Harrower on “Finding and using sources”

Welcome/Introductions/What is news?
Key points covered in class:
● Introductions/Course learning goals/Syllabus review
● Class rules, including plagiarism-fabrication, grading and instructor expectations
● What is news? (and what isn’t)/Definitions, types/Reporters and curiosity/Thinking about the reader, always
● Dog bites man — and the other way around
Mid-week assignment: Write a 300-word essay about your interest in journalism and what you hope to get out of this course. Deadline: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 5 p.m.
Home assignment: Choose the best lede in each of five multiple-choice examples and briefly explain your reason for each selection. Deadline: Friday, Sept. 6, 5 p.m.
Reading assignment:
● “Inside Reporting,” Tim Harrower on “The five W’s”
● The Society of Professional Journalists “Code of Ethics”: http://www.spj.org/pdf/ethicscode.pdf

WEEK 2: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
Topic: Leads (“ledes”)/Ethics
Grammar/style corner: Punctuating quotes
Key points covered in class:
● What is a lede?/The five “W’s”/Inverted pyramid/Elements of strong ledes/What can go wrong: The buried lede and other no-no’s
● Case study: Early, later ledes on the Denver Post’s Aurora mass shooting main bar
● Ethics: Lecture and discussion of the SPJ code Standards/Fairness/Objectivity/Accuracy/Unacceptable conduct
● How the media rights its wrongs with corrections-clarifications, editors’ notes
Mid-week assignment: What’s wrong with eight ledes. Deadline: Tuesday, Sept. 10, 5 p.m.
Home assignment: Write the lede and a half dozen additional paragraphs for a 350-word spot news story based on a fact set about a liquor store robbery. Deadline: Friday, Sept. 13, 5 p.m.
Reading assignment:
● Harrower on “The inverted pyramid” and “Writing basic news leads”
**To prepare for “The Meeting” assignment in Week 4, students need to find an upcoming meeting, speech, panel discussion or similar event to cover. Students will discuss with me in advance the meeting they have selected.

WEEK 3: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
Topic: Interviewing/Writing Lab #1
Key points covered in class:
● Interviewing: What makes for a good interview/How-to, effective methods, finding your comfort zone, technical aspects/What not to do/Dealing with people who don’t want to talk to you
● Discussion of “choose the best ledes” assignment from Week 1 and what’s wrong with eight ledes assignment from Week 2
● Writing Lab #1
Mid-week assignment: Writing Lab redo. Deadline: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 5 p.m.
Home assignment: Interview a half-dozen strangers about a current event and write a 400-word “reaction” story based on those interviews. Students will discuss their topic with me in advance and where they plan to conduct the interviews. Deadline: Friday, Sept. 20, 5 p.m.
**Students need to finalize plans for “The Meeting” assignment in Week 4 by finding an upcoming meeting, speech, panel discussion or similar event to cover. Students will discuss with me in advance the meeting they have selected.
Reading assignment:
● Harrower on “Interviewing” and “Ledes that succeed”
● Highlights of Associated Press style

WEEK 4: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
Topic: Covering a meeting/Story structure/”Fake news”
Grammar/Style corner: It’s, Its
Key points covered in class:
● What comes after the lede/Ways stories can be organized/How ledes are supported/”Nut grafs”
● Lecture: Covering a meeting, speech, panel
● Discussion of the liquor store robbery home assignment from Week 2
● What is “fake news”?/Where does it come from, why is it dangerous, how can it be spotted?/Examples, including fake stories about the Pope
Home assignment: “The Meeting.” Attend a meeting, speech, panel discussion or similar event and write a 500-word story. Students will discuss with me in advance the meeting they plan to cover. Deadline: Friday, Sept. 27, 5 p.m. (Reminder: This assignment counts for 10 percent of your course grade.)
Reading assignment:
● Harrower on “Covering meetings”

WEEK 5: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
Topic: Using quotes/Writing Lab #2
Grammar/style corner: Numbers
Key points covered in class:
● Quotes: Why quotes matter/Recognizing good ones/How to use quotes effectively, when to paraphrase/”Kickers”/Red flags – accusations, inappropriate language, context, precision
● Review “The Interview” assignment from Week 3, including discussion of any difficulties with interview subjects
● Writing Lab #2
Midweek assignment: Writing Lab redo. Deadline: Tuesday, Oct. 1, 5 p.m.
Home assignment: Write a 400-word news story based on President Donald Trump’s interaction with CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta at a press conference. The story will include a hard news lede, relevant quotes, description. VIDEO HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdFe-LmFRV8 (first five minutes only.) Deadline: Friday, Oct. 4, 5 p.m.
Reading assignment:
● Harrower on “Finding and using sources”
Here’s the rubric for the meeting assignment, which is due Friday and counts for 10 percent of your grade:
-Find a meeting, speech or panel discussion that you’d like to cover.
-Email me for approval on your topic if you haven’t done so already.
-Cover the event and write a 500-word news story.
-The story will have a hard news lede along the lines of what we have been studying in class and doing in your assignments.
-Use quotes, partial quotes and paraphrase as needed in your story.
-Remember to focus on the most “newsy” aspect of the event you covered. The story is definitely NOT a laundry list of everything that was said or done at the event.
-When writing your story be thinking about whether an “average person” will understand what it’s about. Make your story clear and accessible to your readers. If you need a graf or two of background info or context to explain what you’re focusing on, please include that in your story.
-Don’t put in your story anything that YOU don’t understand. If you don’t understand something, the readers sure won’t either.
-Of course make sure your facts are right, names are spelled correctly, words inside quote marks are exactly what was said, etc.
If you have any questions, let me know. Good luck!