2014 - Fall

Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word

Course Number: JOUR-UA 101, Section 001

Day & Time: Tuesday/Thursday 6:30pm-8:20pm

Location: 20 Cooper Square, room 655

Instructor: Rosemary McManus Beirne


Prerequisites: Foundations

This is the first-level reporting, research and writing course, which emphasizes in-depth research and interviewing technique as it introduces a variety of journalistic forms, including the reported essay, the newspaper pyramid style, magazine and newspaper feature style and broadcast newswriting style. The course focuses heavily on the critical and impartial examination of issues through research and reporting. Research methodology is key, as are observation and interview preparation and techniques. Research and reporting projects will include interviews, off- and on-line research, including books, government and non-governmental documents, interviews and databases, scholarly journals and other sources. This course provides a strong foundation in basic journalistic forms, issues and responsibilities.

You are going to learn to think, act and write like a journalist.
This course will provide an introduction to the basic principles of research, reporting and writing the news. You will be introduced to a variety of ways in which we work in this fast paced, deadline driven business – from writing in the traditional newspaper pyramid style to opinion and feature writing to working for broadcast, and new media. You will do lots of writing because the only way to work on your skills is to practice it over and over.

To be a good reporter you have to be informed about what’s happening in the world around you. For this class, you have to read The New York Times, New York Daily News and The New York Post every day. You must watch at least 15 minutes of television news or listen to news radio a day. You must also scan the free papers. (Metro & AM NEW YORK) Once a week you will have a brief news quiz on the big stories of the week and your score will count toward your final grade.

In each class one or two students will take turns leading “Newscheck,” which is a discussion on a story of their choosing from the front pages of The New York Times. Everyone must participate in the discussion.
Working journalists will visit throughout the semester. You will be expected to ask well thought out questions and take notes because you will have to write a 600-word story on each newsroom visitor. These stories will be due the day after they are assigned.

We will start out with obits and profiles where you will learn the nuances of storytelling and build up to writing a 1,000-word final news story on an issue of your choosing. This story should be good enough to be published. You will cover news events. We will get into this city’s diverse colorful neighborhoods and find stories and spend lots of time exploring and hunting down news in New York City.

If a big story breaks, prepare to cover it. On any given day in the newsroom you have no idea what is going to happen. Be flexible! I can guarantee you that things will change as we go through our semester.