001 Prius held together only by bumper stickers to the talk rather than choosing a “green” alternative form of transportation like a bus.


However for the most part, he makes a significant effort to live environmentally-friendly, he said.


He once made a comment to a stranger in a parking lot who left their car idling, secretly fighting the urge to slash his tires, he said. This behavior revealed a resemblance between him and Casey, the protagonist of his book “Love in the Time of Climate Change (2014).”


This novel is one of the few that represent a new genre of fiction referred to as “Cli-Sci Rom-Com (Climate-Science Romantic-Comedy),” which Adams himself pioneered. His stories use humor and romance to address the daunting topic of climate change and its catastrophic effects on the world.


In an act of “shameless self-promotion,” Adams read an excerpt from his novel in which Casey, a community college professor with “Obsessive Climate Disorder,” ruins a romantic encounter because of his inability to focus on anything other than the energy-wasting going on around him.


There is a risk in writing humor because people might not think you’re funny, or may even take offense, Adams said. “But I honestly believe it’s a way to reach people who would never read nonfiction about climate change.”


His second novel, “Kaboom” (2016), tells the tale of two teenage girls who become activists when their favorite mountain is threatened by a method of coal extraction that uses dynamite to blow mountaintops off.  


The small classroom where the talk took place provided an intimate environment that allowed for discussion among Adams and his listeners.


Audience member Sue Bridge, founder of the local WildSide Gardens, commented on the strange phenomenon that people are not coming together to fix the mess we have gotten ourselves into. She recalls growing up during World War II when everybody rationed, grew their own gardens and lived responsibly in a transformative way, wondering why we aren’t doing so now.


“I think he was right how people get scared away because it’s such a heavy subject, that we all could die someday because of this,” journalism student Caroline McCann said of Adams.


Biology Professor Jeff Podos, also in the audience, brought some positivity to the table saying that in the past 10 years he has seen significantly more awareness on the issue and strides taken to make a difference, especially at UMass Amherst. The school has proven its position as a leader in sustainability across the nation by divesting from investments in fossil fuel companies and receiving numerous awards for being a “top green college campus,” Podos said.

“I’m optimistic that all of us can rise to the challenge,” Adams said.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Speech story examples and tips

Click HERE for speech story examples: Two stories about the Foley symposium for comparison. Note the different approach to the lead and similar nut graphs.

SOME SPEECH STORY TIPS


  • Avoid making unreported generalizations and definitely don't start your piece with one. Start by diving into the one thing you would say about the talks if you only had a sentence to say it. Don't  just say a science professor and fiction writer spoke at UMass Tuesday, for example. Tell us what his message was in the lead.
  • Avoid cliches.
  • Tone should be professional -- NOT promotional.
  • Write lean. Don't say "Then she continued to say..." or "Asked about this, she said..." etc. Go through your piece after you write it and see if you can trim words. Don't repeat anything.
  • Keep your paragraphs short and tightly focused.
  • DETAILS will make or break your piece. Write vividly, concretely
  • Use first and last name for people you quote. Don't directly quote anyone who won't give you his/her name. After the first reference by first and last name, refer to people in your story by last name only.
LEADS
  •  Do NOT lead with a sweeping, unreported generalization; plunge right into the reported material.
  •  Lead should do more than just say the event occurred; it should be direct, reader friendly and engaging!


JUST THE FACTS

  • Journalism is the reporting of the visible and verifiable. Reporters describe what they can observe and what identified sources tell them. Reporters don't speculate or presume to know about their subjects' mental states and do not relay information that they have not verified and substantiated with objective facts.
  •  Keep your opinions/judgments out of the story. Don’t editorialize, make predictions or  grand claims

