CA311 Editing, Layout, & Design

for SP 2009

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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 311 Editing, Layout, & Design


SP 2009 HO


Cohn, Lora


Assistant Professor of Communication Arts


B.S. Ed. (Mass Communication) Truman State University
M.A. (Communication Studies) University of Kansas
Ph.D. (Communication Studies) University of Kansas

Office Location

9N Copley Hall

Office Hours

1-2 pm Monday; 2-4 pm Tuesday; 10-11 am Wednesday; 10-11 am and 3-5pm Thursday; and by appointment

Daytime Phone

816-584-6311 (fax 816-741-4371)

Other Phone

816-741-8443 (calls between 9am and 9pm CST welcome)


Semester Dates

Monday, January 12 through Sunday, May 10, 2009

Class Days


Class Time

1:50 - 4:40 PM

Credit Hours



 Bowles, D. A. & Borden, D. L. (2008). Creative editing (5th ed.). Boston: Thomson Wadsworth. 
Goldstein, N. (Ed.). (2007). Stylebook and briefing on media law (42nd ed.). New York: Associated Press.

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:


McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
CA311 Editing Layout, and Design: Study and practical application of editing news, features, and investigative stories. Includes rewriting, headline writing,and principles of layout and design. 2:2:3

Educational Philosophy:

 When I went to college, most instructors lectured and assigned papers. Through my research, I have discovered that not everyone learns all they can in that type of system. To that end, my class features activities, presentations, discussion, reflection, reading, and writing—I will try to balance activities meeting the needs of different learners with old-school standbys like reading and writing. Writing is the most visible product of education and the ability to clearly communicate via writing is a key skill for students. This course, therefore, will focus on writing skill. Discussion and debate helps refine and justify ideas as well as enhancing critical thinking and communication skills which are also key outcomes of education. In this class, expect to defend your ideas and interpretations to develop these skills. 
I am guided by this quote from Ayn Rand: The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life - by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort-- Ayn Rand, "The Anti-Industrial Revolution"

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Edit copy for mechanical problems
  2. Make thoughtful editorial judgments
  3. Conceptualize stories and guide writers
  4. Write professional headlines
  5. Design clean, attractive, readable pages
  6. Edit, design and manipulate photographs on the computer
  7. See copy through from assignment to production

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the role of editing and editors in the process of preparing written information for publication.
  2. Make professional judgments about content prepared for publication.
  3. Use editing terminology and symbols.
  4. Edit copy to specifications (correct / improve /condense/ strengthen / clarify news stories and other material written) under deadline.
  5. Write headlines, titles, and cutlines to specifications under deadline.
  6. Develop ideas for illustrating stories.
  7. Be able to design and dummy pages to specifications under deadline.
  8. Make professional, appropriate decisions concerning libel.
  9. Make appropriate ethical decisions during the editing process
Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:

Basics: Your work will be assessed through quizzes, papers, projects, and participation. 

You will achieve more if you keep my expectations of you in mind:  First, challenge yourself-- don't settle for good enough.  Second, ask questions and find the answers to them.  Third, don't believe anything someone tells you-- check it out.  Skepticism is key to a successful life.  Fourth, be prepared to be frustrated.  This is a skills course and some people learn certain things faster than others.  Fifth, be patient.  You will learn.  Sixth, take charge of your education—you only learn when you are actively involved so figure out how to be and stay actively involved.  Finally, read a newspaper daily and a weekly news magazine weekly-- printed versions, not internet versions.  If you think I am asking too much, think about what Jane Pauley, longtime co-anchor of The Today Show and Dateline NBC told journalism educators:
We had an intern several years ago . . . who once said to me: "I've been so busy this summer I haven't had time to look at a newspaper." And the lecture I gave him is . . . If you're not absorbed by the daily newspaper, if that's not the first thing you want to see [in the morning], if you don't subscribe to a weekly news magazine, and really love reading it, why are you in this industry?  What do you think you're studying?


1000 points are available in the class

Points possible
Overall Grading Scale
100 (10@ 10pts)
style quizzes
A= 900-1000
100 (2@ 50pts)
judging reflection papers
B= 800-899
100 (10@ 10pts)
grammar/writing/design quizzes
C= 700-799
200 (20@ 10pts)
D= 600-699
final exam/newspaper analysis
F= below 600
design project
Style quizzes will test your knowledge of AP style. We will have 10 quizzes with 10 questions on each quiz. The quizzes may not be “made up” for points.

Grammar, writing, and design quizzes will test your editing and layout skills. We will have 10 quizzes with 10 questions on each quiz. The quizzes may not be “made up” for points.

We will have a variety of homework assignments and in-class activities. Each will be worth 10 points for a total of 200 points. Homework assignments may be made up. In-class activities may not.

You will be require to judge at area high school speech tournaments—you must judges at least three rounds of debate and three rounds of individual events. You will write brief papers discussing what you learned about critical thinking and presenting information from the experience. Each paper/judging experience is worth 50 points.

