Category: JOU 3300 – 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 3300

JOU 3300 - 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.

Article Grading Rubric – 3300 Final [PDF]

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 3300 - Fall 2017
  • Nov. 29 – Plagiarism & Fabrication / Math for Journalists
  • Dec. 4 – Social Media for Journalists
  • Dec. 6 –Peer / One-on-One Editing 

Final draft due Dec. 6 @ 3 p.m.

Final story due: Dec. 13 at 4 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.

Post Irma deadlines

JOU 3300 - Fall 2017

Due to the hurricane, the following deadlines have been extended. In addition, we will not have a formal class meeting Sept. 18 so you can catch up. 

  • You need to have a total of 20 sources in under your tab for your beat. You also need to email me a selfie with something related to your beat in the background. This is due Sept. 18 at 11:59 pm
  • The NewsU module “Fundamentals of Editing” is due Sept. 18 at 11:59 pm
  • And your pitches for the first article are due Sept. 20 at 3 pm 

Week of Sept. 4 Homework/Notes

JOU 3300 - Fall 2017

Because many of you may be helping your family and friends prepare for the coming storm, I’m extending the deadlines for items due this week. However, please work ahead as it may be dangerous to be wandering about South Florida after Thursday or even before. Do not put yourself in danger. Here are the updated deadlines: 

Field Work

  • You need to have a total of 20 sources in under your tab for your beat. You also need to email me a selfie with something related to your beat in the background. This is due Sept. 8 at 6 pm (extended from Sept. 6)
  • The NewsU module “Fundamentals of Editing” is due Sept. 8 at 3 pm (extended from Sept. 6)
  • And your pitches for the first article are due Sept. 11 at 3 pm (same deadline as before)
  • 1
  • 2