2020 - Spring: Advanced Reporting: Law & Order (Print/Online track)

Course Number: JOUR-UA 301, section 4

Day & Time: Wed | 1:00 PM – 4:40 PM

Location: 20 Cooper Square, room 659

Instructor: Rachel L. Swarns

Syllabus: Download

Prerequisites: The Beat JOUR-UA 201 (Print/Online sections)

Celebrity divorces and high-tech swindles. Gang violence and mob hits. Evictions and adoptions, deportations and desegregation. For centuries, New York City courtrooms have offered a window into the drama that unfolds in the lives of its residents and in the social change around us. In this course, students will learn how to mine the courts for vivid, powerful stories and for records that illuminate the experiences of ordinary and prominent people. We’ll start out by digging into 19th and 20th century records for events and stories that shaped the city. Then we’ll move into the present, reporting on modern-day court cases and wrapping up with a 3,000-word capstone focused on a contemporary drama.

We will follow our stories from the courthouse into the city. You might report on immigrant communities upended by deportations, churches coping with scandal or Silicon Alley start-ups battling over intellectual property rights. During the semester, you will write several pieces ranging from 750 to 1,000 words, leading up to the final capstone article.

Notes: Required for students pursuing the print/online track in the journalism major. Counts as an elective for both journalism minors.