WRITING

  • Don’t pile on the adjectives and adverbs and reporter’s editorializing. For instance, instead of saying she is an extremely likable person , say, Her friends describe her as an “extremely likeable”  person.  (If they do.)
  •  In general, keep the reporter and the mechanics  of the interview out of the story. Get to the story!
  • Put your best, most vivid, reported material up top. Put details anyone could get off your subject’s resume low in the story
  •  Double- and triple-check name spellings! 
  • Use “said” vs other words like it.
  •   AP style is to NOT capitalize academic subjects & do not capitalize  job titles unless the title comes RIGHT before the job holder’s name.
  •  In general, write in past tense
  •  News stories do NOT have essay-style conclusions. 
  •  Don’t write  “When asked a question about this or that.” Just tell us what your source said. If need be you could say “As for this or that…”
  •  Don’t alter direct quotations AT ALL.  But if a person says gonna or shoulda, write going to and should have
  •  Write with the idea that you will try to get it published. Don’t include material that will appear “dated” or as if  it’s “old news” a few weeks from now. If  your feature, for instance, is about an event that is coming up, mention the date and time of the event high in the story.
  •  Describe/SHOW vs. Tell.
  • The more reporting, the better. You can’t make up for a lack of reporting by trying to write cleverly. For most stories, you will need several voices, so that you’re not going back to the same source for more than a couple or so paragraphs. Every page should have a lively, dynamic mix of voices – not just one person! 
  •  Eliminate wordiness! Again, Do NOT repeat anything!! 
  • Paraphrase or rewrite rather than using parentheses/brackets. You should only need to use parentheses once or twice a year – NOT once or twice in a single paper.
  •  Keep quotes short so that they have a greater impact. Paraphrase!!
  •   Don’t jam together, spliced by a comma,  two complete and unrelated sentences. For instance, don’t say something like, “Wearing her black moccasins, Jane Doe is a graduate of UMass.”  Avoid getting into traps like this by using SVO.
  •  Commas and periods INSIDE quotation marks.
  •  Put TV shows, book titles, article titles, movie titles in quotation marks.



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Journ 300 at talk by Brian Adams, perhaps the first "Cli-Fi Rom-Com" genre fiction writer





Class to meet at Hasbrouck 138 for event

Meet at Hasbrouck 138 at 4 p.m. today. Try to do as much advance research about the speaker, Brian Adams, as you can. Take lots of notes, and don't forget to interview 3-4 people on their thoughts about the talk.

After the speech, we'll meet outside Room 138 or outside Hasbrouck and talk a bit about it. In addition to turning in a 650-750 word speech paper about it on Thursday (see speech paper essentials below), bring a written paragraph about who you would like to write about in your next assignment, the Profile piece. Include  a little about that person and why you think he/or she would make a good subject of your profile.

During class this Thursday, Sept. 22, we'll go around the table and each of you will make your Profile piece "pitch." A 500-word hard copy of a "pre-first draft" of the profile will be due Tuesday, Sept. 27 for peer-editing that day.

Tuesday, Sept. 20 meet at Hasbrouck 138 at 4 p.m.

Speech paper on "Humor and Climate Change" talk by Brian Adams  is due Thursday, Sept. 22, 650 words, including at least one direct quote from the speaker and from 3-4 people who attend the speech.

UMass Event listing about speech: http://www.umass.edu/events/talk-humor-and-climate-change  

Interview with Adams: http://eco-fiction.com/love-in-the-time-of-climate-change-interview-brian-adams/

SPEECH PAPER EXAMPLES
1  Speech paper example (https://www.umass.edu/family/news/calafat-promotes-biomonitoring-at-TGE-lecture)
2) Speech example: http://journ300.blogspot.com/search?q=fagan


SPEECH PAPER ESSENTIALS (650-750 words)


1) The lead should get to the heart of the event -- NOT just say it occurred.

2) Include in the first few sentences of the story A) what the occasion was, B)who sponsored it, C) where it was held and –D) how many attended. Include the title if there is one. It’s not necessary to cram in every detail, such as what time it was held.

3) Nutgraph: This takes the reader beyond the lead and sums up in a few sentences the major points the speaker made or the basic gist of his/her argument/case/presentation. It’s a roadmap to the rest of the story. Can be combined with the paragraph that includes the title, name of occasion etc.

