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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "DJRN 325"
COURSE NAME: "Feature Writing"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Andrea di Robilant
EMAIL: adirobilant@johncabot.edu
HOURS: MW 6:00-7:15 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above; Recommended: DJRN 221
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course offers the student practical experience researching, writing and marketing feature articles for print and/or online magazines. The topics covered include how to develop a good idea, analyze a target audience, gather information, write a feature article, and sell the story. Ultimately this course will teach students how to successfully write longer feature stories and how to pitch them to the appropriate publication. The class time will include lectures where voice, style, use of language, and story structure techniques will be discussed. Class time will also include in-class writing and discussion.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
After having taken at least one course in basic news-writing, students in this class will have an opportunity to develop skills in a variety of more creative forms or reporting. We will be looking at different genres of feature writing: profiles, travel pieces, political/social stories, and also light, humorous articles. And we will discuss ways to develop ideas, reporting techniques, interviewing skills. Each student will work on finding a voice and a style, and on giving a solid structure to his/her writing. In addition to written assignments, every week students will be asked to read and critique feature articles from major newspapers and magazines.
LEARNING OUTCOMES:
At the end of this course you will be able to:
-identify a potential story for a given audience
-conduct relevant research, reporting and interviews
-write and pitch a story proposal
-write a long feature story (2500-3000 words)
-develop a personal writing style
-read feature articles with a constructive and critical eye
TEXTBOOK:
NONE
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Three short articles (500-600 words)One will be an assigned topic, two will be free.40%
One long feature article (2500-3000)On a topic of choice40%
Research, participation and attendance 20%
   
   

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cour
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
This class is about ideas, feedback, listening and participating, which means the student is expected to attend every class and to be on time. More than three unjustified absences will make your maximum grade a B
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

SessionSession FocusReading AssignmentOther AssignmentMeeting Place/Exam Dates
Week oneIntroduction, development of story ideasA chapter from the textbook and a magazine articleFirst written assignment 
Week TwoDiscussion of first assignment, focus on research and interview techniquesTextbook and two magazine/newspaper articles  
Week ThreeDeveloping ideas for second short piece, focus on voice and style.Textbook and magazine/newspaper articles  
Week FourDiscussion/editing of second piece.Textbook and magazine/newspaper feature articles  
Week FiveIn class lab with editor/writer Developing idea for third short pieceTextbook and magazine/newspaper articles  
Week SixDiscussion/editing third short piece Genre development: how to develop political/social storiesMagazine and newspaper articles  
Week SevenGenre development: profile writingMagazine/newspaper articlesDevelop ideas for major feature piece 
Week Eightgenre development: travel writingmagazine/newspaper articlesDevelop story idea and research long feature article 
Week NIneGenre development: light hearted, humorous features.Magazine/articlesLong feature 
Week TenIn class lab with editor/writer Magazine/newspaper articleshand in first draft of long feature 
Week ElevenRewriting and editingMagazine/newspaper articles  
Week TwelveRewriting and editingMagazine/newspaper articles  
Week Thirteen How to pitch and sell your storyMagazine/newspaper articlesHand in final version of long feature 
Week FourteenLate submissions and critical readings of students' feature stories.