Category: JOU 3117 – Fall 2017

End of semester writing and reporting tips

JOU 3117 - Fall 2017JOU 3300 - Fall 2017Journalism Thoughts

Here are a number of resources to help you as you write your finals. Some are written by me, others not. Happy journalizing!

SFNS Style Guide [PDF]: Local style guide and reminders for common errors.

10_Best_Practices_for_Social_Media [PDF]: The American Society of Newspaper Editor’s excellent guide

Math For Journalists [PDF]: A condensed version of the NewsU module of the same name

Grammar Review [PDF]: A guide to some of the more common mistakes made by FIU students. Taken from

Writing & Reporting Tips [PDF]: My homegrown guide to writing and reporting

Final Paper Grading Rubric — JOU 3117

JOU 3117 - Fall 2017

So everything is completely clear, here is how I will be grading your final articles. Please pay careful attention to the markdowns, which will occur if you have incorrect grammar, get your facts mixed up or ignore AP Style. EACH error will result in a points deduction, so if you make the same error multiple times, you will get marked down each time. Please, please, please have multiple people read your paper prior to submission. Make your editor (me) happy.

Additionally, I will be requiring a source list at the end of your papers. If I don’t get a source list, I will not be able to grade it. Finally, though submitting the paper is optional, those who choose to do so will get a five percent bonus.

Article Grading Rubric – 3117 Final [PDF]

UPDATED deadlines

JOU 3117 - Fall 2017

Homework: Take-home editing assignment (Counts as News Drill #2)

  • Dec. 4 – News Drill #3
  • Dec. 6 – Review of News Drill & Editing Assignment

Editing Assignment due Dec. 6 @ 1 p.m.

Draft due (optional) Dec. 11 @ 12 p.m. I will not review past that point, but you can send in before that point. 

Final story due: Dec. 13 at 2 p.m.

Online statistics and math resources (via NewsU)

JOU 3117 - Fall 2017JOU 3300 - Fall 2017Journalism Thoughts


3-Way Percent Calculator: An online tool to calculate any configuration of a percent

Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation and other calculators and cost-of-living data


15 Resources for Journalists to Learn About Statistics: A collection of resources published by to help journalists learn the basics of statistics and data analysis

Statistical Terms Used in Research Studies: A Primer for Journalists: Leighton Walter assists journalists in understanding statistics — and describing them in ways that readers can understand as well

Statistics Every Writer Should Know: Robert Niles reinforces basic statistics concepts in an easy-to-understand tool for journalists trying to make sense of numbers

Grade/Percentage Breakdown

JOU 3117 - Fall 2017JOU 3300 - Fall 2017

Here’s the way grades breakdown, based on percentages. Please note FIU as a whole got rid of C-/D+/D- starting this term.

  • A = 94 -100
  • A- = 90 – 93
  • B+ = 87 – 89
  • B = 83 – 86
  • B- = 80 – 82
  • C+ = 75 – 79
  • C = 70 – 74
  • D = 60 – 69
  • F = below 59

Based on the confusion about this that I mentioned in class yesterday, I will be raising everyone final overall grade two percentage points from what you see in Blackboard. I’ve changed the display so your current grade is listed as a percentage rather than a letter. Let me know if you have any questions.

General Notes

JOU 3117 - Fall 2017JOU 3300 - Fall 2017
  • Double check ALL entities, names and titles:
    • Call back and/or Google them
    • Misspelling of name the final piece is points off. 
  • Source, source, source:
    • All matters of fact MUST be sourced to someone you have personally spoken to OR gotten from a document
    • If from a person use SAID only. ONLY!!
    • If from a document (including website) use STATED only. ONLY!!
  • Make sure you don’t contradict yourself:
    • If you say that churches have always donated to a festival in graf 12, but you lede states they didn’t this year, something is wrong and your story loses value because I can’t trust it.
  • Double check all facts and figures:
    • If I can Google a fact and easily determine its truth/falsity, so can you. If I discover something an event is called “Columbian Music Today” and you wrote it as “The Columbian Fest,” you will get points off.
  • You are responsible for your quotes
    • Quoting someone accurately does not mean your work is done. You are responsible for the truth of their statements as well as their value. Only quote people who are likely to know what they’re talking about. People BS all the time. If it’s provably incorrect, that’s points off.
  • Again SAID or ADDED for people STATED for documents 
    • Do not use ADMITTED, ACKNOWLEDGED, EXCLAIMED, QUESTIONED, EXPLAINED, etc. Let their words speak for themselves. Don’t force it.

  • If you paraphrase a document, you must rewrite it
    • If you use it directly as written, it needs to be in quotes. Period. Otherwise this is plagiarism. 
    • Even if you paraphrase, it needs to be sourced to the document or website.

Remaining Topics & Deadlines

JOU 3117 - Fall 2017

Final NewsU (Plagiarism & Fabrication) due at 6 p.m. TODAY

  • Nov. 29 – Math for Journalists / Web Aggregation / Pitch Competition 

Homework: Take-home editing assignment (Counts as News Drill #2)

  • Dec. 4 – News Drill #3
  • Dec. 6 – Review of News Drill & Editing Assignment

Editing Assignment due Dec. 6 @ 1 p.m.

Draft due (optional) Dec. 6 @ 6 p.m. I will not review past that point.

Final story due: Dec. 11 at 2 p.m.

Budget line examples

BlogJOU 3117 - Fall 2017JOU 3300 - Fall 2017

Slug: Tamara James Profile
Writer: Nyamekye Daniel
Length: 550 words
Art: Yes – Photographs
Summary: Following a nine-year professional basketball career in the WNBA as well as in Israel and Europe, lifelong Dania Beach resident Tamara James is now taking shooting for a seat on the City Commission, squaring off against four other candidates for three open seats. Though she had not held elected office before, James, 32, is hardly an unknown in the Broward County town, serving on the city’s Marine Advisory Board, Charter Review Board and Parks and Recreation Community Affairs Advisory Board. She also lives on a street named after her.

Remaining Deadlines — JOU3117

JOU 3117 - Fall 2017
Just as a recap, here are the syllabus changes and remaining deadlines.
No class Nov. 20 or 22. However, Nov. 20 from 12-3pm will be the SFNS recruitment that I wrote to you about this morning.
The third story will be about either the impacts of Black Friday on your beat -or- an enterprise story. The pitch for this is due Nov. 27 at 1 p.m. Remember that this needs to have relevance past Thanksgiving, as the earliest it could be published is Dec. 12. (That is, don’t write a story about a fight at the Walmart on Nov. 25. It’ll be old news by the time we get a chance to run it.)
The final NewsU is also due Nov. 27, though not until 6 pm. That is on fabrication and plagiarism.
We will be meeting in AC2 258 on all remaining days following the Thanksgiving holiday. That is Nov. 27/29 and Dec. 4/6. Due to construction and Irma, we are still a bit behind, and I will not be able to meet with you one-on-one regarding your final story.
However, if you would like emailed comments about your stories, your draft must be sent to me by Dec. 6 at 6 pm. This is optional, but I will only look at your draft if it is sent to me by or before that date.
The final story itself is due Dec. 11 at 2 pm. 
Let me know if you have any questions.

Updated Second Story Deadlines

JOU 3117 - Fall 2017

– Second story pitches now due WEDS, Oct. 25 at 12 pm

– Second story (pre-edit) due: Nov. 6 at 12 pm (Group B) or Nov. 8 at 12 pm (Group A) — one-on-one meeting week —

– News U module completed by Nov. 1 at 6 pm

– Second story post-edit now due WEDS, Nov. 15 at 12 pm