Term Fall 2017 
Course CA 370 - 101 2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday 
Communication Classroom Bldg. RM 265

Intermediate News Writing and Reporting - Web-enhanced 
Instructor: John Sellers, MA 
Office Hours: RM 130 Wednesday 9 a.m. noon 
Office Phone: 380-2754 - Home Phone: 633-4837 - Cell Phone: 604-4451 

Course Description: 
Students will study an assigned text and participate in facilitated classroom discussions as they relate to practical experiences reporting and writing for the University of South Alabama newspaper, the Vanguard. In cooperation with Vanguard editor and staff, students will participate in news desk group sessions. They will be assigned stories in hard news and feature news categories, including breaking news and special, sporting and academic discipline-sponsored events. These stories will be edited by the news desk groups and submitted to the Vanguard for publication. Students will maintain a portfolio of stories for course credit.



Reading and homework should be completed by assigned dates. Readings are primarily from Telling the Story, except where chosen stories from the Associated Press Reporting Handbook will be linked online. Not every homework assignment will be graded on dates where multiple pages are assigned, but at least one of them will be graded for that date. Most exercises will be emailed to jisca370@gmail.com

Aug 16 - Introduction to the course: Diagnostic Quiz The Nature of News - Pages 1-10; A Guide to AP Style- handouts and syllabus discussion.

Aug 23 - The Nature of News - Pages 11-17; Vanguard Assignments; AP Editing Symbols and Electronic Editing; Video: How false news can spread - Noah Tavlin; In-class exercise.

Aug 30 - The Inverted Pyramid - Pages 106-129; Beyond the Inverted Pyramid - Pages 133-152; Author Malcolm Gladwell - Video: The Unheard Story of David and Goliath.

Sept 6 - Interviewing: Telling Compelling Stories - Pages 41-65; NPR's Celeste Headlee Communication Video; In-class exercise.

Sept 13 - Ensuring Accuracy - Pages 55-63; Gathering and Verifying Information - Pages 67-74; Evaluating Internet Sources - Pages 75-80; Julian Treasure How to Listen Video; In-class exercise.

Sept 20 - Covering a Beat- Pages 228-245: Police and Courts - Pages 245-250; Sports - Pages 253-256; Science-Medicine - Pages 250-253; Video - How to Separate Fact from Fiction.

Sept 27 - Convergence, Citizen Journalism and Emerging Media - Pages 21-37; Writing News for Digital Media - Pages 157- 180; PRI's Alissa Miller Video; Paul Lewis - Citizen Journalism video. In-class exercise

Oct. 4 - Midterm

Oct. 11 - Writing for Digital Media - Pages 157-177; Including hyperlinks in copy; Writing leads for SEO, in-class exercises.

Oct 18 - The Numbers Jungle - Pages 85- 102; Numbers Study Sheet

Nov 1 - Editing and Critique of Stories; AP Style Test 1

Nov 8 - AP Style Test 2

Nov 15 - AP Style Test 3 Review

Nov. 22 - Thanksgiving

Nov. 29 - LAST CLASS AP Style Test 4 Review

Wednesday Dec. 6 - FINAL 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Goals and Objectives: 
This course focuses on how to efficiently gather information for good, solid, public journalism. As a practicum, the course is designed to engage potential print journalists of junior and senior levels in supervised practical application of previously studied print journalism theories. It provides opportunity for students to hone their skills and produce portfolio-quality material for publication.

Texts: Latest Editions 
The Missouri Group. Telling the Story, 5th edition; Associated Press Stylebook (latest edition) or online subscription at 

Students will be expected to read, on a regular basis, The Sunday Press-RegisterThe Vanguard and USA Today. Subscription to AP Quizzes online.

NOTE: The instructor reserves the right to alter the readings and assignments to meet unexpected needs of students in the class.

Attendance and Participation 
To be successful in this class, attend every class. Absences deprive students of class work and participation grades. Excused absences for family emergencies or medical reasons require documentation. Medical excuses are accepted with a physician's letter, or other document confirming dates of illness. A note from a medical office, or dispensary, where you registered, is not adequate. Emergencies will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students who miss class, without an excused absence, will receive no credit for the day's assignment(s). Absences for a religious observance must be arranged at least a week in advance. Any assignments due in class on that day must be submitted in advance. Homework can be turned in no more than two days late and late homework may be penalized with a lower grade, or rejected, if a specific deadline was associated with the assignment.

Exams: Four AP Style exams will be given during the term. The lowest style test grade will be dropped. Three of these exams will comprise 10 percent of the final grade. There will be a midterm exam that will comprise 15 percent of the final grade. It will be based upon material presented in lectures and from textbook material. The final exam, comprising 15 percent of the final grade, will be a comprehensive exam featuring lead writing, AP Style, grammar, lecture and textbook material.
Vanguard Stories: The heart of classroom work will be the Vanguard News Stories Project. Students will learn how to select, assign, cover, write, edit and submit news stories for the school newspaper. They will attend a Vanguard staff meeting and experience the assigning and accountability process. This practicum will sharpen analytical skills, encourage thorough attribution, teach source credibility, authority and perspective, and provide for writing on deadline for both the printed product and online presence. Students will learn interview techniques and compile a list of contacts for portfolio presentations. Performance for The Vanguard News Stories Project will also be evaluated by editors and staff of the newspaper. Stories not published in the printed product, but published online at the editor's discretion will be handled on an individual basis, and graded accordingly.

Make-up Exams: There will be no make-up examinations. Stories submitted after deadlines will receive no better than an average grade.

Assignments: Vanguard assignments may be made by the editor of the Vanguard. An assignment schedule online will provide links to exercises to be submitted electronically. These assignments are due on the dates for which they are assigned. All work submitted in this class must be typed, 1 1/2-spaced and in correct AP style.

Late Copy: Since deadlines are strictly enforced in the real world of publishing, deadlines will be strictly enforced in this class. Late assignments may not be graded. If graded, late assignments will not receive higher than an average grade.

Final Grade: 
Attendance, Exercises and Quizzes 20 Percent 
4 AP Style Exams (Three Highest Scores) 10 Percent 
Mid-Term Exam 15 Percent 
Vanguard Assignments 40 Percent 
Final Exam 15 Percent
90.0 - 100 = A 
80.0 - 89.9 = B 
70.0 - 79.9 = C 
60.0 - 69.9 = D 
59.9 and below = F 

Not all classes progress at the same rate. Course requirements may have to be modified as circumstances dictate. Students will be given written notice if assignments or requirements are changed.