The design project asks you to work in groups to develop a brief newsletter, magazine, newspaper or news based web page for the undergraduate research activities slated for April. As a class, we will make arrangements to cover the week-long event. Each student will be responsible for writing two news/feature articles. As an individual, you will be responsible for pairing up with a fellow student from your group in the generation of story ideas and basic editing. Your individual stories will be worth 25 points each. Your editing work with another student will be worth 50 points. The final 200 points will be a group grade for the project which will be developed during the second half of the semester. 

The core assessment/final exam is a paper analyzing a newspaper. It is worth 200 points and is due at the final exam time.


Late Submission of Course Materials:
  I expect all course work to be done on time. If you know you will be out of class for an extended period of time, please warn me. You must contact me and make arrangements to turn work in before the due date--- not after the due date.  All late work will be penalized 20%. All late work must be completed within two weeks of the original assignment unless special permission is granted. Work is considered late if it is not in my possession by 5pm on the day it is due. Plan ahead and start early. It has been my experience that the night before an assignment is due, all the books in the library on the topic have been checked out, everyone else will be out having fun, and the computer systems will be down.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Electronics: Cell phones, pagers, laptops, and other electronic devises must be turned off and stowed in your backpack or bag during class unless you have specific permission from me.

 Writing: All work must be typed or word-processed. Make sure all written work has been proof read and spell checked. Spelling and grammatical errors hurt your credibility and reduce the possibility of effective communication. I believe that writing is a means to learning; that there is a correlation between reading and writing; and that writing helps one discover, clarify, examine, and synthesize information. Writing is, therefore, integral to this course and will be evaluated on its form as well as its content. All papers should be typed, double-spaced, left justified, and use a 10-12 pt font. Margins should be no larger than one inch. NOTE: While computers make writing easier, you must realize that technology can cause problems. Keep hard copies of papers you have submitted and save work in multiple places should you/we experience computer failure.

 The 24-hour Rule: Anytime you need to schedule an alternative day to turn in an assignment, you must contact me 24 hours prior to the assignment deadline you are trying to avoid. Additionally, if you are dissatisfied with a grade on an assignment, you must wait 24 hours to talk to me about it. There are no exceptions

Office Hours: Please feel free to come to my office, email, or call to discuss papers, presentations, and any problems you are having. If my office hours conflict with your schedule, we can arrange another time to meet.

Student/Teacher Responsibilities: As a student you must accept responsibility for your own actions. Reading for class, preparing for tests, completing assignments on time, and contributing to class discussions are the major responsibilities I expect from you as your part of the learning process. My responsibility is to give you my best teaching effort, to create a positive learning climate, and to challenge you. It takes work from both of us to make this a worthwhile experience. Additionally, at times we will discuss controversial topics and have people who disagree with each other. You and I both must remember that while each of us has a right to our own opinion, we must respect the right of others to have differing opinions. Calling someone or some idea "stupid" creates a defensive communication climate and hampers the ability of all of us to learn. Think before you criticize.   If anyone in class makes a comment you are uncomfortable with, please contact me immediately and first. Apologies and policy changes are best handled in the classroom. Finally, come talk to me when you have questions, concerns, or suggestions about the class. It is less frustrating for both of us if you ask questions before the assignment is due, rather than after it has affected your performance. 

Time Required: The academic rule of thumb is that for every one hour you spend in class, you should spend a minimum of two hours preparing for that class. Thus, because CA311 has three scheduled hours a week, you can expect to spend at least an additional six hours a week on course work. Putting in less time is your choice, but you need to understand that your course grade will reflect performance (not potential, not effort, not good intentions). 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:




Jan. 12

intro to course—copy editor’s role; news judgment; style, spelling, math, and punctuation self-analysis

Jan. 19

No Class—MLK holiday

Jan. 26

Editing stories—Grammar/Punctuation/AP Style
Design/Layout Basics

B&B Chapts. 1-3, handout

copy-editing symbols quiz

Feb. 2

Editing stories—Basics of writing
Design/Layout Basics, continued

B&B Chapt. 11

Feb. 9

Editing stories—Accuracy

B&B Chapts. 4, 8, 10


No Class—Presidents’ Day

Feb. 23

Editing stories—Focus/Lead/Organization
Design—Writing Headlines

B&B Chapts. 5, 9

March 2

Legal and Ethical issues

B&B Chapts. 6-7

March 8-15

No Class—Spring break

March 16

Editing stories—completeness
Design—more on graphics


March 23

Editing stories—Clarity and readability
Design—special effects

Judging reflection papers due

March 30

Undergrad Research week

April 6

 Editing stories—Features
Design—Magazine layout


April 13

Editing stories—Local
Design—Newsletter layout


April 20

Editing stories—WireDesign—Web layout


April 27

Design—redesigning the paper

Design project due

May 4

Final exam—3:15-5:15pm

Core assessment due

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 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

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 2008-2009 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 "F".
  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 2008-2009 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: .


This does not represent a contract.  I reserve the right to make alterations in the syllabus during the semester. This material is copyright and cannot be reused without author permission.
© Lora Cohn, 2009

Last Updated:1/11/2009 4:35:04 PM