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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "COM 221-2"
COURSE NAME: "Writing Across the Media"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Elizabeth Macias Gutierrez
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 11:30-12:45 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above
OFFICE HOURS: By Appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
The course introduces students to the various kinds of writing they will encounter in the media professions and in digital multimedia production, and prepares them for more advanced media courses in the Communications and Media Studies program. Students will also be introduced to basic legal and ethical issues, such as libel, copyright, privacy. Activities include writing for online media, press releases, strategic campaigns, and short scripts for visual and audio media as well as exercises to pitch their ideas. They will also explore issues concerning style, communicability, and effective storytelling.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
All students will be required to create an e-portfolio using WordPress. This is where students will post and share their work from class assignments. Throughout the course students will be required to maintain a blog, with at least one post a week. There will be additional writing activities, both inside and outside of class, consisting of various different projects, including a press release, media kit, and short scripts (audio and visual) for a public service announcement and podcast. This course will include guest lectures from different media specialists.
LEARNING OUTCOMES:

·      Learn legal and ethical principles of writing for the media

·      Demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of writing for various media professions

·      Write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for a variety of communications professions

·      Apply tools and technologies appropriate for different communications professions

·      Critically assess institutional and individual media practices

·      Understand how to promote and share written works online

·      Conceive, draft, edit and finalize a basic script for visual and audio media

TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
The Basics of Media Writing: A Strategic ApproachScott A. Kuehn and Andrew LingwallSAGE978-1506308104  
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging Huffington PostSimon Schuster1439105006  
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
BlogCreate a blog website and publish 5 blog posts.20%
Press kitPresent an event press kit for an NGO, company, or artist.20%
PSA ScriptWrite a short script for a video spot, with storyboard and factsheet.20%
Podcast ScriptWrite a podcast script based on your blog topic (includes a scholar interview).20%
Digital Portfolio  10%
Attendance/Partic.Attendance and participation is required. More than three unexcused absences will result in an automatic loss of a letter grade.5%
Final Exam 5%
 NOTE: The 20% of the main projects includes a 5% of assignment submissions. 

-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 course.
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:
ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS AND EXAMINATION POLICY
You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until December 7.

Students will not be penalized for three absences from classes meeting twice a week.

Participation grade will be deducted by 5 points for each additional absence beyond the three absences.

Three late arrivals count as one absence. A late arrival begins after one minute of the official class time.

 

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

Week

Session

Topic

Key terms

Readings

Assignment

Activity

ONE

# 1

M

Sept. 2    








 # 2

W

Sept. 4    



Intro to Course

Ethics

Choosing your  WAM topic





Media laws and regulations:

copyright/defamation/privacy

VS.

public interest

Chapter 8,

Media Law

and

Ethics

p. 248 - 286

Get course book!

Take online course: Social Media Ethics at https://www.udemy.com/course/social-media-ethics/

Send course certificate/photo to [email protected]

Read 6 Tales of Censorship in the Golden Age of Free Speech from Wired Magazine

www.wired.com/story/free-speech-issue-censorship/

WAM Topic worksheet

Lecture

TWO

#3

M

Sept. 9    





 #4


W

Sept. 11

Ethics






MODULE 1


News Curation Blog

Free speech vs. hate speech, first amendment vs. censorship







What is NEWS CURATION?

Introduction to Blog project

Chapter 8 (cont’d)

p. 248 - 286








Reference: Online course Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Publishers

https://www.poynter.org/shop/self-directed-course/594234/

* Find a favorite blog related to your WAM topic and post it on MOODLE before next session

Lecture

Fill out ethics handout 

Lecture






THREE

#5
Laptop

M

Sept. 16                    


LIBRARY WORKSHOP 
News research

Fact checking; fake news; objectivity; bias

Chapter 4

Reporting and

Interviewing,

pp. 100 – 137

*News Curation Assignment (3 posts)
+
Prepare for news pitch

due Mon. Sept. 23

Research Activity

#6

W

Sept. 18                    

                                   

Writing essentials for a killer blog (FAJA, Triangle, Writer’s Voice)

Specific content and writing strategies (from active voice to CTAs)

Lateral writing tips


Chapter 2 Media Writing

p. 19 onwards
p. 45-47 FAJA


Chapter 3*

Chapter 5


Chapter 9
Target Audience
p. 297-299

*Chapter 3- Media Writing Style and Language Conventions

pgs. 62 -65; 71- 84; 86 - 95

(AP Style, p. 65 – 70)

+

Chapter 5- Hards News and Feature Writing Using

p. 138 -

Lecture. Take notes.

FOUR

# 7

M                  Sept. 23                        

Anatomy of a blog post

Headlines

 leads

summaries

attribution, quotes

Chapter 5 Multiplatform Story and Leads
pp. 142 - 151

+ MOODLE handouts

Read Blog Anatomy Infographics on MOODLE and Headline + Lede + Summary handouts.

Come prepared for class activity

Chapter 5- Quotations
pgs. 157 – 161

Read AP Style, p. 65 –

News Curation Pitches

Treatment workshop: Blog title, motto, target audience and About Page.

#8

W                  Sept. 25

Blog treatment

Blog title, motto, target audience and About Page


Technical elements

MOODLE


Chpts. 2-4
HuffPost (on reserve)

Draft of one news curation blog post on google doc (400 words min.).