4) Body of story: Take the reader through the points that the speaker made in support of his or her case/main point/argument/presentation. Each paragraph should have a strong topic sentence. Provide specific examples and direct quotes.

5) Interview 3-4 people who attended for their reaction/thoughts. Don’t forget to include this at the end of your paper!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Speech paper

Tuesday, Sept. 20 meet at Hasbrouck 138 at 4 p.m.

Speech paper on "Humor and Climate Change" talk by Brian Adams  is due Thursday, Sept. 22, 650 words, including at least one direct quote from the speaker and from 3-4 people who attend the speech.

UMass Event listing about speech: http://www.umass.edu/events/talk-humor-and-climate-change  

Interview with Adams: http://eco-fiction.com/love-in-the-time-of-climate-change-interview-brian-adams/

SPEECH PAPER EXAMPLES
1  Speech paper example (https://www.umass.edu/family/news/calafat-promotes-biomonitoring-at-TGE-lecture)
2) Speech example: http://journ300.blogspot.com/search?q=fagan


SPEECH PAPER ESSENTIALS (650-750 words)


1) The lead should get to the heart of the event -- NOT just say it occurred.

2) Include in the first few sentences of the story A) what the occasion was, B)who sponsored it, C) where it was held and –D) how many attended. Include the title if there is one. It’s not necessary to cram in every detail, such as what time it was held.

3) Nutgraph: This takes the reader beyond the lead and sums up in a few sentences the major points the speaker made or the basic gist of his/her argument/case/presentation. It’s a roadmap to the rest of the story. Can be combined with the paragraph that includes the title, name of occasion etc.

4) Body of story: Take the reader through the points that the speaker made in support of his or her case/main point/argument/presentation. Each paragraph should have a strong topic sentence. Provide specific examples and direct quotes.

5) Interview 3-4 people who attended for their reaction/thoughts. Don’t forget to include this at the end of your paper!









Class interview links

Mack, Alex and Ryan interviews

Monday, September 12, 2016

Foley Symposium

Foley Symposium events: http://www.umass.edu/isi/foley-symposium
There is a journalism panel Sept. 20, 2p.m. in at the Bernie Dallas Room of Goodell Hall.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

FALL 2016
Day 2
-Articles/AP tips & News Quiz
-Identify a speech/event to cover
-Interview tips
-Form groups of 3 to analyze first day leads. Decide who will interview who and who will tape the interviews next week, ensuring that everyone will conduct an interview and everyone will be interviewed.
Here are some interview tips and the speech story requirements:
Interviewing and the speech story
Interviewing tips video:
http://journ300.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-not-to-do-in-interview.htm
More on leads (and also nut graphs):
http://journ300.blogspot.com/2015/10/lead-and-nutgraph-examples.html

Monday, September 5, 2016

Fall 2016 syllabus

Fall 2016 syllabus

JOURN 300: NEWSWRITING and REPORTING, FALL 2016  Tues/Thurs 4-6 p.m. Integrative Learning Center S413
Open to sophomore, junior and senior journalism majors. Required for major. Fulfills junior year writing requirement.

Description and Learning objectives: Journalism 300 is a hands-on, nuts-and-bolts news writing and reporting class. Upon completion, you should be able to:
• Determine what is news
• Identify and pitch a good story
• Report and conduct interviews
• Use the news story "formula," especially leads and nutgraphs
• Have an understanding of the kinds of stories there are and how to tell them
• Write original, logically organized narratives free from clich├ęs, euphemisms and unexamined assumptions
• Edit your peers’ pieces according to news writing standards
• Uphold journalistic principles of fairness, accuracy, telling the truth and serving the public good

Email me anytime at maryelizacarey@gmail.com, 413-588-4274 (cell)
Syllabus, schedule and assignments are posted on the class blog: Journ300.blogspot.com

REQUIRED TEXT: Melvin Mencher, News Reporting and Writing (latest edition) - McGraw Hill

ADDITIONAL REQUIRED READING
AP Style Guide online, assigned readings TBA and daily newspapers and news magazines. Try to scan online and/or in print at least one of the local newspapers including the Collegian, Daily Hampshire Gazette or Springfield Republican every day. Each class, one or more students will bring in a newspaper article and comment on news coverage, structure, style, choice of stories or contrast between coverage. Being conversant with what is in the news is essential to writing it.

