Term Spring 2017
Writing for Communication Media
CA 220-101
12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday
Communication Bldg. RM 265

Instructor - John Sellers MA
Office - Communication Building RM 130
Office Hours - Wednesday noon to 3 p.m.
Office Phone: 380-2754 - Home Phone: 633-4837 - Cell Phone: 604-4451
Email: jisellers@southalabama.edu
Please place CA220 in the subject line of any email you send to me for this class and email it to jisca220@gmail.com

Course Objective
The main objective of this course is to learn the basics of writing in a professional environment and the forms of writing for mass media.

The learning goals of this class are:
- Apply proper grammar, punctuation, active voice, word-usage, spelling, sentence structure and Associated Press Style to writing.
- Apply journalistic standards such as inverted pyramid, news values, clarity, brevity, accuracy and storytelling to assignments.
- Construct persuasive messages for a specific audience or public and incorporate storytelling as it relates to public relations and to advertising.
- Write for a specific audience.

Textbook and Other Reading Materials
- Dynamics of Media Writing: Adapt and Connect, by Vincent F. Filak
- The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, 2016 edition (print or electronic version) AP Stylebook

Catalog Description
Intensive study of writing for various media and audiences. Specific attention is given to improvement of writing skills, including grammar, punctuation, spelling, word use, sentence composition, Associated Press style, and organization of material, as well as the different formats for the different media. Media styles studied include print, broadcast, and online journalism and strategic communication. Prerequisites - EH 101.

All lectures, videos, textbook andadditional readings and links are available through Sakai. Students must complete the required readings and assignments before class time. Class time is reserved for quizzes, writing and application activities. In order to achieve success in the course, students must keep up with all of the lecture and coursematerials.
Please allow yourself ample time to review the materials on Sakai. A good Internet connection is recommended. Please note that Sakai is not fully-compatible with Chrome and Safari. Firefox is available as free download to PC and Mac. Some content may not be accessible through smart phones or tablets. The department of communication supplies computer labs for student use.

Attendance Policy
Regular attendance is expected. Your participation in discussions, in-class activities and overall input may be used to determine grades in borderline cases. Determination of class involvement grades is by the sole subjective judgment of the instructor.
- Students may miss one class period during the semester regardless of reason without penalty to their final grade.
- Each absence beyond one will reduce the final grade by one letter grade per occurrence. For example, if a student has earned an A, and has 2 absences, that student's grade will be reduced to a B. If the student misses 3 days, the grade becomes a C, and so on.
- Absences will be tallied from the first day of class.
- If you miss class, it isn't necessary to email your instructor to explain your absence. It is your responsibility to contact other class members (not your instructor) to find out what you missed.
- You must be in class to participate and receive credit for weekly quizzes, assignments, etc.
- Athletes and students involved in student organizations that require attendance that may conflict with the student's ability to attend class must present official university documentation for the class meetings missed prior to the absence and make arrangements with the instructor regarding missed assignments. Deadlines must be met.

In-class work is due at the end of class unless otherwise noted by the instructor. Late assignments will receive a zero for a grade. Assignments are late if submitted any time after deadline.

Only on rare occasions will the deadline be pushed back. Students will face no penalty if they:
1. Notify the instructor by email, in advance, with a reasonable excuse. The instructor will decide whether the excuse is reasonable.
2. If the student has a legitimate college-excused absence that can be supported with appropriate paperwork. Excuses must be presented to the instructor the day the student returns to class. Excuses will not be accepted retroactively. The student has seven days to make up the missed assignment, or forfeits the right to make up the assignment.
All requests for extensions, including for stories that happen after the deadline, must be emailed to the instructor. A deadline extension will not be granted if a student fails to email the instructor with a request for an extension.

Submission of Assignments
Assignments Submit work to the appropriate assignment. The instructor is not responsible for stories lost because of system failures in your computer, Sakai, email or in my computer. Always save your story and print a hard copy of it before you send it electronically. Students must upload the stories to Sakai upon completion and turn in a printed copy to the instructor.

Grading Policy
The grading policy is a rigorous standard, but it is beneficial to ensuring that you learn to write at a professional level. In approaching your written work, I will evaluate the work as if I were a professional editor applying professional standards. Your writing will be judged by the quality of the lead, use of language, economy of expression, readability, organization of material and use of transitions. I will also consider spelling, grammar, punctuation and AP Style. I will grade your written work based on its content and mechanics. Please proofread your work before turning it in and use your AP stylebook.

