2014 - Fall

WRRI – Magazine

Course Number: JOUR-GA 1021.011

Day & Time: Thursday, 10:00am-3:50pm

Location: 652

Instructor: Meryl Gordon

This is a professional course, concentrating on the basics of the craft of journalism — coming up with an idea, getting it approved, reporting the facts, organizing the material and writing the story. Students will spend a lot of time looking for story ideas, and pitching them — a critical part of the real-world newsroom experience. Perhaps the biggest emphasis of the class will be on the most important part of journalism: gathering the facts. Students will have many reporting exercises during in-class drill sessions, but will also do a great deal of “live” street reporting. We will rely much more on primary sources — original documents, and especially what people tell us — rather than secondary sources that are better suited for the background that sends us to primary sources.

In drills and in the stories produced outside of class, students will learn the classic styles of organizing and writing, and will begin learning what works best for them on different types of stories. We’ll read and analyze many examples of the day’s news, looking at what works, what doesn’t and why. We’ll look at what gets covered, what doesn’t, and the impact of both. The ethics of journalism will be a constant undercurrent for all our work and discussions.

In addition to exercises produced during drill sessions, students will do a number of street-reporting assignments. Possible story ideas might cover some aspect of a city agency, the courts, police, the arts, culture, business and sports. The story assignments are not merely drills; goal is to produce stories that can be published. (new paragraph)This class aims to lay the foundation for a career in journalism, extremely challenging but extremely stimulating, with the focus always on best practices for the communications professional in the 21st century.