GRADES
Grades are based on timely and thoughtful completion of in-class and out-of-class writing assignments and quizzes, multi-media blog, attendance and in-class participation. Writing criteria include news judgment, clarity of writing, grammar, accuracy, organization, spelling, conciseness, use of AP style, and meeting deadlines. Although the big picture things like news judgment and solid reporting are important, misspelling names and other seemingly minor shortcomings can ruin a story and your reputation, so they will count. Numerical equivalent of grades: A=95, A-=92, A-/B+ =90, B+88 etc.  Explanation of how grades are calculated is in the course schedule/calendar.

ATTENDANCE
Not making appointments or missing the action will also undermine your career and the class. You MUST tell me BEFORE class if you are going to be absent for a legitimate reason. (I read my e-mail regularly and you can call my cell anytime.) Otherwise you will receive zeroes for the day’s assignments. Please do not be late or leave early. More than three absences and/or repeatedly being late or leaving early will result in a significantly lowered final grade, with the grade being lowered by a full half grade for each absence over three. CELL PHONE RINGERS MUST BE TURNED OFF. NO TAPING WITHOUT ASKING FIRST. NO READING ONLINE DURING CLASS!

WRITING ASSIGNMENTS
In-class writing assignments usually won’t be longer than 2-3 typewritten pages. Most major assignments are 1,000 words or 4 pages. First drafts must be in turned in on-time for credit. Not turning in a first draft or turning in an insufficiently complete first draft will result in a zero for the first draft and a significantly lower final draft grade. Among your assignments are a profile, feature, coverage of a speech, issue piece, deadline assignments, blog, minor assignments, quizzes.

HONESTY
Any instance of plagiarism or any other form of cheating is cause for course failure.

Fall 2016 Schedule

FALL 2016 Schedule
JOURN 300/CAREYTuesday/Thursday 4 – 6 p.m.  - Integrative Learning Center S413

This is a tentative schedule of topics, assignments and assignment deadlines subject to revision to accommodate the news, campus goings-on that we’ll attend and classroom visitors. Check the blog (Journ300.blogspot.com) for updates and changes. Note: Each day two or more students will bring in an article to discuss and share an AP Style tip. One person will also bring in a news quiz. We’ll develop a schedule for these. Note at end is a list of assignments and percentage of final grade each is worth.

SEPT 6 - Introduction - discuss leads, effective interviewing, AP Style and (briefly) the nutgraph. Email to me at maryelizacarey@gmail.com TONIGHT 500 words about the first day of class. Should have a good lead and at least one direct quotation.
FOR NEXT CLASS: To hand in next class, a WRITTEN list of three potential speeches/presentations we can visit on campus, ASAP in the next couple of weeks preferably during class time. (We will be writing the 650-word SPEECH paper about whichever speech we attend.)  In the written list that you bring into class on Thursday, include 1) who is giving the speech and 2) the topic, where/when it is being held, a brief couple of sentences of background information about the speaker and, if possible, the topic.  We’ll pick one of the speeches you’ve identified to attend. READ: Chapter 5 on Leads and Chapter 15 on Interviewing Principles

SEPT 8TOPIC: The Lead and the Nutgraph Review leads, Chapters 5 and 15, class blog; determine where and when we can go to a speech; determine which classmate you will interview on what subject, prepare questions.

SEPT 13  TOPIC: The Interview: In groups of 3-4, one student will interview another on a subject of his/her choice while a third student videotapes it using a phone or camera. Keep it around 3 minutes or under. We’ll upload them to YouTube and analyze them.
SEPT 15 TOPIC: Kinds of Stories  Analyze interviewing videos, FIRST ASSIGNMENT DUE: 400-500 written piece with photo based on your interview of a classmate. (5 percent of final grade) NEXT: READ: Chapter 16 on speeches.

