Sampler of photos, features and news with a digital twist

MCOM257 Fall 17 Daily


Week 1 8/29/17 8/31/17
Week 2 9/5/17 9/7/17
Week 3 9/12/17 9/14/17
Week 4 9/19/17 9/21/17
Week 5 9/26/17 9/28/17
Week 6 10/3/17 10/5/17
Week 7 10/10/17 10/12/17
Week 8 10/17/17 10/19/17
Week 9 10/24/17 10/26/17
Week 10 10/31/17 11/2/17
Week 11 11/7/17 11/9/17
Week 12 11/14/17 11/16/17
Week 13 11/21/17 11/23/17
Week 14 11/28/17 11/30/17
Week 15 12/5/17 12/7/17
Week 16 12/12/17 12/14/17
Week 17 12/19/17 12/21/17




 Activities (Schedule may be changed at discretion of professor.)
Week 1, Getting to know about this class, your classmates, journalism, news writing and print newspapers. 

Reading: Harrower, chapter 1

Tuesday: What is news? What is a story? What is a news story? Describe a news story. (Real people. Real events.) How is it different from other forms of writing? What characteristics define its style? Where does the information in a news story come from?

 Skills practice #1: Characteristics of news stories

  • Get a copy of a newspaper and examine some news stories to determine what makes them unique.
  • News stories have a specific writing style that is different from other forms of storytelling.
  • What characteristics of the writing style help us to identify a news story?
  • These will be the guidelines we will follow as we practice writing news stories.
  • Make a list of ten characteristics that you find consistently in the sentences of news stories.
  • Use typed, bullet lists of characteristics written in complete sentences.
  • We will compare lists on Thursday, Aug 31. 
  • Due Aug 31.

What is AP Style? Slide4

Week 2, What is news and what is it like to work in the news business?

Reading: Harrower, Chapter 2.

What is news? Characteristics of news?

What do reporters do?

How do they know what to write about? (How do they get story ideas?)

Where do they get information for news story?

What is a source?

How do they interview sources?

Skills practice #2: Interviewing

What is interviewing? Why might interviewing be considered an art? Why is it important? What are the basic steps in interviewing?

Interviewing practice. Finish on Tuesday, Week 3 and turn in Skills Practice #2.


AP Style Rules of the Week: Slide3.Slide2

(Last day to drop/add is Wed, Sept 6)


Week 3, Newswriting Basics.

Reading: Chapter 3.

Finish and turn in Skills Practice #2 at beginning of class.

What are some jobs in a newsroom? How does a newsroom operate? What are terms used in the newsroom?

Just the facts. Objectivity vs. opinion. The Five Ws and How. Inverted pyramid. How to write basic news lead.

AP Style Rule of the Week







Skills practice #3: Sign up for and start Newsroom 101 before you come to class on Thursday. In class, do Quiz 1, AP Short Overview quizzes, 10 AP Style quizzes. If you do not finish in class, be sure to meet the deadline of midnight on Thursday, Sept. 14.

AP Style practice using Newsroom 101.

Week 4, Story structure: How to organize the news story

Reading: Review Chapters 1,2,3.

A basic template to follow.

Briefs and brites

Meeting the deadline

Skills practice #4: Bring a camera and practice basic photography skills in class on Tuesday during a field trip to the Glen to meet the visiting goats. Email your best shot to yourself and to me. Write a summary lede graf and also a clever lede. We will share on Thursday. Open a wordpress account for this class. This is where you will publish your news stories, photos, video and audio. Name your site using your first and last name. Pick a theme and introduce yourself in the About Me page. Post your favorite goat photo under a headline (subject verb object). Post your lede under the photo. Upload a collection of your goat photos and create a slideshow and a photo gallery from the collection.

Newsroom 101: See assignment sheet. Twenty more quizzes due today.


Week 5, Improve the first draft of a news story through revision, develop basic photography skills

Reading: Review Chapters 1,2,3.

Why is photography important to journalists? Watch video about basic photography skills.

 AP Style Rules of the Week:





Skills practice #5: Complete two AP Style practice quizzes in class. Practice using

Newsroom 101: More quizzes due on Thursday.

Week 6, AP Style Boot Camp

This week’s reading: Review Chapters 1-3.

Homework: Study for mid-term exam next week.

Worksheet about ledes and opinion words.

Additional skills practice based upon needs of the class; Learn about proper news style for quotes on Thursday.

Skills practice #6: Complete AP Style Must Know sheet. (Due Thursday, October 12): Click here. 

Newsroom 101: More quizzes due on Thursday.

Week 7, Mid-term exam 

Review for exam

Newsroom 101 Due: Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Exam: Thursday, October 12: Will include Harrower, Chapters 1, 2 and 3 and AP Style.