 SEE RUBRIC and instructions

Refer to Chapter 10- Web Copywriting

Blog Anatomy (quiz activity) and seminar: 

Write headlines, leads, summaries,
lateral writing

FIVE

# 9
Laptop

M                  Sept. 30                        

                 

LIBRARY WORKSHOP
Review blog post +
Organization profile blog post

MOODLE

Handouts

Open Wordpress account and create blog site (follow steps on MOODLE handout)


The Review: find suitable info; compare and contrast sources;
 
Organization research

#10
Laptop

W       Oct. 2

Wordpress


Embedding, inserting images; writing captions; licensing; hyperlinks

FAIR USE

Image content

Captions

Work on blog project. Two- week deadline.

See MOODLE. Finish 5 blog posts on Wordpress: 3 news curation, 1 review, 1 profile

Wordpress workshop

SIX

#11
Laptop

M

Oct. 7                        

                 

Copyediting workshop

Revise for anatomy, content, syntax, design, attribution

Chapter 10 Web Copywriting

pp. 330 - 360

Professor feedback of blog post drafts

Use rubric for copywriting

Blog submission begins

# 12

W

Oct. 9

MODULE 2
Public Service Announcement (PSA)

Critique and discuss PSAs

Chapter 11

Basic Persuasive Writing

pp. 362- 389

Blog submission begins

SEVEN

#13

M

Oct. 14                     

                 

Persuasion and Aesthetic techniques

Ethos, pathos, logos


   advertising

motives

See handouts on MOODLE
and 

    + Chapter 11 (cont’d)

Planning PSA worksheet

Seminar

Blog Due. Submission window closes.



#14

W

Oct. 16

PSA Planning

Treatment and Factsheet

audience, logline, video title, catchphrase, summary, channel platform, organization

Chapter 13

Blog Due. Submission window closes.

Complete

 research worksheet and bring to next session

Story pitch. Treatment workshop.

EIGHT

#15

M

Oct. 21

LIBRARY WORKSHOP

credible sources, publications, type of content

Factsheet:

find suitable information; compare and contrast sources; research facts, statistics, data; audience research

 Factsheet activity


  #16

W Oct.23

Script:

technical terms;

camera movement, camera shots, audio

Visual and audio script cues

Submit PSA treatment with Factsheet by Mon. Oct. 28

Seminar

NINE

PSA treatment due

#17

M

Oct. 28                     

Storyboard

MOODLE
+
Chapter 13 TV commercial 
pgs. 462 - 461

PSA treatment due

Read Script handout on MOODLE

Video seminar

#18

W

Oct. 30   

Script workshop

PSA Submission window opens

PSA treatment feedback + workshop

TEN

#19

M

Nov. 4

MODULE 3
 PODCAST
 

Writing for the Ear

War of the Worlds: The Panic Broadcast

Podcasting

Chapter 6

Radio

pp. 176 -
+
Fig. 6.3

Find and listen podcast episode related to topic. Submit via MOODLE.

Video seminar 
Lecture

PSA submission window closed

#20

W      Nov. 6

LIBRARY WORKSHOP
Scholar research

Podcast guest and interview

Chapter 4 Interviewing
pgs. 121- 132

PSA submission window closed

Scholar research and contact

Trace scholar's career (interview)

ELEVEN

#21

M

Nov. 11

Guest interview contact

 (email, phone, facetime/skype, in person)

the interview, protocol, wording, voice,


MOODLE handout

Chapter 14
- Writing the email
pgs. 479 - 482

Scholar contact due before class ends. Email scholar (A and B)
Refer to MOODLE handout and Chapter 14

Seminar

#22

W

Nov. 13

Podcast Treatment

Segments, Title, motto, audience, logline

Chapter 13-
Writing the Radio Commercial 
pgs. 459 -461

Read MOODLE handout

+ Refer to Chapter 13

Workshop

TWELVE

#23

M

Nov. 18                    

                 

Podcast 

Anatomy:

the script

vocabulary for intro and outro, formatting, cues, types of music breaks, etc.

See Moodle Handouts

Draft script

Seminar

Podcast submission window opens

#24
Laptop

W

Nov. 20

Script copywriting

cont'd

Podcast submission window opens

Workshop

THIRTEEN

#25

M

Nov. 25                    

                 

 MODULE 4
 

PRESS KIT 

Event planning, news hooks, research media outlet

Chapter

News Values and 5Ws
pgs. 110 - 111; 
116 - 117

Read MOODLE Handout

Lecture 


Handout activity

Podcast submission window closes

#26

W

Nov. 27


 Anatomy of Pitch Letter and Press Release

News lead, Inverted Pyramid, Quotes, Boilerplate, hashtags, Bio/background; Other Info

Chapter 12

 The News Release pgs. 417 - 419

Podcast submission window closes

Prepare Event Pitch

FOURTEEN

#27

M

Dec.  2                      

                 

Event Pitch

+

Background Info./Clippings

cont'd

Read and review MOODLE handouts

Rough drafts of Pitch Letter and Press Release (use MOODLE handouts as guide)

Event pitches

#28
Laptop

W

Dec. 4     

Copywriting

Strategic communication

Exam Review

Seminar

FINALS WEEK

TBA

Exam

 

This schedule may be subject to change. Please check MOODLE weekly. 


Course textbook: The Basics of Media Writing by Kuehn/Lingwall. 
Book on Library Reserve: HuffPost=The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging 

 

Thank you for reading.

Have a great semester.