SEPT 20 Analyze interview videos. Discuss Speech chapter. Depending on which speech we attend, 650-750 word speech story may be due (10 percent of total grade)  NEXT: Write a brief profile pitch to present to class. We're going to a speech at 4 p.m. in Hasbrouk 138 on climate change.
SEPT 22   Profile pitch. 
650-750 speech story DUE
NEXT: Read and complete Chapters 2 & 3 worksheets (on blog, under worksheets tab) WRITE and BRING IN TO PEER EDIT A HARD COPY of 500 word “pre-first draft” profile with lead, nutgraph and quote(s).

SEPT 27 TOPIC: Cliches, stereotypes, euphemisms, conscious & unconscious bias: Turn in pre-first drafts. Peer edit. NEXT: read and complete worksheet on Chap. 7 on the Writer's Art.
SEPT 29    In-class, deadline writing assignment: In pairs, interview 4 people on campus on subject TBA; write 500 word story on-deadline with quotes from each of your sources. (5 percent of total grade) NEXT: Read Chap. 8 on Features.

OCT 4 -  Local blogger/drone reporter Larry Kelley visits class (TOPIC: Attribution, quotations, summary-We can talk about these later.)
 FIRST DRAFT PROFILE DUE (1,000 words, INCLUDE WORD COUNT) PEER EDIT.  Discuss feature stories.
NEXT: Read and complete worksheets for Chapter 18 on Accidents and Disasters and Chapter 19 on Obituaries. Write Feature Pitch for next class.

OCT 6    FEATURE PITCH, 500-word mini-feature about Larry Kelley visit due. 
 If time, work on blogs. NEXT:  write 500-word feature PRE-first draft to peer edit next class. Read Chapter 21 on Courts

OCT 11 NO CLASS/ Monday class schedule
OCT 13 TOPIC: accidents, obituaries and courts (We'll go over the worksheets for these chapters.) Peer edit PRE-first draft Feature stories. 

OCT 18  In-class deadline assignment (5 percent of total grade) Next: Read Chaps. 11 on layered reporting and 14 on sources.

OCT 20  TOPIC:  “Layered” reporting  FINAL DRAFT PROFILE DUE (1,000 words, INCLUDE WORD COUNT, 10 percent of total grade) Discuss Chapters 11 and 14.  In-class work on features. 

OCT 25Review for MID-TERM QUIZ.  Discuss potential  Issue paper topics & interviews with 2-3 "experts." 
OCT 27   ***MID-TERM QUIZ *** If time, work on features and blogs

NOV 1 In-class work on features and blogs.
NOV 3 TOPIC: Massachusetts Open Meeting Law FIRST DRAFT FEATURE DUE (1,000) words. Firm up issue story ideas. NEXT: Write issue pitch to present next class. Read and complete worksheets for  Chap 20 on police, Chap 24 on Government  and 25 on Reporters and the Law. Review Massachusetts Open Meeting Law. 

NOV 8 Issue pitch. Discuss chapters. WRITE: 500-word Issue PRE-First Draft to peer edit next class.
NOV 10  Peer edit Issue pre-first drafts. Final FEATURE DUE (1,000 words,  15 percent of total grade)

NOV 15  FIRST DRAFT ISSUE (1,000 words with 4 voices, 2 of whom are "experts") due. Discuss chapters, Massachusetts Open Meeting Law. NEXT: Read and complete worksheets on Chaps. 26 on Taste in Journalism and 27 on Morality.
NOV 17 -  TOPIC: Ethical reporting Discuss Chapters 26 & 27; in-class work on issue paper, blogs

NOV 22  NO CLASS
NOV 24- NO CLASS/Thanksgiving

NOV 27  FINAL ISSUE PAPER DUE. (1,000 words 20  percent of total grade) Review for FINAL QUIZ.
DEC 1  END OF SEMESTER QUIZ  Discuss summary/analysis writing.

