Sampler of photos, features and news with a digital twist

MCOM356 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



Weekly Schedule (Subject to change) 
Week 1, Feature Writing for hard and soft news and everything in between

Reading: Chapter 6, Harrower; Prelude and Chapters 1, 2, 3, Addario.

“Ten Characteristics of Feature Writing” list due Thursday. Typed and

written in complete sentences as a bulleted list.

Week 2, Feature Writing for hard and soft news and everything in between

Reading: Finish Addario through page 66 by Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Discussion questions #1 due today. In-class discussion about Addario and conflict journalism.  Write Addario themed blog writing #1.

Addario book discussion #1 (of 3) with our librarian, Joyce Garczynski, on Thursday, Sept 7.

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

Week 3,  Research methods for features: archives, interviews and beyond

Reading: Continue Addario.

Introduction to research by our librarian, Joyce Garczynski, on Tuesday, Sept 12.

Archive Research: Class visit to Towson’s Cook Library Archives. Meet in Cook 507 on Thursday, Sept 14. Each student will have an assigned person from TU history in the archives to research and write about in Feature Skills Development #1. (Due Thursday, Sept 21.) This is not a report. Must be written in feature story style.

Week 4, Research methods for features (continued)

Finish Addario reading through Chapter 8 by Tuesday, Sept. 19. Also due today: Discussion questions #2 due today about Addario and conflict journalism.  Be prepared for book discussion today.

Book discussion #2 (of 3) with Joyce Garczynski on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

Thursday, Sept 21. Online research for next week’s class visitor. Prepare questions list. Discuss questions and interviewing guidelines and techniques we will use. ALL OF OUR QUESTIONS MUST FOCUS ON THE WRITER. NO QUESTIONS FOR ADVICE ABOUT US.

Themed blog writing based upon Tuesday’s book discussion questions. (Addario themed blog writing #2.)

In order to provide everyone with ample time to develop a feature profile about an interesting person in Towson University’s history, I have revised the assignment by breaking it into several sections. Here’s the first section:

Feature Skills Development #1 assignment due Thursday, Sept 21. Make a second visit to the Cook Library Archives on your own. Gather more information about your assigned person from Towson University’s history to demonstrate your research skills. Gather life stories about this person. Write the first draft of a 600-word feature story that will profile the person. This is not a report. It is a feature story and must be written in feature story style. For instance, include an anecdotal lead and a nut graf. Provide source information but not as a citation. Include the source information in sentences. For instance, saying that…A letter from Maddie Haines written on August 5, 1888, told a tale of a youthful adventure shared with Lida Lee Tall.

Thanks for your excellent work in the archives!




Week 5, Research methods for features (continued)

Reading: Continue Addario.

Class visitor on Tuesday, Sept 26. We will use the questions that each student developed in class last Thursday, Sept. 21. (Each student will write a 600-word profile feature story combining online research with information gathered from interview with our guest in Feature Skills Development #2 assignment. (Due Thursday, Oct 5). This is not a report. Must be written in feature story style.



Week 6, Research Methods for features (research theme completed) 

Reading: Finish Addario by Tuesday, Oct 3. Review all photos and be prepared to discuss them on Thursday.  

Discussion questions #3 due today about Addario and conflict journalism.

Book discussion #3 (of 3) with Joyce Garczynski on Thursday, Oct 5.

Feature Skills Development #2 due Thursday, Oct 5. (Demonstrate your research skills: 600-word profile feature story combining online background research with information gathered from interview with our guest. This is not a report. Must be written in feature story style.) 


Week 7, Food writing

Tuesday: Create blogroll on WordPress

Thursday: Introduction to food writing through powerpoint.

Introduce Instagram food photo/writing assignment.

Students begin Part 1 of Instagram assignment today after class.

Complete Part 1 by Tuesday, Oct. 17.


Week 8, Food writing  

Tuesday, Oct 17: Instagram story Part 1 due.

Present Instagram assignment Parts 1 and 2 along with background.

Continue Introduction to food writing through powerpoint.

In-class food writing practice.


Thursday, Oct 19: In-class writing practice

Tuesday: Oct 17: Instagram story Part 1 due.

Week 9, Food writing

Tuesday, Oct 24: Continue Introduction to food writing through examples of a variety of stories. In-class food writing practice. Instagram story Parts 1 and 2 due today. 

Homework: Due November 2. Graded Karen Dubs profile will be returned today.  Revise to raise your grade from the lower to the higher grade on your paper. This will require careful revision and posting to wordpress while you are outside of class. This work must be completed no later than 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 2. No revisions will be accepted after that time. This is not eligible for late submission. If you do not submit a polished and thorough revision, do not post it and do not re-submit to me.

I will explain food writing story assignment due Tuesday, Nov. 7.  This is a 600 word feature story about food based upon interviews with one or two expert sources with credentials. A good choice would be a homemade ice cream maker who owns an ice cream shop; a baker who owns a bakery, a chef who runs the kitchen at a restaurant.

In class, we will be looking at a variety of examples of food writing.


