Category: J3117 – Spring 2018

The final article — Important!!

BlogJ3117 - Spring 2018
I have entered everything except the final article grade into Blackboard, and have exempted your lowest news quiz score. Please remember if that if you got a score of 0% (because you didn’t show up that day) that score is NOT exempted. If you see anything that doesn’t fit your understanding of your grades, let me know as soon as possible. But, assuming everything is correct, you now know your grade heading into the final.
If you were one of the five (Paul, Diane, Christian, Jaylin and Isabell) that worked during the March For Our Lives, the grade you see in Blackboard now is your final grade.
If you owe me a final, you have a choice, hence the choose your own adventure gambit…
Option One — Your Pitch 
This is the default option. These are the steps: (1) file your complete pitch as described below by 3 pm on April 17 to the Google document (2) file your draft by 3 pm on April 17 to your “Articles” Dropbox folder (3) meet with me one-on-one next week (4) file your final version by April 24 at 5 pm
Option Two — Earth Day 
Earth Day is on April 22, and there are a bunch of events occurring that day. Under this option, you will attend, write and file your story on the same day. Since this is event coverage, your piece will no longer be newsworthy on April 23. So, here are the steps for this: (1) file your complete pitch by 3 pm on April 17  as described below to the Google document (2) meet with me one-on-one that week to discuss your pitch (3) file your story by 11:59 p.m. on April 22.
What do I mean by a complete pitch? 
Story pitches need to have a specific focus (aka “the angle”) and have no open questions that could sink the piece. This is in addition to the requirements that it be both timely and interesting. What do I mean by the open questions? This might be best answered by an example. If you pitch a story that crime has increased since the opening of a 7-Eleven in your city, but have yet to call the cops, your story will fall apart if the cops say this isn’t true. In a word, you need to have done significant research about your story before your pitch it. You don’t need to have every question answered, but you need to be confident that the main thrust, angle or point of your article is true. 
This complete pitch needs to be filed to the Google document found on this link:
Be kind to me and your fellow classmates and follow the spacing and formatting in the example. What do I mean by that? Edit > Paste Without Formatting
Pluses and Minuses 
To be clear, there are pluses and minuses to each of these options. Before I spell those out, here are the parts that are common to both:
– You must five a complete pitch by 3 pm on April 17
– You need three human sources, minimum
– Your piece will be between 500 and 700 words
– Your grade will be based heavily on your command of standard English and AP style
– Your piece must have a photograph that identifies the people pictured. If relevant, this can be provided by one of your sources, but the presumption is that you will take it. See examples below.
Option One Implications 
– You must file a complete pitch and draft of your story on April 17 at 3 pm
– You will get feedback that week about grammar, style and other stories concerns during our one-on-one meeting that week
– You have nearly two days longer to finish your piece (April 24 at 5 pm instead of April 22 at 11:59 pm)
Option Two Implications 
– You only have to file your complete pitch on April 17 at 3 pm
– Because you will be writing a deadline story (that is, you file the same day as the thing happens), I will not be able to give you grammar and style feedback before you are graded on your competence in those areas. However, we will work on focusing your piece as during our one-on-one meeting
– Your deadline is April 22 instead of April 24
– Because you are writing about a clearly newsworthy event, you are more likely to be published
Photo captions 
Photo captions need to identify everyone in the image (unless it’s a crowd of people), the day it happened and what’s going on. It also need to state who took the photo. Note they need to adhere to the standards of accuracy, grammar and AP style as the main piece.
PHOTO EXAMPLE (A photo you took)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas junior Emily Kolber holds a sign during the March for Our Lives in Parkland, Florida on March 24. (Photo by Dianne Morales)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas junior Emily Kolber holds a sign during the March for Our Lives in Parkland, Florida on March 24. (Photo by Dianne Morales)
PHOTO EXAMPLE (A photo provided to you) 

A collage of women who work in the communications field, used as part of the promotional materials for the Women in Communications conference held on the FIU Biscayne Bay Campus on April 5. (Image courtesy of the Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women)

Powerpoints & Other Goodies

J3117 - Spring 2018

Please check out the notes from our classes this semester. Not every class had notes. In addition, I’ve attached a copy of the rubric I’ll be using to grade your final piece and a copy of my “Tips for Writing” that I passed out the first day of class. Thank you for a great semester! Please remember to fill out your class evaluation when you receive the link.

Class notes (PowerPoint files)

Jan 9 – Grammar
Jan 16 – Newsworthiness
Jan. 18 – Ethics and Ledes
Jan. 23 – Ledes and Grammar
Jan. 25 – Briefs and Quoting
Jan. 30 – News Drill 1
Feb. 8 – Review and Check In
Feb. 13 – Interviewing and Sourcing
Feb. 27 Pitch Comp and Interviewing
Mar. 20 – News Quiz and March Details
Mar 26 – Courts and Enterprise
April 3 – Story Review and Diversity

Writing Tips (PDFs)

Writing & Reporting Tips
Grammar Review
Math For Journalists
Grammar Answers

Final Article Rubric (PDF) 

Article Grading Rubric – The Final


Beat list

J3117 - Spring 2018

Hi all, here’s the list of beats as I have them. If anything is incorrect, please let me know as soon as possible.