DEC 6  - In-class deadline assignment: Watch film and write SUMMARY/ANALYSIS (10 percent of final grade) on deadline, due at end of class.
DEC 8 -  Wrap-up

DEC 13 - LAST DAY OF CLASS/ recap/ Final  blogs presentations

Graded assignments and how the final grade is calculated:

Articles/AP tips/worksheets/blogs 5 percentYou will be responsible for all information on the chapter worksheets posted on the blog. Several times a semester you will present an article to the class as well as an AP Tip. A written summary of these is due on the day you present them. Classmates will create blogs in Wordpress.

Interviews with your classmate (video and written) 5 percentYou will interview a classmate and the class will analyze a videotape of the interview. A short written piece is due using material from the interview and other reporting.

Speech paper – 10 percent A well-organized 650-750-word speech story based on a presentation that the class attends, including comments from 2-3 audience members. Must have a strong lead, nutgraph and direct quotes from the speaker.

Deadline assignment 1– 5 percentPairs of classmates will conduct interviews on campus on a topic to be determined and write a 600 word piece with photos on deadline. Due by the end of class.

Deadline assignment 2 5 percentTopic TBA. Due by the end of class.

Profile – 10 percentA well-researched, multi-voice, 1,000-word profile of a local person.  Mandatory pre-first draft and first draft in addition to the final draft.

Midterm – 5 percent

Feature – 15 percentA lively 1,000-word piece, most likely with a scenario lead about a place, group, trend or event with four voices minimum and photos. Mandatory pre-first and first draft in addition to the final draft.

Issue – 20 percent -  A well-researched 1,000 word piece on an issue of concern to the public. Must have a minimum of four voices, two of whom are “experts” on the subject, for instance a doctor, researcher or professor.

Film Analysis/deadline assignment – 10 percent You will watch a short film and write an analysis of in on deadline. Not a simple summary. Due by the end of class.


Final – 10 percent

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What's coming up

Our schedule for the remaining weeks of the semester (subject to revisions):


NOV 3  TOPIC: Massachusetts Open Meeting Law< moved up, so we can peer edit Thursday In-class work on features and blogs. Get ready to present your blogs to the class for critiques next Monday.
NOV 5 FIRST DRAFT FEATURE DUE (1,000) words. PEER EDIT Firm up issue story ideas. NEXT: Write issue pitch to present next class. Read and complete worksheets for Chap 20 on police, Chap 24 on Government and 25 on Reporters and the Law. Review Massachusetts Open Meeting Law.
NOV 10 Issue pitch. PRESENT BLOGS Discuss chapters. WRITE: 500-word Issue PRE-First Draft to peer edit next class.

NOV 12 Peer edit Issue pre-first drafts

Final FEATURE (1,000 words, 15 percent of total grade)***********DEADLINE EXTENDED UNTIL NOV. 17*************************

NOV 17 FIRST DRAFT ISSUE (1,000 words with 4 voices, 2 of whom are "experts") AND FINAL DRAFT FEATURE due. Discuss chapters NEXT: Read and complete worksheets on Chaps. 26 on Taste in Journalism and 27 on Morality.

NOV 19 - TOPIC: Ethical reporting Discuss Chapters 26 & 27; in-class work on issue paper, blogs
NOV 24 In-class work on Issue paper; continue chapters discussion.
NOV 26 - NO CLASS/Thanksgiving
DEC 1 FINAL ISSUE PAPER DUE. (1,000 words 20 percent of total grade) Review for FINAL QUIZ.
DEC 3 END OF SEMESTER QUIZ Discuss summary/analysis writing.
DEC 8 - In-class deadline assignment: Watch film and write SUMMARY/ANALYSIS (10 percent of final grade) on deadline, due at end of class.
DEC 10 - LAST DAY OF CLASS/ recap/ Final blogs presentations

Massachusetts Open Meeting Law


The Massachusetts Open Meeting Law is written to ensure that publicly elected bodies don't meet outside the public view. It requires that notice of a meeting of a quorum of members (the number of members needed to take official action/vote) of a public body, such as Amherst Town Meeting, Amherst Select Board, Northampton City Council or Boston City Council, do not meet without the meeting having been "posted," where the public can see it, 48 hours in advance of the meeting.  