Skills Practice #6: AP Style Must Know sheet due Thursday, Oct 12.


Week 8,  The process of news writing

Reading: Harrower, Chapter 4

Introduce and discuss basic steps reporters follow in this process from story idea through submission of completed story to editor.

Where do story ideas come from?

How do reporters decide on sources for interviews?

Do in-class exercise about sourcing a story.

Practice finding story ideas in news stories and event announcements on a website about the Chesapeake Bay area.  Advance the story by pitching story ideas about unanswered questions you have after reading the magazine article.  You can also find ideas in stories about upcoming events by finding interesting people to write a focused story about. Maybe you would like to cover the event itself. Develop source lists for a balanced group of interviews.

Why do I need sources? Can I just write my own thoughts and observations?

Who are the sources you should use for stories? Select, check, balance and cultivate your sources.


Skills practice #7: Develop an idea for a news story you would like to write. Create a list of balanced sources. Due Thursday.

 Week 9, Interviewing Sources: Get quotes and provide attribution so readers know where the information came from 

Next step in the process of news writing: Think about what you want to know and what you want to ask your sources.  Focus on questions that make your sources think. Practice writing these thought questions for your story idea.

What are quotes? Why are they important?

What is attribution? Why is it important?

How do I use quotes and attribution in a story?

What is the proper way to write quotes and attribution.


Skills practice #8  Using the story you have selected, contact an organizer or spokesperson and talk to that person about the story idea.  Take notes and get quotes. Write a list of thought questions.

Week 10, Reporters as observers and note-takers 

Reporters use their senses to document what they witness and take accurate notes of all facts and quotes they gather.

Advanced template for news story that includes quotes and attribution. Practice writing a story with quotes and attribution.

Skills practice #9: Contact all of your sources for your story and interview them. Due Thursday, Nov. 2.

Week 11, Interviewing skills, covering press conferences, speeches and meetings

Why is it important to interview people? What do I ask? What if I’m shy? How do I get people to talk to me?

Skills practice #10: Completed Four Skills news story due Thursday, Nov. 9.

In class, learn about covering live events such as speeches, meetings, press conferences. Practice writing lede and graf 2 of press conference story about Richard Jewell.


Thursday, Skills practice #11: Discuss interviewing techniques of approaching people you do not know to initiate a journalistic interview. Then complete an interviewing practice exercise on campus. Go out in teams to practice interviewing a handful of students. You will practice introducing yourself to random students and then talking with them about a few topics agreed upon by the class. Those topics could be:  How is registration going for you? How are you feeling about grades? Do you have any concerns or great plans for the Thanksgiving Break? Talk to 4 to 6 people. Take turns within your group of 2 or 3 with the jobs of interviewer, note-taker, audio recording. Come back to class, discuss the experience, type up group report with quotes and notes. Turn in.

(Last day to withdraw is Mon, Nov 6)


Week 12, 

Tuesday: Discuss mid-term evaluation student opinions and suggestions. Discuss activities and assignments that students would like to do for the rest of the year.

Thursday: One on one professor-student sessions for evaluation and questions regarding Four Skills News Story package. When not meeting with professor, students may choose one of the following: Prepare for final exam using Newsroom 101;

Begin preparing for first of two news assignments due no later than Dec. 7;

Revise Four Skills News Story that is due no later than Dec. 7.


Week 13, How to cover a holiday and write a story (continued)

Tuesday, Nov. 21: Class.

Thanksgiving break: No class Wed., Nov. 22-Sunday, Nov. 26


Week 14, 

Tuesday: Students plan for last two news story assignments.
News story 1 assignment is different in each section. All due Dec. 7.

News story 2 assignment: Same for all sections. Based on class visitor to each class from TU Study Abroad on Tuesday, Dec. 5. Students take notes and ask questions of study abroad peer advisor who has studied abroad. Students will work on story at home and finish during class time on Thursday, Dec. 7. Due Dec 7.

Thursday: Work on questions for Study Abroad visitor on Dec. 5.

Review for Final exam: AP style must know list.

Group work for sections that are doing a class story.



Week 15, 

Tuesday: Study Abroad speaker, take notes and interview to write News Story 2. Homework: Work on News story 2.

Last day for this course: Thursday, Dec. 7. Finish writing News Story 2. Two news assignments due at end of class Thurs, Dec 7

Week 16,

Reading Day: Tuesday, Dec. 12

Exams begin: Wednesday, Dec. 13

MCOM257.002 (8-9:15 class) Final exam, Thurs, Dec 14, 8 a.m.
MCOM257.003 (9:30-10:45 class) Final exam, Thurs, Dec. 14, 10:15 a.m.

MCOM257.005 (12:30-1:45 class) Final exam, Thurs, Dec 14, 12:30 p.m.

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