CA201 Reporting I

for FA 2006

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


CA 201 Reporting I


FA 2006 HO


Lofflin, John


Associate professor of journalism



Office Location

Copley 1 South

Office Hours


Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

Fall 2006

Class Days


Class Time

11:00 - 12:15 PM

Credit Hours


Check with instructor at first session

Textbooks can be purchased though the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

·         The Associated Press Stylebook

·         Writing to Deadline by Donald Murray

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Course Description:

This course focuses on the fundamentals of reporting. It discusses techniques of fact gathering and news writing and provides opportunities to develop those skills through practical application. 3:0:3

The key skills of introductory journalism courses - research, critical thinking, organizing, and clear expression - are also the key skills that the university tries, but often fails, to teach all students as part of their liberal education. Indeed journalists have refined these skills to a much higher degree than have people in many other disciplines.


-- Betty Medsger, Winds of Change




          Reporting I is a core course in communication arts, usually the first reporting course a student takes. The course is designed to develop writing skills, provide the basic techniques of reporting, familiarize the student with the profession of journalism, begin the discussion of ethics and purpose, and provide a vehicle for self-expression.



       The Park University education is designed to nurture literate, articulate, creative thinkers who appreciate the arts, are open-minded, and possess a strong lifelong commitment to doing good in their professions and their communities.

       A graduate in journalism is a thinking practitioner who exhibits excellence of craft and is dedicated to improving communities through the arts of communication.

      Reporting I is primarily a skills course, designed to develop writing craft,  begin the discussion of fact gathering and provide a sense of what excellent reporting is. It will also engage you in discussion of ethical behavior in the profession.


"…the purpose of media education is to produce well-rounded graduates who have critical-thinking skills as well as practical skills, and who have an understanding of the philosophy of the media and a dedication to the public service role that the media have in our society."

-- (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Curriculum Task Force, 1996, pg. 106)



Educational Philosophy:

Engagement with the ideas of the course is the essential prerequisite for higher level learning. The teacher serves as a guide to the construction of meaning, the development of skills and dispositions, the recognition of what constitutes excellence, and the consideration of ethical issues.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  2. My conception of this course is that when you complete it successfully you will be able to function adequately in a newsroom or a public relations setting.  In other words, my benchmark for this course is that if you can succeed in it, you can succeed in not getting fired your first week at a newspaper or in a public relations department.   In this course you will:
  3. adopt the "stance" of the reporter.
  4. question he “stance” of the reporter.
  5. develop strong lead writing technique.
  6. write to Associated Press style.
  7. employ professional news gathering techniques as you report stories for class.
  8. question professional news gathering techniques.
  9. attend a presidential campaign or local campaign meeting and write a story.
  10. cover a speech .
  11. develop a journalistic style of writing.
  12. practice the art of journalism by writing news and feature stories.
  13. Writing skills we will master:
  14. Economy
  15. Clarity
  16. Lively words
  17. Appropriate words
  18. Honesty
  19. Logical structure
  20. Speed

Core Assessment:


All given equal weight--

1.      Six week exam – news story about a peer

2.      Midterm – News story from a speech 

3.      Three/quarter exam – News story from an event

4.      * Final exam –Breaking news story from a mock press conference

5.      A portion of the final grade will be determined by the cumulative score on 10 news stories due weekly throughout the semester, beginning at the close of the 3rd week.  Make two copies of every story; one for your file, and one for me to evaluate.  Save the evaluated copy of each story in a notebook, you will turn in on the last day of class.  Each story will be worth 10 points and I will add a point to every story you improve by rewriting (maximum 10).

6.      Each student will also keep a daily journal of one paragraph observations. The words "like" or "as" will not appear in the entries.  The journal will be evaluated on completion and quality of effort.

Class Assessment:

1.        Six week exam or project

2.        Midterm exam or project

3.        Three/quarter exam or project

4.        Final exam

5.        A portion of the final grade will be determined by the cumulative score on 10 news stories due weekly throughout the semester, beginning at the close of the 2rd week. Make two copies of every story; one for your file, and one for me to evaluate. Save the evaluated copy of each story in a notebook you will turn in on the last day of class. Each story will be worth 10 points and I will add a point to every story you improve by rewriting (maximum 10).

6.        Each student will also keep a daily journal of one paragraph observations. The words "like" or "as" will not appear in the entries. The journal will be evaluated on completion and quality of effort.


 All work on major projects given equal weight--


I will grade stories using letter grades with pluses and minuses. To compute the final grade I will assign values to those grades, then average the values.

A         = 11 points

A-        = 10 points

B+       = 9 points

B          = 8 points

B-        = 7 points

C+       = 6 points

C         = 5 points

C-        = 4 points

D+       = 3 points

D         = 2 points

D-        = 1 point


Late Submission of Course Materials:

Deadlines will be discussed in detail when each assignment is made and, where possible, included on the working syllabus.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:


          The course is arranged to provide individual attention to student writing problems and support for writing improvement. The format will be part lecture, part discussion, part workshop.

          Students will be given about 10 news writing assignments.  The stories generated by those assignments will be critiqued in a group setting, fostering self-editing skills and an appreciation for the sound of good writing.

          This is critical: These stories may appear in the Stylus or the Narva. Do not tell a source the story is “just for class.” Tell them the story is for either the Stylus or Narva. If I discover you have made up any portion of a story you turn in, you will receive an F for the entire portion of your final grade based on the 10 news stories.

          In addition to lecture and discussion, students read the work of journalists who won the National Society of Newspaper Editors' awards competition from 1982 to the present, and many others, dissecting each for insight into the writer's mind and process. We will read a variety of the best non-fiction writing as we determine for ourselves the nature of excellent journalism.

          A suggestion: If you are having difficulty in this class, the best antidote is to read. Reading the newspaper daily throughout the semester will improve your work dramatically.

          Examinations and projects will emulate life in the world of professional journalism.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:


Roughly, the course will track through these skills:

·         The objective stance -- the nature of observational writing

·         Interviewing

·         Writing the feature lead

·         Gathering and writing the feature story

·         Self editing / style

·         Writing the news lead

·         Writing the news story on deadline

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:8/20/2006 12:51:06 PM