SAMPLE SYLLABUS ONLY
(Subject to Change)
Periodical Class Syllabus
J221, 321, 421 (all 2 credits) and J422 Periodical Editorship (3 credits)
Prerequisites: J207, one newspaper staff course and appropriate class standing. Workshop in periodical design; layout and production; training in the creative combination of type, headlines, photographs and other illustrative material, text and caption-writing; creative layout techniques; publication production; and participation on the university periodical.
“ How to Write for Magazines” by Charles H. Harrison, Allyn & Bacon, 2002
“ The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual”
“ When Words Collide” by Lauren Kessler and Duncan McDonald
The staff prepares and produces the magazine under the direction of the editor and his/her staff. Two issues of the magazine will be produced this quarter, both in print and online. The magazine’s Web site is http://klipsun.wwu.edu/.
Staffers are expected to learn and to apply the creative skills of writing, design and photojournalism by planning, writing, editing, and producing the written and visual elements of the magazine. The editor and staff are expected to meet production deadlines, maintain the Web site and stay within the budget.
Klipsun staff meetings will cover most aspects of magazine production. Class hours correspond to staff meetings. Each student is responsible for all that is presented, discussed or mentioned during staff meetings and for assigned readings in the texts.
Outside of staff meetings, students control their own time for reporting, writing, editing, production and management. Under direction of the editor, they invest whatever time is appropriate to the task and their goals. Working in an organized and efficient manner up to – and well ahead of – deadlines is key to producing high-quality stories that cover issues of significance to the campus community.
Klipsun is funded from student activity fees, and participation is open to all students, including those who are not registered for academic credit.
Staff Responsibilities and Points:
The Periodical class gives journalism students a chance to put their training and experience to work in a professional setting that is training for internships and professional work.
During some class sessions, the editor, the instructor/adviser, story editors and staff will critique the magazine and material being considered for publication. Criticisms should not be directed at persons, but at content and practices.
Class sessions may also include writing exercises, grammar reviews, story group meetings and other projects, if a problem or conflict arises; the editor and adviser are here to help and should be consulted.
Staff members may earn points as writers or photographers; editors earn points for their creative contributions and editor reports, and for performing their duties in a timely, responsible, legal and professional manner. (See separate handouts that detail photographers’ and editors’ points).
Writers are expected to submit for each of the two issues:
• Story ideas (a brief pitch for issue #1, a query letter for issue #2)
• A complete first draft of a magazine-length article OR two shorter features (500-800 words)
• A polished final draft or the long article OR two shorter features
As a Klipsun writer, you must prepare ONE full-length story (1,200 to 2,000 words) and TWO shorter features (up to 500 words) during the quarter. You can pitch them in either order, but the editors may assign them as they choose; for example, if you pitch two short stories for issue #1 and your story editor thinks one of those short story ideas is better suited to a full-length piece, you may be assigned that format for issue #1. At any rate, during the quarter you will produce BOTH one full-length story AND two short features. Writers may also substitute one shorter photo essay for one of the short features. Photo essays must include introductory text and captions (see below).
Photographers are required to submit for each of the two issues:
• Photo essay ideas
• A pitch (issue #1) and a query letter (issue #2)
• A complete photo essay (including brief introductory text and captions) or illustrative photos with captions for selected stories
• A final version of a photo essay or final illustrative photos as directed by editors
All staff members are required to:
• Attend class and staff meetings
• Participate in production (assisting with fact-checking or, especially if your story is published, with proofreading).
• Take part in workshops, exercises, discussions and rewrite sessions
• Check their mailboxes (folders) and e-mail frequently and keep in touch with editors
• Meet scheduled deadlines
Points are awarded for these various tasks, either on the basis of participation (production an attendance) or on the basis of quality of content produced (stories, photography, and assignments). The adviser grades the stories independently from the editors’ decisions on what will run in the magazine. Final grades will be based on the points accumulated plus an evaluation of a student’s professionalism (such as meeting deadlines, rewriting as requested, communication with editors).
Editors are also evaluated on professionalism in their editing, creative contributions, editor reports and editorial meeting attendance. Information regarding cumulative point standing during the quarter may be obtained from the instructor during office hours. Plus and minus grades will be used.
Preparing Articles and Images:
Originality – All contributions to the magazine must be a student’s own original work that has been proposed, researched and written specifically for Klipsun magazine. Staff members work with the understanding that everything submitted is truthful, accurate and available for publication. Fictional treatments, including hypothetical scenes or composite character, are not acceptable.
Should issues of plagiarism or academic honesty arise; the editor and adviser will follow the university’s procedures. A god way to avoid any problems is to always attribute the sources of any information used in a story. Team reporting projects need a written plan and written authorizations from the adviser before the term begins.
Sources and Attribution – All sources should be provided on a sheet attached to the end of the story or photo essay. The list must include contact information, especially phone numbers. During production, fact-checkers will call many, if not all, sources.
