2018 - Fall

The Beat: Covering Politics & Activism 2018 (Print/Online track)

Course Number: JOUR-UA 201.003

Day & Time: Thurs 2:00pm-5:40pm

Location: 20 Cooper Square, room 655

Instructor: Jessica Seigel

Investigating Journalism, Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word

This course is designed to hone the student journalist’s ability to research and report deeply and to be able to imagine and develop fresh ideas, test them with the strength of his or her reporting and research, and then to present them in story form. Students will be expected to keep weekly beat notes or blogs, exploring what is current in the topic and demonstrating week after week the shoeleather they have worn in pursuit of their subject matter. Out of this work will come four or five stories in narrative, explanatory or investigative style, depending on the instructor and the specific assignment. Syllabi differ by content of the course but all sections emphasize idea development, interview technique, reporting, background research and writing skills across genres. Broadcast sections vary only by medium.

All eyes are on the midterm elections of Fall 2018, with record numbers of women and people of color running for office for the first time.  The newcomers are riding a wave of activism including #Marchforourlives, #Metoo, #BlackLivesMatter, LGBTQ advocacy and responding to the age of Trump. Will the grassroots enthusiasm led by youth, women and African Americans help Democrats take over Congress this November or will protest fizzle at the ballot box?

In this course, you’ll report on politics and activism from the front lines, learning to cover issue of national reach with a local angle, building your beat around topics that you care about, such as inequality, race, gender, LGBTQ, immigration, the environment and more.  How do you cut through the hyperbole to write compelling human stories that also capture the nuances of controversy? How do you avoid “horse race” coverage to report the genuine issues at stake? You’ll learn how while honing journalistic skills including developing story ideas, interviewing techniques, cultivating sources, organizing news elements.

Assignments will include breaking news, following a local political campaign, issues feature, Q & A, profile, query, and building your online portfolio/blog.  Through class media partnerships and connections, you’ll have the chance to pitch outside publications, such as Gothamgazette.com and QZ.com, which have published class work.