2020 – Fall

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

Course Number: JOUR-UA 201, section 2

Day & Time: Wed | 2:00 PM – 5:40 PM

Location: Online

Instructor: Jessica Seigel

Prerequisite: JOUR-UA 101 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.

Notes: Required for students pursuing the print/online track in the journalism major. Also required for the minor in print and online journalism. Counts as an elective for the minor in broadcast and multimedia journalism.

With eyes turning to the 2020 presidential race, the action this fall will play out close to home as city and state activists, politicians and citizens engage in the everyday work laying the foundations for the national scene.

In this course, you’ll report from the front lines, learning to cover New York activist and political life, while touching on the national scene that connects to our communities.

You’ll build your beat around topics that you care about, such as gender, inequality, race, climate change, LGBTQ, immigration, healthcare, 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 the nuts and bolts from the ground up and hone your journalistic skills, including developing story ideas, interviewing techniques, cultivating sources, organizing news elements. Assignments will include breaking news, following a local activist or politician, 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 during the semester.