CA317 Feature Writing

for SP 2013

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


CA 317 Feature Writing


SP 2013 HOA


Lofflin, John


Professor of Journalism



Office Location

Copley 1 South

Office Hours

8 a.m. - 10 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday; 10 a.m. - noon Fridays by appointment, I will be available for assistance in the darkroom from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. most Fridays and by darkroom appointment subject to faculty meeting schedules

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

Spring 2013

Class Days


Class Time

1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.


CA 201 is strongly advised

Credit Hours



  • Your Associated Press Stylebook will be needed.
  • We will share a variety of readings as the common text. They will be available in doc sharing in e-Companion
  • Please obtain a new or used copy of Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Additional Resources:
Available in doc sharing in e-Companion throughout the semester

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:
CA317 Feature Writing: This course provides an opportunity to develop writing skills in the gathering and creation of in-depth magazine and news features. Primarily focused on writing, it aims to develop the student's voice and style in print.  3:0:3

You are here: Feature Writing is an advanced course in journalistic writing. The course focuses primarily on writing the magazine length story as well as shorter feature stories in the news and public relations context. If you are a journalism or photojournalism major you should save both stories for your portfolio.

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. Reading and writing are essential tools to achieve depth of understanding and criticism. Learning to question is the central work of a learning environment and will be the key method of the course.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. The student will...
  2. conceptualize at least three doable journalistic features stories -- one newspaper length (about 1,000 words) and two magazine lengths (about 3,000 words).
  3. obtain solid interviews for these stories.
  4. write appropriate, vivid, thought-provoking leads for these stories aimed at the needs of specific publishers
  5. add appropriate research to make the stories substantial.
  6. weave stories that are compelling, thoughtful, and elegant from the voices and the material.
  7. polish these stories for economy and power minimizing mechanical mistakes in final drafts.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. Students will develop strategies for writing based on the questions readers ask about a text.
Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:

  • We will write two feature stories -- one newspaper length and one magazine length.
  • Students will meet four deadlines for each story: The initial interview, additional research, first rough draft and final draft. This four step approach demonstrates a writing process leading to extraordinary work.
  • The nature of the two stories will be decided after class discussion.

For each story: Final draft on deadline = 100 points. A portion of the grade on the final draft will assess the level of improvement from the first rough draft.
Total points for the course = 200.
Final grade follows the traditional 90%, 80%, 70%, 60% scheme

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Missing a deadline will result in fewer points on the work. A story cannot be rewritten if the rough draft is turned in late or if the final draft is turned in late.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

  • Absolutely no texting in the classroom.
  • All cell phones off during class unless discussed previously with the instructor.
  • All work must be original. If the same work appears on papers from two or more students, all students involved will receive no points for the assignment. Share your work with other students at your own risk.
  • Any example of plagiarism will result in at least an F on the assignment but may result in an F for the course. Any example of plagiarism will generate a report to the Student Academic Conduct Board. If you don't understand plagiarism, see me. We will spend one or two sessions early in the course discussing this topic.
  • All work will be placed in the correct e-Companion dropbox for the assignment. I will only grade material uploaded to the e-Companion dropbox and I will not search the various dropboxes for your assignment. The only papers I will grade will be the ones in the dropbox for that particular assignment.
  • Please make hard copies to use in class and as backup. 

In an effort to simplify the grading process, I will not accept stories pinned to my door, slid under my door, handed to me in the hallway, left in my mailbox or sent via e-mail. To secure a grade for your paper, you must place it in the e-Companion dropbox on time except in extraordinary circumstances. Athletic trips, weddings, vacations, car trouble, or printer problems will not be considered extraordinary.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

We will establish a schedule for each story by producing drafts and dividing the work into parts with deadlines. I will be tough about these deadlines – for your good and for my good. I will comment on drafts if they are turned in on time. I am inclined to make a lot of comments; I feel this is where we achieve our best learning and some of our best communication. Major stories in final form will be due around six weeks and 13 weeks into the semester. The two feature stories -- if they are turned in on deadline and time in the course permits -- may be recast for a potentially higher grade. Late papers may not be rewritten. Assignments and stories turned in late will lose points. Of course, this will not happen.

Writing Agenda:


(Exact dates may be adjusted later based on the students and the progress of the course. Other changes in the agenda are likely)

Drawing with words

Conceptualization and interviewing / Conceptualize newspaper length feature

The lede revisited – Description of initial key interview due in dropbox Feb. 2;

Organization / Newspaper length feature –

Additional research due in dropbox Feb.9

Lede paragraphs due Feb. 14

Developing a theme / weaving a story

FIRST ROUGH DRAFT due in dropbox Feb. 23

Editing the first story / editing for Associated Press style.

FINAL DRAFT due in dropbox March 6

Conceptualize magazine length feature; reconsidering the lede /the organization

Adding research.

Description of initial key interview due in dropbox March 29.

Additional research due in dropbox April 3.

Reading aloud to clarify, simplify and smooth language / second lede due April 10

SECOND ROUGH DRAFT due in dropbox April 17

Clearing away the dead wood

FINAL DRAFT magazine length feature probably due in dropbox May 1.

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95
Lofflin's policy:
Any example of plagiarism will result in at least an F on the assignment but may result in an F for the course. Any example of plagiarism will generate a report to the Student Academic Conduct Board. If you don't understand plagiarism, see me. We will spend one or two sessions early in the course discussing this topic.

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

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:



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Last Updated:1/14/2013 10:49:31 PM