At a public meeting, a  quorum of officials may announce that they are going into a private meeting known as an executive session if one of 10 exceptions to the Open Meeting Law pertain. Roughly speaking these, reasons are:


1) "To discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health, rather than professional competence, of an individual, or to discuss the discipline or dismissal of, or complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual."
2) "To conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel or to conduct collective bargaining sessions or contract negotiations with nonunion personnel'
3) To discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining by union employees
4) To discuss deployment of security devices or personnel
5) To investigate charges of criminal misconduct
6) To discuss real estate transactions
7) To comply with federal grant regulations
8) To discuss applicants for employment
9) To meet with a mediator
10) To discuss trade secrets

Recent determination that the Amherst School Committee violated the Open Meeting Law: http://www.oml.ago.state.ma.us/
MassLive story about decision: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/10/attorney_generals_office_deter_1.html
http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=10365079

Friday, October 30, 2015

Blog inspirations

Example of blog post with infographic and GIF
New York Times multimedia story: Greenland is Melting Away 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Good article on how a word can get misused, overused and lose its meaning

"Has Diversity Lost Its Meaning," by Anna Holmes in the New York Times Magazine, Oct. 27, 2015
Excerpt:
‘‘Diversity,’’ Chang says, ‘‘has become a code word for ‘all those other folks.’’’ The problem with code words is that theyre lazy: Theyre broad rather than specific, and can provide cover for inaction the ‘‘I dont know how to do this or what it means, so can someone else please do the work for me?’’ maneuver.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Deadline stories on students stress and ways to reduce it

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B81dpoYc38zwTzdNc21qejZjUUU/view?usp=sharing

Does the lead make an assertion? Does it synthesize information in the story? Is it thought-provoking? Is it a good lead-in to the main story/most important points?

Are assertions substantiated? Are they properly attributed? Does the reporter make unsubstantiated pronouncements?

Is it easy to read and clearly written with a logical flow?

Is there a lot of information? Are there memorable scenes or vivid "nuggets" of information?


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Chapters 11 & 14 questions

Chapters 11 on Layered Reporting/Digging for Information and 14 on Sources


1) A reporter writes an advance story for a concert taking place on Saturday, using a press release from the  concert promoter. Is this Layer I, II or III reporting?

2) A reporter goes to an Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals meeting and hears that the Amherst Brewing Company has been granted a permit to move into a vacant building on University Drive. She calls one of the neighbors living next to the building to get a reaction to the news, which she incorporates into her story about the ZBA's decision. Is this Layer I, II or III, and why?

3) After reviewing a half-dozen ZBA decisions, the reporter realizes that the ZBA has been granting more permits recently than it usually does. Coincidentally, one of the board members was not recently re-appointed by the town manager, who was quoted as saying that the board member doesn't get along well with other people on the board. Wondering whether the increase in permits and the non-appointment of the board member are related, the reporter interviews a number of people on the board, neighbors and the town manager. The reporter writes a story saying the board is now granting many more permits BECAUSE the former board member was not reappointed. Level I, II,  III and why?

4) What is a "pseudo-event" and a famous example of one?

5) What are some ways in which officials "manage" the news? (page 237)

7) What are the two basic types of sources?

8) Are high-ranking officials and company managers better sources than their secretaries or lower-level employees?

9) What is a "pseudo source"? Give an example of one, either from a real or theoretical example.

10) Is a reporter who is best friends with the secretary of defense a better or worse choice to write a story about the war in Afghanistan than a reporter who doesn't know any governmental officials personally?

11) Would the secretary of defense be a good choice of a source for a story about the housing crisis?

12) How can a reporter tell if a source is reliable?

13) What are some specific ways in which a reporter can tell if a webpage is reliable?

14) Is it good to mix human and written sources in a news story? Give an example of how you could mix the two in a feature story.

15) Do direct quotations need to be in the speaker's words all the time? Explain.
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