When citing Web sites, the author or source organization should be names, not just the URL. Interviews must be conducted in person or by phone; if a source seems to be available only by e-mail, discuss the situation with an editor or adviser before proceeding.
Klipsun does not routinely grant anonymity to sources, and staff members can comfortably tell sources that this is an editorial policy. Writers should discuss fully, and in advance, any rare cases that seem to require anonymity so that procedures to protect the magazine legally can be implemented.
Timeliness – Editors choose which stories to publish after reading and discussing them. Competition is tough, and late or inferior stories are not likely to be chose n for publication. Stories submitted past deadline may be penalized 10 percent of points possible per day, up to 50 percent off.
Formatting – Stories, photos, photo lines and captions are submitted in hard copy and electronically (on disk or by e-mail) using Photoshop or Word formats suitable for either Windows or Macintosh systems. Editors will announce the number of copies to file, and staff should always retain a copy of their work.
Magazine Writing – The qualities of good magazine writing differ from those for news writing, and this class will cover aspects of feature writing such as developing an angle, theme, characters, dialogue and scene. It will also cover the way magazine stories approach structure, including leads, them development and endings. Grading will be based on the presence of these aspects, and on the quality of content, thoroughness or research and excellence in use of grammar, punctuation and AP Style. Development of individual writing style is encouraged.
All students enrolled in Klipsun are required to follow the guidelines of the Code of Ethics form the Society of Professional Journalists (students needing a copy should ask the instructor).
Editors must know and apply safeguards against libel, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement and other legal areas, as outlined in the AP Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. When in doubt, they should consult the adviser.
Students working on Klipsun must follow professional standards as outlined in Western’s journalism courses. Fairness, balanced treatment and accuracy – including precision on direct quotes – are essential.
Klipsun staff will identify themselves as writers, editors or photographers of Klipsun whenever seeking information for a story and will conduct themselves in a professional manner.
To avoid conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict, no one will write a story or edit a story or otherwise become involved in a story in which he or she is personally involved. Generally, a person belonging to any social, political, religious or civic club or organizations will not be involved in a story relating to that group, and will avoid using close friends, family members, employers or other Klipsun staffers as sources. If in doubt, discuss the matter with the editor or adviser.
Discussions during staff meetings are confidential to the publication staff. Give the long lead time before Klipsun goes to press, there is no glory in pirating Klipsun stories or photos to run first in another publication.
All stories, story ideas, photos or other information intended for publications in Klipsun should be kept confidential until publication. After publication, students should refrain from discussing internal Klipsun matters related to the discussions and information about the story except with those persons involved with the staff.
Articles written or photos taken for other classes may be submitted form publication in Klipsun, but they do not substitute for new work that must be done to earn Klipsun credits. Always inform editors of the circumstances under which a work was created.
Any material that was first written by someone else, from authoritative source to roommate, must be attributed to that person. Otherwise, it is plagiarism. (See Western’s catalog form more information). News events widely reported in different news outlets are in the common domain and may be referred to without attribution. However, any precise workings or a commentator’s analysis must be attributed. (This syllabus was written by Carolyn Dale, former Klipsun adviser, and revised by Peggy Watt. Also contributing material are former Klipsun advisers Shearlean Duke, Marilyn Bailey and Tim Pilgrim).
Editors expect work will be submitted on time and staff members will accept criticisms and suggestions in an adult and professional manner. Editors also expect writers and photographers to make changes in their work as requested so items can be published. Full participation in staff meetings is also expected so ideas for the magazine can develop and so editors can convey messages.
No free tickets, meals, travel services or any other item may be accepted by a writer or editor or photographer without prior permission of the editor.
Staff members experiencing pressure to behave in a way that violates the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics or the rules above should report the incidents to the editor and adviser.
Horseplay, roughhousing, obnoxious behavior or any type of unprofessional conduct is unacceptable in the Klipsun office, computer room, or any other rooms affiliated with Klipsun. Getting rid of stress is an excellent idea – out of sight and hearing of those working on their stores and other tasks.
Student Publications, as an employer within the state system, is not allowed to permit use of alcohol or illegal drugs (in Klipsun or Front offices, production areas or darkrooms), damage or sabotage of equipment, or comments and/or actions of a harassing nature regarding, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity or race.
The editor (and by extension, subeditors) has the duty to require that all Klipsun personnel conduct themselves in a lawful manner. The law does not permit any agent of the state to ignore such behavior. Also, the adviser is required to act on any information s/he obtains regarding unlawful conduct.
Using these state and other established Western guidelines and procedures, the editor, with sufficient cause, has authority to terminate or suspend editors and other hired personnel who violate these rules or do not perform their duties. Other sanctions may be imposed as well.
The good news is, Klipsun has a history and reputation of being a fine magazine, where staffers learn a lot and enjoy their time. We’ll continue that tradition: Welcome to the staff!