Grammar and Punctuation Assessment
An assessment will be administered the first and last week of class to test your knowledge of grammar and punctuation rules. The assessment will consist of 75 questions. Students must score 70 percent (53) or higher on the assessment to pass. Students who fail the assessment given at the end of the class will receive a grade of I (incomplete) for the course and will be required to retake the assessment once before incomplete grades must be submitted to the registrar's office. Students who fail the assessment a second time will be receive an F for the final course grade regardless of his or her progress in the course or grades on previous assignments and exams.

WARNING: A factual error, such as misspelling someone's name, will result in an automatic five-point deduction from your score. A gross error, such as a potentially libelous statement, plagiarism, fabrication, etc., will result in an automatic F for a story. Students who make serious factual errors will be required to write corrections for those errors.

Grades
Your semester grade will be computed from the required in-class assignments, AP, textbook and grammar quizzes, and the final exam. Participation, attendance, and mastery of course outcomes will be used to determine borderline grades. Students must make a C or higher for the final course grade to meet the prerequisite requirements for upper-division courses that require CA 220.

The final course grade breakdown is:
In-Class Writing and Activities: 35 percent
End-of-Module Writing Assignments: 30 percent (3 x 10 percent)
Quizzes: 20 percent (lowest grade dropped)
Final Exam: 15 percent

90-100 = A
80-89= B
70-79= C
60-69= D
59 or less = F

Class Changes
Note: Since all classes do not progress at the same rate, the instructor may wish to modify the above requirements or their timing as circumstances dictate. For example, the instructor may wish to change the number and frequency of exams, or the number and sequence of assignments. However, the students must be given adequate notification. Moreover, there may be non-typical classes for which these requirements are not strictly applicable in each instance and may need modification. If such modification is needed, it must be in writing and conform to the spirit of this policy statement.

Sakai
This course is web-enhanced. Please check Sakai for course updates, homework assignments, handouts and supplemental materials.

Class Changes
Since all classes do not progress at the same rate, the instructor may wish to modify the above requirements or their timing as circumstances dictate. For example, the instructor may wish to change the number and frequency of exams, or the number and sequence of assignments. However, the students must be given adequate notification. Moreover, there may be non-typical classes for which these requirements are not strictly applicable in each instance and may need modification. If such modification is needed, it must be in writing and conform to the spirit of this policy statement.

 

Topic Schedule and Reading Assignments


Week 1
Jan. 10: Syllabus, course policies
Jan. 12: Grammar-Punctuation Diagnostic

Week 2
Jan. 17: Chapter 1, Pages 3-18 Audience and Accuracy
Jan. 19: Audience and Accuracy: Quiz

Week 3
Jan. 24: Chapter 3, Pages 37-44 Grammar and Mechanics
Jan. 26: Grammar and Mechanics: Quizzes

Week 4
Jan. 31: Chapter 3, Pages 45-55 AP Style
Feb. 2: Basic Writing in AP Style: Storytelling: Quiz

Week 5
Feb. 7: Chapter 4, Pages 57-73 Brevity, Clarity and Storytelling
Feb. 9: Inverted Pyramid: 61-63 Brevity, Clarity and Storytelling: Quiz

Week 6
Feb. 14: Storytelling Writing Assignment in-class exercise
Feb 16: Storytelling Writing Assignment and Revisions

Week 7
Feb. 21: Chapter 8, Pages 132-146 Reporting: Intro to Journalism and News Values
Feb. 23: Rewrite Due: Inverted Pyramid: Quiz

Week 8
Feb. 28: MARDI GRAS
March 2.: Chapters 9 and 10: Pages 150-162/166-181 Print/Broadcast Journalism

Week 9
March 7: Print/Broadcast Journalism: Quiz
March 9: Print/Broadcast Journalism: Quiz

Week 10
March 13-17 SPRING BREAK

Week 11
March 21: Print/Broadcast Journalism writing in-class exercise
March 23: Print/Broadcast Journalism writing with revisions

Week 12
March 28: Intro to Strategic Communication, Strategic Messages
March 30: Chapter 11,12 and 13: Public Relations Pages 186-210

Week 13
April 4: Writing for Publics
April 6: Writing for Publics

Week 14
April 11: Persuasive messages and online writing
April 13: Persuasive messages and online writing

Week 15
April 18: Journalism Writing in-class exercise
April 20: Strategic Writing Assignment in-class

Week 16
April 25: Final and Grammar review
April 27: Grammar/Punctuation Assessment

Week 17
May 4: Final 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. RM 265