  • Rolando – Coral Gables
  • Kenia – Aventura
  • Alex – Weston
  • Lineth – Doral
  • Alexandra – Sunrise
  • Jaylin – West Palm Beach
  • Yanay – Davie
  • Belen – Plantation
  • Paul – Sweetwater
  • Dianne – Cooper City
  • Ismery – Miami Lakes
  • Christian – Hialeah
  • Yesenia – Culter Bay
  • Cristhian – Homestead
  • Alexa – Bal Habour
  • Katie – North Miami
  • Isabell – Miramar
  • Aasha – Hallendale Beach
  • Colleen – North Miami Beach
  • Fernanda – Pembroke Pines

Upcoming deadlines…

J3117 - Spring 2018
  • No class meeting March 1 — Stoneman Douglas reaction story due 3 pm on March 6.
  • Sign up for one-on-one meetings via the Doodle link. You only need to show up during your meeting time, and are free the rest of that week.
  • Your final (aka graded) piece will be due at 3 pm on March 22 (after Spring Break)    
  • Next NEWS QUIZ will be on March 20.

Class notes and homework

J3117 - Spring 2018


Extra Credit:

  • Attend the Sam Freedman lecture, tomorrow night at 7 pm. AC1, Rm 194
  • Homework:

    • Correct the ledes presented in the lesson — convert into Word and use track changes — for AP, style and grammar. Upload to “Homework” folder by start of next class. Jan. 23 – Ledes and Grammar [PDF]

Jan. 18 homework and notes

J3117 - Spring 2018

Hi all. Thanks again for a great class. Attached is the lede homework, which is due by the start of class Tuesday. Have a great weekend! As always, create a Word document and upload that file to your Dropbox folder. Please label the file “<Name> – Lede Homework” That is “Dan Evans – Lede Homework.”

Lede Homework [PDF]

Also: You will get Extra Credit (worth a second drop of a low news quiz score) if you complete the “Plagiarism and Fabrication” NewsU module AND upload a screenshot into your folder. You’ll have to ID it as such, or else I won’t know you did it.

Jan. 16 homework and notes

J3117 - Spring 2018

Hi all: Here’s the answer key for the AP style quiz you turned in today. AP Quiz Key [PDF] As I mentioned in class, please correct this using the “track changes” feature in Word. Please edit the file you turned in. That is, there should be a single document. Only now, you’ve updated it with any needed corrections. Additionally, if you were not able to complete the NewsU module in class, please do so before the start of next class.

Don’t worry about the NewsU module. If we have time, we’ll do it in class Thursday


Classwork and Homework — Jan. 11

J3117 - Spring 2018

Hi all. I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you today, but as I don’t want to continue to spread the cold and flu, I think it’s for the best. Despite the fact I’m not going to be there, I do have a few things I need you to do. We have a ton of things to get through, and I don’t want us to get behind.

  • First: Edit your grammar assignment using the answer key Grammar Answers [PDF] and the “track changes” feature in Word. Finish this by the start of Tuesday’s class. Don’t know how to do that? 
  • Second: Read chapter one of “The Process of Writing News”: 
  • Third: Complete the AP Style homework by the start of next class (Jan. 16). Upload your answers as a Word document and place in the “Homework” folder. AP Style Homework [PDF] Not sure how turn a PDF into a Word document? Umm. Google it.
  • Fourth: News quiz on Tuesday. This will be a five-question deal, taken from the most important news items from the last week. That is, items from Jan. 9 to Jan. 16. This can be local, national, international news. I also reserve the right to ask sports, arts and other general interest questions. Basically, read as much as you can.

Finally, one of your classmates said she has started a WhatsApp channel. I strongly suggest you join that so you can ask one another questions. Please ask your colleagues first about deadlines, class procedures and the like. If there is disagreement, or if you still have questions, then ask me directly.

BUT, you should feel free to reach out to me if you feel you’re not getting a particular concept, are stuck with getting ideas or have sourcing problems.

Have a good weekend and I’ll see you Tuesday.

Syllabus & Grammar Assignment

J3117 - Spring 2018

Thanks for a great first class everyone! Attached is a copy of the syllabus for your records and in case you misplace your printed copy. In addition, I’ve also attached the grammar homework. This is due by the start of class Thursday. Please follow these instructions completely:

  • Upload this to the “Homework” folder you created in your personalized Dropbox
  • Rewrite the sentences. Don’t just bold your correct choice.
  • Your homework needs to be uploaded as a Word file. Either convert the PDF document in this posting or use the Word version I emailed you.

The Dropbox file shows when you’ve posted your piece, which is how I will determine whether you’ve made deadline or not. This is a pass/fail assignment. The only way you can fail is if you don’t do it or turn it in late. So, ya know, don’t do that.

Class One Grammar Quiz – Process of Writing News [PDF]

Syallbus – Spring 2018 – JOU 3117 [PDF]