Thursday, Oct. 26: Return Karen Dubs feature profile stories. Discuss suggested revisions. Begin revisions and submit completed revisions no later than 11 a.m. Thursday Nov. 2.  When you complete a well-done revision, post to your website. Email me after you post and I will review it.

Tuesday, Oct. 24: Instagram story Parts 1 and 2 due

Week 10 Food writing 
 Tuesday, Oct 31: Mid-semester evaluation. In-class descriptive food writing practice.

Food writing story due today. (If you need more time I will accept it as late as Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 11 a.m.)

Thursday, Nov 2: Our speaker today will be Suzanne Loudermilk, restaurant reviewer and food writer for The Baltimore Sun. Please do not come in late and please no talking in class. We will be taking notes. Please hold your questions until she finishes her talk and then please limit your questions to one per student. We will be writing a 600-word feature story profile that focuses on Suzanne Loudermilk and a specific theme of your choosing within her presentation. The lede should be Wall Street Journal formula with anecdote and nut graf. Must include at least three direct quotes that are strong, relevant, and appropriately placed, There must also be attributions throughout. Story must be developed with logical order of ideas, smooth flow and strong transitions through the paragraphs of the story.  Story must have a strong closing. Due Thursday, Nov. 9. Value: 100 points. (This assignment will replace archives feature–about a person in Towson University’s history–as Feature Skills Development 1 grade. Archives feature will become a part of podcasting unit assignment in the last two weeks of the semester. (See Weeks 14,15)

Tuesday, Oct 31: Food writing story due 

Week 11 Travel writing

Tuesday, Nov. 7, last day to turn in Food Writing story.

Tuesday, Introduction to travel writing; powerpoint; introduce example of steps to follow in writing a focused travel feature on Ponte Vedra Beach.

Thursday, Nov 9, Discuss travel writing assignment due Nov. 16. Review steps to follow in writing focused travel feature from Ponte Vedra story idea. Share tetons travel story. Introduce writing exercise from powerpoint with list of favorite places expanded to include imagery. Write 250 word essay about this favorite place. Turn in essay.

(Last day to withdraw is Mon, Nov 6)

Thursday, Nov. 9: Suzanne Loudermilk feature story due.

Week 12 Travel writing 

Tuesday, Nov. 14: Class discussion of assignments and goals for the rest of the year.

Thursday, Nov. 16: Discussion of Roundup stories.

Travel story due

Week 13 Travel writing

Tuesday, Nov. 21: Last class before Thanksgiving holiday

Wed, Nov. 22-Sun, Nov 26: Thanksgiving break

Week 14 Podcasting

Tuesday, Nov. 28: Introduction to podcasting and journalism. Feature writing skills used in True Crime podcasts. Do Skills Drill: develop your sourcing skills by searching for expert sources in podcasting. Share with class. Class chooses winner of prize for best sources.

Homework: Listen to first episode of “Serial” or another True Crime podcast. Complete three questions by Thursday. (We will not discuss and present until next Tuesday but please be ready by Thursday of this week in case our speaker has to change his visit date. See below…)

Thursday, Nov. 30: Podcast journalist Ray Baker will speak. Take notes for in-class writing exercise on Tuesday.

Late yesterday, I received confirmation from journalist and podcaster Ray Baker that he will visit our class at 11 a.m. Ray will speak with us about podcasting and journalism and also about race, politics and social justice. Below I am including some basic bio information about him. Please look online for a bit more. Please take notes tomorrow about his talk; we will do an in-class writing exercise on Tuesday, Dec. 5. Please still complete Tuesday’s podcasting homework by tomorrow. Although I don’t plan to discuss it tomorrow, I want to be prepared if Ray’s schedule changes.

Ray Baker is the host and executive producer of the Public Agenda Podcast. Public Agenda is an interview based podcast that focuses on race, politics, social justice and culture. Ray also serves as regular contributor to TVOne and the China Global Television Network on television and WVON (Chicago) and WURD (Philadelphia) on radio. His writings have been featured on platforms such as Ebony, The Root as well as Politic365. Previously, he hosted the SiriusXM talk radio program “Real Talk w/Ray Baker”.

A much sought after speaker, Ray has traveled the country as an in-demand lecturer, panelist & moderator with appearances at the National Press Club and on college campuses such as Georgetown, Duke, Howard and Yale Universities among other schools. He has served as the official town hall moderator for the Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation National Mentoring Campaign and was a panelist at the Chevrolet Table of Brotherhood in honor of the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall.


Week 15 Podcasting

 (Last day of this class: Thursday, December 7)

Tuesday, Dec 5: In class discussion of podcasting Homework questions related your team’s impressions of “Serial” Episode 1 or another to True Crime podcast episode that you listened to. In-class writing assignment related to our speaker, Ray Baker.

Thursday, Dec. 7: Final writing assignments due. Presentations of final assignments. Party. Last day for us.

Week 16

Tuesday, Dec 12: Reading Day. No class this week.  

Week 17 MCOM356.001, Final exam: Tuesday, Dec. 19, 8 a.m.

Do not come.


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