CA316 Reporting II

for SP 2011

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CA 316 Reporting II


SP 2011 HO


Marx, Gary


Adjunct Faculty

Office Location

Copley Hall

Office Hours

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday


Class Days


Class Time

12:00 - 1:15 PM

Credit Hours



Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, edited by Mark Kramer and Wendy Call.

Additional Resources:
Handouts and outside readings as needed.

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Course Description:
CA316  Reporting II, subtitled “Stories From the Beat: The Long and Short of It.” Course builds on the skills learned in Reporting I and places the student in a beat situation to simulate a working-world assignment. Focus will be on the various forms that stories take, with an emphasis on longer, narrative nonfiction.  This is primarily a writing class, but students will be required to maintain a blog or online journal and post their own digital photographs.   Prerequisite: CA201.3:0:3.

Educational Philosophy:
Experience is the best teacher; no effort fails if something is learned. Get out and do; take risks; assess; grow. 

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. You will describe and evaluate the resources utilized by professional journalists, including those used in backpack journalism, on the Internet, and in international reporting situations.
  2. You will summarize both sides of the civic journalism discussion, and reach some conclusions as it its appropriateness and efficacy.
  3. You will compile journalistically sound research and utilize it to produce professional quality stories, broadcasts, blogs, and other materials.
  4. You will contemplate the ethics and legality of investigative reporting techniques, and come to some conclusions as to your own journalistic ethical and legal boundaries.
  5. You will produce professional quality still and video images, and manipulate these to produce professional interactive features and websites.
  6. You will produced internationally-themed journalistic products that reflect a thorough understanding of the differences, and interconnectedness, of various cultures, economic systems, and societies.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. You will become proficient in writing various story forms.
  2. You will learn how to cover a beat and develop professional-quality stories from that beat.
  3. You will regularly maintain a beat-related blog or online journal, using it as a form of storytelling.
  4. You will learn to work with an editor to plan, develop and revise stories.
  5. You will practice immersive journalism and produce one long narrative-style story from your beat.
Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:
Grade will be determined by the quality of the stories you generate from your beat and the depth and quality of the beat-related blog. Quizzes on assigned readings and current events, shorter class-wide assignments, class participation and your working relationship with the editor, with your sources and with your peers also will factor into your grade.  A key component to this class will be the relationship between reporter (student) and editor (instructor), so one-on-one sessions will be periodically scheduled.    

1,000-point system:  

Blog: 150 points

Feature story (at least 1,000 words): 150 points

Issues-based news story (at least 1,000 words): 150 points

Shorts (four, 500 words each, 25 points each): 100 points

Narrative story (at least 2,000 words): 250 points

Various classroom assignments, quizzes: 100 points

Class participation and editing process: 100 points

Grading Scale: 
A = 900-1,000 points
B = 800-899 points
C = 700-799 points
D = 600-699 points

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Not accepted. Exceptions possible, not probable, in extreme situations and must be approved in advance of deadline.  

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Respect each other. Computers are classroom tools. Absolutely no texting, tweeting or twiddling allowed. Silence all cell phones. Violators will be marked absent. 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

-- Topics covered throughout the semester: 
What's a beat and how do you cover it; story forms and exercises; working with an editor and learning to embrace the rewrite process; what is narrative journalism, and how do you do it; maintaining a blog or online journal; class discussion on media-related current events; class discussion of opinions expressed in "Telling True Stories." 

-- Major assignments: 

Students may improve their grades on their two major stories (up to 15 points) and shorts (up to 2.5 points) by rewriting within a week.

It doesn’t matter what order the student submits the feature and news story, as long as the deadline schedule is met.

Stories and shorts must be submitted on paper and e-mailed to the instructor, and they are to be uploaded to the blog by the beginning of class on the due date.

Students may choose a beat from a list of suggestions to be handed out on Jan. 12 or choose a beat not on the list.  Students will list their top three beat choices and briefly explain why they made those choices. All beats must be approved by the instructor, who will try to accommodate each top choice. Some beats might be shared.

Students will be required to maintain a blog or online journal, populating it with stories written for class and augmenting it with digital images, video clips, calendars, blurbs, forums, links and/or anything else that might add depth. 

“Telling True Stories,” parts 1-7, will be used primarily for classroom discussions, and as a source of additional assignments, readings and quizzes.  Students will read one part each week.     

-- Key dates: 

Week 1 (Jan. 10-12): 

Week 2 (Jan. 19): Make beat requests

Week 3 (Jan 24-26): Beats assigned by 1-24

Week 4 (Jan. 31-Feb. 2): Create blog by 1-31

Week 5 (Feb. 7-9):  First short due 2-7

Week 6 (Feb. 14-16):  Second short due 2-14

Week 7 (Feb. 23):  Third short due 2-23

Week 8 (Feb. 28-March 2):  Story 1 due 3-2

Week 9: Break 

Week 10 (March 14-16): Narrative topic chosen

Week 11 (March 21-23):  Fourth short due 3-21

Week 12 (March 28-30):  Story 2 due 3-28

Week 13 (April 4-6): 

Week 14 (April 11-13): Final blog entry: 4-13   

Week 15 (April 18-20): Narrative due: 4-18 

Week 16 (April 25-27): Class review, self-critiques and blog sharing    

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

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. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93

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 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

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: .

Additional Information:
All beats must be approved by the editor/teacher. The best stories for this class will be found off campus. Look for a beat that interests you, one with depth, one whose story you want to tell. The beat could be a place: a whole town within driving distance, a distinct neighborhood or district within a city, a length of highway, a stretch of river. It could be a thing: a unit of government, an industry, a school district, a hospital, a business district. Or it could be a topic: heath care, education, environment, sports, social service & welfare, crime.  From this beat you will produce four shorts, at least one news story, one feature and one narrative piece, and it will be the source of your blog/online journal. Whatever you choose, develop a vision for your coverage before you make your pitch for approval. This must be done early in the semester, so do not dally.  


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Last Updated:1/5/2011 12:12:04 PM